What will I study?
Your course structure
The Bachelor of Arts requires the successful completion of 24 subjects (300-points), including at least one major. Most students study eight subjects each year (usually four subjects in each semester) for three years full-time, or the part-time equivalent.
Most Arts majors require 100 points of study (usually eight subjects) for attainment. This means out of your 300-point program, you have the opportunity to achieve two majors in your course.
Completing your major
If you are taking Creative Writing as a major, you must complete:
- One level 1 (usually first year) compulsory subject
- One Arts Foundation subject
- One level 2 compulsory subject (usually second year)
- 37.5 points (usually three subjects) of level 2 elective subjects
- 25 points (usually two subjects) of Level 3 elective subjects
- One level 3 Capstone subject (usually at third year)
If you are taking Creative Writing as a minor, you must complete:
- One level 1 compulsory subject (usually first year)
- One Arts Foundation subject
- 25 points (usually two subjects) of level 2 elective subjects
- 25 points (usually two subjects) of level 3 elective subjects
Breadth is a unique feature of the Melbourne Model. It gives you the chance to explore subjects outside of arts, developing new perspectives and learning to collaborate with others who have different strengths and interests — just as you will in your future career.
Some of our students use breadth to explore creative interests or topics they have always been curious about. Others used breadth to improve their career prospects by complementing their major with a language, communication skills or business expertise.
Explore this major
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this major.
- Creative Writing: Ideas and Practice 12.5
Creative Writing: Ideas and Practice
This subject focuses on the creative process of shorter literary work, from the first idea through the development, editing and presentation, including the identification of sources, and choice of style and form. Students will be encouraged to attempt a variety of forms including poetry, monologue, fiction and creative non-fiction. They will also be encouraged to read and discuss a wide range of contemporary literature as part of their understanding and articulation of their own and others' creative work.
Who we are and what we do is all tangled up in our identity. This subject considers how identities are constructed and maintained through mediated processes of self and other. The subject investigates the myriad demands and devices that figure in constructing our senses of self and other (including language, leisure, beliefs and embodied practices). By exploring identity in diverse contexts, across time and place, the subject maps varying conceptions of self and other and how these conceptions are constructed and maintained. A key focus is on how these mediated conceptions of self and other are translated into material practices of inclusion, exclusion, discrimination, violence and criminalisation.
Language plays a central role in the central disciplinary areas in the humanities and social sciences. This subject gives students tools for thinking about language in a range of disciplines, including linguistics, history, sociology, politics, literary studies, anthropology, language studies, psychology and psychoanalytic theory. It shows how language can be analysed as a system, but also how language features centrally in politcal and social contexts: for example, in the processing of the claims of asylum seekers, in developing views of ethnicity, race and nation, and in colonialism; and in the construction of gendered and sexual identity. The role of language in the psyche, and the process of acquisition of languages in children and in adults, are also important topics. Knowing how to think about language, and familiarity with the main thinkers who have discussed language in a range of humanities and social science disciplines, provide an indispensable basis for study in any area of the Arts degree.
The idea of power is a way to grasp the character of social relations. Investigating power can tell us about who is in control and who may benefit from such arrangements. Power can be a zero-sum game of domination. It can also be about people acting together to enact freedom. This subject examines the diverse and subtle ways power may be exercised. It considers how power operates in different domains such as markets, political systems and other social contexts. It also examines how power may be moderated by such things as regulation and human rights. A key aim is to explore how differing perspectives portray power relations and how issues of power distribution may be characterised and addressed.
Reason, many believe, is what makes us human. Until recently, most scientists and philosophers agreed that the ability to use the mind to analyse and interpret the world is something intrinsic to the nature of our species. Reason has a long and extraordinary history. We will explore a number of inter-related themes: the nature of reason from Ancient Greece to our contemporary world; the ever shifting relationship between reason and faith; reason's place in the development of scientific experimentation and thinking; shifting perspectives about the uses of Reason and, finally, how reason relates to theories of the mind, exploring the tensions between reason, the passions and the will.
Reason will take you on a journey from Plato's cave to the neuro-scientists' lab. We will visit revolutions in science, thinking and politics. We will explore the impact of some of the great philosophers of history, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Bentham, Coleridge, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault and many more besides. By the end of this subject you will have a deep understanding of the importance of the idea of reason to human history and philosophy. You might, even, be able to answer the question: 'does reason exist?'
Reason is an Arts Foundation Subject and we will argue that understanding the history and philosophy of reason provides great insights into many aspects of the humanities from political philosophy to understanding history. We will, of course, be paying particular attention to the foundational skills that will help you successfully complete your Arts major: particularly critical thinking and argument development.
- First Peoples in a Global Context12.5
First Peoples in a Global Context
This subject will provide students with an introduction to the complexity, challenges and richness of Australian Indigenous life and cultures. Drawing on a wide range of diverse and dynamic guest lecturers, this subject gives students an opportunity to encounter Australian Indigenous knowledges, histories and experiences through interdisciplinary perspectives. Across three thematic blocks - Indigenous Knowledges, Social and Political Contexts and Representation/Self-Representation - this subject engages contemporary cultural and intellectual debate. Social and political contexts will be considered through engagement with specific issues and a focus on Indigenous cultural forms, which may include literature, music, fine arts, museum exhibitions and performance, will allow students to consider self-representation as a means by which to disrupt and expand perceptions of Aboriginality.
Humans grapple with representations of themselves and their contexts. They also like to imagine other possible worlds. We use words, language, images, sounds and movement to construct narratives and stories, large and small, about the trivial and the profound, the past and the future. These representations can help us to understand worlds but they can also create worlds for us. This subject explores how different genres such as speech, writing, translation, film, theatre and art generate representations of social life, imagination and the human condition. A key aim of the subject is to develop a critical appreciation of how language, images and embodied gestures are used to construct empowering and disempowering discourses.
- Creative Non Fiction 12.5
Creative Non Fiction
In this subject, students will be exposed to a rich and thrilling range of Creative Nonfiction – music, science, sport, technology, trauma, family, politics, more – on the road to developing and fine-tuning their own writing skills. Class discussions will tackle ethics and research/narrative techniques. Students will workshop their own writing and be asked to respond to other students’ written work. They will finish the course with an insight into top-class writers’ minds and techniques, and ideas on how to take their own writing to a higher plane.
- Poetry 12.5
This subject is an introduction to a range of poetic forms. Students will read poetry from various periods and cultures, with an emphasis on 20th century and contemporary poetry.
- Writing for Screen 12.5
Writing for Screen
In this subject students will be introduced to the history of screenwriting and the principles of the craft of writing scripts for screen. Students will read and respond to a variety of scripts written for screen. Students will also be required to write a short original screenplay. This subject is highly recommended for students intending to take Advanced Screenwriting and/or Writing for Theatre in their 3rd year studies.
- Short Fiction 12.5
In this subject students will explore principles of the craft and theory of writing short fiction including graphic narrative. Students will read a variety of fiction texts from the beginning of the modernist era to contemporary fiction, ranging from Gogol to Chekhov, Hemingway, Faulkner, Munro, Garner, Keret and others.
- Scripts for Contemporary Theatre 12.5
Scripts for Contemporary Theatre
This subject is an introduction to the principles and techniques of scriptwriting for the theatre. A selection of theatre scripts in various styles will be studied, in conjunction with relevant critical material, to enhance the production of an original script. Students will each view a current Melbourne theatre production and review the scriptwriting concept and techniques through blog-posts on a class forum, as well as participating in workshopping of their classmates’ scripts throughout semester. This subject is compulsory for students planning to take Writing Radical Performance in the 3rd year of their studies.
- Advanced Screenwriting12.5
Advanced Screenwriting focuses on the creation of an original script for screen. This subject builds upon skills learnt in the second year Creative Writing subject Writing for Screen. Students will enhance, through practical workshops, their screenwriting techniques in three areas: Film, TV and New Media forms. Students will develop a creative project comprising a concept and script excerpts from either: a short film, a feature length film, a TV pilot, or a new media project, such as a web series or video game. Advanced Screenwriting draws upon a wide range of examples and contemporary applications of screenwriting, including a range of genres, along with contemporary media innovations. As a result students should have, on completion of the subject, an understanding of how screenwriting history, common techniques and new advances in the form relate to current practice.
- Writing Videogames and Live Performance12.5
Writing Videogames and Live Performance
This subject engages with the theoretical, practical and technical aspects of creative writing for videogames and live performance. Through a rigorous examination of the work of key artists and writing from the 1980s onwards, students will devise concepts for games, performance and enhance their scriptwriting practice. Student will produce a critical essay and two scripts: a solo piece or character monologue; and a script for a game or live performance; as well as workshopping their ideas in class.
- Poetry and Poetics12.5
Poetry and Poetics
Students in this subject will inquire into a wide range of traditional and contemporary stylistic practices in poetry and poetics. Students will analyse and present discussions on a variety of poetic texts and recent works on poetics, before applying central poetic styles in their own writing. The subject will also involve intensive workshopping of students' own poetry with a focus on extending poetic technique and developing and articulating a personal poetic.
- Life Writing12.5
Life writing draws on lived experiences and life narratives - ours’ and others’ – to examine the relationship between the past and the present, individuals and different types of social life, the public and the private, the local and the (trans)national. In this subject we will be thinking hard about identity and representation (including self-representation), power and ethics, the complexities of memory, as well as possibilities afforded by different forms of life writing, which encompass personal essays, memoirs, biographies, diaries, letters, oral histories, family histories, blogs etc. Life writing offers us a powerful entry point into exploring families, bodies, relationships, subjectivities and illuminating experiences that have been ignored or silenced in our culture. Research practices such as interviewing skills, immersion and observation, archival and genealogical research will be investigated in the production of a folio of original life writing.
This subject is designed to help students conceive, research and begin the writing of a novel, and to articulate an understanding of contemporary novels. It will introduce students to theoretical and historical approaches to the understanding and practice of extended narrative or novel writing. Students will read a variety of narrative-based and theoretical texts with emphasis on contemporary works. The focus of this subject is on the production of the student’s own extended work of fiction, the major assessment being on an extract, preferably the opening part of that work.
- Encounters with Writing12.5
Encounters with Writing
This subject will take up questions of creativity, professional practice and critical theory as they relate to creative writing, with a view to students engaging with contemporary Australian and global writing culture and industry. Instead of lectures, students will attend weekly panels presented by leading writers and industry professionals. Each tutorial group will be built around a different practical, collaborative project rooted firmly in the world beyond university.