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. The MA is available to complete in one year full-time, or two years part-time/online.

You will specialise in one of the following routes:

  • Novel Writing (including Short Fiction)
  • Poetry Writing
  • Writing for Children & Young Adults
  • Place Writing (Creative Non-fiction)

This course is available to study online (part-time only) and on campus. The main student intake is in September, but it is also possible to begin studying in January.

Features and Benefits

  • The most successful programme of its kind in the UK today with more than 85 students and graduates publishing first books in the past ten years.
  • Regular events, podcasts, and question and answer sessions with guest writers at Manchester Met and Manchester arts venues.
  • Strong links to the publishing industry with visits from major agents, editors and publishers.
  • Flexible learning for busy people: core Reading and Workshop units take place in the evenings (6-8pm 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.
  • All MA students will complete an extended piece of writing from a proposed full-length book, supported by a term of one-to-one supervision.
  • Students who successfully complete the MA can continue their studies with an additional year, completing an additional 120 credits (which includes writing a full-length book) 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 Masters can be completed entirely online without ever having to come to Manchester.
  • Taught by high-profile writers and critics including: Susan Barker, Laura Barnett, Andrew Biswell, Chloe Buckley, Sarah Butler, Eleanor Byrne, David Cooper, Carol Ann Duffy DBE, Nikolai Duffy, Paul Evans, Catherine Fox, Rachel Genn, Andrew Michael Hurley, Sarah Ilott, Oliver Harris, Rachel Lichtentsein, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Anjum Malik, Andrew McMillan, Livi Michael, Helen Mort, Gregory Norminton, Adam O'Riordan, Michael Symmons Roberts, Monique Roffey, Nicholas Royle, Jean Sprackland, Simon Stephens, Joe Stretch, Alex Wheatle and Julie Wilkinson.
  • With input from our Visiting Fellows: Amanda Dalton, André Naffis-Sahely, Barry Wood, Boris Dralyuk, Colin Harvey, David Shook, Ed Caesar, Guy Garvey, Hugh Stoddart, Mandy Coe, Paul Dowswell, Ra Page, Rachel Mann, Sherry Ashworth, Shirley May, Stephen Raw, Steve Dearden, and Zahid Hussain.

Career Prospects

The Manchester Writing School is one 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.

Entry Requirements

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 prose writing routes (Novel, Childrens/YA, Place) should submit a 2,000-word extract from a novel or short story; poetry applicants should submit up to 15 poems. The book review should be up to 500 words long, focus on contemporary literature, and show evidence of close reading, explaining what it is about the book 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 Place). Your reference can be from anyone of professional standing (e.g. 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.

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.

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Last updated November 16, 2018
This course is Online, Campus based
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Sep 2019
1 - 2 years
2,584 GBP
per year Non-EU and Channel Island students | UK and EU students: £1,417 per year
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