Creative Writing MA

Creative Writing MA

For those with a passion to develop their writing practice, this course enables you to experiment and grow as a writer, while specialising in a particular genre through exploration of topics and concepts ranging from poetry to crime fiction.


The Creative Writing MA is a practice-led programme, giving you the chance to develop your writing in chosen areas, or experiment with new forms and genres through exploratory writing exercises and craft challenges. The programme is designed to develop your writing practice in both research and professional contexts and so you will follow both craft and writing industry-focused modules. You will have the opportunity to graduate with an advanced understanding of the professional landscape and how to use the skills you have acquired to forge a career in a range of contexts.

The taught modules are divided into three areas. Researching as a Writer involves exploring practice research methodologies and research skills, giving you a toolbox for discussion of your practice from a theoretical perspective. Developing Writing covers a range of genre opportunities and exploratory writing tasks, while Writing Ecosystems focuses on networking, performance, manuscript presentation and publishing advice.

The programme culminates in a dissertation in which you will work independently on an extended creative writing project in a form or genre of your choice, with tutor guidance and feedback. You will shape and grow projects to a professional standard, while also learning how to provide a theoretical basis to discuss and conceptualise your practice.

You will also be encouraged to participate in the Leicester Centre for Creative Writing research culture and public engagement events, such as independent book festival States of Independence. Our diverse community of writers work in a wide range of forms and genres including long and short fiction, science fiction, autobiographical, crime, literary and experimental, as well as performance, poetry of all kinds, digital work and scripts for radio, independent film and graphic novel.

Key features

  • Join the diverse community of the Leicester Centre for Creative Writing, where you’ll be taught by academics with experience across different aspects of creative writing, pedagogy and industry.
  • We will help you to push your current practice in new directions and explore a variety of genres including TV sitcom, speculative fiction, working-class fiction, memoir writing, crime fiction and the poetry sequence.
  • We aim to equip you with skills for a range of careers by exploring opportunities to submit work for publication, applying for grants, writing as a business, the publishing industry, self-publishing and indie filmmaking.
  • Learn how to confidently present your work and articulate your processes and practice for a variety of audiences, helping to enhance your employability and develop your professionalism.
  • Benefit from collaborative teaching in workshops with fellow students, as well as individual learning experiences and receive personalised feedback to help you achieve your independent writing goals.
  • The focus on individual research and fostering your skills as an independent learner provides ideal preparation for  progression to PhD.


We are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study, and there are a number of postgraduate scholarships on offer to help you achieve this.

International student scholarships

Find out about available international scholarships or visit our fees and funding page for more information.


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  • UK
  • EU/International

Duration: One year full-time.

Start date: September 2023


Fees and funding:

2023/24 Full-time tuition fees for UK students: £8,986 (full-time) per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2023

Fees and funding: 

2023/24 tuition fees for EU and international students £15,800 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2.2 UK bachelor’s honours degree, with evidence of an ongoing writing practice.

If you have other professional qualifications, industry experience or you don’t have the equivalent of a UK bachelor’s honours degree but can evidence an ongoing writing practice we will consider your application on an individual basis.

Interview and writing sample

Applicants with relevant qualifications will be asked for a sample of creative work and a study proposal.

Non-standard applicants will also be invited to attend an interview.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.


Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments

Programme structure 


Module overview

Researching as a Writer 1: Icebergs and Audience

This is one of two six-week creative writing research modules. The main focus is on research related to writerly craft. It takes as its focus Hemingway’s model of the iceberg that the reader only sees one-eighth of. Students will understand, through practice, what the other seven-eighths consists of in terms of the practical, historical, and speculative research necessary to bring a piece of creative writing to life for a reader.  It will involve looking at how writers build worlds, characters and stories, how they research settings, time periods and ideas. We’ll consider the use of archives, mood boards, video resources, images, paintings, newspapers, other fictional texts, websites, wider reading and experiences to aid them in creation of believable worlds, characters and stories, imagery, voice, or supplementary knowledge in poetry/experimental work. It will also look at the way’s writers work to find creativity and ideas, and habits they use to enhance their practice.

Researching as a Writer 2: Practising Ideas, Articulating Practice

The second six-week research module tackles how students approach the challenge of writing creatively about their practice in ways that stretch the standard academic ‘analytical’ writing and yet encourage them to understand and articulate the research issues and questions that underpin specific projects, and their emerging sense of their wider writing practice (and its thematic concerns). It gives students the opportunity to situate their writing, and thinking, amongst contemporary issues and ideas. These concerns may range across considerations of creativity, play, knowledge, gender, identity, sexuality, class, and the relationship between aesthetics and politics. Students explore alternative traditions of articulating practice from the manifesto to the experimental essay and the rich heritage of ‘poetics’ as a speculative hybrid discourse, a mid-point between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’. The module builds upon the Benchmark Statement’s commitment to ‘Creative Writing as an academic pursuit [that] develops a range of cognitive abilities related to the aesthetic, ethical and social contexts of human experience.’ As such, it fosters ‘the ability to see the world from different perspectives, both as a life skill and as an essential part of artistic practice’ (QAA 6). The ability to conceptualise their practice in relation to research questions and contributions to knowledge is a crucial M level skill that will assist them in their professional development, for example in funding applications, and PhD work.

Developing Writing 1: Craft, Form and Exploratory Writing

This 12-week module aims to develop your writing practice and craft skills in relation to your chosen research project and its genre(s). It will also encourage experimentation with writing, both in terms of pushing your current practice in new directions, and in trying new forms and ideas. Half of the module will be devoted to issues of craft, form and genre; and half will be devoted to ‘exploratory’ writing as ways of developing both your general sense of craft, and the specific project you want to select as the main focus of this 12-week block. It is entirely up to you whether you continue with this project beyond these 12 weeks. The first 6 weeks explore genre, craft and form, using in-situ tasks and a focus upon Weird Fiction as a hybrid genre that takes elements of horror, sci-fi and other forms and yet has developed a singular identity in recent years. The next 6 weeks of ‘exploratory writing’ encourages you to tackle aspects of your chosen research project from productively ‘slanted’ angles. As such, we will adopt Fernando Pessoa’s practice of ‘heteronymity’ to self-multiply into different writing identities with discrete writerly concerns and styles. Each week we will frame the session by looking at one of the 6 ‘values, qualities, or peculiarities of literature’ that Italo Calvino regards as aspects of creative practice that ‘only literature can give us.’

Developing Writing 2: Genre Case Study

This 12-week module is divided into two halves that put into practice an understanding of the various functions and significance of genre, by enabling the students to experience 6 different genres and the craft challenges specific to them. The first six weeks are devoted to weekly specialist sessions wherein a practitioner, expert in a given genre, will lead a session on their experience of working within it, in terms of crafts techniques and market considerations for a professional context. It is understood that the genre the student ultimately selects, must be different from the project they are pursuing for the CREW 5012 module. Sessions may include genres and forms as various as TV Sitcom, Speculative Fiction, Working-Class fiction, Memoir writing, Crime fiction and the poetry sequence. After these 6 weeks, the students select the genre they want to explore; and each following weekly workshop will be led by several students responsible for bringing in an excerpt from their work in this form, an example of published work in this form, and craft challenges and tips for discussion.

The Writing Ecosystem 1: Navigating networks

This module will focus on markets for creative writing in terms of routes into publishing and the production of written work. It will also investigate ecosystems that provide work, professional development and support for writers. We will look at submitting work for publication, applying for grants, writing as a business and the publishing/production industries. We will also explore the avenue of producing your own work independently, both in terms of self-publishing and indie filmmaking via crowdfunding etc. The module will reinforce the importance of collaboration and explore the significance of the ‘Author’s Story.’

The Writing Ecosystem 2: Performance, Presentation, Pedagogy

This module is the second ‘Ecosystems’ module that faces outwards towards employability broadly conceived as equipping you with skills for a range of career contexts, as well as a sound understanding of Creative Writing as a discipline. In the current professional landscape, it’s imperative that writers are able to present themselves and their work, as being involved in events and elements of self-promotion are a necessity. Doing so is predicated upon developing an understanding of what Creative Writing ‘is,’ and the different purposes and audiences (or, ‘ecosystems’ it might serve). Addressing different aspects of Creative Writing pedagogy, and ‘creativity,’ will allow you to simultaneously develop new knowledge about how we learn, and be able to articulate the transferable skills that your subject embodies. We will focus upon the applicability of such knowledge: both how you might personally use it to present your work to an audience, and how you might develop teaching materials to use in future workshops of your own. The aim is to increase your ability to confidently present your work, and articulate your processes and practice for a variety of audiences; formal interviews, post-reading Q+A, running workshops or teaching creative writing as part of a portfolio career. How do you select and present materials to read in public? How would you run a workshop; what would you focus upon, and what teaching methods would you use? These are just some of the questions that will preoccupy us.

Final Dissertation 

The final dissertation module is an extended creative project of your choice—for example a collection of poems or short stories, a novel extract, a creative non-fiction piece, or an experimental cross-platform/genre piece. The dissertation module will be supported by a critical or reflective commentary. Total word count is between 15-25,000 words, including a 2000-word reflective commentary, and a project synopsis. The project may well be exactly the work you have been planning since the early modules on the programme, or it may be something that has developed more recently, stimulated by other work encountered: the choice is yours. You will be divided into peer ‘response groups’ for further support.

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.



This taught MA will strengthen your existing writing practice, grant space to larger projects you want to pursue, and push your work into new areas through modules organized thematically and conceptually. Our craft modules allow students to pursue their own established interests but also experiment with new areas of writing. There are two modules anchored in research: one which focuses on writerly craft and Hemingway’s ‘iceberg’ concept, and one that concerns itself more with ideas, theory and poetics. This enables students to contextualize and discuss their own practice, and preparing them for potential work at PhD level. Our Writing Ecosystems modules are professionally and industry focused. For your final dissertation module, you set your own agenda, and work independently on an extended project in consultation with a guiding supervisor.

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will attend an average of 4 hours of timetabled taught workshop sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 30 hours of independent study each week. There will also be optional research seminars, writer visits and events, which you are encouraged to make the most of. Your third term will be predominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week.



The first half of semester 1 lays the groundwork in research for creative writing. We explore the kind of research that will inform your creative work, but also give you a toolbox for discussion of your practice from a theoretical perspective.

During the second half of semester 1 and the first half of semester 2, we focus on creative work and practical projects. You will study craft, form and genre, as well carry out a self-directed project in a genre of your choice.

At the end of semester 2, the course focuses on professional skills for writers. The modules here focus on performance, publication and other career aspects of creative writing, such as teaching. 

Semester 3 is devoted to the final dissertation, which will be an extended creative project (word count dependent on genre/form) and a piece of reflective writing.

Facilities and features

Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

Campus centre

The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Works


During this course you will have the option to complete a paid placement year, an invaluable opportunity to put the skills developed during your degree into practice. This insight into the  professional world will build on your knowledge in a real-world setting, preparing you to progress onto your chosen career.  Placements will normally take place between semester two and three.

Our careers programme DMU Works can help to hone your professional skills with mock interviews and practice aptitude tests, and an assigned personal tutor will support you throughout your placement.



DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.



Graduate careers

Professional practice and research skills are central to this course. It offers an excellent transition from postgraduate to PhD level study, as well as helping students to develop industry-level skills in presenting their work and approaching publishers. Graduates will be able to understand how to use their skills to build a portfolio career as freelance writers, engaging with teaching workshops and seizing community arts opportunities. Whatever the idiosyncrasies of your writing practice, this course will help you understand and market yourself. 

Creative Writing graduate Julian Pinnick said: “Taking the Creative Writing MA has been a hugely positive experience for me. Coming from an arts background, I found that many of the ideas outlined during the course complimented and built upon my previous studies. Not only has my ability to write fiction improved greatly, but my non-fiction writing has benefited hugely. I would recommend this course to anyone who wishes to take their writing abilities to the next level.”

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