Find your own literary creative writing style
Why take this course?
This course encourages a lively environment where as a budding writer you can experiment, be imaginative and ambitious, as well as critically reflect on your practice.
You will have the opportunity to write literary novels, historical fiction, crime, science fiction, children’s stories, as well as screenwriting or short fiction – we encourage and respect all genres.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Be taught by lecturers with professional experience, many of whom are established practising writers
- Complete a major project in the form of your own novel, screenplay or poem and learn about the market and current debates within differing genres in the process
- Tap in to our Library’s vast selection of electronic resources, which can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection
- Join our community of writers. See examples of their work
What opportunities might it lead to?
We continuously encourage you to seize as many opportunities as possible to make your writing visible to publishers and the public. Strengthening your creative writing skills on this course can lead to a variety of different creative career paths from roles in publishing to writing children’s books.
Alternatively, many of our graduates find roles within a variety of media industries and a number of them have gone on to study for PhDs or teaching qualifications.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
The prime reason to pursue the MA Creative Writing was to get an opportunity to learn and enhance my writing skills in a reputable university.
Rachit Singh Bolia, MA Creative Writing student 2013
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject. Equivalent qualifications and/or notable experience as a creative writer will also be considered. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £4,700 part time: £3,130 in Year 1 and £1,570* in Year 2
2017/18 entry: full time: £4,700 part time: £3,130 in Year 1 and £1,570* in Year 2
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 part time: £8,000 in Year 1 and £4,000* in Year 2
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600 part time: £8,400 in Year 1 and £4,200* in Year 2
*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- School of Media and Performing Arts
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
The course consists of units focusing on creative practice, academic contexts and critical understanding. For the final stage of the course you will write a creative dissertation which can take the form of a novel (or portion thereof – 30,000 to 40,000 words in length), a collection of prose, poetry or a screenplay.
Here are the units you will study:
- Writer's Workshop – Exploration: In this unit, you will be encouraged to experiment in differing genres to build confidence in writing and research.
- Writer's Workshop – Resolution: During the course of this unit, you will research your chosen genre or idea and write a proposal and first chapters for the major project (dissertation). Your research and writing practice will be led by reading, discussion, debate and some substantial formative work that will eventually lead to the written proposal and/or opening chapters of a novel or pages of a screenplay or poetry.
- Critical Reading for Creative Writers: This is an essay-based unit, in which you will explore critical approaches to the written word with oral presentations and researched essays.
- Critical Thinking for Creative Writers: This unit allows you to approach a critical theory by relating it to your own creative writing, with reference to your major creative project. This unit is also essay-based.
- The Final Project – The Creative Writing Dissertation: This unit will allow you to complete a major work in any genre (prose, poetry or screenplay) of up to 30,000 words (or equivalent). You will receive guidance and support from tutors throughout this unit of study.
Teaching and Assessment
Your learning will primarily be via workshop-based sessions where you will explore and develop your own writing as well as constructively contribute to the work of other writers around you. We aim to create a friendly atmosphere in which you will receive feedback to continually help evolve your creative writing style.
How are you assessed?
Your progress will be assessed by regularly submitted work and a final creative writing project in the form of a literary form or genre of your choice and geared to a specific market.
Facilities & Features
We organise a lively portfolio of visiting guest speakers and you will be regularly invited to guest lectures by agents, publishers and writers throughout the course. Previous guest writers have included Beverley Birch, Belinda Hollyer, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Patrick Ness, and literary agents Lorella Belli and Julian Friedmann.
We have invested heavily in open access computer suites across campus. Great working spaces with high-spec PCs (multimedia and CAD), Macs and printing facilities. There is also more specialised software and equipment available such as large format printing, audio-visual equipment and language laboratories. Should you need any assistance, there are specialist technicians on hand to support you in using the facilities.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
You may be required to spend £100 - £200 per annum on sundry materials.
If you choose to complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may wish to purchase extra materials or software.
These costs will depend on the nature of the project.
Careers & Opportunities
You are encouraged to attend and read at ‘open mic’ sessions to develop performance skills. Previous students have found this invaluable not only when reading their own work aloud but also in professional practice. You are also encouraged to build a portfolio of work to show publishers and exhibit your work in other ways through creative blogs, or by submitting your work to online magazines and competitions.
On graduating, many of our students are equipped with the skills and confidence to continue to write and publish after the course has ended. This MA in Creative Writing can lead to a range of employment opportunities in publishing, editing, journalism and education.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
I was already a journalist and writing for a living when I decided to do the creative writing course part time over two years as a way of widening my horizons.
Quentin Bates, MA Creative Writing graduate
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with course leaders. You can also go to a range of academic and support-based talks to get the information you need to consider when studying at postgraduate level with us.
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry are:
- Wednesday 1 March 2017, 1pm - 5pm
- Wednesday 26 April 2017, 1pm - 5pm
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
If you are unable to visit us, contact the admissions team – see the 'Key Facts' section above for contact details.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.