Jump to: Overview | Why Aberdeen? | What You'll Study | How You'll Study | Assessment | Entry Requirements

A unique new online short course in Creative Writing which aims to foster effective writing skills and further understanding of the role of voice in the development of your work.

Engage with top-level expertise and fascinating source material to develop the quality of your own writing, editing and reading skills.

A journey of discovery to be enjoyed as an inspiring short course with all the convenience of distance learning - or as a tempting taster to possible progress onto a Masters in this field.

Applications are now open. Please download and complete the application form and return the form by email to onlinelearning@abdn.ac.uk.


An understanding of the role of voice in poetry, and a nuanced sense of your own, are both crucial to the development of your writing. Wherever you live, and whether your interests are professional or personal, this flexible, distance-learning short course has been designed as a taster to the unique and exciting creative writing possibilities on offer at Aberdeen.

The course will focus on the crucial and often complex role of voice in poetry, considering both theoretical and practical aspects. It offers students the opportunity to develop their poetry writing skills and broader understanding of the craft in a supportive, constructive online environment.

Teaching will be based around the workshop model and will consist of carefully targeted critical advice and guidance from the tutor alongside peer evaluation from online group members. Examples of writing by recognised authors and group members will be used to enhance students' awareness of the crucial role of developing a clear poetic voice, leading to practical application in their own creative work.

You’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of the nature and role of voice in contemporary poetry and where your own writing fits into this context. The course will be delivered by an experienced poet and editor familiar with the contemporary UK poetry scene, with a view to encouraging students to develop a completed portfolio and organize their thinking towards eventual publication of a first pamphlet collection.

You may work in education, creative industries or, indeed, any other sector but you will already have begun to write poetry with a view to publishing it. Or you may be retired and want to use your leisure to immerse yourself in gaining the intellectual tools to pursue an area of special interest.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

Ranked top in Scotland and 10th in the UK in the 2018 Complete University Guide, Creative Writing at Aberdeen is taught by a dedicated and multi award-winning team of writers with many years of experience in teaching poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction.

Taught to Honours level, this credit-bearing short course can help facilitate entry into the University's existing M.Litt in Creative Writing for those lacking an Honours degree in English or Creative Writing. Completion of a folio of sufficient quality will be accepted as the writing sample requirement, and as evidence of accomplishment in writing for applicants lacking a degree in a cognate subject but possessing relevant professional experience (for instance in Journalism or other forms of professional writing).

What you'll study

  • Week 1: What do we mean by ‘voice’ in poetry?
  • Week 2: The Concept of Voice, a practical workshop
  • Week 3: ‘Voice is a problem that never lets you go’: Locating a voice
  • Week 4: Individual Feedback Sessions I
  • Week 5: Voice and Form
  • Week 6: Voice and time
  • Week 7: The Big Themes: Births, Marriages and Deaths
  • Week 8: Individual Feedback Sessions II
  • Week 9: Poems Begat Poems - Thought Foxes and Intertextuality
  • Week 10: Some Pictures, More Foxes: Intertextuality (Part II), ekphrasis
  • Week 11: Portfolio Feedback Session I
  • Week 12: Portfolio Feedback Session II

How you'll study

This online, 12-week distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, work and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as self-contained units of learning taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience, using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

We aim to create an online classroom experience and student community which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support.

You’ll be expected to spend 30-40 days on this course, and all material will be uploaded to our VLE for you to work through at your own pace and to suit your commitments.

You’ll be guided through your programme with videos and audio clips, reading materials, and online workshops, as well as plenty of opportunity to interact with your tutors, and with your classmates on our online discussion boards

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen family and learning community.

The course will take place over 12 weeks, with interactive sessions of around an hour including online forum discussion of each week's writing focus and practical tasks. A premium will be set on individualized tutor feedback, in written or verbal form, via the VLE.


Our online courses are delivered through an online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and have been developed specifically for an online audience, using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

Regular feedback will ensure that you are gaining the best from the variety of course topics and materials provided. You will also have three assignments:

  • 1 x essay of 500 words describing and analysing from a practitioner’s perspective the key techniques used, and effects produced, in a chosen poem. To be submitted in week 5 of the course. (10% of total)
  • 1 x participation grade which should reflect the student’s oral contributions to discussion and constructive participation in workshopping. (10%)
  • 1 x folio of original poetry to be submitted at the end of the course comprising between 200 - 300 lines (80%)

There are no exams.

Entry Requirements

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.