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Creative Writing (MA)

Course Description

Have you been writing creatively for a while and feel the need for some professional support? Do you wish to be read by like-minded people? Do you sense that you can write but struggle with the mechanics of form and structure? Do you harbour a desire to see how far your writing can get you? Do you dream of being a published author?

For 13 years, our MA Creative Writing has been enabling students to achieve some, if not all, of these goals. In 2016 alone, 11 of our graduates published novels with major publishing houses (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english/news/creative-writing-alumni-success).

The course is taught through small, dynamic seminars and one-to-one tuition. We offer modules in fiction writing and options in playwriting, poetry, screenwriting and creative non-fiction.

All teaching is done by regularly published and produced award-winning writers, who will help you strengthen and professionalise your identity as a writer. Students have opportunities to interact with publishers and agents to broaden their understanding of the market and will be eligible to submit work for publication in the annual Birkbeck Creative Writing journal, The Mechanics' Institute Review and MIROnline.

To find out more, read our programme handbook (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english/current-students/postgraduate/).

You will taught by successful, published authors and practitioners, including:

- Julia Bell
- David Eldridge
- Richard Hamblyn
- Russell Celyn Jones
- Toby Litt
- Luke Williams
- Benjamin Wood
- Jonathan Kemp.

Visit the website http://www.bbk.ac.uk/study/2016/postgraduate/programmes/TMACWRIT_C/

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/news/ref-results/), which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Read about Birkbeck research that enriches our experience and understanding of our shared history, culture and art (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/arts/research).

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.

- Aims to develop the craft of fiction at a professional level and includes practical courses on publishing, producing and editing creative work.

- In addition to working with the established writers who teach the degree, you will have contact with industry professionals, such as publishers and literary agents, who offer a series of platform discussions in the summer term.

- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.

- Our Department of English and Humanities (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english) is a lively centre of world-class research and teaching.

- We offer a range of world-class research resources (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english/study-here/world-class-research-resources).

- Our annual creative writing magazine, The Mechanics' Institute Review, is edited by Birkbeck MA Creative Writing students and features writing from the course as a showcase for the degree, with wide distribution beyond Birkbeck to literary agents, publishers, etc.

- Read an account of how our students created the most recent issue of The Mechanics' Institute Review (http://blogs.bbk.ac.uk/george/2014/10/07/editing-the-mechanics-institute-review-11/).

- MIROnline is an interactive website, edited by PhD students and volunteers, with all the latest news and writing from this programme and beyond.

- Find out more about our range of world-class research resources (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english/our-research).

- Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/mybirkbeck/get-ahead-stay-ahead/student-experience-videos).

Teaching and assessment

- Teaching
Teaching is seminar-based. Each session is generally 2 hours, and there are further regular one-to-one tutorials throughout the year.

- Assessment
4 short creative pieces with critical essays (50%). A dissertation (15,000 words) in one of the following genres: a novella, novel or collection of short stories, with a preface of 3000 words (50%).

Careers and employability

Birkbeck Creative Writing graduates include:

Sally Hinchcliffe
Niki Aguirre
Heidi James
Matthew Loukes
Iphgenia Baal
Nii Parkes
Emma Henderson
Liz Fremantle
Anna Hope
Karin Salvalaggio
Olya Knezevic
Phoebe Blatton
Melissa De Villiers
Nik Korpon
Louise Lee
Tray Butler
Helen Pike
David Savill
Laura Allsop
Sarah Alexander
Nadim Safdar
A. J. Grainger
Julia Gray
Nicole Burstein
Jules Grant
Amy Bird
Stefanie Seddon
Fiona Melrose.

Graduates go in to careers in editing, teaching, and writing professionally. Possible professions include creative writer, magazine or newspaper journalist, or editorial assistant. This degree can also be useful in becoming an academic librarian, English as a second language (ESOL) teacher, or information officer.

Find out more about these professions (http://www.prospects.ac.uk/options_with_your_subject.htm).

Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/prospective/careers-and-employability/department-of-english-and-humanities).

We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bbk.ac.uk/prospective/postgraduate/apply

Visit the Creative Writing (MA) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Kavita Jindal

4118.jpg 'I had always written, both in my free time and as part of my PR jobs, but I decided to deepen my knowledge and take an MA in Creative Writing. I wanted to study a subject that fitted into what I was already doing.

'One of the main reasons I chose Birkbeck was because of its central London location; I knew there would be a range of students from different backgrounds, which is very stimulating for a writer.

'I'm now continuing to work on the novel I started at Birkbeck, and I'm also completing a new collection of poems. The course improved what I would call my "technical" skills, and provided opportunities for my work to be published and released by podcast.'


Sophie Warne Fellowships - Single Award

One fee remission award of £3500 for an outstanding student admitted onto the MA Creative Writing.

Value of Scholarship(s)



An outstanding student admitted onto the MA Creative Writing.

Application Procedure

2000 word writing sample.

Further Information



Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (this requirement may be waived if you can demonstrate exceptional talent). A portfolio of writing of around 5000 words and a personal statement (to be submitted with your application form). Students are selected on the basis of their portfolio and statement, an interview (selected candidates only) and their degree. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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