School of Society and Culture

MA Creative Writing

Do you want to develop your own original writing whilst engaging with the best contemporary work being published? You’ll refine your craft with guidance from the award-winning writers who teach on this workshop-based MA, as well as from visiting writers. Make the most of an opportunity to produce a substantial written project in a nurturing, creative environment. The writing skills you’ll develop will help ensure that, upon graduating, your work is ready for submission to publishers and agents.

Key features

  • Develop your confidence and writing skills in an environment supportive of creative work.
  • Produce a substantial writing project which you can submit to publishers and agents.
  • Benefit from the depth of experience and knowledge shared by our staff, including several award-winning writers, and visiting writers.
  • Expand your own writing experience through submitting work to student publications such as Ink, and the University press published literary journal, Short Fiction. Get involved with professional organisations such as The Arts Institute.
  • Increase your critical self-awareness on a programme designed to round you as a writer.
  • Enrich your learning experience through workshop-based seminars that allow you to explore the diverse strands of creative writing, from stories to screenplays.

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • You’ll attend four workshop-based seminars, detailed below. Throughout the term you’ll submit your best work in an environment dedicated to writing success. Writing is complemented by the reading of established authors in order to give you that all-important sense of literary context. Experienced tutors lead small seminars exploring the nuances of craft and the compositional process. We believe that all kinds of writing can inform each other, and ensure you study fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and dramatic writing (for stage and screen), before settling down to write your dissertation in a singular mode. Your dissertation will comprise a collection of poems, a stage or screen-play, or 20,000 words of prose from a story collection, novel or creative non-fiction. The ultimate goal is to help you to take your private writings to the public sphere. Full-time students take two modules per term, while part-time students take one module per term.

    Core modules

    • Fiction: Stories and Novels (CWMA701)

      This module aims to benefit student fiction writing via workshop methodology (whereby students submit and receive feedback on their fiction from tutor and peers). Weekly reading of published authors will be discussed as a way to further student understanding of the art and craft of fiction writing.

    • Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction (CWMA702)

      This module aims to benefit student poetry and creative non-fiction writing via workshop methodology (whereby students submit and receive feedback on their fiction from tutor and peers). Weekly reading of published authors will be discussed as a way to further student understanding of the art and craft of poetry and creative non-fiction.

    • Dramatic Writing: Stage and Screen (CWMA703)

      This module aims to benefit student writing via workshop methodology, whereby students submit and receive feedback on their dramatic writing. We will also be reading published authors and viewing productions as a way to further understand the art and craft of dramatic writing.

    • The Business of Writing: Before and After Dissertation (CWMA704)

      Students will develop and submit a 'dissertation project' over the course of this module, including a 'description of project', 'research methods', 'research context', 'ethics statement' (if applicable), 'publishing outlets', and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. They will also develop and submit a sample of work-in-progress, i.e. work which will inform or constitute part of their dissertation.

    • Creative Writing Dissertation (CWMA705)

      Students will undertake and complete an approved creative writing project such as a collection of poems or stories, a play or film-script, a non-fiction narrative, a section of a novel, a digital project, or an 'artist's book'. Projects requires 15,000 new words; i.e. words which have been previously unassessed, or equivalent if written in form more economical with words (such as poetry).

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Creative Writing programme specification 2810

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to attend an informal interview with the Programme Leader. Further details will be communicated once an application has been received.
Evidence of your writing ability is required. A sample of no more than ten pages of original writing must be submitted with all applications.
For entry to postgraduate level, you should normally possess:
first or upper second (2:1) degree with honours or professional qualification, recognised as being equivalent to degree standard;
an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma, or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field.
If you have overseas qualifications you can check your comparability with Ecctis, who provide an advisory service.
English language requirement 
If English is not your first language then evidence of English proficiency is required. The level of proficiency that is required can vary with the type of programme you’re applying for. We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary. For further advice on the relevance of overseas qualification and proficiency in English, please contact our International Office. 
The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 7.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,700
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £510 £540
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% or 20% discount on tuition fees for home students 
  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students 

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full.
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance. 
Disability Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page). 
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeksof us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. 
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Admissions policy
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
"At the beginning of the course I was unsure of myself as a writer, I’d never studied creative writing academically before and I’d never shared my writing with others. The first time I handed my work over to the rest of the class to read and critique was scary but the experience proved incredibly valuable. Workshop sessions were always informal, encouraging, the tutors supportive, and I was able to explore how I wrote and developed my skills. They also gave me confidence to push against my boundaries."
Katherine Glew, MA Creative Writing

Graduate profile – Tom Vowler

"I found it thrilling to be around creative people, where risk taking and debate were encouraged, the craft of writing deconstructed and challenged."
Since graduating from MA Creative Writing, Tom won the international Scott prize in 2010 and the Edge Hill Readers Short Story Prize 2011.
Tom Vowler

INK journal

Published by the University of Plymouth Press, and supported by English and creative writing staff, INK is entirely edited and produced by our students.
The process of producing INK is as important as the end product. It’s the chance for you to publish your creative work in a literary magazine.

Writing my own story

“On the MA Creative Writing programme, not only did my confidence in myself and my ability grow, I felt like I found a place I belonged. I felt in sync with their ethos – to grow together, to take risks and challenge yourself. 
 “To share ideas with peers, to bounce and mould a first draft into a final one, was always a rewarding challenge.”
Getty image of trees, forest, woodland 636753858

English and creative writing research

Our staff have published extensively and internationally across a diverse range of fields in literary criticism and creative writing.
We are part of a thriving community of researchers covering arts and humanities disciplines, supported by the University's Arts Institute.

Creative writing commission: Recovery

"Recovery is feeling at home in the peace and acknowledging the chaos"
At the start of the summer of 2020, as the UK began to emerge from lockdown, we set our English and Creative Writing students a writing brief to look to the future and produce work on the theme of ‘Recovery’.
Flower growing through cracked wooden plank.

Professor Anthony Caleshu talks about his writing, editing and research of contemporary poetry, as well as his teaching of creative writing in this short video.

Plymouth's creative writing experience

New to creative writing or looking to expand your talents? 
No matter the level of study you want to pursue – undergraduate, masters, PhD – the creative writing experience at Plymouth allows you to explore every possible aspect of writing.
Ready your writing for submission to the world. Discover your voice and refine your craft with our thrilling series of study opportunities.
Writing in a notepad on the cliffs overlooking a beach