MAIntermediate award(s): PG Dip, PG Cert
Course overviewThis course is aimed at practising writers who have a commitment to developing their writing. We offer a relaxed and stimulating literary and intellectual environment in which you can develop a better understanding of your work through critical reflection. The focus is on your own work in progress and you are encouraged to specialise in your chosen genre. The course investigates the technical mastery of creative writing in the short story or novel, poetry or screenwriting. We encourage you to broaden your appreciation of a range of traditional and experimental literary forms.
We also work with you on the business side of writing. We provide mentoring and host a series of talks, masterclasses and networking opportunities with agents, publishers and established fiction writers. Our MA Publishing is a founding member of CAMPUS: Cambridge Publishing Society, which has a wide membership from throughout the industry. No MA can guarantee publication, but this course addresses the creative, critical and professional development needed for a career as an author.
Past tutors and guest lecturers have included writers such as Rebecca Stott, Toby Litt, Shelley Weiner, Martyn Waites, Julia Bell, Chris Beckett, Graham Joyce and Esther Freud.
Course convenor Laura Dietz is a working author and published novelist, as are Dr Colette Paul, Una McCormack and Caron Freeborn, who also teach on the course. Regular mentoring sessions with our Royal Literary Fund fellow are also available.
Additional course informationThe four core modules for the MA Creative Writing provide you with practical workshops and tutorials, as well as the chance to study historical, theoretical, and formal contexts for contemporary fiction writing. The course also supplies networking opportunities, mentoring, and professional advice on the publishing industry, agents, and the literary marketplace.
To graduate, you must successfully complete four modules and submit as a final project a portfolio of work plus a critical commentary. You must take at least three of the four core writing modules.
Two-book publishing deal with Simon & Schuster
“People ask whether the MA made any difference to my writing and whether it helped me to get published. The answer to both questions is yes. As well as the taught workshops and tutorials, which challenged us to take risks with our work, there was the exchange of ideas and feedback afforded by being amongst like-minded people (students as well as tutors). The opportunity to consult a Royal Literary Fellow for feedback on our work, was an added bonus, as were the many extra lectures in subjects I might not have otherwise considered, such as the screen writing workshop and the Science Fiction evening.
There is no doubt that meeting and talking to professional writers is one of the most useful ways of learning about the industry and where to target your work and the MA provided this opportunity as well, through its employment of working writers as tutors.
I chose the part -time option, and it was a most rewarding two years. I am extremely grateful to those who encouraged me to complete it, and would urge others who take their writing seriously to consider taking the MA in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin.
This module considers fiction through the lens of the dominant contemporary form: the novel. It examines the history of the novel from the 18th Century to the modern day, exploring changing social and commercial contexts. You will practice as well as study the patterns of story that emerge and re-emerge at particular cultural moments. Through the reading and discussion of landmark novels, and works on the history and structure of the novel by writers such as Jane Smiley, Christopher Booker, John Mullen and Dorothea Brande, you will debate what it means to write novels and to be a writer, as well as considering the ways in which some contemporary writers use and reuse much older forms of storytelling.
On this workshop-based module you will study the techniques of novel writing. Specific elements such as characterisation, dialogue, and setting will be presented in seminar and reinforced with exercises and discussion. Detailed peer critique will provide you with a range of feedback, but also with experience in evaluating and troubleshooting contrasting works in progress. This module will also incorporate practical advice on agents, the marketplace and how to get work published.
This module will use a similar format to Workshop: The Novel to explore the techniques specific to short story writing. Students will examine the possibilities and challenges of short fiction, reading authors from Chekhov and James to Raymond Carver and Alice Munro alongside the work of peers. Exercises, presentations and tutorials will explore the issues particular to each student's experiments in the form. As the module progresses, you will reflect critically on your own writing, that of your peers, and on developing critical judgement.
This module gives you the opportunity to study a specialised genre with one or more practitioners. Recent topics have included Genre Fiction (focus on crime and mystery) and Writing for Performance, including units on writing for the stage, screenwriting, and performing one's own work. Future topics might include Writing for Children, Creative Non-fiction or Poetry.
- Several options are available from the MA courses in:
- Film Studies
AssessmentIn addition to weekly reading, writing exercises and peer critiques, you will submit one piece of writing of up to 4,500 words for each module you take, plus a critical reflection on your work and your writing process. The final project, due at the end of the course, requires a portfolio of up to 15,000 words (including the critical commentary).
Individual tutorials are built into each module. You can consult a Royal Literary Fund fellow for additional one-to-one work on your writing.
FacilitiesOur department organises activities such as masterclasses, talks by authors, agents and publishers, a three-day Stratford-upon-Avon theatre study trip; frequent poetry readings; regular literary events organized by the Literary Society; one-day symposia and conferences. We also host CAMPUS events as founding member of Cambridge's only Publishing society.
Our campus libraries offer a wide range of publications and a variety of study facilities, including open-access computers, areas for quiet or group study and bookable rooms. We also have an extensive Digital Library providing on and off-site access to e-books, e-journals and databases.
We endeavour to make our libraries as accessible as possible for all our students. During Semester time, they open 24 hours a day from Monday to Thursday, until midnight on Friday and Saturday and for 12 hours on Sunday.
Our open access computer facilities provide free access to the internet, email, messaging services and the full Microsoft Office suite. A high speed wireless service is also available in all key areas on campus. If you are away from campus or a distant learner, our student desktop and its many applications can be accessed remotely using the internet. Your personal student email account provides free document storage, calendar facilities and social networking opportunities.
Throughout your studies you will have access to our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), providing course notes, reading materials and multi-media content to support your learning, while our e-vision system gives you instant access to your academic record and your timetable.
Special featuresOur department was awarded an 'excellent' in the last national assessment of teaching quality and 95% of the work submitted in the last Research Assessment Exercise (in 2008) was judged to be of international standard, with 60% judged to be either 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading'. This places us amongst the top departments in the country for teaching quality and research expertise. We offer a wide-ranging research seminar series of papers by staff and visiting speakers. You are welcome to attend and to present your own research.
Related linksHead of Department video interview
Further success for our Creative Writing graduates
Kaddy has her eyes on the Picador Prize
MA Creative Writing graduate secures publishing deal
MA Creative Writing student wins National Galleries of Scotland prize
Anglia Ruskin creative writers secure four nominations for book prize
“2009 - shortlisted Mslexia Short Story Competition
2009 - longlisted Fish Short Story Competition
2010 - First Prize, published adults category, National Galleries of Scotland
2011 - Escalator Award
Taking the MA in Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin University is, without doubt, one of the best decisions I have made in recent years. The MA has been pivotal to my development as an early career writer. It has provided me with a core set of skills on which to build, and feedback to enable me to refine my work - to find its hard, bright edge. One of the most valuable aspects of the course has been the opportunity for me to develop my interest in art and writing.
I failed English Literature at school and I don't have a literary background, so putting my work 'out there' alongside published writers was extremely daunting. I want to thank the students I work with, because I have had great support from them, and the teaching staff on the MA who have shown me tremendous encouragement.
Associated careersThis course will help prepare you to pursue a career as an author, or in related areas such as publishing and the media.
Escalator Award 2010
“After 30 years as a teacher in the north of England, embarking on an MA in Creative Writing in Cambridge was a daunting prospect, so I regard myself as fortunate to have chosen Anglia Ruskin University. As a mature student, I was relieved to find that I was not the only older member, and I enjoyed the wide range of backgrounds and interests in the group.
I loved all aspects of the course, finding both teaching and workshop discussion stimulating, and additional mentoring invaluable. Thanks to the expertise, support and encouragement of tutors, I was able to complete the course successfully in one year (full-time) and to develop independently as a writer, with a first novel almost ready for publication.
Selected as Granta New Poet 2012; Winner of the Crashaw Prize for Poetry 2011; Shortlisted Picador Poetry Prize 2011; Short story shortlisted by Tracy Chevalier for the Mslexia Short Story Competition; Poem shortlisted for Fish Poetry Competition; Poems published in Spilt Milk, Mslexia, Brigid's Fire and forthcoming in The Raconteur; Accepted by Faber Academy.
“I decided to study for an MA in Creative Writing during maternity leave after my second child. I had previously worked as a television scriptwriter, but was keen to explore my ability to write original fiction. I chose Anglia Ruskin University primarily because it was a practical location for me with a young family, but I was also excited that it was a brand new course that the students would be able to make their own, and this has certainly been the case.
I have found both the teaching and workshops to be of a very high standard at Anglia Ruskin University. Modules have felt well structured while being friendly; well managed without being intimidating. I have enjoyed participating in extra seminars run by visiting writers as well as regular mentoring sessions with the Royal Literary Fund fellows. My writing has benefited enormously from debates, critiques and editing over the past two years, both from my peers and my tutors. I can see a huge development in my writing and have recently had several pieces published in literary magazines.
Portfolio and application requirementsYour writing portfolio should contain up to 3,000 words of your recent writing. Normally this should be fiction, as the primary focus of the course is on fiction writing. It may be a single short story or several shorter pieces or, it could be an extract from a longer work.
You should accompany your portfolio with a letter of application of no longer than two pages. This should set out your answers to the following questions:
- Why have you chosen this piece of writing for us to consider?
- What are its strengths and weaknesses as a piece of writing?
- Why might we want to offer you a place on the course?
- What experience of fiction writing do you have?
- What are your hopes and expectations of the course?
How to apply
Teaching times*Mon or Thurs 6-8pm
Available startsSeptember, January
Fees & funding
Open DayWednesday 19 March
Postgraduate Open Day
Advice & supportEmployability
FacultyArts, Law & Social Sciences
DepartmentEnglish, Communication, Film and Media
Contact usUK and EU applicants:
- Call 01245 493131
- Complete enquiry form
- Call +44 (0)1223 698609
- Complete enquiry form
* Teaching days are subject to change each academic year. Timings are also dependent on any optional modules you chose and are for guidance, so we advise all applicants to wait until they are in receipt of their timetable before making arrangements around course times.