The MA in Creative Writing is an exciting new programme at Durham University. Taught by award-winning writers Dr Paul Batchelor and Dr Vidyan Ravinthiran, this is an academically rigorous programme that will develop students’ practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction. Students will receive structured support through writing workshops and one-to-one tutorials in order to develop their own ideas. Students will also study a broad range of literature from the 20th and 21st centuries, and produce new work in response.
Creative Writing Poetry OR Creative Writing Prose Fiction
Each student will take one of these writing-workshop modules. In these modules students will write longer pieces within their chosen literary discipline, sharing their work and giving and receiving feedback and suggestions from the module convenor and the other students. There are few if any writing exercises. Each student can expect to have their work scrutinised closely in a workshop setting several times. These modules are assessed via a portfolio of ten pages of poetry plus 2,000-word self-critique, OR a 6,000-word portfolio of prose fiction plus 2,000-word self-critique.
Reading as a Writer
This seminar module brings poets and prose writers together, and (unlike any of the other core modules for Creative Writing) is also open to English Studies students. Each week we discuss some key poetry and prose from across the twentieth century, focusing on the technical innovations introduced by the writers studied, and the ways in which writers learn from one another, both within their medium and beyond it. The module combines breadth and depth of coverage, offering students an advanced understanding of a range of writers, schools, and styles in order to broaden their research interests, and help them to identify and research a topic of their own choosing with guidance from a subject specialist in the extended essay part of the Research Project. It is assessed via two 3,000-word essays.
Reading as a Writer: the Workshop
This is very much a companion module to Reading as a Writer, and is a writing-workshop module focusing on short, directed writing assignments and their discussion. The focus will be on formal and technical experiments, stretching students’ technical facility via assignments inspired by the texts studied on Reading as a Writer. Prose writers and poetry students will once again work side by side, sharing work and ideas, learning to appreciate literary conventions and their subversion. Each student can expect to have their work work shopped several times, though these engagements will not be as formal or thorough as those in Creative Writing Prose Fiction or Creative Writing Poetry. Assignments might include adapting syntactical techniques; investigative creative non-fiction; experimenting with poetic forms; creative translation; writing an opening paragraph; or trying out editing methods. It is assessed via a portfolio of EITHER ten pages of poetry OR 6,000 words of prose fiction, plus 2,000-word self-critique.
The Research Project provides students with the opportunity to produce a 6-8,000-word extended critical essay on a subject of their choosing. Students choose their own extended essay titles, with guidance from the module convenor and subject to the approval of the English Studies Board of Examiners. Focusing on depth rather than breadth, the essay is independently researched and builds on the work covered in the taught elements of the programme. Students will be expected to choose a research topic with particular bearing on their own creative practice, and to reflect on how their critical and creative work have informed one another, either in the main body of the essay, the introduction, or chapter dedicated to integrative reflection. Students may wish to refer to specific aspects of their own writing when writing this part of the essay. The Research Project also provides the opportunity for students to to produce a final portfolio of creative work: poets will be asked to produce ten pages of poetry; prose writers produce 6-8,000 words of fiction. The portfolio will consist of new work, produced after the completion of the structured workshop-oriented modules. The module is assessed via an extended essay of 6,000-8,000 words and a creative writing portfolio of EITHER ten pages of poetry OR 6,000-8,000 words of prose fiction.
Creative Writing students would take one module of their own choosing, either from the English Studies MA modules or taking this new optional module:
The Word in the World
This module focuses on the ways in which the students’ writing can be made available to the public. It would take the form of a series of lectures and seminars covering topics such as: how writers make a living; the possibilities and challenges presented by collaborating with other artists; how to adjust teaching methods according to the setting and audience; how to write a pitch letter; how to get a literary agent; submitting work to poetry journals; how to make the most of web resources; how to communicate with an editor; book design, blurbs, jackets; writing copy; formats; sales and distribution channels; publicity and promotion; book reviewing, etc. This part of the module will be taught both in-house at Durham and via visiting speakers such as editors, industry experts. Students would also be invited to either collaborate with a student in another medium (most likely music or the visual arts) or go on a teaching or literary-industry placement that would take place in July. This module is assessed via one 3,000-word essay and one 3,000-word report on the industry placement, teaching placement, or collaborative project.
Creative writers express thoughts, feelings and emotions through words and have the ability to inform, provoke, captivate, inspire and move. You approach creative writing from a variety of perspectives – including fiction, poetry, screenwriting and drama – to explore how writers operate and how you can become an independent writer.
Drawing on our pool of talented, published writers and academics, you accumulate credit towards your chosen award at your own pace. This highly successful course also offers the chance to learn how to teach creative writing in schools or in the community.You may also be interested in our MA Creative Writing (Distance Learning)
One core module lays the foundation for skills and techniques in creative writing, while another addresses writing for career development. Option modules make use of imaginative writing, creative visualisation and commentary elements to cover such topics as writing novels and short stories, working with poetry and lyrics, producing copy for drama and performance, scriptwriting for film and screen, and teaching creative writing. Some modules involve traditional seminars and workshops, but many incorporate a negotiated learning element.
and three optional modules from a range including
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
You typically write in a workshop-based environment, with access to the Writer’s Lounge and the resources housed within the Creative Writing Centre. Learning is largely portfolio driven, with twice-weekly timetabled groups and tutorials to support the learning process. As an enterprising, self-motivated student you work both independently and collaboratively with your peers using the extensive resources and facilities available to you. You are encouraged to reflect upon your own learning in the context of career development and the opportunities open to you.
How you are assessed
Your achievement is assessed mainly through project and portfolio work, including evidence of the research and development process as well as the production and presentation of draft work and peer assessment. Other assessment methods include written reports, presentations, oral performances and reflective commentaries.
Typically graduates go on to roles in freelance writing, teaching, publishing, arts and humanities, media, performance and/or the creative industries.
The MA Creative Writing is an intensive course which treats your ambition as a writer seriously. Our students come from a range of backgrounds including the arts, teaching, law, journalism, history and writing. The course is for anyone with an interest in or ambition towards writing.
Some of our most successful students include best-selling author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Marina Lewycka, T.S. Eliot short-listed poet Frances Leviston and Radio 4 and BBC TV script writer Sharon Oakes.
Our internationally-acclaimed team of published writers teach in all areas of contemporary literary practice. They include
The E.A Markham Award
The E.A Markham Award means that one student each year will study the course for free. The award covers the full-time study fees and is awarded solely on merit and potential. It is offered in memory of Professor E.A Markham, a respected tutor here who worked to shape the development of this course.
Download the E.A Markham award guidance for more information.
Short course – single modules
If you are not able to commit to the whole course, you can apply to take a single module. Choose a genre from the optional modules listed in the course content and apply as normal. Your portfolio needs to include examples of writing in your chosen genre. The credit you gain for completing one module will count towards the full MA should you choose to pursue this at a later date.
Publications and prizes
The Ictus Prize in Poetry is awarded to the best poetry collection – this consists of a small pamphlet publication. Every year, we publish Matter, a stylish anthology, edited and designed by students, and sold and promoted in bookshops. If you would like to receive a sample copy of this, email the course leader [email protected]
Submission of written work to specified word lengths with accompanying critical commentaries.
By enhancing your skills in writing, literary revision and reflection, you are preparing for a number of roles where knowledge of writing and the processes of writing are important such as
It is suggested that everybody has a book within them based on the vast experiences we gain in life. If you are constantly writing or you want the world to know about something, you are a natural poet, novel writer, adventurer or more this programme could be just what you need to give you the confidence and knowledge to go ahead with your career.
Have you ever dreamed about becoming a writer in any capacity? If the answer is yes you have a great opportunity to consolidate and expand your creative writing style at University of Aberdeen. You are guided by professional writers. The world of writing is changing rapidly to allow you to self publish electronically online where you may be picked up by an agent, you can write freelance for any number of magazines, newspapers online and offline or you may decide to write and publish on the internet to improve your own marketing within your chosen area of creativity. You need to get your work visible and there are now many ways to do this.
The MLitt in Creative Writing is a taught postgraduate programme designed to offer you the opportunity to develop your creativity and literary skills in a highly supportive, constructive learning environment. You prepare for the processes and challenges involved in publishing creative written work, whether poetry or prose. There are plenty of courses in which to find your inspiration such as narrative, prose, the role of literature, Irish and Scottish Women's fiction, study of language, Walter Scott, Visual Culture and more.
Many writers continuously perfect their craft whilst honing their skills in areas such as writing for magazines, creating press articles and discussion, developing PR, copy writing to sell wide ranging products and services. This in turn allows a greater range of writing opportunities whilst they feed their creativity and ability towards what they really want to do in this creative industry. You can start your portfolio and knowledge from day one, and after this your determination to succeed will allow you to work in this highly creative industry.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
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Find out more about living in Aberdeen
This course offers graduates from all disciplines the opportunity to gain the professional qualification they need to pursue a career in the news industry.
You develop skills in research and writing as well as engaging with contemporary debates around the news and media industries. Accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, this programme incorporates the professional qualifications required to work as a newspaper journalist in the UK.Working with an academic team that includes professional journalists who have worked for some of the biggest news organisations in the world (BBC, Independent newspaper, News Corporation, Mirror Group Newspapers), it teams the National Council for the Training of Journalist pre-entry qualification with academic study examining the news and communications industries. The course is primarily taught in Teesside's purpose built newsrooms, working in live journalism environments. Students are offered the opportunity to specialise in web based, print, radio and television formats
Journalism Diversity Fund
The NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund is aimed at students from diverse backgrounds who need help funding their journalism training. You can apply for a bursary if you are from a socially or ethnically diverse background but have no financial means to support yourself on an NCTJ-accredited course. You must be able to demonstrate a genuine commitment to becoming a successful journalist and have secured a place on our MA Journalism. Full eligibility criteria apply. Find out more.
This degree is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
You learn news values, news story construction, news writing, and how to make audio and video for websites, as well as studying relevant aspects of law and public administration, and gaining competence in shorthand. You engage in reflective practice which will inform your future personal and professional development as a journalist. For your final degree project you undertake a self-conceived piece of independent research and produce an extended essay under the guidance of a nominated supervisor. The dissertation is designed to give you the opportunity to pursue an aspect of a field of journalism and the news industries which you find particularly interesting, and to develop a more specialised understanding of it.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
You approach the discipline of journalism from both a practical, professional perspective and a critical, analytical point of view. The programme develops reflective practitioners with sophisticated transferable skills, and the ability to take responsibility for their own future learning and development. You are therefore expected to read, research and produce media products, such as online stories, video and audio, in your own time. In taught sessions you experience a range of learning and teaching strategies to help you form both a theoretical and a practical understanding of the field of journalism. Your understanding of the subject is developed through workshops, seminars, group work and by producing content for our Tside website. You also get the opportunity to contribute to professional news publications and organisations through a work placement of your choice.
How you are assessed
You are assessed on a portfolio of practical journalism across a range of media platforms, essay assignments and examinations.
A qualification and experience in journalism opens up a vast range of opportunities in all areas of the news and media industries, as well as associated disciplines such as public relations and copy writing.
Graduates have forged successful careers in Sky, the local and national press and BBC Radio.