Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£6,300 for the full course or £700 per 20 credits* (2021/22)

International/EU fee

£14,700 for the full course (2021/22)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Innovative specialised pathways

The MA Creative Writing has a core programme (the MA Creative Writing) and two pathway awards: Gaming and Publishing. All of the core programme modules are specifically designed to suit their purpose and carefully integrated with each other. The programme takes into account on going research as well as developments, trends and innovations within the discipline and industries which it attends to.

The core programme is modular, offering the flexibility to study in more than one writing form or genre, or focus on a single project. The teaching method encourages a gradual specialisation over the three trimesters. You participate in a core workshop in the first, where you read and respond both to published work and the work of peers. In the second trimester you work with supervisors who develop your writing in smaller group apprenticeships. In the summer you work on a significant  writing project on your own or in partnership with a community or industry.

Every student develops and reflects on their own writing and the writing of others by attending writing workshops. Depending on their pathway, students have the option of learning about voice and narrative, critical theory, writing for clients and publishing. All students have the opportunity of engaging in work experience. Professional development ranges from learning about publishing, Arts Council and literary agency interactions to writing in the community and collaborative projects.

Each pathway, including the central award, consists of four core 20 credit modules, two option choices from four 20 credit modules and one option choice from two 60 credit modules. All of the pathways and the core award allow students to choose from two modules from the MA Publishing. The Publishing pathway allows students to specialise further in publishing by taking another module from the MA Publishing. In this way students are able to specialise in industry applications of creative writing.

Take a look at what our staff and students had to say about Creative Writing at Derby:

A video about studying Creative Writing at Derby

View Creative Writing video video transcript

100%overall satisfaction for support with learning**MA Creative Writing, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2020
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Postgraduate prospectus

Explore your digital postgraduate prospectus and find out what you need to know about studying with us. When you sign up, tell us what you're interested in and we'll send you a link to information put together just for you.

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What you will study

In the autumn trimester everyone takes:

  • Writing Workshop (20 credits)
  • Working as a Writer (20 credits)

Then one of the following modules from the MA Publishing:

  • Books and Society (20 credits)
  • Editorial and Editing (20 credits)

In the spring trimester your module choice depends on your pathway. Everyone takes:

  • Writing Apprenticeship (20 credits)

Everyone chooses between:

  • Writing Commission (20 credits)
  • Work Experience (20 credits)

In the summer trimester everyone chooses between:

  • Independent Project (60 credits)
  • Research Project (60 credits)

Assessments are often pathway specific so you further specialise in your subject as you take each module.

Then each pathway has its own module:

  • What is the Imagination For? for MA Creative Writing
  • Writing for Digital Games for MA Creative Writing (for Gaming)
  • Magazine Publishing for MA Creative Writing (with Publishing)

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our spring/summer Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Register your interestRegister your interest

How you will learn

The teaching on this programme will take a wide variety of forms, each designed to prepare you for the creative, intellectual and practical challenges you will face in your future career. You will also be taught by tutor-led lectures, where you will learn both theoretical concepts and industry-specific information and skills. Some sessions take the form of tutor- or student-led seminars in which, typically, writing on an issue or topic are presented to the group followed by in-depth discussion and exploration. In modules where the perspectives of industry professionals is regarded as helpful, guest speakers are invited to share their knowledge and insights. During formal sessions there will be opportunities for you to practice your skills of presentation, debate and oral communication. With reference to the University of Derby Teaching and Learning Strategy your experience will consist of:

As is appropriate for a programme at this level of study, you will develop the ability to apply theoretical principles critically to writing, to show originality in the application of knowledge, demonstrate self-direction in managing projects and solving problems, and to deal with complex issues both creatively and systematically. In order to facilitate your progress toward these goals, the learning and teaching on this programme will be heavily student-centred and carefully modulated to stimulate clear progression and advancement in terms of critical thinking, skills of project management and teamwork, and communication skills.

Formative and summative assessment

During each module you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your levels of knowledge and understanding when completing the various components of the module assessments. These ‘summative’ assessments are detailed in each module specification.

Regular and frequent interaction with module tutors and other students will enable you to demonstrate and deploy your understanding of your own writing, not to mention the theories and concepts being studied, as well as helping you to reflexively evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, abilities and talents. It is in the nature of Master’s programmes that formative activity is a central part of both formal teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials, and the module tutors will be mindful to give you timely and ample feedback on your learning. Formative assessments are not graded.

Who will teach you

Dr Matthew Cheeseman
Programme leader

Matthew Cheeseman is a writer. He works across fiction and non-fiction, drawing on critical theory and cultural studies, often collaborating with others to create books and pamphlets. He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Programme Leader for MA Creative Writing. A folklorist, he researches neoliberalism in post-war popular culture.

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Entry requirements

The entry requirement to this programme is a good honours degree (1st or 2:1) in any subject, or its international equivalent. Applications may be considered if you have a 2:2 honours degree and/or can demonstrate significant experience with creative writing or related industry experience or aptitude. Such students would have plans for a creative project, which they would wish to follow through to completion.

The university welcomes applications from every sector of society. It is important that we get to know you, your aspirations and your expectations. Therefore, before being accepted on to the programme all applicants will be invited to an informal interview to discuss the course, the nature of the programme, and what will be expected of you during it. You may be expected to bring a small sample of your writing, between 1,000 to 2,000 words to this interview, which will normally take place at the university campus, but special arrangements may be made if you have difficulty attending.

While a good, competent all round standard of English is expected, if English is not your first language you will need to have passed the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS) at the overall level IELTS 6.5, including a minimum score of 5.5 in each test category. (Where appropriate the university’s International Admissions office can give further details, including information regarding approved IELTS test centres.) The English language qualification required by this programme is at a higher level than that required for other university programmes: the reason for this is that throughout the MA Creative Writing programme you will have to work with the English language at an advanced level.

Interview information

Fees and funding

2021/22 Fees (August 2021 - July 2022)


£6,300 for the full course or £700 per 20 credits*

£700 per 20 credits


£14,700 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

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International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Important information

When applying you will be required to provide a short sample of your writing. This will be an example of your original writing, in any form or genre (poetry, prose, non-fiction etc). You may have completed this work for your BA or for any other purpose. It may have been published. Please keep the length of the document at approximately 1,000 words of prose or approximately three sides of A4 if in another form such as poetry or scriptwriting. It’s important you keep to the word count. It does not have to be a complete piece and it may be a work in progress. Please attach this as part of your supporting documents.


Considerable care and attention have been devoted to ensuring that graduate employability is a central feature of the MA Creative Writing programme. When recruiting graduates, UK employers place particular emphasis on the specific skills, the professional experience and the area of degree specialisation of students; these are central and fundamental to this programme of study. Not only is the programme orientated towards employability via the prescribed module 'Working as a writer', each pathway imparts specific skills, intellectual abilities and industry-specific knowledge in order to help prepare you for publication, employment, freelance work, self-employment, or business set-up.

Invaluable work experience

You will all have the opportunity to engage in work experience as one of your optional modules. These opportunities are managed by the Creative Writing team in collaboration with the University's Careers and Employment Service. Guidelines describing the coordination and management of work experience are available on the Course Resources page for the programme.  They contain information on safeguarding and details the responsibilities between the programme team, CES, the provider and yourself. In addition, this module is supplemented by our Writing commission module, which gives you the opportunity to write for a specific context or publication.

Transferrable skills for any workplace

Following successful completion of the prescribed modules for each pathway you will have gained a broad-ranging and well-balanced understanding of the key employment functions within the areas in which writers work, from publishing your own work to publishing others’ through to employment as an arts professional. These modules progress and advance your skills and knowledge in your chosen areas and successful completion will equip you to enter more specific roles. Throughout the programme too, your transferable skills will be developed and honed. You will be challenged to think what skills you have developed and can apply in other arenas and be given the opportunity to showcase your work to potential employers.

Beyond seeking employment as a writer or an arts professional, you might wish to consider several other options, and your tutors and the University Careers and Employment Service will be happy to explore these with you. Freelancing, or setting up a business, for example, is a career path chosen by many. By these means, the MA Creative Writing will prepare you for a wide variety of roles and positions. The Careers and Employment Service will advise you on all of these possibilities, while the University also offers business incubation units for graduates.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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