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MSt in Creative Writing

Course Description

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Creative Writing is designed for those who wish to develop high-level skills in creative writing both in fiction and non-fiction literatures. The MSt is taught over two years in short, intensive study blocks. It has been designed to be accessible to those in full- or part-time employment and to international students.

You will be guided in the production of creative work in a range of genres and styles, and also in critical reflection on your own work and that of other writers. The course tutors and guest speakers are all established literary professionals.

See the website http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-creative-writing

Who is the course designed for?

The MSt aims to facilitate students' creative practice, whether for their own personal creative development as writers or because their professional work impinges on these areas.

Examples could include teachers of English at secondary level for whom the teaching of creative writing is increasingly necessary for GCSE and A-level English Language and English Literature. It is also designed to be of professional value to those working in areas such as journalism, broadcasting, publishing and editing.

Aims of the programme

By the end of the course students should have:

- Developed their own writing and self-editing skills in a range of fiction and non-fiction genres
- Developed a solid and substantial understanding of the history (in terms of innovative developments) of fiction and non-fiction writing and of critical, analytical and narrative theory


The MSt is structured around four modules, each of which includes a residential block at Madingley Hall that students must attend. In the first year, each of the four residential blocks is preceded by guided preparatory reading and other activities, and followed by two writing assignments: one critical and one creative.

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) offers learning support to students while they are on the programme, including learning resources, peer-to-peer and student-to-tutor discussion between modules to build a virtual community of practice.

Lectures, seminars and classes: 4 x 4-day residential sessions in Year 1; a 2-day residential session in Year 2.

Supervisions and tutorials: each student has their own tutor to whom they will have several one-to-one sessions during the first year. During the second year students have 5 x 1-hour sessions with their supervisor.

Year 1

The first year is characterised by variety. Students will engage and experiment with a wide variety of genres, building on existing strengths and exploring unfamiliar territories.

Module 1: Writing for readers: the art of poetry and the craft of criticism (17-20 October 2016)
This module will combine close critical reading of selected example of poetry and autobiographical prose with the writing of both by students.

Module 2: Writing for readers: imagined worlds - fiction, long and short (12-15 December 2016)
This module focuses on prose fiction, examining the relationship between memory, imagination and research and exploring the essential concerns of the fiction-writer, including plot and narrative, voice and character and the importance of place.

Module 3: Writing for performance: monologue and polyphonic scripts (13-16 February 2017)
This module explores various forms of writing for an audience, encompassing writing for radio, theatre, television, cinema and other forms of scripted public address and performance.

Module 4: Writing life: creative non-fiction (15-18 May 2017)
This module explores the concept of creative non-fiction and examines examples drawn from a range of sub-genres. These are likely to include biography, memoir, travel-writing and writing about the environment. Sessions on study and research skills will prepare students for Year 2. Visiting speakers for this module will include those from the world of publishing.

Year 2

The second year is characterised by focus on a specialist genre. Students will work independently to explore further and develop their own literary and critical skills, resulting in an extended piece or portfolio of writing. They will work under the supervision of an expert in their chosen field with whom they will have regular contact.

Students will have five supervisions in the second year. The first will take place in October 2017, ideally at Madingley Hall, but Skype can also be used. The dates of this and the next three supervisions will be arranged between you and your supervisor (these can also be face-to-face or via Skype). The fifth and final supervision will usually take place at Madingley Hall at the time of the only residency in the second year, the Presentation and Discussion of Portfolios, on 16-17 April 2018.


- Year 1 -

Following the first residency students will produce 750 words of poetry and a critical commentary of 3,000 words. Following the other three residencies students will produce 4,000 words of creative prose and a critical commentary of 3,000 words.

- Year 2 -

Students will produce a portfolio consisting of 15,000 words of creative prose (or 5,000 words of poetry) and a 3,000-word critical commentary.

- Feedback -

Students are given formal written feedback on their assignments and informal feedback throughout the course, including during tutorials and supervisions. Tutors produce a report for each student at the end of Year 1 and supervisors produce termly reports for each student during Year 2.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying


Sources of government funding and financial support - including Professional and Career Development Loans: https://www.gov.uk/browse/education/student-finance

Visit the MSt in Creative Writing page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course will normally have achieved a UK 2.i honours degree or overseas equivalent. There is provision to accept non-standard applicants who do not satisfy the standard academic criterion. Such applicants must produce evidence of relevant and equivalent experience and their suitability for the course.

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