Creative Writing MA

Why choose this course?

With a full programme of workshops and critical study, this Creative Writing MA offers you the chance to work on your own writing in different genres with the support of published practitioners.

The Writers' Workshop module will encourage you to develop your writing 'voice' through engagement with fellow students across a range of genres (in fiction or creative non-fiction), while the Special Study module enables you to specialise in one genre, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama.

This Creative Writing MA will give you the knowledge and confidence to enter the cultural debate and to begin to identify outlets for your own writing.

Our external examiner has rated it highly:

  • 'The Kingston MA is very lively, energised and relevant in its outlook.'
  • 'You are more experimental, adventurous and original than other creative writing MAs in the UK.'

 

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • The Creative Writing MA helps you to develop the craft of creative writing, either on a general level or through specialising in your chosen genre.
  • The creative dissertation and critical essay give you the chance to further specialise. You also explore writing in a range of forms and styles and take a module exploring critical theory and experimental/avant-garde writing.
  • You'll study in workshops, learning one-on-one or in small groups with experts in your chosen area. The course is taught by a combination of:
    • appointed staff - many are published authors or active researchers, which keeps your learning dynamic.
    • peer review - giving you the chance to discuss your own and other students' work in a mutually supportive environment.

What our students say

In this video, one of our creative writing alumna and a current student discuss why they chose the course, what they enjoyed about it and why they'd recommend it to future applicants.

What you will study

You will have the opportunity to develop your creative writing skills in general or specialise in a chosen genre. As well as studying literary criticism and theory, you will also and will look at the professional elements of writing, such as copy-editing and how to get your work published.

Core modules

Optional placement year

You'll be expected to pass all four modules and the dissertation to complete the course.

Core modules

Creative Writing Dissertation

60 credits

This module focuses on your own creative writing and research into your chosen form or genre, developed in consultation with your supervisor. You learn via one-to-one tutorials with your personal supervisor. You produce two pieces of writing:

  • a creative dissertation – a portion of a novel, a body of poetry, a play screenplay or other creative form of no more than 15,000 words; and
  • a critical essay of approximately 3,000 words – considering the relationships between your own writing and the literary contexts/theoretical concerns that inform published writing in your chosen genre or form.

Your supervisor must agree in advance the final structure, approximate word length and for presentation conventions of these pieces.

Special Study: Workshop in Popular Genre Writing

30 credits

This module offers a regular and intensive review of your writing in one of the following genres: poetry, crime writing, prose fiction, biography, drama, scriptwriting or writing for children. You will be advised on how to strengthen your knowledge of the codes and conventions of your chosen genre to produce a substantial piece or collection of work that will reflect your knowledge of and engagement with your chosen genre. You will apply detailed feedback on your work to your writing as well as using your increased knowledge of your chosen genre to make your writing more effective. These elements will help you improve the key transferable skills of analysis and implementation that will feed forward into your dissertation module and into all analytical/practical tasks you subsequently undertake.

Structure and Style

30 credits

This module provides the opportunity to write across three genres - including prose, poetry and playwriting - to teach you how to apply literary techniques from other forms to your own work. It will look at:
• issues of voice, imagery, tone and characterisation;
• elements of narrative, dramatic and lyrical forms; and
• contemporary works – allowing you to master structure and style and understand how a variety of literary forms function.
You will also submit a portfolio of writing exercises in the different genres studied.

Ten Critical Challenges for Creative Writers

30 credits

The module is designed to introduce students to some issues of critical and literary theory. The module is also designed to make students more aware of how their work impacts upon wider literary, cultural, political and philosophical issues. Awareness of these theories and of some of the issues surrounding the production and reception of literary texts will stimulate them, encouraging creative and conceptual thinking.  The module will explore debates about literature and the practice of creative writing through readings of essays and texts that are relevant to criticism and theory.  The academic component of the assessment will support the creative work with the objective that students will also have to demonstrate critical, academic, analytical skills.

Writers' Workshop

30 credits

In this module you will present and discuss your own and each other's work in a weekly workshop. The draft work presented may include several genres and forms, such as crime writing, fantasy fiction, children's literature, historical fiction, science fiction, romance and autobiography. Practical criticism of student writing will be accompanied by discussion of the scope or constraints of the various genres, as well as the implications of particular forms. Attention will be paid to the transferable components of good writing: appropriate use of language, narrative pace, dialogue, expression, characterisation and mood.

Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Tier 4 visa. 

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

We normally expect applicants to have:

  • a second class degree or above, or equivalent, in creative writing, English literature, literature and language, drama or theatre studies or a similar subject; and/or
  • a demonstrable interest in creative writing.

You must also submit a 3,000-word sample of creative writing a personal statement (1,000 words) plus references.

Additional requirements

Interviews

We normally invite applicants for an interview with the admissions director or another senior member of the teaching team. We will ask you to submit a creative writing sample of up to 3,000 words with your application.

 

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with 7.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all other elements. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Portfolios of exercises, edited and revised creative writing with evidence of extensive drafting, essays, presentations, research projects, substantial pieces of creative writing of publishable standard.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 5% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 93 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,707 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Writers Workshop - Module CW7001

  • 22 hours timetabled activity
  • 278 hours guided independent study

Critical Challenges - Module CW700

  • 22 hours timetabled study
  • 278 hours guided independent study

Structure and Style - Module CW7003

  • 22 hours timetabled study
  • 278 hours guided independent study

Special Study in Genre - Module CW7003

  • 22 hours timetabled study
  • 278 hours guided independent study

Dissertation - Module CW7000

  • 5 supervisions
  • 255 hours independent study

How you will be assessed

100% coursework.

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

Workshops normally have between six to 12 students. To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 15–20 students and lecture sizes are normally 10–20. However, this can vary by module and academic year.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £9,200
  • MA part time £5,060

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £14,900
  • MA part time £8,195

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.


Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art. As a student on this course, you will benefit from a lively study environment, thanks to the wide range of postgraduate courses on offer. The combination of academics and practitioners makes it a unique environment in which to further your studies and your career.

The University provides a vibrant and forward-thinking environment for study with:

  • courses designed in collaboration with industry professionals  keeping you up to date with the latest developments;
  • established connections with the London arts and media scene  with a range of guest speakers, professors and lecturers visiting the University; and
  • committed and enthusiastic staff  many of whom are expert practitioners as well as leading academics and researchers.

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

 

Facilities

There is a wide range of facilities at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including the Learning Resources Centre. This offers:

  • subject libraries, plus a free inter-library loan scheme to other libraries in the Greater London area;
  • online database subscriptions; and
  • a growing selection of resource materials.

The Iris Murdoch Archives

Kingston University hosts two major archives relating to Iris Murdoch, a significant philosopher and one of the twentieth century's greatest novelists. These archives currently comprise:

  • Iris Murdoch's Oxford library (more than 1,000 volumes, many of them heavily annotated by Murdoch);
  • the papers, tapes, interviews and manuscripts collected by Peter Conradi, Iris Murdoch's official biographer and Murdoch scholar; and
  • various letter runs and documents donated by well-wishers.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of additional libraries and archives, including the British Library.

After you graduate

Graduates from this course will be qualified to teach upon completion, and will gain classroom experience through teaching the first year undergraduate programme. You'll also write a book-length dissertation which may lead on to publication.

Some of our graduates have achieved notable successes, having published novels, short stories and attracted good literary agents, which were started as part of their degree.

Amy Clarke has just signed a two-book deal. Like Clockwork is a psychological suspense novel about a true crime podcast host who's obsessively trying to solve the decades-old cold case of a notorious Minnesotan serial killer whose victims were each one year younger than the last. It is due to be published in March/April 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with a second book to follow.

Our MA student Seraphina Madsen wrote for the MA Critical Challenges module. It was published in the UK's pre-eminent literay journal, The White Review, and secured her an agent and a book deal.

Stevan Alcock is another MA student whose debut novel – workshopped on our MA – was published by 4th Estate. 

Hannah Vincent is a former MFA student with novels out with Myriad Editions and Salt.

Myriad Editions also run a writing competition each year aimed at finding new writers, with MFA student Karly Stilling winning in 2015. This year the award was won by another current Kingston student, Sylvia Carr. Former MA (now PhD student) Joseph Pierson was a recent runner up.

Julia Lewis is a former MFA student and experimental poet who has gone on to publish a wide range of work. She also rewrote MA tutor James Miller's novel Lost Boys as a collection of experimental poetry.

Stefan Mohamed has gone to have a successful career as a writer of YA fiction. MA student Vicky Newham signed a two book deal for her crime series. Vicky is on the Daggers longlist for the best crime novel by a first-time author. Faiqa Mansab published her debut novel in Pakistan and India to great acclaim.

Other successes include Susie Lynes and Lauren Forry.

Why I chose Kingston

Don't just take our word for it – here's what students say about what it's like to study at Kingston University.

What our students and graduates say

The main reason I've chosen the MA in Creative Writing at Kingston University is the variety of genres you can choose from on the course. I am writing poetry, but I wanted to get involved with people who are writing other things so I could experiment with different genres and learn from them too. The MA in Creative Writing gives me that opportunity and lets me choose workshops that reflect exactly my style of writing.

One of the most useful parts of the course is the Elements of Professional Writing module, which focuses on the practical side of being a writer. It offers advice on everything from how to stay positive to how to present your work to get it published.

Katerina Koulouri

I chose to study at Kingston because unlike many writing courses, it allowed space for both fantasy and children's novels. I especially loved my Children's Literature class.

Another standout was my dissertation tutor, Liz Jensen, who gave me remarkably good and detailed feedback, and the lovely people in my writing workshops. I'm really glad I came to Kingston.

Once I finished my masters I returned to my home country, Ireland, where I write and live by the water. I started writing a fantasy novel for young adults, titled 'The Demon's Lexicon', whilst at Kingston which has since been signed by Simon & Schuster.

Sarah Rees Brennan

This Creative Writing MA course gave me the structure, self-discipline and direction I needed. I've always written poetry  I started when I was just seven  but I have done it in a very unstructured way.

Completing work for the weekly writers' workshops has been very useful. I've attended creative writing evening classes before where we shared our work, but the comments and criticism from other students on the MA is at a much higher level.

Alice Thurling

Links with business and industry

A range of additional events and lectures will enhance your studies and add an extra perspective to your learning. Activities for this course include:

  • a series of masterclasses with publishing specialists and professionals;
  • weekly guest lectures by leading journalists including Samira Ahmed, an award-winning journalist with 20 years' experience in print and broadcast; David Jenkins, editor of Little White Lies, a bi-monthly movie magazine powered by illustration; Richard Moynihan, Head of digital journalism, The Telegraph and Alex Stedman, fashion blogger at The Frugality and former style editor at Red magazine;
  • regular readings through Writers' Centre Kingston, which offers an annual programme of events from talks to workshops and festivals, hosted and curated in partnership with institutions local to Kingston University and in London, from The Rose Theatre to the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, from the Museum of Futures to Kingston First; and
  • regular philosophy lunchtime lectures which focus on a major figure in the history of Western philosophy, introducing students to that thinker's work, usually through the discussion of one of her or his emblematic works.

The literary magazine Ripple is edited by MA students, providing:

  • a platform for the publication of creative work; and
  • a chance to get hands-on experience of the publishing process.

Research areas

Research in English literature and creative writing at Kingston University covers the following areas:

  • 19th and 20th century British and American fiction;
  • fictions of globalisation;
  • modernism;
  • gothic writing;
  • travel writing;
  • narratives of slavery;
  • women's writing from the 18th century to the present;
  • New Woman and fin de siècle fictions;
  • Shakespeare;
  • literature of the English Reformation period;
  • English women's religious poetry during the seventeenth century; and
  • postcolonial studies.

It focuses around the following research initiatives:

  • Iris Murdoch Archive– established in 2004 to oversee research on the Iris Murdoch archives acquired by Kingston University in 2003/04).
  • Life Narratives Research Group (LNR) – bringing together best practice from all genres of life narrative work.
  • Cultural Histories @ Kingston – centred around the concept of the 'cultural text', the group includes scholars from the fields of literature, film, media, history, music, dance, performance, and journalism.
  • Writers' Centre Kingston – a literary cultural centre dedicated to creative writing in all its forms, with an annual programme of events, talks, workshops and festivals.
  • Race/Gender Matters – captures and concentrates research on theoretical, critical and creative engagements with the materiality of race, gender and language.

We also hold regular seminars and host presentations by visiting speakers.