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  • Creative Writing MFA

Creative Writing MFA

Why choose this course?

The first Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in the UK, this course offers talented and aspiring writers the chance to refine their skills under the tutelage of acclaimed professionals while receiving accredited training and experience in teaching in higher education.

You'll develop a unique combination of creative and practical skills on this course, which will prepare you simultaneously for a career as a published writer and an accredited teacher of creative writing.

Our external examiner has rated this course highly:

  • 'This course has developed a strong identity in terms of encouraging students to fuse disparate, varied influences in their work.'
  • 'I'm a fan of this course - well done!'
Mode Duration Start date
Full time 2 years September 2020
Part time 4 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • The Creative Writing MFA (Master of Fine Arts) is designed for serious writers who would like to build upon their publishing record or become a published writer.
  • It uses a practical approach to develop your writing skills and is ideal if your writing is already of a good standard but you want to progress towards producing potentially publishable material.
  • You also have the chance to learn more about professional elements of writing, such as working with agents/publishers and presenting proposals.
  • You can enrol on the MFA at the beginning of your postgraduate degree at Kingston or after completing an MA in Creative Writing (or related subject).

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'll attend writing workshops; examine literary genre and texts; take a module designed to prepare you for the world of publishing; and write a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice in the first year of the course. In the second year you progress to smaller group writing workshops; and take a suite of modules culminating in the University's postgraduate teaching certificate. The extensive one-to-one supervision for the dissertation leading to the MFA (no less than 40,000 words) will be provided by one of the course's permanent staff, one of our distinguished professors.

Creative Writing MFA students can take the Introduction to Learning and Teaching part 1 (ILT1) a non-accredited course run at Kingston University which aims to support new colleagues and PhD students with teaching and learning.

Core modules

MFA students need to complete all four MA modules (120 credits) before they can progress to the MFA (second) year. The MFA dissertation has 120 credits. The option modules and dissertation give you the chance to further specialise and pursue an area of interest in depth.

Core modules

MFA Dissertation

120 credits

This module provides students with one-to-one supervision over an extended period of time (approximately one year for full time students and two years for part time students). The module is assessed in two ways: firstly, by a creative dissertation of 40,000 words that may take the form of a single sustained piece of writing or a collection of pieces from a suitable range of genre; and secondly, by a critical reading log of approximately 4,500 words.

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.

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 good first degree;
  • a sample of creative writing (5,000 words);
  • a personal statement (1,000 words); and
  • references.

Occasionally, a first degree is not required if the standard of submitted writing is high enough.

Teaching and assessment

Book-length creative dissertation; critical reading log of approximately 4,500 words.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, field visits, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

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: 7% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 88 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1112 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation).

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

The MFA dissertation is a 45,000 word creative project plus a 4,500 word critical essay.

Feedback summary

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

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 10-12 students and lecture sizes are normally 8-15. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

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:

  • committed and enthusiastic staff - many of whom are published authors and expert practitioners as well as leading academics and researchers;
  • 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
  • a range of opportunities to take part and attend author events, including readings, poetry festivals, industry masterclasses.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

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

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

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

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 purchased two major archives relating to Iris Murdoch, a significant philosopher and one of the twentieth century's greatest novelists, in 2003/04. 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 Creative Writing 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.

You'll also develop a range of skills desirable to employers, such as communication skills, self-management, meticulousness in editing and presentation, the ability to reflect on one's own work and to respond to constructive criticism, the ability to write for particular purposes and the ability to work constructively with others.

In addition to a possible career as a translator and a writer, particular careers may include work in publishing, journalism, advertising and marketing, film, television, radio, arts management, new media, business, teaching and therapeutic fields.

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:

  • Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies – established in 2004 to oversee research on the Iris Murdoch archives acquired by Kingston University in 2003/04).
  • Centre for Life Narratives – bringing together best practice from all genres of life narrative work.
  • Cultural Histories at 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.

Postgraduate study
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