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, whilst specializing in a long research-driven creative project of your choice.

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The Creative Writing MA is a practice-led course, giving you the chance to develop your writing in chosen areas, or experiment with new forms and genres through exploratory writing and stimulating craft tasks and challenges. The course is designed to develop your writing practice in both research and professional contexts, including modules honing you craft, tackling practice research methodology, and your understanding of the industry. You will have the opportunity to graduate with an advanced understanding of your own writing practice, and how it sits in relation to the professional landscape, including how to use the skills you have acquired to forge a career in a range of contexts. The course also equips you with an ability to articulate your own preoccupations and interests as a writer, that helps with everything from Author’s Talks, grant applications, and Industry pitching.

The taught modules are uniquely delivered in seven-week blocks, this means you focus upon one element at a time, rather than dividing your attention between parallel modules. Teaching is timetabled on one concentrated day, though you also need to allocate independent study time for developing your writing, conducting research and undertaking the required reading for classes. 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. 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. 

Key features

  • You can exit the course with a Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate or an Institutional Credit award depending on the credits you have successfully achieved.
  • Creative Writing postgraduate study at DMU is ranked first in the Complete University Guide 2023 for Creative Writing Graduate Prospects.
  • You will join the diverse community of Leicester Centre for Creative Writing, where you’ll be taught by published writers, and experienced tutors, with expertise in a range of forms including scripting, fiction and creative non-fiction, poetry – and other hybrid forms, such as digital, and writing for games.
  • You will benefit from involvement in Leicester Centre for Creative Writing’s research culture and public engagement events, such as annual independent book festival States of Independence.
  • We will help you consolidate and expand your current practice in new directions
  • You will graduate able to articulate how your writing skills equip you for a range of careers  and employment contexts
  • You will learn to confidently present your work and articulate your processes and practice for a variety of audiences and industries
  • You will benefit from the collaborative environment of workshops, gaining ongoing staff and peer feedback to help you achieve your independent writing goals.
  • The focus on individual research, managing a long project, and nuanced understanding of practice research theory and methodology, provides ideal preparation for progression to PhD.


DMU offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries to help you realise your academic ambitions.

International Scholarships

Find out about available scholarships and country specific fee discounts for international students. 


More courses like this:

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DMU has been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Award in the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as voted for by students.

  • UK
  • EU/International


Programme code: W80081

Duration: One year full-time. Two years part-time.

Start date: September 2024


Fees and funding:

2024/25 Full-time tuition fees for UK students: £9,435 (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.

Programme code: W80081

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2024


Fees and funding: 

2024/25 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



Course modules

Block 1: Articulating Practice

This module explores the uniqueness of Creative Writing as a practice research discipline, allowing students permission to find innovative ways to articulate their individual practice. It challenges them to write creatively about this 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 their emerging sense of their creative priorities and 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 examines how ‘making’ can be an act of ‘knowing’ and 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 its original contribution to knowledge is a crucial M level skill that will assist them in their professional development, for example in funding applications, and PhD work. 

Students will produce a portfolio, with flexibility for this to consist of one sustained piece of work arising from the module, or a document combining several discrete forms covered on the module (indicative topics might include poetics pieces, dream essays, manifestoes, becoming animal exercises).

Block 2: Icebergs and Audience

The focus of this module is on understanding and conducting research directly related to the production of a creative piece. It takes as its focus Hemingway's model of the creative working being like an iceberg: the reader only sees one-eighth of the craft, research and intellectual labour that goes into its creative production. Students will understand, through practice, how writers manage the seven-eighths of the iceberg that the reader does not directly encounter, in terms of the practical, historical, cultural, theoretical and speculative research necessary to bring a piece of creative writing to life. The module will involve looking at how writers build worlds, characters and stories; and how they research settings, time periods and ideas. We will consider the use of archives, mood boards, video resources, images, paintings, newspapers, other creative texts, websites, wider reading and experiences to aid the creation of believable worlds, characters and stories, imagery, voice, or supplementary knowledge in poetry/experimental work. The anchor will be the ideas and plans the students have for an individual long project that could potentially form the basis of their eventual dissertation.  

Students will develop a research portfolio, made up of a Research Poster, and a written or recorded Commentary and Research Project Summary.

Block 3: Developing Your Project

This module uses exploratory techniques to develop the individual research projects begun in Icebergs and Audience. It rehearses an understanding of key craft elements (such as world-building, genre-choice, scene-construction, and the ability to transmute abstract ideas into concrete images, situations, and dialogue), but is inflected by the nature of the projects being developed by the individuals in the group. It continues the programme’s exploration of the unique behaviours of creative writing as a practice research methodology by addressing Italo Calvino’s conviction that ‘there are things that only literature can give us, by means specific to it.’ It involves a consideration of case-studies of published creative models through which to examine the subtle ways writing can ‘digest’ or ‘embody’ ideas. For example, ‘weird fiction’ is used to explore how non-realist modes can simultaneously embody a critique of contemporary life. 

Students will create a portfolio, with flexibility within the brief to submit either one single excerpt from a long creative project, one or more ‘weird fiction’ tales; or a combination of exploratory writing exercises that are stepping-stones towards a long project. All submissions must be accompanied by a reflective commentary.

Block 4: Writing Ecosystems

This module faces out from the experiments in individual practice to consolidate a professional focus. It acknowledges that writers operate within an ecosystem of networks that may include the following employment opportunities: industry publishing, pedagogy, self-publication, public engagement, community work, grant application, collaboration, presentation and performance. The module is underpinned by a conviction that the 21st writer must be multimodal and equipped to not only seize every existing opportunity; but to create new ones in this ever-shifting digital world. There will be a focus on markets, national and international, and the diverse world of publishing and production of written work.

The module will 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 avenues of self-publishing. Fundamental to the module is the need to equip students with skills for a range of career contexts. 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. The module enables students to confidently present their 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.

Students can tailor their final assignment to their individual practice and future employment intentions. This professional dossier may include at least two from this indicative list: Community Arts plan for projects and workshops, workshop tasks for a Higher Education Creative Writing class, an author’s talk for a non-scholarly audience, a recorded performance with prefatory materials, an indie business plan, a project pitch or treatment, a fiction or non-fiction submission package, an author story.

Blocks 5 and 6: Creative Writing Dissertation

The final dissertation module is an extended creative project, which may take the form of a collection of poems or short stories, a novel extract, a creative non-fiction piece, scripts of all modes, a digital project, or an experimental cross-platform/genre piece. The dissertation will be supported by a critical or reflective commentary or poetics piece.

This includes a reflective commentary. The submission should also be accompanied by a synopsis that is not included in the word length. 

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.




You will be taught through a combination of:

  • Two-hour workshops: to initiate and develop work, individually and in groups; to give and receive feedback; to practise drafting and editing; to reflect upon creative process. 
  • 1-hour lectures/readings: to convey expertise, raise key questions of creative and technical practice, and to introduce you to the work of professional writers, publishers, agents, etc.
  • Tutorials: to discuss your work and to question the feedback given by tutors and peers at greater length in a one-to-one or small group setting.
  • The Virtual Learning Environment: to facilitate informal discussion and to extend the dialogue between tutors and peers between workshops, lectures and tutorials in an excitingly accessible way.

There is a varied mix of assessments including - alongside creative writing pieces – posters, oral and video presentations, experimental assignments, recorded performances, essays, author talks, reflections, professional dossiers, industry-standard submissions, negotiated pieces and longer projects. Where appropriate, there are co-creational opportunities for students to find their own appropriate assessment format aligned to their individual practice within a specific module context.

Contact hours

In your first two terms you will normally attend around 12 hours of timetabled taught sessions each week and be expected to undertake at least 23 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week.



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 the Virtual Learning Environment, 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 Careers Team


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 Team 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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