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Professional Writing (MA)

Course Description

On this commercially focused course you'll develop the core skills you need to write flexibly and effectively.

Whether it's fiction, non-fiction, marketing copy, magazine features or screenplays, you'll learn how to tailor your work to competitive and fast-moving markets, developing a high-quality portfolio along with the confidence and professionalism you need to forge a successful career.

The course is taught entirely by practising writers and editors, and you'll also benefit from Falmouth's outstanding connections across the writing and publishing sector, with opportunities to learn from many leading writers and publishing industry insiders. Through a wide range of projects, live briefs and assignments, you'll discover your strengths as a writer, explore media and audience, and learn how to develop and pitch your ideas – all setting you up to excel as a professional writer.

The MA has a strong reputation for giving talented writers the skills needed to build a viable career. That's because we recognise that only by working to exacting, real-world standards can you rise to the tough demands of life as a writer.

You'll be immersed in the world of writing from the outset, learning how to create compelling narratives and voices before going on to apply these techniques to the specialist areas of your choice. You'll gain in-depth understanding of the content industry, and of how to raise your own professional profile within it. You'll be part of a lively and supportive community of fellow writers.

On graduation you'll be primed to tackle the writing industry head on – with a portfolio and accomplished working style ready to impress potential employers and meet any writing challenge.

Visit the website https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/professionalwriting

Building professional experience

From day one, you'll be supported in shaping your work for publication. Many students succeed in placing work in both local and national publications while still on the course.

During the second half of the MA, you'll be encouraged to identify and undertake writing-related work experience that can feed into your industry-focused research project.

In previous years, students have secured placements with many leading publishers, media organisations, copywriting agencies, magazines and newspapers, often leading to ongoing work after graduation.

How the course is taught

The MA is structured around a mix of seminars, lectures, real-world briefs and practical workshops, along with your own self-managed work. You'll work individually and in teams, collaborating with other media professionals and developing your own projects and business ideas. Critiquing will form a valuable part of your learning experience.

As successful practising writers themselves, your tutors will expect you to take a disciplined and professional approach to your work.

Course outline

The full-time MA course runs over 45 weeks. If you're interested in developing an MA project related to your job, this may well be possible.

Enhanced learning opportunities

We are delighted to host the Writers in Residence programme. Matt Haig is Writer in Residence in 2015 whilst Lionel Shriver joined us in 2014 and Owen Sheers, poet and playwright, was here in 2013. Philip Marsden, novelist and non fiction writer launched the scheme in 2012.

Students have the opportunity to attend the London Book Fair and Port Eliot Festival.

The course is delivered across three study blocks:

- Study Blocks 1 & 2

You'll start by developing your core writing skills across a range of formats, then choose two specialist options from a selection that includes Fiction, Non-fiction, Scriptwriting, and Business & Editorial Writing – building a portfolio that showcases your abilities.

To help guide your choice of specialism, you'll take a module that looks at how writers work in different areas of the content industry. You'll also learn how to use the web and social media to build a profile as a writer.

After completing your specialist options, you'll take a module in research skills. As part of this, you'll carry out industry-focused research and develop a proposal for a longer creative project – your MA project.

- Study Block 3

In the final part of the course, you'll work independently on this project, supported by a specialist tutor. To accompany your project, you'll write a contextual essay focusing on an aspect of your writing practice.


- Our library offers access to a wide range of online resources
- Our Media Centre has industry-standard audio/video recording and editing equipment
- Course-specific Virtual Learning Environment


- Formal assessment and feedback at the end of each module
- Final assessment is largely based on your extended creative project, which is accompanied by a contextual essay


Our graduates have forged careers across the publishing and content industry. Potential careers include:

- Full-time author
- Entertainment blogger
- App content creator
- Freelance journalist
- Website editor
- Business writer
- Script editor
- Press officer
- Playwright

Interview and selection process

When you apply, we will ask you to send us a sample of your work along with your application. This could be an unpublished (or published) short story, screenplay, report, journalistic feature, novel extract or anything else that demonstrates your aptitude for writing. If the course team feels you have potential, we'll invite you to interview. We value meeting you in person but Skype interviews can be arranged if this isn't possible.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/apply

Visit the Professional Writing (MA) page on the Falmouth University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sarah Oliver

A graduate of Falmouth’s MA Professional Writing degree, Sarah is now a film and entertainment journalist with four published books already to her name.

“I’d just finished an English degree at Manchester Metropolitan University and wanted to do a Masters. I’d recently won a scriptwriting award in my local area and it had made me want to become a scriptwriter. After
pondering about becoming a primary school teacher, I decided that I wanted to try and become a writer first.

The course at Falmouth was all about making a living from writing. There was scriptwriting, writing for business, writing novels/creative non-fiction, writing features... It’s the only course of its kind in the country and I was on cloud nine when I was told that I’d got in.

From day one the course encourages you to be professional. Meeting deadlines is so important on the course
and this is what I’ve carried forward. I always try to finish my books a week or two before the deadline now.

Four months after graduating I was appointed editorial assistant of a celebrity news website. I was told that it was my Masters that got me the job. Less than a year later I was promoted to editor and now I go to all the latest film premieres and press conferences. It’s unbelievable and all down to the course.

I decided to write a biography of Twilight star Robert Pattinson. Christina, the course leader, helped me
secure an agent and within a month I had a book deal. The last six months have flown by and I’ve written four
books, which are about to come out in America. I love the buzz of walking into Waterstones or Asda and seeing
my books on the shelves.

I can’t stress enough how the course has changed my life. I’m a journalist and an author now and that’s all I ever really wanted to be. My MA course was the best investment I’ve ever made, and I’ll be forever telling people who want to write to apply for the course.”

(Student Profile)

Frances Valente

“My two years spent with Falmouth have been very useful. I’ve already recouped
my fees on earnings from writing, which
I never really expected when I set out to
do the course. I still have my day job in an engineering company, but my writing ‘hobby’ is now profitable and more successful than I could ever have imagined.”

Frances Valente, who completed the MA Professional Writing as a part-time student from her home in the Shetland Islands. Her first novel, Dancing with the Ferryman, was published in 2011 and rose to #9 in Amazon’s list of bestselling women’s fiction on Kindle.

(Student Profile)

Patrick Gale

Falmouth's MA Professional Writing has a unique focus on the more practical aspects of making a career as a writer.

Patrick Gale
Author of Notes from an Exhibition and other bestselling novels

(Student Profile)

Gareth May

Without the Professional Writing MA, I wouldn't be where I am today. The tutors steered me towards working in non-fiction and within two years of leaving I was offered a book deal with Random House. My second book was published this year.

Gareth May
MA Professional Writing graduate

(Student Profile)

Frea Lockley

When you're in a demanding job it's easy to get stuck in the day-to-day grind, to the extent that you forget what's really important to you. For me, taking the course was a way of gaining the confidence as a writer that I'd always lacked. It was an amazingly stimulating year, and signing a book contract made it seem all the more worthwhile.

Frea Lockley
MA Professional Writing graduate

(Student Profile)

Judy Heminsley

Not only did the course refine my writing skills, it also gave me an in-depth knowledge of how publishing works and what publishers are looking for. I learnt how to put together a professional book proposal that won me a contract within months of completing the MA.

Judy Heminsley
MA Professional Writing graduate

(Student Profile)

Patrick Evans

The course gave me confidence that I was justified in pursuing my ambitions as a writer. We were all encouraged to get ourselves published and to target publications we were interested in writing for. I asked to do a small internship at a literary journal, they published my first article, and it all progressed from there.

Patrick Evans
MA Professional Writing graduate and journalist/documentary film-maker

(Student Profile)

Gordon O'Sullivan

I was working full-time and wanted to do something online. When I looked at all the options, Falmouth seemed to be the best overall. They had the best quality tutors and the most inclusive virtual learning environment. The professional practice elements were very good and the big thing at Falmouth was that it was always looking at the profession.

Gordon O'Sullivan
MA Professional Writing graduate


Falmouth Global, Vice-Chancellor's scholarship - Single Award

This £15,000 scholarship is open to all students on all courses, including undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation. To apply, please complete the application form below. To be selected you will be assessed on your scholarship application statement of 500 words that should explain how you hope to use your study at Falmouth to influence your work, practice and future ambitions.

Value of Scholarship(s)



• Be liable to pay tuition fees at the international (non EU) rate
• Have submitted a course application to Falmouth University for entry starting academic year 2016-17

Application Procedure

• Please complete the application form
• Return your completed application form to Falmouth University (along with your course application if not already submitted)
• Scholarship forms can be emailed to [email protected]
• The deadline for applications is 27 May 2016

Further Information



International scholarships - Single Award

These £5,000 scholarships are awarded to each of our academic departments. They are open to all students on undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation courses who will be studying within these departments. To apply, please complete the application form below. The 500-word application statement allows you to explain how you hope to use your study at Falmouth to influence your work, practice and future ambitions.

Value of Scholarship(s)



• Be liable to pay tuition fees at the international (non EU) rate
• Have submitted a course application to Falmouth University for entry starting academic year 2016-17

Application Procedure

• Please complete the application form
• Return your completed application form to Falmouth University (along with your course application if not already submitted)
• Scolarship forms can be emailed to [email protected]
• The deadline for applications is 27 May 2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Relevant equivalent Level 6 qualifications, or relevant equivalent experience, and a demonstrable interest in their subject. We also welcome applications from prospective students who do not necessarily hold conventional higher education entry qualifications. This process is called Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Prior learning includes both formal or 'certified' learning (such as training courses not run by universities or colleges) and informal or 'experiential' learning (gained as a result of work experience or self-study). This experience should be current (gained within the last five years) and should be equivalent to the learning outcomes of our minimum entry qualifications.

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