MFA Creative Writing

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Overview

“One of the greatest pleasures of my working life continues to be the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, a department with a real sense of family, achievement and celebration, and an ethos of nurturing and innovation.”

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School

At the heart of the Manchester Writing School are our Masters programmes in Creative Writing, available to study on campus in Manchester, and also from anywhere in the world via online distance learning.

On our Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programme, you will explore and practice techniques and styles of modern and contemporary writing and apply these through the development of your own full-length book. MFA students undertake all of the elements of our MA Creative Writing programme (a taught element blending writing workshops with reading units, an elective, and a dissertation), then take an additional unit about the publishing industry and submit a full-length manuscript: a completed novel, poetry collection, book for children or young adults, or book about place. The MFA is available to complete over two years full-time or three years part-time/online.

You will be introduced to professionals from the publishing industries, which may include literary agents, publishers, broadcasters and arts practitioners, and the School has strong links with many major arts, educational and cultural organisations. Our MFA model is unparalleled in coaching students through the development and completion of a full-length book under the sustained guidance of distinguished, practising writers and seeing those students achieve success in publishing.

You will specialise in one of the following routes:

Applications are also welcome from those already holding an MA in Creative Writing (180 credits) – from Manchester Metropolitan or other universities – who would like to top-up to an MFA by taking an additional 120 credits (including the Manuscript unit). 

Visit the Manchester Writing School for more information about including profiles of staff and published students, news, events and projects.

This course starts in September and January and is available to study both online (part-time only) and on campus.

Please visit our Masters scholarships page for information on funding opportunities.

Find out more about Postgraduate loans

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

The Manchester Writing School is one the UK’'s leading schools of creative writing. It is also home to ground-breaking outreach activities, international writing competitions, series of city-wide literary events, innovative publishing projects, and the Manchester Children’s Book Festival. These activities provide our students with many opportunities to get involved and develop their experience in a number of exciting directions. On completion of this course you may decide to pursue PhD study, or to develop a career in bookselling, agenting, publishing, editing, the media, or teaching creative writing. An unrivalled number of our graduates have become published writers.

Students have access to the Careers and Employability Hub located in the business school, offering a host of information resources, one-to-one careers support and employability events throughout the year. This service is also available for up to three years after you graduate. 

Read a graduate profile

Liz Kessler, MA Creative Writing  

Liz is now a published writer and author of novels, including Poppy the Pirate Dog and Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins?

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

In order to apply, you will need to submit a completed application form, a sample of creative writing, a book review and one reference. You can download an application form here: mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/postgraduate-taught-course.

On the application form, you will be asked to give a personal statement and should use this to tell us a bit about yourself and give a good sense of what you have been reading and writing, and what has led you to apply for our course. For the creative sample, applicants to the prose writing routes (Novel, Children’s/YA, Place) should submit a 2,000-word extract from a novel or short story; poetry applicants should submit up to 15 poems. The book review should be up to 500 words long, focus on contemporary literature, and show evidence of close reading, explaining what it is about the book you find useful as a writer. Both the creative and critical samples should be relevant to the specialist route to which you are applying to (Novel OR Poetry OR Writing for Children/YA OR Place). Your reference can be from anyone of professional standing (e.g. a current or former employer or tutor) who can vouch for your suitability for study at postgraduate level or the quality of your writing, or – if you are unable to obtain a reference from someone who is familiar with your written work – simply verify your identity.

Please collate and submit the application form, writing sample, review and reference, where possible. It will not speed up the processing of your application if you send some elements now with others to follow. We would encourage you to submit electronically to our Direct Admissions team at direct@mmu.ac.uk, although understand that this may not be possible in all cases and can accept postal submissions. You do not need to include copies of certificates from previous qualifications, unless we specifically request them – our admissions tutors will review you application on the strength and quality of the writing in the portfolio submitted.

We have intakes into the programme in September and January each year. While there is no set deadline for the receipt of applications, we would recommend applying before the end of August for September entry, and by mid-December for January entry. We normally aim to respond to applications within four weeks of receipt of all four elements: application form, writing sample, review and reference although it may take a little longer outside of term time.

Each application is allocated to a specialist tutor in the candidate’'s chosen discipline, who reads and assesses it, looking for evidence of:

If your application meets these criteria, the tutor will contact you directly to arrange a telephone or face-to-face interview at a mutually convenient time.

Course details

Year one of our MFA blends writing workshops, where you produce and develop your own work-in-progress with regular feedback from tutors and colleagues, with reading courses, which look at the techniques, forms and styles used by a range of writers in modern and contemporary literature, poetry or non-fiction. All students also take an elective unit from a suite of options which may include: From Historical fact to Contemporary Fiction, Teaching Creative Writing, Writing about Relationships, or an Independent Creative Project. These electives can also be taken separately as discrete short courses. Year one is completed with the submission of a Dissertation – an extended piece of creative writing from a proposed full-length book. This single year of units is spread across two years for part-time and online students.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Reading Units (2 x 30 credits)

You will take two genre-specific Reading units, which look at the forms, themes, styles and techniques used by a range of writers in modern and contemporary literature. Outstanding writing is considered in terms of composition, process and presentation, and its relevance to your own work-in-progress.

Dissertation (60 credits)

This unit will build on and progress material produced during the MA Workshop units. You will compile and edit your creative writing into a substantial, continuous extract from a proposed longer work-in-progress and provide a Genesis Document: an account of the origins of and inspirations for your writing.

The Workshop (2 x 15 credits)

Workshops are led by established practitioners in the specialist literary field (Novel, Poetry, Writing for Children/Young Adults or Place Writing), giving student writers a committed editorial readership of professionals and peers, and generating and developing material for a proposed full-length book. It is expected that the creative work generated will eventually contribute to your Dissertation and Manuscript.

Likely Optional Units

Teaching Creative Writing (30 credits)

This course introduces you to techniques for developing and delivering creative writing workshops in schools and/or community settings, and is designed to encourage participants to produce original writing in a variety of styles and genres. Consideration of key pedagogic theories and analyses of demonstrations will offer background context and enable critical reflection on workshop practice.

Writing About Relationships (30 credits)

This course unit explores writing about love and partnership and is designed to help you gain confidence, avoid cliché and improve the quality of your prose style as you write about human relationships and intimacy. Attention will be paid to dialogue, characterisation, setting and narrative strategy and you will have the opportunity to develop your own writing in creative workshops. The traditional romance genre will be interrogated and its appeal explored.

From Historical Fact to Contemporary Fiction (30 credits)

This course introduces you to the findings of historical experts and the outputs of writers of historical fiction, and considers the possibilities offered by historical records and artefacts to creative writers of historical fiction. The course will combine reading, writing and discussion about historical fiction in a workshop format, and include sessions on reading source material, writing from source material, and the application of forensic science to historical reconstruction. 

Creative Project (30 credits)

On this unit, you devise, scope, plan, conduct, report and reflect on a creative project of your own choosing. The project should involve a significant stretch from your core work on the programme and explore a new practice, either by working in a writing discipline different to your main route through the Masters, or by applying your work in a new context. You will be tested on your project management and reporting skills, particularly your ability to represent your activity and findings within a Project Report.

Year two of our MFA includes the completion of a manuscript for a full-length book within your specialist route, and a series of seminars and Q&A sessions with experts from the publishing industry. This would take place in year three for those studying the MFA part-time.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

The Industry (30 credits)

You will learn and acquire practical information about various aspects of the publishing and related industries through seminars and Q&A sessions with guest speakers. These may include agents, editors, publishers, publicists, booksellers, broadcasters, filmmakers, freelancers, performers, artists and illustrators. Students from all MFA routes take this course together and it is designed to give you a broad overview of the state of the publishing industry as well as some specialist knowledge about opportunities available for those working in your specialist genre, as you complete your manuscript.

Manuscript (90 credits)

On this practice-driven unit, you will complete a full-length manuscript for a book within your chosen MFA route: Novel (or Short Fiction), Poetry, Writing for Children/Young Adults, or Place Writing. The unit will involve ongoing independent writing and editorial work with occasional tutorial support. The final submission will consolidate your learning, research and writing to-date into a fully-realised and complete body of work.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
Assessment

Placements options

The Manchester Writing School is one the UK'’s leading schools of creative writing. It is also home to ground-breaking outreach activities, international writing competitions, series of city-wide literary events, innovative publishing projects, and the Manchester Children’s Book Festival. These activities provide our students with many opportunities to get involved and develop their experience in a number of exciting directions.

Department of English

Our Department of English is a large, vibrant community of around fifty internationally renowned writers and critics, and is home to the Manchester Writing School and Centre for Gothic Studies.

As well as a solid grounding in the traditional core of the subject, the department offers a modern and innovative approach to the study of English, with all strands of its degree programmes offering the opportunity to study abroad for a term.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff

Fees

UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £1417 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Distance learning fee: £1417 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £2584 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2584 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Distance learning fee: £2584 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

£300

Books (novels, poetry collections, children/young adult books, or place books depending on the specialist route of study) for study on Reading units (10 books per unit for two units). Costs spread across years one and two for part-time students. There is also a list of additional, optional recommended reading for each unit students can access much of this via the Manchester Met library (either by loaning books or via the e-book system). All students will require access to a computer in order to undertake their studies (accessing online resources, forums and communication systems). Students can use loan laptops on campus. Students will also need access to broadband internet. While most students choose to purchase these for home use, computers with internet access are available to use on campus. While most assessed work will be submitted and completed electronically, students taking the Dissertation or Manuscript units will be asked to submit printed and bound copies of their work.

Placement Costs

£100

There is an optional summer school each year, where students are invited to spend two full days on campus for a suite of masterclass workshops, talks and social activities. Attendance at the school is free of charge, but students are asked to make their own arrangements for travel, accommodation and food. Some of the elective units will run as intensive residentials over three days on campus in Manchester. This means that online distance learning students, and those who live beyond commuting distance, and who wish to take these particular units, will need to arrange overnight accommodation in the city and make arrangements for travel and food. Students taking the Creative Project unit and undertaking projects which involve creating artwork, producing objects, or travelling to conduct research or interviews, etc. will need to cover the costs of any materials used and also make arrangements for accommodation, travel and food. There may be occasional, optional residential writing weeks held at writing centres across the UK. Students who wish to attend are asked to cover the costs of accommodation, food, travel and tuition for these.

Other Costs

Students may be invited to take part in optional public events (e.g. reading from their own work), or attend meetings for extra curricular projects (e.g. the Rosamond Prize) and are expected to cover the costs of travel, accommodation and food.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Up to £10,609 available to students who live in England

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

Learn more

Want to know more?

How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.

MANCHESTER IS YOUR CITY. BE PART OF IT.

Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Office for Students is the principal regulator for the University. For further information about their role please visit the Office for Students website. You can find out more about our courses including our approach to timetabling, course structures and assessment and feedback on our website.

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