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MA Creative Writing

Course Description

Why take this course?

This course encourages a lively environment where as a budding writer you can experiment, be imaginative and ambitious, as well as critically reflect on your practice.

You will have the opportunity to write literary novels, historical fiction, crime, science fiction, children’s stories, as well as screenwriting or short fiction – we encourage and respect all genres.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Be taught by lecturers with professional experience, many of whom are established practising writers
Complete a major project in the form of your own novel, screenplay or poem and learn about the market and current debates within differing genres in the process
Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources, which can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection

What opportunities might it lead to?

We continuously encourage you to seize as many opportunities as possible to make your writing visible to publishers and the public. Strengthening your creative writing skills on this course can lead to a variety of different creative career paths from roles in publishing to writing children’s books.

Alternatively, many of our graduates find roles within a variety of media industries and a number of them have gone on to study for PhDs or teaching qualifications.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:


Module Details

The course consists of units focusing on creative practice, academic contexts and critical understanding. For the final stage of the course you will write a creative dissertation which can take the form of a novel (or portion thereof – 30,000 to 40,000 words in length), a collection of prose, poetry or a screenplay.

Here are the units you will study:

Writer's Workshop – Exploration: In this unit, you will be encouraged to experiment in differing genres to build confidence in writing and research.

Writer's Workshop – Resolution: During the course of this unit, you will research your chosen genre or idea and write a proposal and first chapters for the major project (dissertation). Your research and writing practice will be led by reading, discussion, debate and some substantial formative work that will eventually lead to the written proposal and/or opening chapters of a novel or pages of a screenplay or poetry.

Critical Reading for Creative Writers: This is an essay-based unit, in which you will explore critical approaches to the written word with oral presentations and researched essays.

Critical Thinking for Creative Writers: This unit allows you to approach a critical theory by relating it to your own creative writing, with reference to your major creative project. This unit is also essay-based.

The Final Project – The Creative Writing Dissertation: This unit will allow you to complete a major work in any genre (prose, poetry or screenplay) of up to 30,000 words (or equivalent). You will receive guidance and support from tutors throughout this unit of study.

Programme Assessment

Your learning will primarily be via workshop-based sessions where you will explore and develop your own writing as well as constructively contribute to the work of other writers around you. We aim to create a friendly atmosphere in which you will receive feedback to continually help evolve your creative writing style.

Your progress will be assessed by regularly submitted work and a final creative writing project in the form of a literary form or genre of your choice and geared to a specific market.

Student Destinations

You are encouraged to attend and read at ‘open mic’ sessions to develop performance skills. Previous students have found this invaluable not only when reading their own work aloud but also in professional practice. You are also encouraged to build a portfolio of work to show publishers and exhibit your work in other ways through creative blogs, or by submitting your work to online magazines and competitions.

On graduating, many of our students are equipped with the skills and confidence to continue to write and publish after the course has ended. This MA in Creative Writing can lead to a range of employment opportunities in publishing, editing, journalism and education.

Visit the MA Creative Writing page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Xara Higgs

189.jpg Xara Higgs, fits in an MA in Creative Writing around working full time for a post-production film company. She is hoping to pursue a career as a scriptwriter.
My ultimate ambition is to write a screenplay for an independent British film. I'd also like to write a sit-com but doing anything where I'm involved with scriptwriting would be fantastic.
After doing A levels I wasn't interested in going to university at all, so I surprised even myself by doing a Masters degree. I was 21 when I decided to improve my career prospects and did my first degree in Media Studies. After that I knew I wanted to write, so the MA in Creative Writing was perfect for me. It allowed me to explore all writing possibilities and I could fit it in with my job working for a film company up in London.
It really was the best decision I ever made. The creative industries can be difficult to get a foot in the door and the MA has opened up a lot moreopportunities for me.
On the course we studied both theoretical and technical aspects of writing. We also undertook a personal project and I went to the Caribbean to make a documentary about a performance artist. I had to create the order of narrative, write a script and even arrange the crew for the film which was all great experience.
Writing my dissertation taught me a lot about the discipline of writing, but you get more out of a Masters than just what you learn from the course. Doing the MA has allowed me to specialise in what I'm really interested in doing and hopefully help me fulfil my potential.


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject. Equivalent qualifications and/or notable experience as a creative writer will also be considered. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Last Updated

14 November 2016

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