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MA Creative Writing

Start date
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Annual tuition fee for 2024 entry:
UK: £10,530 full-time
International: £24,120 full-time
More detail.

Short fiction, the novel, poetry, plays and screenplays: define and refine your chosen genre at the University of Birmingham, and explore genres that are new to your writing experience.

If you are a graduate with considerable experience in writing creatively and wish to proceed to a career or further study in this area, then our innovative MA in Creative Writing is for you.

The programme will allow you to develop your own work, your own voice and your own ideas with dedicated workshop time and opportunities to give and receive feedback to and from your peers. You will also benefit from professional skills training to prepare you for your encounters with the writing industry, with insights from industry professional such as editors and publishers.

The programme brings together students who work across different genres so that you can engage collaboratively across genres before specialising in screenwriting, playwriting, prose fiction or poetry for your dissertation.

Please note: There are specific application deadlines for this programme. Please see 'How to apply' in course details for more information.

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

The best thing the course has taught me is to not re-invent the wheel every time you want to write a new piece, and how to tactically draw from the works of other writers to give structural integrity or strong philosophical underpinnings to any new text I write.

Cameron Smith, MA Creative Writing

Why study this course?

  • Breadth and depth of study – at Birmingham we focus on the craft of writing and editing, combining academic with creative skills, and an artistic focus with industry insights.
  • Learn from our permanent staff of published authorsAnna Metcalfe, a short story writer and novelist, who has been named among Granta’s 2023 cohort for the Best of Young British Novelists; Elsa Braekkan Payne, an expert in the short story who also has particular interests in editing; Luke Kennard, a poet and novelist whose criticism appears in Poetry London and the Times Literary Supplement; Richard House, fiction and screenwriter, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize;  Dan Vyleta, an award winning, bestselling novelist; Isabel Galleymore, an award-winning poet; and the best-selling novelist Ruth Gilligan.
  • Opportunities for experimentation – the course combines focused modules with the opportunity to develop your own work through independent study.
  • Join a lively and supportive writing community – we encourage our students to be active within the university and the broader community, and to participate in readings, festivals, and events, both regionally and nationally. For example the Creative Writing Societies provide an energetic and talented scene in which to write. There are regular events, readings, poetry slams and student publications.
  • Links within the West Midlands – the Department has links to the award winning local press Tindal Street and the boutique poetry pamphlet publishers Nine Arches Press. Each year there are visiting lectures from writers, publishers and editors.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.


You will learn among a community of writers and scholars, taking a series of structured modules across the discipline. You will study four core taught modules plus a dissertation.

Core modules

The Writer’s Workshop

The module provides an introduction to technical and conceptual issues encountered by the creative writer, along with research training to facilitate the critical work you will have to complete as part of your studies. The module introduces you to creative writing techniques and genres by analysing other people’s writing and through hands-on practice, as well as introducing you to the procedures and challenges of the creative writing workshop environment. The module also provides guidelines on how to approach agents/editors, along with a grounding in research practices. 

Assessment: A 5,000-word portfolio of creative writing, and a 3,000-word portfolio of critical writing

Creative Writing Masterclass: From Workshop to Bookshop

This module builds on the research and professional skills developed in The Writer’s Workshop. It provides a venue for in-depth editorial discussion of your own work, while also providing systematic training in editing and in providing detailed, constructive critiques of other writers’ works. The module will help you to articulate your personal artistic vision in both formal and conceptual terms by studying a range of artistic manifestos and writerly positions.
Assessment: A 5,000-word portfolio of creative writing, and a 3,000-word portfolio of critical/professional writing

Poem as Story – Story as Poem

This module allows for a simultaneous focus on poetry and fiction, allowing you to work in both forms rather than choosing to be a “poet” or “prose writer” at this stage in your development as a writer. There will be weekly writing exercises and the opportunity to critique the work of your peers as well as a weekly set text exploring contemporary poetry and fiction.
Assessment: A 3,000-word poetry and/or short fiction portfolio and a 2,000-word essay

Intertextuality: Story, Genre, Craft

This module encourages you to explore notions of intertextuality, viewed as an integral part of all creative writing, and representing a broad continuum, from one-off textual allusions or verbal echoes on the one hand, to full-length adaptations on the other. 'Story' and 'story-telling’ will be used as a focus for identifying both generic and genre-specific, popular and literary, narrative techniques and conventions (to include a focus on language, character, plot, time and vision). In addition, you will explore ways in which 'reading' in the broadest possible sense can generate ideas, strategies and structures for the developing writer. This will entail an engagement with narratology and with aspects of genre theory and translation theory, key principles of which will be illustrated through case studies of texts that form part of intertextual clusters.
Assessment: A 3,000-word piece of creative writing in any genre, and a 2,000-word analysis of the intertextual relationships between two or more of the literary texts studied, with reference to your own creative writing


In addition to your taught modules, you will complete a dissertation. This will be 75% creative portfolio and 25% critical essay. You will write a 10,000-word portfolio of creative work in the form of a screenplay, excerpt of a novel, a collection of short fiction or a collection of poetry (600 lines). This will be accompanied by a 2,000-word essay placing your work in a critical and creative context, with reference to your development as a writer over the course of the MA. You will receive feedback on dissertation work in progress during one-to-one tutorials and/or in small group work-sharing seminars with peers (groups divided along the lines of genre/form and led by a specialist in this field).


We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024 entry are as follows:

  • UK: £10,530 full-time; £5,265 part-time
  • International: £24,120 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

How To Apply

Please review our Entry Requirements before making your application.

How to Apply for a Postgraduate Degree - Taught programmes

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students (requiring a VISA) to apply is 1 June 2024. The deadline for UK students is 30 August 2024.

Making your application

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

We ask for a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, preferably in English and/or Creative Writing, but other disciplines will be considered. Applicants should also have considerable experience of writing creatively. 

All prospective students must also submit a sample of written work as part of the online application process. Your sample should be in the form of a portfolio of creative writing of c. 3,000 words. This may be a prose sample (e.g. one or more short stories; part of a novel); a play or film script; or a selection of poems (in which case a line of poetry equates c. 20 words of prose; a portfolio focusing on poetry would be c. 150 lines in total). We encourage applicants to submit more than a single piece of work where possible (e.g. one short story and a novel opening, rather than a longer excerpt of a novel) though this is not strictly required.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements: we accept a range of qualifications - our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: for this course we ask for IELTS 6.5 overall with no less 7.0 in writing and 6 in all other bands. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional course – if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 7.0 writing and 6.0 in the other bands is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 Listening, 22 Speaking and 23 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 67 with no less than 76 in writing and 64 in all other bands
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 185 in Writing and no less than 169 in any other component.

Learn more about international entry requirements.

International Requirements

Most modules include a substantial workshop element, directly focussing on student work. 

Course delivery

We have three terms per year, the autumn, spring and summer terms semester. Term dates can be found on our website.

The programme is made up of two 40-credit modules (Writer's Workshop, Creative Writing Masterclass) and two 20-credit modules (Intertextuality; Poem as Story). As a full-time student, you will take one 20-credit module and one 40-credit module in the first two terms, followed by your dissertation. You can typically expect six hours of classroom time per week, two for a 20-credit module and four for a 40-credit module. If you are a part-time student, we advise that you complete the 40-credit modules in your first year and the 20-credit modules in your second year, allowing you more time to focus on your dissertation in year two.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.


Support with academic writing


As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.


International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Teaching year

We have three teaching terms per year, the autumn, spring and summer terms. Term dates can be found on our website.

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each of the first two terms, followed by your dissertation. If you are a part-time student, you will typically take three modules across each year, followed by your dissertation.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Film and Creative Writing

Postgraduates in the Department of Film and Creative Writing develop a range of skills including the ability to lead and participate in discussions; critical thinking, and an appreciation of different theoretical contexts; the ability to develop opinions and new ideas; and an aptitude for thinking and working creatively with others. While some graduates go on to careers in related industries, such as writing, media and television, others have used their transferable skills to pursue roles such as advertising, teaching, and in the heritage and cultural sectors.