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 craft under the tutelage of acclaimed professionals and develop a unique combination of creative and practical skills on this course, in preparation for a career as a published writer.

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 2022
Part time 4 years September 2022
Location Penrhyn Road

2021/22 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

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. 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.

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 2:2 or above honours degree
  • a sample of creative writing (5,000 words)
  • a personal statement (1,000 words).

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

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 at least 5.5 in each remaining element. 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

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 involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents 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: 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.

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

Fees for this course

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £9,620
  • MFA full time £9,620
  • MA part time distance learning £5,291
  • MA part time £5,291
  • MFA part time £5,291

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £15,800
  • MFA full time £15,800
  • MA part time £8,690
  • MFA part time £8,690

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MFA full time £9,430
  • MFA part time £5,187

International 2021/22

  • MFA full time £15,400
  • MFA part time £8,470

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet you can use around campus and in halls of residence. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

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:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

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

In addition to a possible career as 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.

Changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19

Course information (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Composition of the course

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Modules

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.

In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.

Entry requirements (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.

Teaching (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.

If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.

Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.

‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.

In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Assessment (changes for 2021/22 entry)

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.

Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.

Staff (changes for 2021/22 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.

If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.

The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2021/22 entry)

We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.

In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2021/22 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.

Accreditation

The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.

Additional (changes for 2021/22 entry)

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government's advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.