Creative Writing

MA or PGDip or PGCert

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Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

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

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

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Education, Humanities and Languages

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Whether words come easily to you, or you work tirelessly at every sentence, we want to help you bring your writing craft to a professional level. We’re looking for passion, no matter your background or level of experience. Every writer might be different - but every writer can benefit from the insight of our published experts.

Our Creative Writing MA is a well-established course taught by acclaimed professional writers published around the world. You’ll benefit from the input of creative writing fellows and visiting lecturers such as Patience Agbabi, Sally Bayley, and Steven Hall. And you’ll be studying in one of the world’s great literary cities.

You'll gain a better understanding of your craft and how to apply it to different literary genres and forms. You’ll also meet and pitch your work to top literary agents Felicity Bryan Associates and publisher Philip Gwyn Jones. Whether or not you aspire to get published, we’ll support and encourage you all the way to achieving your full writing potential.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Expert academics

    Our teaching staff are prize-winning writers who will pass on their experience through seminars and workshops.

  • Entry based on talent

    We’ll assess your portfolio of work to see how we can best support you to grow as a writer.

  • Collaborative working

    Small groups help to build trust among peers and tutors.

  • Industry connections

    Pitch your work to literary agents. Any graduating student who achieves a distinction is guaranteed to have their work read by a publisher.

  • Flexible awards

    You’ll learn a lot about yourself and you may find that the full MA isn’t right for you. You can choose to finish with a PGDip or PGCert.

Course details

Course structure

You might be considering this course because you want to become better at your craft. Or you may simply want to complete a writing project in a structured environment. Whatever your creative writing aims, we want to help you.

The Writing Studio core module will take you out of your comfort zone and get you thinking critically about your work and your practice. In your optional modules, you’ll learn about the techniques successful writers use to achieve their aims. You’ll also learn about poetry and voice, explore different narratives forms, and sharpen your life-writing skills.

For your final project, you’ll complete an extended piece of your own creative writing, accompanied by a self-evaluating critical commentary.

You’ll join a supportive community and benefit from insightful masterclasses run by our group of creative writing fellows. They’ll also critique your work, helping you increase your chances of getting published if that’s your aim.

Students discussing their work

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


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

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

    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

Bringing a Story to Life

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.

Writing Poetry Now

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 the Lives of Others

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.

Topics on this module include:

  • The Diary
  • Autobiography
  • Biography
  • Hagiography
  • Fictionalising Lives.

Writing Voice

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.

Topics will include:

  • Monologue and Dialogue
  • Unreliable Voices
  • Polyphony
  • Children’s Voices
  • Dialect
  • Historicised voices.

Independent Study

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

    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 those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


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


On the MA Creative Writing course, we’ve had a lot of success in producing brilliant writers. However, we’re not a factory for producing writers. That’s why many of our graduates take their newly acquired skills to companies and organisations such as the UK Civil Service, Ralph Trustees Ltd, Hestia Charity and the National Trust. Whether it’s critical thinking, creative problem-solving, or research, you’ll be highly prized in sectors such as:

  • PR, marketing and communications
  • NGOs and charities
  • research
  • teaching
  • higher education
  • publishing
  • media and journalism.

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr Morag Joss

Morag Joss is the award-winning author of the Sara Selkirk novels, Half Broken Things, Puccini’s Ghosts, The Night Following, Among the Missing (Across the Bridge) and Our Picnics in the Sun. She has also written for television, and writes short stories for print and broadcast. Her prizes and shortlistings include the CWA Silver Dagger, the USA Edgar Award for best novel, and a Heinrich Böll residency on the island of Achill, Ireland.

Read more about Morag

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

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.

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£9,150 (Masters); £8,150 (Diploma); £4,575 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
£9,150 (Masters); £8,150 (Diploma); £4,575 (Certificate)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

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.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

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 are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences believes strongly in the importance of making a difference to the world of our students, and in the ability and potential of our students to make a difference in the world. The Dean's Scholarship is one small way in which we make that belief tangible.

International students can apply for our International Students Scholarship. Please click on the link below to find out more.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

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.