MA Creative Writing

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Engage with writers, editors and agents.
  • Become part of a network of esteemed alumni .
  • Learn from a distinguished team that includes novelists Jeanette Winterson CBE, Ian McGuire, Kamila Shamsie, Beth Underdown, Honor Gavin and Luke Brown; poets John McAuliffe, Frances Leviston, Vona Groarke and Michael Schmidt; and non-fiction writers Ellah Wakatama and Horatio Clare.
  • Discover the rich literary fabric of Manchester, a UNESCO City of Literature, through Literature Live, Manchester Literature Festival, The Manchester Review, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and Manchester-based publishers.
Creative writing

Open days

 Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our  open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £12,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £26,000
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £6,250
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,000

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of  School awards and  Subject-specific bursaries  (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary  offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a 1st within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught masters course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary  is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions
+44 (0)161 275 3098

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

English language

An overall grade of IELTS 7.0 with 7.0 in writing and no skill below 6.5 is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25 and no skill below 22.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

How your application is considered

Entry to the course is competitive and there are always many more applicants than places. Applications are mainly considered on the basis of their portfolio, an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic references and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application.

Because of the competitive nature of this course, we assess applications together at three separate points in the year:

  • In the first two weeks of January (12 January, 2024)

  • In the Easter holidays whenever they fall (25 March, 2024)

  • In the first week of August (9 August, 2024)

You will be notified of the progress of your application shortly after whichever of these dates comes first after you have applied.

On each of these three assessment periods we will offer no more than twelve places, though if you are not offered one of these, you may be offered a chance to become a reserve candidate which could turn into an offer of a place in August if the course is not filled by then. If you apply after the first week of August you will not be considered for a place until the following academic year.

The final submission date for applications for the 2024/25 academic year is 9 August, 2024*.

* Please not that the application form and portal will show a deadline of September 13th for administration purposes only. The 9th August is the final submission date for entry in 2024.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of: 

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:

    Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.



Applicants may defer entry for 12 months provided they contact the admissions administrator before September 1st. Please note that applicants are subject to the fees for the entry year they will start the course.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Portfolio requirements

All applicants without exception must provide a portfolio of either:

  • 3,000 words prose, or
  • 7/8 poems, or
  • a combination of the two.

The portfolio is a fundamental part of the admissions decision making process and it will therefore be assessed by an academic within the department. The final date for submission of a portfolio is the last day in July. Any work submitted with funding applications will not be taken as the final submission for a decision of a place unless specifically requested by the applicant.

Course details

Course description

Study on our MA Creative Writing master's course and you'll be part of the prestigious Centre for New Writing, where we bring together world-famous writers to teach people how to produce novels, short stories, creative non-fiction, poems and screenplays.

It's a place where talented writers and critics can meet to exchange ideas and opinions. The Centre is founded on the simple but important principle that good writing and good reading go together.

The course will see you study literary technique through reading and discussing the work of other contemporary writers in seminars, and you will have the opportunity to develop your own work via regular workshops and individual tutorials. Writers may choose to work on writing a novel and/or short stories and/or creative non-fiction and/or poems.

You'll benefit from seminars with Jeanette Winterson, workshops in fiction and poetry writing led by published, award-winning writers, and intensive, one-to-one instruction from writers-in-residence.

You will also have access to Literature Live, a fortnightly reading series bringing the best contemporary novelists and poets to Manchester, skills-related sessions delivered by professionals in the publishing industry, and regular visits from literary agents and editors.

We work with talented, committed students - whatever their style or genre - and we pride ourselves on giving students detailed, individual feedback both in writing and face-to-face.

Special features

Literature events

Manchester Literature Festival holds literary events across Manchester throughout the year, many in partnership with the University. The Centre for New Writing also hosts a regular public event series, Literature Live, which brings contemporary novelists and poets to the University to read and engage in conversation.

Find out more about literature in Manchester .

The Manchester Anthology

As an MA student at the Centre for New Writing, you will get the opportunity to have a piece of fiction or poetry published in The Manchester Anthology when you graduate.

Learn from experts

You will have the opportunity to engage in masterclasses and regular events with world-renowned Professor of Creative Writing, Jeanette Winterson. We also host a series of talks by visiting agents from the publishing industry.

Find out more about our people .

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods depending on the units you choose, including seminars, lectures and independent study.

Please note that both the full and part-time options are taught between 9am to 5pm. We do not offer evening classes. 

Coursework and assessment

All writing workshops meet for two to three hours per week, and are worth 30 credits. You will also be offered three individual half-hour tutorials per semester to discuss the progress of your writing. Each workshop is assessed by a portfolio of poetry or fiction.

Seminars meet for three hours per week and are also worth 30 credits. They will usually be assessed by one 6,000-word essay or the equivalent.

Over the summer, you will complete a 'dissertation' of 12,000 to 15,000 words of fiction or 15-20 poems. This is worth 60 credits.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

There are no mandatory units as part of this course. Students are required to choose a combination of workshops and seminars based on their individual focus, either poetry or fiction writing.

Semester 1

You may choose to take two workshops - one in fiction writing and one in poetry - or you may take one workshop and one seminar. Typical seminars will be The Art of Short Fiction and Poetics.

Semester 2

Students wishing to focus on poetry writing will take a poetry workshop and a seminar on Contemporary Poetry.

Students wishing to focus on fiction writing will take a fiction writing workshop and a seminar in Contemporary Fiction.


Your dissertation will comprise 15,000 words of your own fiction writing, or 16 to 25 poems.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation (MA) ENGL60010 60 Mandatory
Forms of Fiction ENGL70041 30 Optional
Literature and the Contemporary Literary Industry ENGL71212 30 Optional
Workshop in Fiction Writing I ENGL71411 30 Optional
Workshop in Fiction Writing II ENGL71512 30 Optional
Reading Poems: Lyric and the Anthropocene ENGL71611 30 Optional
Writing Poems I ENGL71721 30 Optional
Writing Poems II ENGL71732 30 Optional
Creative Non-Fiction Workshop ENGL71742 30 Optional
Trans Theory ENGL71831 30 Optional
Publishing: History, Theory, Practice SALC63312 30 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units


Take your inspiration from one of the best university libraries in the country, as well as the Whitworth Art Gallery, the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama and the special collections at the John Rylands Library, which include Shakespeare folios, a Gutenberg Bible and extensive modern literary archives.

Attend lectures and exhibitions at the internationally renowned Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies, as well as cutting-edge research talks at the English Research Seminar and Critical MASS: the American Studies research seminar.

Away from campus, the city of Manchester is home to an excellent network of public libraries , as well as a wealth of literary and arts institutions, venues and attractions such as the Portico Library , the International Anthony Burgess Foundation , Elizabeth Gaskell's House , HOME and Chetham's Library .

You will also find independent publishers such as Carcanet Press, Comma Press, Cillian Press and Saraband in Manchester, along with bookshops such as Blackwell's (which is located on campus), Waterstones, Chorlton Bookshop and Chapter 1 Books.

Manchester Literature Festival holds events featuring an array of authors each year, while other literary events also take place around Manchester throughout the year, including talks and spoken word events.

Learn more about our facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Some students pursue their literary careers and go on to become published writers, while others follow their passion through publishing, journalism and careers in the arts sector.

Other graduates undertake PhD study or follow careers in law, librarianship and teaching. Our alumni include Rebecca Perry, Sophie Hannah, Chris Killen, Alys Conran, Emma Jane Unsworth, Beth Underdown, Alex Allison, Jenn Ashworth, Evan Jones, Katherine Horrex, Rory Gleeson, Joey Connolly and Marli Roode.

Upon successful completion of their course, many postgraduates go on or return to jobs as teachers or librarians, continue their research, or go on to academic jobs. Career paths are extremely varied, and other fields include law, publishing and retail.

Read more about our graduate career destinations .

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .