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Creative Writing

MA or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022



Course length

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

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


Our Creative Writing MA is all about growing your writing in a workshop environment. Our simple aim is to get you writing, then to provide insightful, sometimes challenging, but always supportive feedback.

All your teachers are genuine, commercially-published, practising writers. In every session you’ll actually write and get reactions. We believe that this makes our course unique. Your time here will be a decisive stage in the development of your writing.

Your learning will be supported by our Creative Writing Fellows, who include: Patience Agbabi, Philip Gwyn Jones, Daisy Johnson, Steven Hall, and Philip Pullman.

Our graduates’ recent achievements mean that agents and publishers really listen when they hear you’re with us. All major projects gaining a distinction are looked at with a view to representation by:

  • top agents Felicity Bryan Associates (who visit us each year)
  • legendary London publisher Philip Gwyn Jones.

People like this are the gatekeepers of literary success; our aim is to get them to open those gates for you.

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


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

Home (UK) part time

International / EU full time

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

International / EU full time

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 a scholarship for those who are holding an offer for the MA Creative Writing, find out more about the de Rohan scholarship 2021.

There's also 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

The course enables you to:

  • develop your creative writing skills in a range of genres, towards publishable standard
  • undertake a large creative writing project
  • practice creative writing and reading skills with a range of writing practitioners
  • gain a practical understanding of the techniques of writing, editing and working within the writing and publishing industry
  • engage with theoretical approaches to creativity and creative practice
  • demonstrate a knowledge of literary conventions, and historical and contemporary contexts for writing
  • explore your own position as a writer within a specific locale and history.


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

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods including:

  • seminars
  • oral presentations and readings
  • workshops
  • visiting speakers
  • individual supervision
  • autonomous research
  • writing.

Our core teaching staff of practicing and publishing creative writers, is supported by Creative Writing Fellows and guest speakers, including:

  • Philip Pullman - author of internationally bestselling trilogy, His Dark Materials
  • Patience Agbabi - performance poet and author of Bloodshot Monochrome and Telling Tales
  • Nick Cohen - Observer journalist and bestselling author
  • John L Williams - novelist, boss of the Laugharne Festival and literary talent spotter
  • Steven Hall - author of the internationally-acclaimed The Raw Shark Texts.

Unlike some institutions, our creative writing fellows don’t just pop in for a chat. They lead a major 2.5 hour workshop session between them fortnightly, each semester. 


Assessment methods used on this course

All modules are assessed by coursework (portfolios or pieces of work with a critical commentary) of about 6,000 words.

The Major Project of writing in any genre (with critical commentary) would normally be within the range of 15,000 to 20,000 words.


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

Many of our alumni have gone on to win literary prizes and have their own writing published. 

A significant number of successful MA students continue into further research and careers in academia, either at Oxford Brookes or at other institutions.

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.