What Will You Study

The Lancaster distance learning MA has rapidly evolved into an international programme, linking students in the UK and overseas through virtual learning. The programme is mediated almost entirely by online methods with a residential Summer School at its mid-point. You will be a member of a cohort of 18-20 students, exchanging writing in a range of literary forms and critiquing it from different personal and cultural perspectives.

The programme at Lancaster is entirely student-centred and tutorials involve the close critiquing of creative work. We respond to individual needs through the allocation of a personal tutor who will be an expert in your chosen genre. Online conferences enable tutor and peer response within a smaller group of five students.

The course runs on MOODLE, the University's virtual learning environment, and consists of personal tutorials and online conferences. The course begins with a preliminary tutorial in which students introduce themselves and their ideas for an MA writing project. This initial outline forms a flexible framework for their work on the course. The virtual learning environment also provides research training modules and a cybercafé where students can meet and communicate informally.

In each term students submit work for two one-one-one tutorials and a group online conference. Over the course of two years you will participate in 12 personal tutorials and six online conferences, which are designed to stimulate creative work and new critical perspectives. Each creative assignment is accompanied by a commentary, which discusses any difficulties or issues you have encountered, helping to focus your tutor’s response.

Students receive detailed written critiques from their tutor, engaging with both the assignment commentary and the creative work itself. The student’s reflective writing in the final MA portfolio is informed by these exchanges as well as their progress through the research training modules.

After the end of the Summer Term of the first year of the course, a five-day Summer School is held on the Lancaster University campus. This consists of workshops, readings and visits by agents, publishers and writers. This is an opportunity to meet with fellow students in a convivial way. Personal tutorials are also held to review progress. Recent visitors to the Summer School have included Peter Samson (The North/Smith Doorstop), Jim Hinks (Comma Press) and Sallyanne Sweeney (Mulcahy Associates).