Roehampton Creative Writing Masters
September 7, 2006 2:44 PM   Subscribe

What do you know/think about the University of Roehampton, London? Most especially I am interested in its School of Arts, and its MA in Creative and Professional Writing....

Good uni? Did you attend there? What are your experiences of the Roehampton area?

Any info gratefully appreciated
posted by 0bvious to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From a purely statistical point of view, Times Online's Good University Guide should help: Roehampton is 70th on the list out of 109 UK Universities.
posted by philsi at 3:38 PM on September 7, 2006

not a particularly reputable place; as a university it is i believe a fairly recent creation, it was earlier an institute of further education, but this is a normal upgrade in the uk over the last decade or so. the value of the ma will surely depend on the quality of the teaching and of your fellow students: it may be a good course in an otherwise average place. if you want to sample central london life, roehampton is a bit remote for easy commuting.
posted by londongeezer at 3:47 PM on September 7, 2006

I'm applying to London unis for 2007 entry (as an undergraduate though) and Roehampton is definitely towards the bottom of the list when it comes to reputation. Any of the University of London colleges are generally much better. UCL and Royal Holloway in particular have excellent English departments - you may find a course there that interests you. Royal Holloway is a bit out of the city (UCL is very central) but I've heard the campus is lovely.
posted by speranza at 5:03 PM on September 7, 2006

Performance aside, Royal Holloway College is a is a beautiful building.
posted by ceri richard at 5:32 PM on September 7, 2006

i grew up in roehampton. it's a deeply weird place and i never knew there was a university.
posted by gelcap at 4:15 AM on September 8, 2006

I went to Roehampton - did psychology though, which is at Whitelands (Roehampton is one of the few collegiate universities left in the country, as you may know) and at a guess creative writing is based at Digby Stuart on the main campus.

I liked it. It's not the best uni in London in the league tables, but I went there with nothing special A level-wise and came out with a first and it prides itself on turning people who perhaps didn't get on academically into achievers (all of my friends didn't enjoy school and didn't get brilliant results, but we all enjoyed ourselves at uni and got at least 2:1s). It's really small and you'll probably get to know the academic staff better than you might do at a larger uni. The academic staff are all dedicated, and there's a LOT of research activity (at least there was within Human and Life Sciences). The campus is great: you'd be on the main campus, which ranges from modern buildings to an Italian-style mansion with its own lake (Grove House at Froebel). It's very friendly, possibly due to its small size, and I got a lot of support from the staff when I went through some tough times (my mother died halfway through my course, and the academic staff could not have been better). It only recently became an independent university in its own right - my degree is validated by Surrey, although my cohort was the last to have this - but there is a lot of history: Whitelands is something like the 4th oldest higher education institute in England after Oxbridge and Durham, and all the others go way back (at least to the 1930s) and are very proud of this. It's not comparable to UCL or whatever, but it does have its own proud history and it really is improving. If you're religious, it's also one of the few ecumenical institutions left: Whitelands is CofE, Digby Catholic, and Southlands Methodist. The Archbishop of Canterbury was awarded an honorary doctorate at my graduation ceremony.

The area: both campuses are on the edge of a notorious housing estate (the Alton estate). I would not suggest living there or indeed walking there on your own when it's dark. The rest of the area is fine - I live here and have never had any trouble in over two years of living out, and will be staying here for the forseeable future. It's a little weird - on one side of Roehampton Lane is the estate and a rather tatty-looking shopping parade, and on the other is what the inhabitants like to call Roehampton Village, where the houses start at £250,000 and the locals like to pretend we scum don't exist. There's no tube and not a lot to do locally, but there are good bus links to Putney (from where you can get a bus or tube into Central London), Richmond, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Clapham Junction, Kingston, Hammersmith, etc. It's also really close to Richmond Park - I can see it from my bedroom window - if you fancy getting close to nature.

Cons: the admin side is disorganised, I've had essays misplaced and been failed with zero marks, you name it. Snobs telling you it's not good because they haven't heard of it or because it's low down in the league tables. It's not the best area, although it's certainly friendly enough and things are improving. The library is poor - not enough books, and the ones that are there are old and tatty, although they've made big investments in electronic resources and there is access to a wide range of journals online through the uni Athens account. There aren't enough computers. WebCT (the online distributed learning service) is awful and crashes your computer. A lot of the people who get in aren't, shall we say, the academic type. The union doesn't have a lot of oomph - there's a bar onsite, a few decent societies, it runs some club nights, but for the most part you'll have to find your own entertainment should you want it. The staff all try their very best in my experience, but are sometimes let down by the lack of resources (it's a small place and doesn't attract the funding of its bigger neighbours). It doesn't carry the cachet of UCL or the big hitters. It's London, so it's ridiculously expensive (my rent for a room in a three-bedroomed maisonette? Nearly £400 a month).

Basically: fantastic academic staff, it's got history behind it, beautiful campus, collegiate set-up gives it a nice community feel, it is improving, but resources are lacking and I had to restrain myself from shouting at the admin people at times, plus people have never heard of it so you always have to explain. I've really left with an appreciation of the place and how different it is to a lot of higher education institutions, and am thankful I went there.

I think that's about all, but if you've got any more questions, ask away...
posted by terrynutkins at 4:23 AM on September 8, 2006

Roehampton's been acquiring rather a good reputation for creative subjects in the last 10 years or so.

But if it's creative writing, you *really* have to look at UEA's as well.
posted by genghis at 10:58 AM on September 8, 2006

« Older Transferring To 4-Year College In The Middle Of...   |   Bad juju or good juju? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.