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Course content

This programme enables you to engage in both creative and critical writing while focusing on the larger critical question of identity. You'll be able to develop a theoretically informed understanding of the relationship between writing and the self while exploring a range of literary genres as a critical reader and as a practitioner. You will study a wide variety of genres, such as memoir and autobiography, lyric poetry, prose fiction, and drama.

You’ll develop your knowledge of research methods in critical and creative studies and choose from a range of options to explore genres that suit your own interests.

With the support of active researchers, publishers and writers you'll have access to wide-ranging research resources in our library as well as workshop opportunities to develop expertise in a range of different kinds of writing skills which will be valuable not just in the creative sphere, but in a variety of careers.

You’ll learn in a stimulating environment with access to excellent resources for your research. The world-class Brotherton Library has extensive holdings to support both critical and creative writing. Our Special Collections are full of archive and manuscript material, including the extensive archives of contemporary poets, including Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill, and Simon Armitage. The University Library offers full training to help you make the most of them, equipping you with valuable skills in the process. The School of English also hosts readings and workshops by contemporary writers, including the [email protected] series of readings run by the Poetry Centre; and there are creative writers on its staff, including the Douglas Caster Poetry Fellow.

This degree is also available to study part-time over 24 months.

Course content

Two core modules in your first semester will develop your understanding of research methods in the study of English, build your research skills and provide an introduction to critical and creative writing practices. In the following semester, you’ll choose at least one of the optional modules related to critical and/or creative writing, with the option to choose one final module from the full range of English modules or from outside the School of English.

Throughout the programme, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the complex relationships between writing and identity through critical and theoretical reflection while also working as a writer within your chosen genres. You'll also have the opportunity of specializing in either critical or creative work in your research project, though you may continue to combine the two sides of the programme if you wish. If you choose to focus on the creative side, this will entail a critical reflection on your own work to accompany the portfolio.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll take fewer modules in each year and study over a longer period.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Studying English: Research Methods 30 credits
  • Research Project 60 credits
  • Writing Identities: Criticism, Creativity, Practice 30 credits

Optional modules

  • So Where do you come from? Selves, Families, Stories 30 credits
  • Feeling Time 30 credits
  • The Magic of Mimesis 30 credits
  • War, Mourning and Memory: 1914-1939 30 credits
  • Literature and the Politics of Language 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Writing Identities: Critical and Creative Practices MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Writing Identities: Critical and Creative Practices MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll generally have two-hour weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks by visiting speakers that we arrange throughout the year. You’ll also have a series of foundational workshops in the first semester to develop your creative writing skills. Further workshops will feature depending on your option module choices in semester 2 and you will benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with an allocated dissertation supervisor.

Independent study is a vital part of the degree as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas.

Assessment

Most of our modules are assessed by a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you submit at the end of the semester in which you studied the module. You may also be expected to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work, or give presentations in your seminars. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.

Career opportunities

This programme will equip you with advanced transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.

You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You’ll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you’ll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you’ll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.

All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll be well equipped to pursue a career in a wide range of fields depending on your interests. These could include teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be in a good position to develop a career in academia.

Careers support

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


Visit the Creative Writing and Critical Life MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

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