100% of students said that they were overall satisfied with this course, according to the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, 2021
The programme offers you a range of tutor and peer-led opportunities to produce new writing and critically reflect on that practice. We focus on the expressive potential and persuasive power of language whilst encouraging you to critically explore texts and their relationship to the world.
- The course will develop writing; be that in prose, poetry, life writing, creative non-fiction, script-writing or in combination or discussion across these forms. In addition, two industry-specific pathways have been developed to focus on employability in specific sectors:
- Creative Writing for Gaming focuses on script and narrative design in digital games.
- Creative Writing with Publishing allows students to work on the production of books by taking two modules from our successful and well-regarded MA Publishing.
The degree without a specialist pathway maintains a strong focus on employability. Everyone gets the opportunity to pitch their work one-to-one to a literary agent. Furthermore, all students receive advice and guidance from working writers who will take you through contracts and tax, the business of publishing and how to run a workshop.
The course gives all students the opportunity to undertake arranged work experience in the arts or in communication. Graduates leave this MA with a portfolio of their own writing, prepared for a career as arts professionals (including but not limited to publication) and progression to doctoral level study.
In 2019/20, students had talks from twenty guest speakers and were able to participate in five writing retreats, each with a guest sharing their approaches to writing and publishing. Our students have learnt from poets and novelists, literary agents and Hollywood scriptwriters. In recent years we have had Dan Abnett, Meg Clothier, Sarah Dunnakey, Tom James, Momtaza Mehri, Natalie Olah, JT Welsch and James Wills.
"The programme continues to provide students with the opportunity to engage in modules that are at once challenging and nurturing, and to develop their skills as writers across a wide range of contexts and in close communication with a clearly dedicated team of staff. The programme’s outlook is striking for its combined emphasis on the practical real-world aspects of being a writer and the possibilities of experiment, conceptual and theoretical interrogation, and creative risk-taking."
—Dr Honor Gavin, External Examiner Report 2020.
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 small workshops, where you read and respond both to published work and the work of peers. You also 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 workshops. Depending on their pathway, students have the option of learning about voice and narrative, critical theory 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.
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:
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.
The teaching on this programme takes a variety of forms, each designed to prepare you for the creative, intellectual and practical challenges you will face. You are taught by tutor-led lectures, where you 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 are 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 consists of:
- Formal lectures, covering contextual/historical/cultural material, technical aspects of writing, guest speakers and readings;
- Small group work, for close reading and editorial/peer feedback, planning discussions, and project work;
- Small group tutorials;
- Individual tutorials (the importance of individual attention to creative writing students should not be underestimated);
- Self-directed learning;
- Mentoring of projects and other work by industry specialists;
- Off campus visits – theatre, performance poetry, readings, talks, galleries or festivals.
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.
Formative and summative assessment
During each module you 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. We privilege creative writing in our assessments, but you also have the opportunity to develop your professional portfolio and try your hand at skills such as ghostwriting.
Regular and frequent interaction with module tutors and other students enables 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 you'll meet
Adrian Buckner is a poet. He is particularly interested in the exemplary power of poetry to inspire students. His most recent collection, Downshifting, was published by Five Leaves Press in April 2107. Adrian is also an extremely enthusiastic amateur cricketer of long experience and notably limited ability.
Dr Chris Callow is a scriptwriter, theatre maker and researcher, and the artistic director of the contemporary Greek and science-fiction theatre company Cyborphic. The focus of his own writing practice is science fiction, utopian/dystopian literature and science fiction theatre.
Dr Matthew Cheeseman is a novelist. He works across fiction and non-fiction, drawing on critical theory and cultural studies, often collaborating with others to create books and pamphlets. He runs the small press Spirit Duplicator and loves making things.
Matt Clegg is a narrative and lyric poet and performer. His creative practice touches on edge-land landscapes, human predicaments (especially the marginalised or disenfranchised), and the relationship between voice, personae, and place. His influences are catholic, including the classics in translation, Romantic, Modernist and contemporary poetry, New Nature Writing, and Psychogeography.
Dr Simon Heywood is a novelist and storyteller. He holds a PhD on contemporary storytelling from Sheffield University’s National Centre for English Cultural Tradition. He is the author of 'The Legend of Vortigern' (History Press, 2012) and 'South Yorkshire Folktales' (with Damien Barker, History Press 2014). He has toured nationally and internationally in live and contemporary storytelling, and is currently engaged in original research on modern and historical Jewish storytelling and oral tradition.
Dr Moy McCrory is a short story writer and creative writing researcher. She is interested in Irish writing with special attention to the role of women within the Irish diaspora. She has also collaborated on a number of graphic novels.
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. You are expected to send a small sample of your writing, between 1,000 to 2,000 words along with your application,
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.
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.
2022/23 Fees (August 2022 - July 2023)
£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 Certificate||60 Credits|
|Postgraduate Diploma||120 Credits|
|MA or MSc||180 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 studies
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out about the Alumni discount
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.
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 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.
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.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
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.
Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.
The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.
Included in your fees
- Your course fee includes any mandatory study visits and some social events
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- There may be minimal printing costs starting at 5p per sheet
Optional costs not included in your fees
- It is possible that you will have minor costs from engaging in work experience
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.