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Creative Writing

MA or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts


Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: PGCert: 4 months, PGDip: 8 months, MA: 12 months

Part time: PGCert: 2 semesters, PGDip: 3 semesters, MA: 24 months

Overview


Start expanding your powers of expression and enhance your craft as a writer. On this course, you’ll grow as an artist, harnessing your writing, imagining and thinking - in a collaborative and supportive space.

Your time on this course will be a decisive stage in the development of your writing. You’ll start writing immediately. And you’ll share your work with your peer group and tutors. You’ll receive insightful, sometimes challenging, but always supportive feedback on all your work. This will help you progress.

You'll be taught by a permanent staff of highly acclaimed, successful writers published by leading publishers in the UK, Europe and USA. And you'll work with our Creative Writing Fellows and visiting lecturers, including Patience Agbabi, Sally Bayley and Steven Hall, as you develop your major project.

You'll have the opportunity to meet literary agents from top agency Felicity Bryan Associates, and to pitch your work to leading publisher Philip Gwyn Jones.

 

How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Applicants should normally hold a good honours degree (2.1 or above), or equivalent, in an appropriate discipline and must be able to demonstrate ability in creative writing. 

A portfolio of recent creative work must be submitted consisting of 2000 words prose, or 5 poems, or a proportionate mixture of the two. Applicants may also be interviewed. If it is some time since you completed your undergraduate education and you do not meet the standard requirement, it may be possible to consider your application based on evidence of other relevant personal and professional experience, the support of your referees and your portfolio of written work.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

 Applicants whose first language is not English should hold one of the following qualifications:

  • British Council (IELTS) Test: band 7 overall with at least 6 in each band
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency: grade C or above
  • NEAB University Test in English for Speakers of Other Languages: Pass
  • JMB Test in English for Overseas Students: grade 1, 2 or 3.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

All applications for the MA in Creative Writing must be accompanied by a portfolio of recent creative work.

This must consist of 2000 words prose, or 5 poems, or a proportionate mixture of the two. 

Apply now

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£8,200 (Masters); £7,200 (Diploma); £4,100 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time
£4,100

International / EU full time
£14,900

Home (UK) full time
£8,350 (Masters); £7,350 (Diploma); £4,175 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time
£4,175

International / EU full time
£15,200

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£8,200 (Masters); £7,200 (Diploma); £4,100 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time
£4,100

International / EU full time
£14,900

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£8,350 (Masters); £7,350 (Diploma); £4,175 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time
£4,175

International / EU full time
£15,200

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

There's International Student Scholarships available for 2021 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment


On this course, you’ll have the structure and space to express yourself creatively, while developing your voice. You’ll explore different writing styles, and learn how to engage your readers. 

You'll develop your understanding of a range of literary forms and genres. And whether your writing ambitions are towards publication, or just becoming a better writer, you'll be supported and encouraged all the way to achieve your full potential

You’ll also write, read and critique your work in small, self-directed study groups, where constructively critical practice and discussion will hone your abilities in drafting and editing. 

You’ll learn from published and practising creative writers. 

 

Students discussing their work

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award.

All students take the core compulsory module The Writing Studio. In addition:

  • MA students choose two elective modules and complete the The Writing Project.
  • PGDip students choose two elective modules.
  • PGCert students choose one elective module.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

The Writing Studio (40 credits)

This is the core module taken by all our students at the beginning of the MA. Through workshops led by our staff and Creative Writing Fellows, it’s designed to lead you out of your comfort zone and get you writing in ways you might never have contemplated. In our virtual space – the studio – you are free to think, write and depart in new directions. It demands a readiness to go out of the “comfort zone” and ask real questions of your own writing.

Optional modules

Narrative (40 credits)

You’ll learn about the techniques – the “tricks of the trade”, in a completely positive sense – which highly successful authors use to achieve their aims. You’ll explore how narratives and stories are constructed through elements like plotting, pace, perspective and structure. You’ll be aiming to identify these writerly techniques, to describe them and - most importantly of all – to incorporate them in your own writing.

We’ll look at:

  • characterisation through dialogue
  • unspoken stories
  • the unreliable narrator
  • omniscient narrators
  • the slow reveal.

Poetry (40 credits)

What is poetry? What is it for, and what can it do that prose can’t? You’ll focus on contemporary poetry in terms of its functions, as well as its form. While the emphasis will be on your own writing, we’ll also study the poetry of both contemporary and traditional writers from Britain and further afield, who work or have worked in a variety of forms and using a range of techniques.

You’ll also look at topics like:

  • poetry and place
  • narrative poetry
  • voice
  • confession
  • experiments in form.

Writing Lives (40 credits)

If you’ve ever wanted to write about your own life, or the lives of others, this module is for you. We’ll look at autobiography, biography, hagiography, diaries, fictional recreations of real lives, and fictions taking in individual or family lives. Using the set texts as a basis, each session will consist of a short, tutor-led discussion, focusing on the technical issues. You’ll follow these with intensive attempts to apply these techniques to your own writing.

Writing Voice (40 credits)

You’ll explore methods for writing creatively in relation to voice. We’ll discuss and analyse works by contemporary authors in a range of forms (poems, novels, short stories), to inspire you to explore different voices in your own writing.

We’ll investigate:

  • how writers create distinctive voices to control and modulate tone and register in a text
  • the interplay of multiple voices (author, narrators, characters)
  • interrelated notions of identity, authenticity, social construction, style and aesthetics.

Independent Study (40 credits)

This is a great chance to design your own course of study, allowing you to explore an area of writing that fascinates you. You’ll start by producing a detailed project plan, to be agreed with your supervisor and module leader. You’ll develop high-level research skills, manage your own schedule and produce well-structured, articulate work at master’s level. Examples of independent studies have included: an extended poem developed from the literature and art of ancient Persia, and a pacy novel for young adults set in a militaristic dystopia.

Final project

Compulsory modules

The Writing Project (60 credits)

You’ll complete an extended piece of your own creative writing, in any genre, accompanied by a self-evaluating critical commentary. You’ll develop your work in group sessions, through one-to-one tutorials, and in workshops with Creative Writing Fellows. 

Your writing project will be a maximum of 20,000 words in length, but the minimum word length may vary according to the genre and format. You’ll decide all these factors – genre, format and length – in consultation with your module leader and supervisor.

 

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn creative writing skills through reading, writing and discussing. You’ll learn to create, and to adapt. 

You’ll experience a variety of teaching and learning methods that include:

  • Collaborative seminars
  • Presentations and shared readings
  • Group workshops
  • Visiting notable speakers
  • 1-1 supervision
  • Research
  • Writing and rewriting.

You’ll also work with our Creative Writing Fellows and guest speakers who each lead a class every semester:

  • Patience Agbabi FRSL, award-winning poet, international performance poet, and children's author, most recently The Infinite and The Time-Thief
  • Sally Bayley, fiction and nonfiction author, most recently Girl With Dove and No Boys Play Here
  • Steven Hall, a Granta Best Young British Novelist 2013, author of  internationally-acclaimed The Raw Shark Texts, and Maxwell's Demon
  • Simon Mason, author of Moon Pie (Guardian Children's Fiction Prize - shortlisted) and YA series Garvie Smith, and leading children's fiction editor

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

You’ll constantly share and discuss your work with your tutors and your peers. This regular feedback will strengthen your self-assessment skills - helping you develop your craft as a writer.

You’ll be formally assessed via: 

  • Portfolios of your creative writing, with accompanying critical essays
  • A final Writing Project in your chosen form and genre

Research


Our commitment to research-led teaching means that all our teaching staff are recognised experts in their field. They contribute to the canon of published work in their specialist fields influencing debate and discussion. And they value the opportunity to share their ideas with students through their teaching.

We are home to the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, which:

  • creates a space for discussion and research
  • promotes connections between poets, academics, and readers of poetry in the local community
  • sponsors readings by poets, such as Simon Armitage, and a regular seminar series. 

Research supervision is offered in the following areas:

  • English 20th-century poetry – particularly Eliot and Heaney
  • Irish writing
  • Modernist drama
  • Witchcraft in the 19th century
  • John Clare and eco-criticism
  • Sir Walter Scott
  • Ben Jonson
  • Shakespeare
  • Theatre and science
  • Utopia
  • Contemporary literature
  • Thomas More
  • Modernist poetry
  • Stylistics
  • Creativity
  • Franz Kafka
  • Victorian religion
  • Literature and war.
Researcher in the library

After you graduate


Career prospects

Oxford is an internationally renowned literary hub. When you graduate, you’ll be a better writer. You will also join alumni who have secured deals with leading publishers such as Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Doubleday,  and who have been nominated for major literary awards.

You’ll also know how to approach literary agents and navigate the world of commercial publishing.

 

Student profiles


Our Staff


Dr Mary Jean Chan

Dr Mary Jean Chan is the author of the Costa Award-winning poetry collection Flèche. She is a Ledbury Poetry Critic, guest editor at The Poetry Review and reviews for The Guardian. You’ll see Mary Jean on the Introduction to Creative Writing and Intermediate Creative Writing modules.

Read more about Mary Jean

Dr Morag Joss

Morag’s novel, Our Picnics in the Sun was published by Random House USA - and was described as ‘a psychological dazzler’ by Entertainment Weekly. She is the author of seven other novels and has written for TV and radio, in addition to winning literary awards and nominations. You’ll see Morgan in your third year, on the Advanced Creative Writing and Creative Writing Major Project modules.

Read more about Morag

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.