1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
2 evenings a week full-time or 1 evening a week part-time, October to September
Have you been writing creatively for a while and feel the need for some professional support? Do you wish to be read by like-minded people? Do you sense that you can write but struggle with the mechanics of form and structure? Do you harbour a desire to see how far your writing can get you? Do you dream of being a published author?
For 13 years, our MA Creative Writing has been enabling students to achieve some, if not all, of these goals. In 2016 alone, 11of our graduates published novels with major publishing houses
The course is taught through small, dynamic seminars and one-to-one tuition. We offer modules in fiction writing and options in playwriting, poetry, screenwriting and creative non-fiction.
All teaching is done by regularly published and produced award-winning writers, who will help you strengthen and professionalise your identity as a writer. Students have opportunities to interact with publishers and agents to broaden their understanding of the market and will be eligible to submit work for publication in the annual Birkbeck Creative Writing journal, The Mechanics' Institute Review and MIROnline.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
- Aims to develop the craft of fiction at a professional level and includes practical courses on publishing, producing and editing creative work.
- In addition to working with the established writers who teach the degree, you will have contact with industry professionals, such as publishers and literary agents, who offer a series of platform discussions in the summer term.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
- Our Department of English and Humanities is a lively centre of world-class research and teaching.
- Our annual creative writing magazine, The Mechanics' Institute Review, is edited by Birkbeck MA Creative Writing students and features writing from the course as a showcase for the degree, with wide distribution beyond Birkbeck to literary agents, publishers, etc.
- The Kit de Waal Scholarship provides a fully funded place for one student to study part-time on the Birkbeck Creative Writing MA over two years (2016-18). Applications open on 10 November 2015 and close on Monday 15 February 2016.
- We also offer the Sophie Warne Fellowship to help with the cost of tuition fees. The Fellowship includes one fee remission award of £3500 for an outstanding student admitted onto the MA Creative Writing. Deadline for admissions applications, with a 2000-word writing sample: September 2016.
- The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
- Read an account of how our students created the most recent issue of The Mechanics' Institute Review.
- MIROnline is an interactive website, edited by PhD students and volunteers, with all the latest news and writing from this programme and beyond.
- Find out more about our range of world-class research resources.
- Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.
The programme includes seminars and workshops in fiction and also seminars in contemporary literature.
You take 2 core modules, choose 1 contemporary literature core module and choose 1 option module from a selection. You can also select your spring term option from any of those offered by the other MA programmes in the Department of English and Humanities.
You also complete a dissertation of 15,000 words.
To find out more, read our programme handbook.
Contemporary literature core module
MA Creative Writing Dissertation
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
A good honours degree (this requirement may be waived if you can demonstrate exceptional talent).
A portfolio of writing of around 5000 words and a personal statement (to be submitted with your application form). Students are selected on the basis of their portfolio and statement, an interview (selected candidates only) and their degree.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
Teaching is seminar-based. Each session is generally two hours, and there are further regular one-to-one tutorials throughout the year.
You will taught by successful, published authors and practitioners, including:
Four short creative pieces with critical essays (50%). A dissertation (15,000 words) in one of the following genres: a novella, novel or collection of short stories, with a preface of 3000 words (50%).
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Birkbeck Creative Writing graduates include:
- Sally Hinchcliffe
- Niki Aguirre
- Heidi James
- Matthew Loukes
- Iphgenia Baal
- Nii Parkes
- Emma Henderson
- Liz Fremantle
- Anna Hope
- Karin Salvalaggio
- Olya Knezevic
- Phoebe Blatton
- Melissa De Villiers
- Nik Korpon
- Louise Lee
- Tray Butler
- Helen Pike
- David Savill
- Laura Allsop
- Sarah Alexander
- A. J. Grainger
- Julia Gray
- Nicole Burstein
- Jules Grant
- Amy Bird
- Stefanie Seddon
- Fiona Melrose
Graduates go in to careers in editing, teaching and writing professionally. Possible professions include creative writer, magazine or newspaper journalist, or editorial assistant. This degree can also be useful in becoming an academic librarian, English as a second language (ESOL) teacher, or information officer.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Please submit a portfolio of writing of around 5000 words with your application form. This can be a couple of short stories or a section of a novel with a synopsis (or a combination of the two). Please note that this MA is fiction-focused, with some provision for life writing, poetry, playwriting and screenwriting; however, the portfolio should be in the genre of fiction.
Applicants must also submit a personal statement (approximately 1000 words), in which you discuss your current writing, present ideas for future projects and place your work in the context of contemporary writing. The portfolio and personal statement can be uploaded into the online application form.
Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
We begin considering applications in January, and, although we will accept applications until September, applicants are encouraged to apply by 1 June as the programme is very popular.
Selected candidates will be invited to interview (interviews are held throughout the spring and early summer).
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
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