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Creative Writing

PGDip or PGCert or MA

Key facts


Start dates

September 2020

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

Department

Department of English and Modern Languages

Overview


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, Nick Cohen, Philip Gwyn Jones, 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

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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/EU full time
£5,670 (Masters); £5,100 (Diploma); £2,835 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£2,890

International full time
£13,730

Home/EU full time
£6,950 (Masters); £5,950 (Diploma); £3,475 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£3,475

International full time
£14,200

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£5,670 (Masters); £5,100 (Diploma); £2,835 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£2,890

International full time
£13,730

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£6,950 (Masters); £5,950 (Diploma); £3,475 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£3,475

International full time
£14,200

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.

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.

Financial support and scholarships

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

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.

All students take the core compulsory module Creativity, Writing and Textuality: Concepts and Practice. In addition:

  • MA students choose two elective modules and complete a major project of writing in any genre.
  • PGDip students choose two elective modules.
  • PGCert students choose one elective module.
Students discussing their work

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

The Writing Studio (40 credits)

This is the core module taken by all students at the beginning of the MA. Through workshops led by our staff and our Creative Writing Fellows, it is designed to take you out of your comfort zone and get you writing in ways you may never have considered before.  

The Writing Project (60 credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to design a course of study to suit your own research interests and concerns. You will organise and carry out a work schedule, determining a set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria in collaboration with your module leader and a supervisor.

Optional modules

Narrative (40 credits)

This module is all about the techniques – the “tricks of the trade”, in a completely positive sense - which highly successful authors use in order to achieve what they set out to do. Our work will be driven by the desire to locate these writerly techniques, to describe them and - most importantly of all – to enact them in your own writing.

Poetry (40 credits)

This module will focus on contemporary poetry in terms of its form and functions. While the emphasis of the sessions will be on your own writing, we will 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.

Writing Lives (40 credits)

This module is for anyone who has ever considered writing about their own life, or about the lives of others. We will 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, followed by intensive attempts to apply these techniques to your own writing.

Writing Voice (40 credits)

This module explores methods for and modes of writing creatively in relation to voice. Topics will include the ways writers create distinctive voices to control and modulate tone and register in a text, the interplay of multiple voices (author, narrators, characters), and inter-related notions of identity, authenticity, social construction, style and aesthetics. We will discuss and analyse works by contemporary authors in a range of forms (poems, novels, short stories) to inspire exploration of different voices in your own writing.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Creativity, Writing and Textuality: Major Project

This module enables you to complete an extended piece of your own creative writing in any genre or genres, accompanied by a self-reflective critical commentary. The ‘major project’ and critical commentary together form the equivalent of a master’s-level dissertation. The development and writing of these elements will be conducted through sessions led by staff and Creative Writing Fellows; you will be able to choose a CWF from whom to get feedback. 

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

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.

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

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

Read more about Mary Jean

Dr Morag Joss

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.