MA Creative Writing

General

Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

At the heart of the Manchester Writing School are our master's programmes in Creative Writing, available to study on campus in Manchester, and also from anywhere in the world via online distance learning.

On our Master of Arts (MA) Creative Writing programme, you will explore and practice techniques and styles of modern and contemporary writing and apply these through the development of your own creative work. MA students undertake a taught element blending writing workshops with reading units and an elective and then complete their studies through submission of an extended piece of writing from a proposed full-length book or script.

You will specialise in one of the following routes: Novel Writing (including Short Fiction), Poetry, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Scriptwriting (for the stage, screen or radio) or Creative Non-Fiction.

The MA is available to complete in one year full-time or two years part-time. This course is available to study on campus (full-time or part-time) or online (part-time only). The main student intake is in September, but it is also possible to begin studying in January.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is offering scholarships worth £2,000 for graduates with a first class honours or upper second class degree. Excellence scholarships are available to full-time home and EU students for 20/21 entry.

Features and Benefits

  • The most successful programme of its kind in the UK today - with more than 95 students and graduates publishing first books in the past ten years.
  • An exciting calendar of events - regular events, podcasts, and question and answer sessions with guest writers at Manchester Met and Manchester arts venues.
  • Industry links - Strong links to the publishing industry with visits from major agents, editors and publishers.
  • Flexible learning - core Reading and Workshop units take place in the evenings (6-8 pm UK time) during the autumn and spring terms with electives delivered on an intensive three-day model or studied independently with one-to-one tutorial supervision during the summer term.
  • An extended piece of writing - all MA students will complete an extended piece of writing from a proposed full-length book or script, supported by a term of one-to-one supervision.
  • Gain an MFA  - Students who successfully complete the MA can continue their studies with an additional year, completing a further 120 credits (which includes writing a full-length book or script) and gaining an MFA.
  • Live online teaching - core teaching for distance learning students is via weekly text-based chat room sessions in the evening teaching slots. This master can be completed entirely online without ever having to come to Manchester.
  • Academic expertise - taught by high-profile writers and critics including Susan Barker, Laura Barnett, Andrew Biswell, Malika Booker, Chloe Buckley, Sarah Butler, Eleanor Byrne, David Cooper, Carol Ann Duffy DBE, Nikolai Duffy, Paul Evans, Catherine Fox, Rachel Genn, Blanka Grzegorczyk, Andrew Michael Hurley, Sarah Ilott, Oliver Harris, Rachel Lichtentsein, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Anjum Malik, Alistair McDowall, Andrew McMillan, Livi Michael, Helen Mort, Gregory Norminton, Adam O'Riordan, Minoli Salgado, Michael Symmons Roberts, Monique Roffey, Nicholas Royle, Karen Solie, Jean Sprackland, Simon Stephens, Joe Stretch, Alex Wheatle MBE and Julie Wilkinson.
  • Visiting Fellows - our courses feature contributions from our visiting fellows, including Sherry Ashworth, Ed Caesar, Mandy Coe, Tim Cresswell, Amanda Dalton, Steve Dearden, Paul Dowswell, Boris Dralyuk, Guy Garvey, Colin Harvey, Rachel Mann, Shirley May, André Naffis-Sahely, Ra Page, Stephen Raw, David Shook, Hugh Stoddart and Barry Wood.

"One of the greatest pleasures of my working life continues to be the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, a department with a real sense of family, achievement and celebration, and an ethos of nurturing and innovation."
Carol Ann Duffy

Course Information

This MA blends writing workshops, where you produce and develop your own work-in-progress with regular feedback from tutors and colleagues, with reading courses, which look at the techniques, forms and styles used by a range of writers in modern and contemporary literature. All students also take an elective unit from a suite of options. These electives can also be taken separately as discrete short courses. The final piece of work for the MA is the dissertation - an extended piece of creative writing from a proposed full-length book or script. This single year is spread across two years for part-time and online students.

Core units include:

  • Reading Units x2
  • The Workshop x2
  • Dissertation

Optional units include:

  • Utopias and dystopias (30 credits)
  • How to make a children’s book (30 credits)
  • Crime fiction (30 credits)
  • Creative project
  • Writing about relationships (30 credits)
  • Teaching creative writing (30 credits)

Placement options

The Manchester Writing School is one of the UK's leading schools of creative writing. It is also home to ground-breaking outreach activities, international writing competitions, series of city-wide literary events, innovative publishing projects, the Manchester Children's Book Festival, and the new Manchester Poetry Library. These activities provide our students with many opportunities to get involved and develop their experience in a number of exciting directions.

Study and assessment breakdown

10 credits equate to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study

  • Full-time 34% lectures, seminars or similar; 0% placement; 66% independent study
  • Part-time 34% lectures, seminars or similar; 0% placement; 66% independent study

Assessment

  • Full-time 100% coursework; 0% practical; 0% examination
  • Part-time 100% coursework; 0% practical; 0% examination

Entry requirements

In order to apply, you will need to submit a completed application form, a sample of creative writing, a critical review and one reference. You can apply online or download an application form here: mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/postgraduate-taught-course.

On the application form, you will be asked to give a personal statement and should use this to tell us a bit about yourself and give a good sense of what you have been reading and writing, and what has led you to apply for our course. For the creative sample, applicants to the Novel, Children's/YA and Creative Non-Fiction routes should submit up to 2,000 words of prose (a complete piece, or an extract/extracts from a longer work); poetry applicants should submit up to 15 poems; scriptwriting applicants should submit up to 15 minutes running time of the script. The critical review should be up to 500 words long, focus on contemporary work, and show evidence of close reading, explaining what it is about the piece you find useful as a writer. Both the creative and critical samples should be relevant to the specialist route to which you are applying to (Novel OR Poetry OR Writing for Children/YA OR Scriptwriting OR Creative Non-Fiction). Your reference can be from anyone of professional standing (eg a current or former employer or tutor) who can vouch for your suitability for study at postgraduate level or the quality of your writing, or, if you are unable to obtain a reference from someone who is familiar with your written work, simply verify your identity.

Please collate and submit the application form, writing sample, review and reference, where possible. It will not speed up the processing of your application if you send some elements now with others to follow. We would encourage you to submit electronically to our Direct Admissions team at direct@mmu.ac.uk, although understand that this may not be possible in all cases and can accept postal submissions. You do not need to include copies of certificates from previous qualifications unless we specifically request them our admissions tutors will review your application on the strength and quality of the writing in the portfolio submitted.

We have intakes into the programme in September and January each year. While there is no set deadline for the receipt of applications, we would recommend applying before the end of August for September entry, and by mid-December for January entry. We normally aim to respond to applications within four weeks of receipt of all four elements: application form, writing sample, review and reference although it may take a little longer outside of term time.

Each application is allocated to a specialist tutor in the candidate's chosen discipline, who reads and assesses it, looking for evidence of:

  • A very high standard of written English;
  • Creative talent and potential;
  • Control of form, style and technique;
  • Commitment to the craft of writing and the development of writing skills through workshops and supervision;
  • Substantial reading within the relevant field.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to produce evidence of English Language proficiency. Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 7.0, or an equivalent accepted English qualification.

If your application meets these criteria, the tutor will contact you directly to arrange a telephone or face-to-face interview at a mutually convenient time.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU Students

  • Full-time fee: £1,417 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).
  • Part-time fee: £1,417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).
  • Distance learning fee: £1,417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island Students

  • Full-time fee: £2,667 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).
  • Part-time fee: £2,667 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).
  • Distance learning fee: £2,667 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Costs

Specialist costs

  • Compulsory estimate: £300
  • Optional estimate: £2,200

Books (novels, poetry collections, children/young adult books, scripts in print, or books of creative non-fiction depending on the specialist route of study) for study on Reading units (10 books per unit for two units). Costs spread across years one and two for part-time students. There is also a list of additional, optional recommended reading for each unit. Students can access much of this via the Manchester Met library (either by loaning books or via the e-book system). All students will require access to a computer in order to undertake their studies (accessing online resources, forums and communication systems). Students can use loan laptops on campus. Students will also need access to broadband internet. While most students choose to purchase these for home use, computers with internet access are available to use on campus. While most assessed work will be submitted and completed electronically, students taking the dissertation or manuscript units will be asked to submit printed and bound copies of their work.

Placement costs

  • Compulsory estimate: £100
  • Optional estimate: £2,200

There is an optional summer school each year, where students are invited to spend two full days on campus for a suite of masterclass workshops, talks and social activities. Attendance at the school is free of charge, but students are asked to make their own arrangements for travel, accommodation and food. Some of the elective units will run as intensive residentials over three days on campus in Manchester. This means that online distance learning students, and those who live beyond commuting distance, and who wish to take these particular units, will need to arrange overnight accommodation in the city and make arrangements for travel and food. Students taking the creative project unit and undertaking projects which involve creating artwork, producing objects, or travelling to conduct research or interviews, etc will need to cover the costs of any materials used and also make arrangements for accommodation, travel and food. There may be occasional, optional residential writing weeks held at writing centres across the UK. Students who wish to attend are asked to cover the costs of accommodation, food, travel and tuition for these.

Other costs

  • Optional estimate: £500

Students may be invited to take part in optional public events (e.g. reading from their own work), or attend meetings for extracurricular projects (e.g. the Rosamond Prize) and are expected to cover the costs of travel, accommodation and food.

Career Prospects

The Manchester Writing School is one of the UK's leading schools of creative writing. It is also home to ground-breaking outreach activities, international writing competitions, series of city-wide literary events, innovative publishing projects, and the Manchester Children's Book Festival. These activities provide our students with many opportunities to get involved and develop their experience in a number of exciting directions. On completion of this course, you may decide to pursue MFA, MPhil or PhD study, or to develop a career in bookselling, agenting, publishing, editing, the media, or teaching creative writing. An unrivalled number of our graduates have become published writers.

Students have access to the Careers and Employability Hub located in the business school, offering a host of information resources, one-to-one careers support and employability events throughout the year. This service is also available for up to three years after you graduate. 

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

Manchester Metropolitan University is home to a diverse international student population from more than 130 countries. The University is ranked amongst the world’s top 200 universities under 50 years ... Read More

Manchester Metropolitan University is home to a diverse international student population from more than 130 countries. The University is ranked amongst the world’s top 200 universities under 50 years old, which is a measure of its commitment to delivering and supporting quality research and teaching. Manchester Metropolitan provides its students with regular employability events including advice workshops, industry networking, guest speakers and careers fairs. The University also has industry links with many global companies, including IBM, Bentley Motors, Bosch, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, Manchester City Football Club and Walt Disney. A range of scholarships exclusive to international students is also available, up to the value of £5,000. Read less