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Course length

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


Durham City

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Course details

Our MA in Creative Writing is an exciting and rewarding course, taught with academic rigour by award-winning writers. It will help sharpen your practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction and develop your knowledge and understanding of twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

The teaching and research provided offers a combination of conceptual and theoretical reflection, analysis of historical and cultural contexts, pays close attention to literary texts and primary sources, and enables the imaginative creation of new writing.

You will be supported with writing workshops and one-to-one tutorials where you will be encouraged to express and develop your own ideas. You will be based in an environment where your curiosity and imagination as well as your intellectual discipline and the individual nature of your responses is respected and valued.

Alongside the teaching modules you will have access to an extensive events programme, which includes the sharing of work and expertise by leading researchers and writers.

We are one of the most well-regarded English departments in the country. We are, in addition, one of few English departments in the world to teach and research in literature produced in Britain from the early medieval period to the present day as well as in anglophone literature from across the globe.

Consequently, with the learning opportunities provided by the department’s world-leading scholars, our course will give you the freedom to study broadly or to specialise, but always within a support structure where you will always be able to develop your own creative writing ideas.

Course Structure

All the MA programmes offered by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities consist of three components:

  • a Major Research Project to the value of at least 60 credits 

  • Core Modules to the value of 0-90 credits, depending on the programme

  • Elective Modules, making up the total number of credits to 180; some of these modules will be defined as Recommended Electives for particular programmes.

For students studying the MA in Creative Writing, the Research Project (60 credits) is an extended critical essay on a subject of your own choosing and a portfolio of creative work, consisting of new works written after you have completed the workshop-style modules. You will be steered in your choice of essay topic by the module convenor. Exploring a particular subject in depth, it will encourage the development of sophisticated argument, the marshalling of evidence, the reading of the relevant criticism and contextual material, and the appropriate high level of bibliographical and presentational skills.

You will also be required to choose one from the following two core modules below:

  • Creative Writing Poetry (30 credits)

  • Creative Writing Prose Fiction  (30 credits)  

Finally, you will choose 90 credits of elective modules from across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, so that your total number of credits adds up to exactly 180.


The course can be taken in one year on a full-time basis or over two years in a part-time format within a structure that is varied and effective and able to nurture creative and imaginative work.

Learning is carried out in small group tutorials, lectures, seminars and one-to-one sessions when you will gain a thorough grounding in the genres, forms, histories and cultures of literature in English, with opportunities to specialise.

You will take three core modules including a major research project, which will provide you with the opportunity to produce an extended essay that you have identified and researched yourself.

There is also one creative writing module. In this module, you will be required to write longer pieces within your chosen literary discipline and share your work.

You will receive feedback and listen to suggestions about your work, and you will also be expected to contribute to the small group sessions by giving your own feedback.


Assessment on the course is rigorous and very much focused, as you would expect, on your written work.

You will be expected to produce essays, a portfolio of poetry or prose fiction as well as an extended essay for your research project.

We also want to understand how you see yourself and your own work so there will also be an assessment based on a self-critique.

Entry requirements

Students are usually required to have an Honours Degree at 2:1 level or higher or overseas equivalent from a recognised national or international university.

Students should submit a sample of 4-6 poems or 2,000 words of fiction. 

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £11,750 per year
EU students £24,750 per year
Island students £11,750 per year
International students £24,750 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £6,500 per year
EU students £13,700 per year
Island students £6,500 per year
International students £13,700 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

English Studies

The Department’s reputation for the quality and intellectual rigour of its teaching means students are in possession of skills and experience that are much sought after by potential employers around the world.

Our postgraduates are equipped with highly transferable skills and the ability to analyse, assess and communicate knowledge effectively. Many choose to take these newly acquired abilities into professional roles in sectors including arts and theatre management, broadcasting, publishing and journalism, business, accounting, marketing and advertising, teaching, higher education, law, third sector and government positions. Others choose to continue their academic study at a higher level.

For further information on career options please visit our web pages.

Department information

English Studies

The Department of English Studies is one of Europe’s leading centres for research in literary studies. We carry out important and influential research into a wide range of literary topics with compelling historical and cultural themes.

We are one of the few departments in the world who teach and research in literature produced in Britain from the early medieval period to the present day as well as in anglophone literature from across the globe.

Courses are taught by leading subject experts and include MAs in Creative Writing, English Literary Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Literary Studies, Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies, Studies in Poetry and Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literary Studies.

The Department offers valuable partnerships with interdisciplinary research institutes and centres within the University. These include the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Poetry and Poetics, the Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures, and the Institute for Medical Humanities.

Our overriding aim is to enable you to develop the skills and abilities to produce research built on evidence-based argument, rigorous analysis, verbal accuracy and independent and creative thinking. We provide a vibrant learning community that is supportive and inclusive.

For more information see our department webpages.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 4th in The Complete University Guide 2024 and 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the English Studies web pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 90% of our research activity was judged to be 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in (REF 2021)


The Department of English Studies is mainly situated in two buildings that are close to the historic city and centre with its glorious cathedral and UNESCO World Heritage status. Hallgarth House is a Georgian-listed building and Elvet Riverside stands beside the picturesque River Wear.

Our community of around 60 taught postgraduates and 60 PhD researchers have wide-ranging access to the extensive general collections in literary studies which are housed in the University library as well as to a number of specialist collections and archives in nearby Palace Green.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
Find out more

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