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Honours in Professional and Creative Writing is a fourth year of study, an extra year taken after completing a degree. The course is transitional between undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The skills developed during the Honours course include the ability to carry out original research from a variety of sources; think critically and logically about the nature of the research material; use that research material to produce a substantial individual project of one's own initiative; demonstrate a command of the methodology and critical terminology of a particular discipline; and write clearly with a command of the concepts and theory relevant to the field.
Students have the opportunity to research and develop substantial pieces of writing in the genre of their choice in conjunction with an experienced supervisor, normally an experienced writer. Or they may choose to work on an editorial project with a skilled editor.
Students who do Honours in Professional and Creative Writing sometimes have postgraduate study in their sights and ultimately perhaps a job as an academic. Many, though, have their sights set on professional work as a writer - of fiction, poetry, film scripts, play scripts, feature articles. Demand for high-level and self-conscious writing skills, for research and report-writing skills are increasing in the twenty-first century.
An Honours degree can enhance students' career prospects not only in various practical fields of literary and cultural production, and in editing, but also in the wider arenas of the cultural and communication 'industries', and in policy analysis.
Successful completion of an Honours degree also positions students for postgraduate study, whether immediately following or after settling into a career and wishing to develop further their expertise and prospects for professional advancement. Honours students have gone on to further study through Masters Degrees by Coursework, Masters Degrees by research, and PhD.
The normal full-time Honours sequence comprises 4 coursework units in Trimester 1 comprising AAR410 (Honours Research Methods), AAR412 (Honours Theory) and two Honours reading units (AAR413 & AAR414). Trimester 2 involves completion of 4 thesis credit points (AAR415 Honours Thesis Unit).
In Professional and Creative Writing, students will produce creative work (e.g., film script, suite of poems or short stories, a novella or an edited manuscript) which will constitute the major component (up to 70%) of the research. However, this creative component must be accompanied by a scholarly written component (an exegesis) which should be in the range of 4000 to 6,000 words.
The exegesis should demonstrate the student's analytical understanding of the discipline and sets the creative work within a disciplinary and developmental framework. Creative works can not have been submitted for credit in other units, courses or awards.
Course summary details including units of study
Coordinator for Honours in
Literary Studies and Professional and Creative Writing
Dr Elizabeth Bullen
Discipline Honours course adviser
(Professional and Creative Writing)
Dr Katya Johanson
'I found that having honours on my resume opened more doors than just having my undergraduate - I know because I looked for work in the industry both before and after I did my honours year.'