One year full-time or two years part-time
Two evenings a week full-time or one 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.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings. 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.
- 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.
- 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. Read an account of how our students created the most recent issue. MIROnline is an interactive website, edited by PhD students and volunteers, with all the latest news and writing from this programme and beyond.
- 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.
The programme includes seminars and workshops in fiction and also seminars in contemporary literature.
You take two core modules, choose one contemporary literature core module and choose one 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 modules
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.
Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)
If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
Fees (2017/8)Part-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.
At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.
Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.
Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.
In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.
Methods of teaching on this course
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:
Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).
Indicative class size
Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.
Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:
- academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
- written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
- numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).
Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.
Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.
Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.
Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.
Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.
Methods of assessment on this course
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%).
As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.
Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.
Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.
Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.
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:
- Niki Aguirre
- Sarah Alexander
- Laura Allsop
- Iphgenia Baal
- Amy Bird
- Phoebe Blatton
- Nicole Burstein
- Tray Butler
- Melissa De Villiers
- Liz Fremantle
- AJ Grainger
- Julia Gray
- Emma Henderson
- Sally Hinchcliffe
- Anna Hope
- Heidi James
- Olya Knezevic
- Nik Korpon
- Matthew Loukes
- Suzanne O'Sullivan
- Nii Parkes
- Helen Pike
- Karin Salvalaggio
- Stefanie Seddon.
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.
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).
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