Our Creative Writing MA (Modular) is taught by prize-winning, practising writers such as Paul Farley, Jenn Ashworth and Eoghan Walls, who lead our long-established Creative Writing scheme. You will be part of a vibrant literary community, honing your critical and creative skills whilst engaging with visiting writers and publishing professionals.
You will be able to choose from available modules in prose fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and dramatic forms. All students have the opportunity to perform a creative work at our annual MA Showcase which is a lively and well attended celebration:previous events have been held in partnership with Lancaster LitFest and the Dukes theatre, Lancaster.
You will study our core module, Research Methods and Professional Practice, which examine the professional and ethical issues around creative writing and help you to develop your reflective practice skills. A range of visiting writers and industry professionals visit this module throughout the academic year to give talks about their work.
You can choose from a wide range of Creative Writing modules, including psychogeographies, short fiction, poetry, landscape writing, the lyric essay, and radio drama. Each module features readings, practical presentations on form, genre and technique, peer feedback (verbal and written), and tutor recommendations on how to develop your own work. We offer a wide range of modules however not all modules are available every year.
Your postgraduate degree equips you with a portfolio of work and prepares you for PhD research as well as careers in journalism, publishing, literature and reading development, community arts and public relations. Many of our students have gone on to publish works of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. You will have the opportunity to develop critical, analytical, close reading and editing skills that will also enhance your employability.
Part time and full time study options are available.
You can find further information about our teaching staff on our web pages. Please note that the staff available to teach in any given year is subject to change, for example due to research or other types of leave.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in a Humanities subject is normally required.
We may also consider non-standard applications where you either have a degree in other subjects, or relevant professional experience and/or publications.
Please contact us for more information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
As part of your application you also need to provide
- a portfolio of original writing (no more than 12 poems or 20 pages of prose/scriptwriting) showing potential for publication
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 7.0, and a minimum of 6.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Creative Writing Portfolio
The portfolio module is your opportunity to develop an individual project that will lead to a fully-realised piece of creative work. Typically, you will be supervised by a specialist in your chosen area of interest.
The creative work may be several pieces of short fiction, a radio play, a coherent collection of flash fiction, prose poetry, poetry, an extended personal essay/memoir/autofiction, or a continuous extract from a proposed novel or other book-length work.
- Generate the idea for a piece of creative work in your chosen form
- Propose an independent reading plan
- Draft no more than 5,000 words for initial tutor review
- Develop and edit your creative project and present the finished work to a high standard - as appropriate for your chosen form (eg correctly formatted script)
- Demonstrate your knowledge of relevant form, technique, and process by writing a 3,000 word reflective essay, including a full bibliography
You will receive informal, verbal feedback during regular dissertation meetings with your supervisor. This will include suggestions for reading and research as well as feedback on the development of your creative project. When the portfolio is graded, it will be returned to you with detailed written feedback.
Research Training and Professional Practice in Creative Writing
This module prepares you for your dissertation project and supports the development of the research, scholarly and critical skills that it will require. You will be introduced to the idea of ethical practice and any students working on memoirs or verbatim work will be offered specific guidance. You’ll also explore the ideas, concepts and issues around reflective practice and the vital role of research within creative writing.
We’ll study in a cohesive group, bringing students on combined courses and those following different pathways together to create a wider forum; our discussions will focus on professional practice and research issues.
This module aims to enhance your knowledge of library, archival and online research and develop your understanding of the creative process - taking you from first draft to final submission, including problem-solving strategies for creative blocks or obstacles. The module also places your creative work in the context of a professional literary world.
Indicative study themes:
- Understanding the Research Context
- Library, Online and Archival Research
- Scholarly Conventions
- Creative and Professional Presentation
- Research and Reflective Practice
- The Ethical Researcher
Approaching the Novel
This module will allow you to develop an idea for a novel, select appropriate techniques for developing this idea, and prepare you to complete an extract or series of extracts from a novel in progress. Through reflective exploration of several contemporary novelists, targeted writing exercises and workshops, you will explore voice, point of view, genre, form, setting and place.
Note: this module addresses novels aimed at adults – it is not suitable for students wishing to work on a project for children or young adults. You should come prepared with an idea of what you want to work on from the start of the module.
Note on the reading: you should try to read all the set texts. However, page references for extracts that we will pay close attention to will be provided on the Moodle. You will also be directed towards the texts most relevant to your own project at the start of the course.
Seeing Things: Visualising Poetry
This module aims to do two things: to encourage the student to think about contemporary poems in several different visual dimensions but always from the viewpoint of the practitioner; and it offers an opportunity for them to develop their own work in progress, while at the same time actively promoting their critical reflection upon the process of writing and the visual dynamics a poem can activate and contain. The module admits that the ‘how to’ approach might be of less use when it comes to writing poetry, and instead promotes and explores a wider sphere of influences, encouraging experiment and engagement. A critical exegesis allows the student to reflect upon the decisions made and the effects sought in their creative project. These aims will be achieved through a variety of methods:
The Contemporary Short Story: Expanding the Form
The short story is a complex and malleable form. This module considers the multiple forms and styles of contemporary short fiction from a range of cultural backgrounds and nationalities.
You will have the chance to develop your understanding of short fiction by drawing upon contemporary writers as well as secondary and critical reading - which will also help you to build a critical and theoretical framework around your own writing.
Peer and tutor review, both oral and written, will encourage you to work reflectively as a creative practitioner. And you’ll be encouraged to demonstrate your knowledge of the forms and genres used in contemporary short story writing by incorporating them in your own short story portfolio.
Indicative study themes:
- The longer short story of Alice Munro
- The historical short story (eg ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’)
- Myth and fairy tale in the short story
- Magical realism and the fantastic
- Formal experimentation
- Science and the short story (the Comma Press 'Science into Fiction' Series)
- Politics and the short story
The Personal Essay
This module introduces you to the personal essay: a flexible, hybrid form incorporating elements of cultural and literary criticism, memoir, journalism, fiction and auto fiction. We will explore a number of modes of personal writing, assisting you in the development of a form that best serves your creative intentions.
Taught via literature seminars and creative workshops, you will experience a range of literary techniques, including generative writing prompts and exemplar texts. You will also learn how to respond reflectively and creatively to feedback - to this end, one seminar each term will be replaced by a one-to-one personal tutorial.
Indicative study themes:
- The Writing 'I': developing a voice, the strategic ‘I’, literary personae, authority and double perspective.
- Mode and register: memoir, documentary, reflection and commentary.
- Scene setting and dramatisation: applying creative technique to 'real life' material.
- Finding a subject; the writing self and the world.
- Autofiction, truth and artifice.
- Developing a form: the list essay, the braided essay, collages, fragments and mockuments.Rereading, rewriting, reconsidering: reflective editing and responding to feedback.
Writing Poetry Today
This module looks at poetry culture in the UK and beyond, preparing you to enter the world of the publishing poet by closely examining the prize culture, some of the significant prize- winning collections by new poets over the last few years, and current poetry journals.
You will investigate current trends, having the chance to learn what it takes to get your work read - by editors, publishers and the poetry-consuming public. And you’ll put together a publication package with the aim of building your own portfolio in readiness for the vibrant and varied poetry marketplace - which continues to defy predictions of its demise.
Each seminar will typically be divided into reading and workshopping of your creative work in light of what we've read.
Indicative study texts:
- Seamus Heaney, Seeing Things (Faber, 1991)
- Sarah Howe, Loop of Jade (Chatto 2015)
- Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet 2014)
- Sam Riviere, Kim Kardashian's Marriage (Faber 2015)
- Andrew McMillan, Physical (Cape 2015)
- Max Porter, Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber 2015)
- The Current Forward Anthology for that year
- A series of poetic journals (as chosen by your cohort)
- Michael Symmons Roberts, Drysalter (Cape 2013)
- Sinead Morrissey, Parallax (Carcanet 2013)
Writing Radio Drama
The aim of this module is to enable you to write drama for radio, developing your own scriptwriting style and gaining an awareness of the professional requirements of the genre. We will study exemplar radio dramas and use them to contextualise the creative choices in your own work whilst also exploring the effects of different structural and stylistic approaches.
Peer and tutor feedback will guide the development of your creative portfolio as you work towards a single radio drama script of 25 pages. Reflective practice will help you to develop the art of redrafting and editing and you will pen a 1,000-word essay placing your experience of this in the context of radio drama.
Taught through a combination of seminars and workshops, we will initially focus on the key elements of writing for radio, with weekly tasks corresponding to study themes. Latterly, we will move on to more intensive workshopping of your own work.
Indicative study themes:
- The radio landscape
- Navigating through and creating soundscapes
- Character creation and character voice
- Story structure
- Status shifts
- Script format (and software resources)
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
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Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2023 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Fees in subsequent years
The University will not increase the Tuition Fee you are charged during the course of an academic year.
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year's duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. The way in which continuing students' fee rates are determined varies according to an individual's 'fee status' as set out on our fees webpages.
English Literature/Creative Writing
- Creative Writing PhD
- Creative Writing (Distance Learning) MA
- Creative Writing with English Literary Studies MA
- English Literary Research MA
- English Literary Studies MA
- English Literary Studies with Creative Writing MA
- English Literature PhD
- English Literature and Creative Writing PhD
- Gender and Women's Studies and English MA
The information on this site relates primarily to 2022/2023 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.