If you want to become a produced or published writer, or to develop your writing skills, this programme will give you the chance to be tutored by leading and established writers in a supportive and creative environment.
The emphasis is on different forms of scriptwriting - playwriting, screenwriting, dramatic writing, writing for film and television, and writing for radio – but you can also develop imaginative writing in other forms, especially prose fiction. Specialist pathways in screenwriting or writing for theatre are open to you.
Whether you’re an aspiring writer, a teacher or simply want to learn more about the writer’s craft, you’ll be working in an environment dedicated to developing new and emerging talent. Our students come from all over the world, and we have a powerful record for developing successful writers and creative leaders. Through our partnership with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the course is linked to the Playhouse’s own new writing schemes.
Our tutors are professional dramatists and leading researchers with a wide range of expertise. The Programme Director for the MA is the award-winning playwright, screenwriter and producer Garry Lyons, who established the degree in 2006.
Find out more about Garry Lyons
You’ll be based in our landmark building [email protected], with two professional-standard and publicly licensed theatres that regularly host works by students and visiting theatre companies. You’ll be encouraged to use these facilities to try your work out in workshops, rehearsed readings or full productions, and gain experience of practical drama-making.
The programme also benefits from our close links with external organisations. As well as our partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse, we work with the BBC’s new talent unit, Writers’ Room. Other partners include Opera North, ITV, Screen Yorkshire, the National Media Museum, Creative England, Red Ladder Theatre Company, True North Productions, Chapel FM Radio, Valley Press and many more.
A core module will introduce you to creative writing research, including the potential of practice-led research. This will help to equip you for the rest of the programme, giving you the tools to reflect analytically on your writing and compare it with existing writing of a similar genre or style.
In Semester 1 you’ll spend time in intensive workshops refining your own short pieces of narrative writing, exploring the principles of storytelling and more experimental approaches. You'll work in a range of forms - from theatre and radio to screenplays and prose - preparing you to specialise as you progress through the degree.
Options in Semester 2 allow you to focus on film and television writing or work on an original project of your own – individually, in collaboration with students from across the School, or based on a two-week placement with an external organisation.
All of this work will culminate with your major project, which you’ll submit by the end of the programme – this could be an extended piece of creative writing, a conventional dissertation, or performance-led research.
Working with West Yorkshire Playhouse
The MA is partnered with West Yorkshire Playhouse, one of the UK’s leading theatres outside London. This links us to the the Playhouse’s new writing schemes. Directors and associate artists from the Playhouse regularly run workshops and masterclasses for us, and we collaborate with the theatre on joint projects such as new writing events and festivals. The Playhouse occasionally offers work experience opportunities for our students to apply for.
Our tutors are professional dramatists and academic specialists in a range of genres, with experience of dealing with theatres, agents, production companies, editors and publishers. We also invite guest speakers from the worlds of theatre, broadcasting, film and publishing to share their insights into the creative industries.
You’ll be taught using a range of methods including lectures, seminars and tutorials as well as practical sessions and workshops. Independent study is also a vital component of this degree, allowing you to conduct your own research and develop your own ideas.
You’ll be assessed mostly on the basis of your creative writing, including theatre, screen and radio scripts and short prose stories you’ll develop in your modules. To encourage you to reflect on your practice, you’ll also write commentaries on your own work. Core modules may also use assessment methods such as essays and presentations to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge.
Many students will want to pursue a career as a professional writer. Although this is a fiercely competitive field, this degree is designed to try to help you realise your ambitions. Alternatively, you could use your additional experience and qualification to progress in your current career or pursue a related path within the creative arts.
You’ll also be well equipped for a future in education, arts administration, script editing, literary management, broadcasting, journalism, advertising, the media, publishing, literary agencies, marketing, PT and many other areas.
The programme has established a powerful record for developing successful writers and creative leaders, from playwrights and television writers to novelists, directors and lecturers.
Taught at our Parkgate Road Campus in Chester, our MA is a stimulating and rewarding course designed to help you develop the craft of excellent writing, enable you to produce original fiction, and equip you with the knowledge to get it published.
The next intake for this course is October 2018.
This distinctive course comprises four modules – Writing Short Fiction for Publication, Writing Novels for Publication, Getting Published, and The Writing Project – which are taught by a team of published writers, scholars, and editors. Their publications include: flash fiction; novels; prose-poetry and short-story anthologies and collections; articles and essays; interviews; student textbooks; and writers’ guides. Two of the teaching team edit Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, which has published stories by students on the MA.
The Parkgate Road Campus library is well stocked with creative writing textbooks and houses the Flash Fiction Special Collection, the world’s largest archive of flash-related books and magazines.
You will study and try your hand at writing flash fiction, short stories, novellas, and novels. Getting Published looks at the world of fiction publishing. For The Writing Project, you will be able to write a collection of flashes and/or short stories, a novella, or a novel.
Typically, Writing Short Fiction for Publication and Writing Novels for Publication are taught by nine weekly two-hour seminars and two-hour workshops; and Getting Published is taught by five weekly two-hour seminars and two-hour workshops. One-to-one tutorials are also available. For The Writing Project (the final module), you will work one-to-one with a supervisor.
The total workload, including reading, preparation, seminars, workshops, tutorials, research, and writing, is approximately 37.5 hours per week.
Modules are assessed by coursework, including essays, a journal, creative pieces, and a 16,000-word writing project. There are no formal exams.
If you are interested in this courses we have a number of opportunities to visit us and our campuses. To find out more about these options and to book a visit, please go to: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-visit-opportunities
If you would like to know more about the University please request a prospectus at: http://prospectus.chester.ac.uk/form.php