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Creative Writing (MA)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date
conversion-course

Conversion course

This is a conversion course. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.

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Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Develop your portfolio of writing in our prestigious programme designed for emerging and more experienced writers.

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Taught by experts

Our teaching staff is made up of professional writers and leading researchers.

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Hone your craft

Showcase events and Open Mic nights allow you to share your writing with an audience.

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Learn outside the classroom

The opportunity to attend a writing retreat with your peers and course tutors.

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Network with professionals

A creative industries symposium, featuring panels with agents, editors, and publishers, as well as a Visiting Writer series.

Designed for improving writers with previous experience of the writer’s craft, this one-year full-time course will extend your knowledge and understanding of the practice of creative writing.

Developing your creative writing abilities and ideas beyond your first degree, you will attend workshops, produce two extended portfolios of creative writing in your chosen genre(s), and attend classes in various topics in creative writing. In addition, you will have the opportunity to gain experience in teaching creative writing, or further your knowledge of other areas of creative practice or English Literature by choosing from a selection of research-led modules taught by specialists in the field.

A series of complementary modules stresses an integrated and cohesive experience of developing your craft and writing skills; at the same time, you will have the opportunity to engage with the writing industry, liaise with creative professionals, and showcase your work. 

You will master the ability to independently produce literary works of sophistication and skill, and to participate in writers’ workshops. You will also develop your knowledge and skills in the writing of one or more literary genre(s), the processes of editing and revision, and either the teaching of creative writing, or other areas of creative practice or English Literature.  

Where you'll study

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

Powered by pioneering research, we celebrate curiosity, engage in informed debate and critical analysis, and encourage creative thinking - across and beyond our disciplines.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 9066
  • MarkerColum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

Admissions criteria

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.

1st or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or equivalent.

Applicants are not required to have a degree in a particular subject area; emphasis is placed on the quality of the portfolio of creative writing submitted with the application.

Applicants whose first language is not English

You must obtain a British Council IELTS score of at least 7.0 (with a minimum subscore of 6.5 in each component), or an equivalent English language qualification. An IELTS score of 6.5 (with a minimum subscore of 6.0 in each component) will be considered where you successfully complete the University’s ten-week pre-sessional English course. The extra element may be waived where you can provide sufficient evidence of suitable proficiency in the use of English.

Decisions are made on a continuous basis throughout the year, on the basis of written application and references received.

In addition to the application form and supporting documents you should also provide:

  • Copies of recent creative work (undergraduate work is welcome).
  • Around 3000 words of prose or 10 to 15 poems.  Obviously, the number of pages will vary according to the genre or work you are submitting.  Something you have previously submitted as part of your BA degree is acceptable.

We strongly advise that you have your application finalised by the end of July prior to starting in September.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

Overall, the degree programme is worth 180 credits. You will study a mixture of core modules and a selection from a range of optional modules (either from within Creative Writing or the English Literature MA programme).  

The programme is divided into two stages. Stage 1 is comprised of all of your taught modules. On successful completion of Stage 1 you will progress to Stage 2 of the programme.  

As the focus of Stage 2, from May to September of your year of study, you will devote your time to completing your extended portfolio of writing and accompanying critical commentary produced exclusively during the course. You will be supported in this through one-to-one tutorial meetings with your portfolio supervisor. You must successfully complete Stage 2 and pass the module to gain your Master’s degree.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Stage one is comprised entirely of taught modules and takes places across the autumn and spring semesters.  It consists of a mixture of core modules and a selection from a range of optional modules that make up a total of 120 credits.

A selection of optional modules in Creative Writing provides you with the opportunity to learn about further areas of creative and critical practice; these may include ideas and approaches in the practice of translating creative work; how literary theory informs creative writing; or creative writing pedagogy, with an emphasis on practical applications and the chance to gain teaching experience.

Each year a wide selection of English Literature modules are made available to Creative Writing students that may be taken; if you decide to study an English Literature module you may need to submit a sample of critical writing to demonstrate the requisite writing skills, and potentially meet with the module tutor to ensure you have the required background knowledge to study on that module.  

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Teaching and learning is by a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutor led one-to-ones, guest talks and panels, and showcasing events; it also includes the opportunity to attend a writing retreat and a creative industries symposium.

Throughout the course of your studies you will be expected to read and analyse a range of critical and literary texts, read and assess peer work, and develop self-reflective writing skills.  As you progress in your learning you will move from a wider consideration of the craft to a greater focus on your genre area(s).

Specific learning activities will vary from module to module, but may include writing exercises, critical reading, analysis of craft, the presentation of critical and creative work to others, teaching activities, etc. In the workshop-based modules you will be expected to read and critique the work of your peers, and give focused and constructive feedback in our supportive group environments.

Additional information

As part of the programme, Open Mic sessions take place at regular intervals throughout the academic year, often featuring a professional guest writer, providing you with the opportunity to present your work to an audience. Our Annual Creative Writers’ Retreat usually takes place at the beginning of December. Costs are included in your course fee. The retreat involves a combination of seminars, workshops, and showcase events, as well as time set aside for writing, reading, and reflection.

Each year, at the end of the spring semester we aim to hold an annual Creative Industries Symposium, which takes place over one day and involves guest talks, panels discussions, and presentations by industry professionals: authors, editors, agents, and/or publishers.  

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will vary from module to module. On your taught modules that comprise Stage One, assessment may consist of but is not limited to: portfolios of creative work, academic essays, reflective essays, journals, critical commentaries, video blogs and/or presentations. The assessment for Stage Two is made up of an extended portfolio of work that includes a combination of creative and critical writing.

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned a personal tutor for the course of your studies, who is available to discuss your general academic progress and student experience. You will also have the opportunity to meet with your module tutors to discuss particular aspects of their respective modules.  On some modules – and in particular Stage Two – you will also be assigned a supervisor with whom you will discuss your writing and work-in-progress through one-to-one tutorials.

Feedback

There is extensive opportunity for formative feedback throughout the course, particularly in the workshop-based modules, in which you will share your own work in progress and receive constructive critique and advice from your peers and tutors. Each module culminates in a summative assessment, and for these assessments along with the mark (where applicable) in-depth feedback is provided by the module tutor. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate systematic understanding of the creative processes of published and established writers, both past and present
  • Understand key aspects of creative writing theory and practice.
  • Show comprehensive knowledge of the use of voice, point of view, character, setting, plot, and theme in creative works

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Analyse and critique specific writing modes, styles, and genres
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of others’ writing.
  • Assess and critically reflect on your own writing practice 

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Conceptualize and develop creative works to a high standard
  • Design and undertake research to inform your creative writing and/or sustain a complex critical argument.
  • Understand standards and conventions of the creative industries

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Edit and revise pieces of creative and/or critical writing
  • Present your work and engage an audience
  • Provide constructive feedback in a supportive manner

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £8,200 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £18,200 £1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Careers and placements

Postgraduate study is a gateway to many careers within and beyond academia. Many overseas postgraduates return to lectureships with much enhanced career prospects. Example employers in the UK include Cardiff University, Mencap, Poetry Wales magazine, Teach First, and the Welsh Government, with jobs that include Creative Writing Lecturer, Copyeditor, Copywriter, Librarian, Literary Agent, Literary Editor, Marketing Officer, Novelist, Poet, Publicist, Publisher, Playwright, Recruitment Consultant, Teacher, and Screenwriter, among many others.

Among our roll-call of alumni are Susmita Bhattacharya (Table Manners, Dahlia), Wales Book of the Year winner Deborah Kay Davies (True Things About Me, Canongate) and science fiction novelist James Smythe (I Still Dream, HarperCollins).

Placements

Those opting to undertake the optional module Teaching Creative Writing module, will have the chance to sit in on undergraduate classes and to teach a session, and potentially to visit local schools and colleges.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarships

An award open to students with a home fee status intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount Scheme

The alumni discount is available for all master’s programmes in Cardiff Business School, as well as conversion courses in subjects including journalism, geography and planning, and creative writing, and master's programmes in clinical optometry, neuroimaging, education, global cultures, history, philosophy and translation.

Next steps

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