- MA Creative Writing
- College of Liberal Arts
- Campus or location
- Corsham Court
- Course length
- One year full time.
We offer places on the course on the basis of your portfolio of creative writing and an interview, which for overseas applicants may be by telephone or Skype.
We're looking for writers of prose fiction (any genre), poetry or literary non-fiction whom we consider to have the potential to publish their work in the near future.
An MA designed to help you write a novel, collection of poems, collection of stories or work of non-fiction.
- Excellent record of helping students achieve publication.
- Widely regarded as one of the best courses of its kind.
- Taught by an extremely strong team of published writers.
This full-time Creative Writing course will help you to bring a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction as near to publishable quality as possible.
Working with tutors and other writers on the course, you’ll develop your writing and build up a substantial body of work. Weekly workshops are taught by a strong team of published writers, and there are regular visits by literary agents, publishers, magazine editors and broadcasters, as well as other writers.
“Other courses aren't as demanding or rewarding or adamant about you doing what it takes to finish something you can be proud of.”Samantha Harvey, MA Creative Writing graduate and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing
Download the MA Creative Writing handbook (PDF).
Our Creative Writing community
Due to the reputation of the MA in Creative Writing, we are able to recruit excellent students who form an exciting and mutually supportive community of writers every year.
Find out more about:
MA Creative Writing alumni
What you'll learn
- To plan a manuscript (a novel, collection of short stories, collection of poems or book of literary non-fiction) and complete it, or a substantial part of it, brought to publishable quality or as near as possible.
- To understand literary form, style and genre, as relevant to your chosen form of writing
- To acquire a variety of relevant writing techniques, and research techniques to support writing, and adapt them to your particular creative project.
- To understand and respond creatively to questions arising from the subject-matter, themes, genres, traditions and other literary contexts with which your chosen manuscript is engaged.
- To receive and give precise and sensitive critical feedback in workshop groups and one-to-one tutorials.
- To respond creatively to feedback provided by tutors and other students, adapting that feedback to your particular vision of your book.
- To understand choices and opportunities relevant to your chosen manuscript, including questions of how to place your work, and the role of agents, publishers and editors.
The first workshop module, "Professional Skills" taken in trimester one, provides intensive group discussion and some plenary lectures. You’ll bring short pieces of writing to workshop groups consisting of a tutor and not more than seven other students. There are separate groups for prose and poetry. You’ll submit a manuscript proposal halfway through the module. In trimester two, you’ll take a second workshop module in either prose or poetry.
Each context module explores connections between your creative writing and the wider world as represented by a theme or genre. Seminars are divided between considering set texts and workshopping your creative writing. The set texts are examined from the point of view of practical lessons that the writer can learn. You’ll take a context module in trimester one and another in trimester two.
In trimester three, you’ll take "The Manuscript", taught by means of one-to-one tutorials. This is the culmination of the course - the book, or substantial part of a book.
This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information on which modules are core, required or optional.
- Professional Skills Workshop (Prose or Poetry)
- Prose Workshop Two
- Poetry Workshop Two
- Writing and Gender
- Writing and the Environment
- The Poet’s Eye
- Writing and Politics
- The Writer and Place
- The Short Story
- Contemporary American Writing
- Modernism and Postmodernism
- Narrative Non-Fiction
- The Love Story
- Storyworlds: Writing for Digital Media
- Historical Fiction
- Writing Now
- The Creative Writing Workshop
- Spoken Word: The Power of Speech
- Story and Writer Development
- The Manuscript
How will I be assessed?
You’ll be assessed entirely by coursework: mainly creative writing, plus two short essays, a manuscript proposal and a short commentary on the manuscript in progress.
How will I be taught?
You’ll be taught in group workshops and seminars, one-to-one tutorials and plenary lectures.
Join our successful community
Past students have:
- Been awarded excellent contracts for novels
- Been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Orange Prize, Costa Prize and the Guardian First Book Award
- Received the Betty Trask Prize, Manchester Book Award, a WH Smith New Talent Award, and the Janklow and Nesbit Prize.
- Reached the bestseller lists.
Student poets have had their poetry accepted for publication in numerous literary journals, including Ambit, Magma, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, PN Review and The Reader, among others, and have been placed in such competitions as the Bridport, the Frogmore, Mslexia, and Writers Inc. Janklow and Nesbit Ltd, a leading literary agency, awards an annual prize for the best novel or novel in progress by a student on the course.
Throughout the year there are visits by writers, literary agents, publishers, editors, broadcasters and other professionals concerned with creative writing, who will give presentations and answer questions at evening events and in plenary lectures.
Facilities and resources
Where the subject is taught
Weekly teaching is at our Corsham Court campus.
Experienced, award-winning staff
Teaching staff have won major prizes, written bestsellers and contributed to the discussion of books in the national media. They have an unrivalled experience of publishing and writing.
- Professor Tessa Hadley
- Professor Philip Hensher
- Professor Fay Weldon
- Professor Maggie Gee
- Professor Kate Pullinger
- Professor Naomi Alderman
- Nathan Filer
- Aminatta Forna
- Samantha Harvey
- Claire Kendal
- Celia Brayfield
- Gavin Bower
- Gerard Woodward.
Nature writers, critics and memoirists:
UK and EU students full time
|2020/21 entry||Published Jan 2020|
|2021/22 entry||Published Jan 2021|
International students full time
|2020/21 entry||Published Jan 2020|
|2021/22 entry||Published Jan 2021|
Interested in applying?
What we look for in potential students
We offer places on the course on the basis of your portfolio of creative writing and an interview, which for overseas applicants may be by telephone or Skype. We are looking for writers of prose fiction (any genre), poetry or literary non-fiction whom we consider to have the potential to publish their work in the near future.
The portfolio you provide should consist of no more than twenty pages of prose fiction, poetry or literary non-fiction, or a combination of these. It is most helpful if the portfolio includes the kind of writing you wish to develop on the course.
How do I apply?
Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.
Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.
Interview and portfolio guidance
Please send approximately 20 pages of your creative writing, representing what you consider to be your best work. If you send excerpts from a longer work, please provide a synopsis. The portfolio should accompany the application form and personal statement.