MA Creative Writing
The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.
Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.
Our reputation for research excellence was confirmed in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2008) in which our research was recognised to be world-leading. The University of Kent is a research-led institution, which means that the research that the academics are engaged in continues to inform their teaching, and that you, as a student in the department, are at the centre of a dynamic and thriving academic environment.
The MA in Creative Writing at Kent offers you the opportunity to study fiction and poetry (exclusively or together) along with optional modules in translation, and writing and the environment. Designed with serious, ambitious writers in mind, our programme uses seminars, tutorials, workshops, and precise editing to enable you to take control of your own work and write exciting, contemporary material.
You are taught exclusively by members of the permanent creative writing team, all of whom are practising, award-winning writers: Patricia Debney, David Flusfeder, David Herd, Nancy Gaffield, Dragan Todorovic, Alex Preston, Amy Sackville, Simon Smith and Scarlett Thomas.
You take a total of four modules, for which you will produce approximately 8,000 words each (or an equivalent number of poems or translations). In addition, you write a creative dissertation of about 15,000 words.
This programme aims to:
- provide you with the opportunity to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow you, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies
- extend and deepen your understanding of your own writing practice through coursework and research
- enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary and creative writing traditions
- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
- develop your independent creative thinking and practice
- develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language
- enable you to make connections across your various modules and transfer knowledge between modules
- provide you with teaching, workshops and other learning opportunities that are informed by current research and practice and that require you to engage with aspects of work and practice at the frontiers of knowledge.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- key texts from contemporary British, American, postcolonial and world literatures
- the main aspects of literary techniques and theory in either fiction or poetry, including point of view, form, style, voice, characterisation, structure and theme
- key literary traditions and movements, both contemporary and historical
- terminology used in literary criticism
- terminology used in creative practice
- the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, published and read
- critical theory and its applications to both reading and writing
- the study and creation of the ‘text’ and how this is influenced by cultural factors
- inter- and multidisciplinary approaches to the advanced practice of creative and critical writing
- research methods.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the application of the skills needed for advanced academic study and enquiry
- the evaluation of your research findings
- the ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and/or practice
- the ability to make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
- exercise of problem-solving skills
- communication of complex ideas in prose, poetry or both
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- advanced creative writing skills in prose, poetry or both.
- the ability to produce work with ambition, depth, intellectual structure, sophistication, scope, independence and importance
- the ability to sustain a piece of creative work and make choices about form, content and style
- understanding of a ‘whole’ in creative practice (whether this is a novel, a collection of poems or short stories or some other advanced project)
- the ability to present creative writing professionally, both orally and in writing, demonstrating an awareness and understanding of current practice
- an advanced understanding of literary themes
- enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary and other texts
- informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of texts and source materials
- an ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to advanced English or cultural studies
- well-developed linguistic skills, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
- appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work
- an understanding of how cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- advanced skills in communication, in speech and writing
- the ability to offer and receive constructive criticism
- the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
- enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas
- the ability to assimilate, organise and work with substantial quantities of complex information
- competence in the planning and execution of coursework
- the capacity for independent thought, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
- enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual and creative work
- the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical and/or creative positions and weigh the importance of alternative approaches
- research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
- IT: word-processing, the ability to access electronic data and the ability to work efficiently and effectively in an online learning environment
A first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent), or substantial creative writing experience. You are required to submit a sample of your creative writing, and this will be the most significant factor in admissions decisions.
A piece or portfolio of creative work should be uploaded on the ‘Declaration’ page of the online application form. If fiction, this should be around 1,500–2,000 words; if poetry, approximately 4 pages.
On the ‘Course Details’ page, you should submit a description of around 300 words of your creative writing plans. Please tell us whether you intend to work in fiction, poetry, or narrative non-fiction, and what experience you have working in this form. Please also give some indication of the concerns, style, ideas and/or themes that you are interested in exploring in your work.
Request for Consideration on the Grounds of Equivalent Professional Status
Candidates who hold no first degree, or a first degree in a non literary/creative subject-area should include in their applications a summary of any information that might allow us to support the application on the grounds of ‘equivalent professional status’. This could include previous writing publication credits or other successes and/or relevant professional achievements.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Research in the School of English comes roughly under the following areas. However, there is often a degree of overlap between groups, and individual staff have interests that range more widely.
The particular interests of the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century converge around gender, class, nation, travel and empire, and the relationship between print and material culture. Staff in the Centre pursue cutting-edge approaches to the field and share a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.
The Centre regularly hosts visiting speakers as part of the School of English research seminar programme, and hosts day symposia, workshops and international conferences.
The 19th-century research group is organised around the successful MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture and the editorship of The Dickensian, the official publication outlet for new Dickens letters. Other staff research interests include literature and gender, journalism, representations of time and history, sublimity and Victorian Poetry.
Research in north American literature is conducted partly through the Faculty-based Centre for American Studies, which also facilitates co-operation with modern US historians. Staff research interests include 20th-century American literature, especially poetry, Native American writing, modernism, and cultural history.
The Centre for Creative Writing is the focus for most practice-based research in the School. Staff organise a thriving events series and run a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff to share ideas about fiction-writing. Established writers regularly come to read and discuss their work.
Medieval and Early Modern
The Faculty-based Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has a distinctive brand of interdisciplinarity, strong links with local archives and archaeological trusts, and provides a vibrant forum for investigating the relationships between literary and non-literary modes of writing in its weekly research seminar.
The Centre for Modern Poetry is a leading centre for research and publication in its field, and participates in both critical and creative research. Staff regularly host visiting speakers and writers, participate in national and international research networks, and organise graduate research seminars and public poetry readings.
Established in 1994, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research has acquired an international reputation for excellence in research. It has an outstanding track record in publication, organises frequent international conferences, and regularly hosts leading postcolonial writers and critics. It also hosts a visiting writer from India every year in association with the Charles Wallace Trust.
As a guide only, the 2014/15 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
Creative Writing - MA at Canterbury:
Full-time: £5100 UK/EU; £12450 Overseas
Part-time: £2550 UK/EU; £6240 Overseas
School: School of English
Subject area: English
Course type: Taught
Mode of study: Full-time or part-time
Attendance mode: Campus
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
Total Kent credits: 180
Total ECTS credits: 90
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