Creative Writing MA

Creative Writing MA

The Creative Writing MA is for those who want to expand their writing practice through innovative taught themed modules, and have the opportunity to write a long-project in a chosen genre.

Explore DMU from home with our Virtual Open Day Discover DMU

Overview

Reasons to study Creative Writing MA at DMU:

  • Specialist areas of study 
    provide an opportunity to develop advanced skills in your chosen genre, and to experiment with different forms of writing
  • Specialist staff with international reputations 
    as published writers in areas ranging from all kinds of fiction, poetry, and scripts (independent film and graphic novel)
  • Research and transferable skills 
    are developed through creative projects, practical training in writing for publication, professional and theoretical strands to the programme
  • Opportunities
    to be an active member of Leicester Centre for Creative Writing and read and perform at the annual Cultural eXchanges and States of Independence festivals
  • Preparation for further study 
    as the MA, with its focus on individual research, provides ideal preparation for progression to PhD
  • International opportunity
    through DMU Global where you will have the opportunity for a meaningful international experience

The Creative Writing MA is a practice led programme with taught modules and extended projects, giving students the chance to develop their writing in chosen areas, or experiment with new forms and genres. Students will follow craft and writing industry focused modules, and have the chance to explore a variety of forms and genres as well as conduct exploratory writing exercises.

There are modules in research skills for writers, which help students shape and grow their projects and give them a theoretical basis to discuss and conceptualise their own work. Towards the end of the course, students carry out an extended piece of creative work independently, with tutor guidance and feedback. 

The course is ideal for students wishing to enrich or expand their current creative practice, but also a very thorough preparation for those who wish to go on to a PhD in Creative Writing. For part time students, we offer different attendance patterns in the afternoon or evening throughout the course, to make it easier to fit your learning around work and other commitments.

Scholarships:

At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study.

Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.

Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship
Apply for the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

More courses like this:

Humanities research degree MPhil/PhD
English Language Teaching MA
Sports History and Culture MA

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time.

Start date: September 2020


Fees and funding: For 2020/21 tuition fees for UK/EU students will be £8,100 (full-time) per year, £4,050 (part-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.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

Key facts for international students

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2020


Fees and funding international: For 2020/21 tuition fees will be £14,100 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.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

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.

You will be asked for a sample of creative work and a study proposal.

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.

International students

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 subject to change in order to keep content current.

 

Overview

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 (15 hours for part time). 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.

 

 

Full-time students:

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.

Part-time students:

We have endeavoured to make our curriculum practical and accessible for part time students. For this reason, part timers can choose to attend in the afternoon OR the evening, so that you can fit study around your other commitments. This means that, depending on your attendance route, you may do aspects of the course in a slightly different order.

In the first half of semester 1, you will start a research module, either with a focus on writerly research, or on theory and articulating practice. You will do one of these related modules in your first year, and the other in your second year.

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 exploratory writing, or carry out a self-directed project in a genre of your choice. You will do one of these related modules in your first year, and the other in your second year’.

Semester 2 (second half): This part of the course is focused on professional skills for writers. There are two related modules, one of which you’ll do in your first year, the other in your second year of study.

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

Facilities

The course has a visiting lecturer programme, which enhances learning and provides contact for students with industry professionals. There may also be opportunities for other projects, research trips, performances and publications, in line with students' interests. Every year, we host the States of Independence, a writing festival in a day involving independent publishers; there are seminars, talks, launches, panels, screenings and book stalls as part of this event. We have strong relationships with Five Leaves Publications and Bookshop, as well as Leicester Writers' Club, the Nottingham Writers' Studio and the National Association of Writers in Education. All of our tutors are published and practising writers. 

The Creative Writing Centre in the Clephan Building is available to postgraduate students in negotiation with tutors and contains reference books, break out space, tea and coffee making facilities, as well as a number of computers and a printer.

Library

The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.

The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.

 

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

 

Opportunities and careers

placements-img-01

Enterprise

Starting a business
If you are thinking of starting your own business or working for yourself, the Enterprise Team can help provide you with the right advice and guidance to get your business off the ground.

 

dmu-global-img-01

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-img-01

Graduate careers

Students can undertake careers in a range of areas, including events management, teaching and further research including PhD research.They may also find publication or production opportunities for their writing, or may also choose to publish, crowdfund or perform their work independently. Many writers create their own portfolio career, with activities and self-employment in a number of areas.

DMU Open events

Postgraduate Open Evening

Register now

Order a prospectus

Our prospectus will give you a clearer idea of what it's like to live and study at DMU and a snapshot of the courses we offer.

Order now

How to apply 

We welcome applications from students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Find out more

More about your DMU

Scholarships
Leicester Centre for Creative Writing
States of Independence
Leicester guide
vc2020-scholarship-img

Scholarships

Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.

900x506-more-about-pgt-crew-01

Leicester Centre for Creative Writing

Creative Writing at De Montfort University has a sustained record of promoting and contributing to the cultural health of the East Midlands and beyond. Find out more.

States of Independence

States of Independence

Leicester Centre for Creative Writing’s major event is our Independent Publishers’ day, States of Independence. Find out more

leicester-guide-img

Leicester guide

Studying here gives easy access to the vibrant hub of entertainment, shopping and culture that is Leicester. There are clubs, bars and pubs, as well as festivals, live music, theatres and cinemas. Leicester City Football Club play in the Premier League while Leicester Tigers are one of Europe’s biggest rugby clubs. Find out more.

 
Events at DMU
Events

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

News target area image
News

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Discover the DMU campus
Discover the DMU campus

Take a look around DMU by exploring our virtual campus.