MA Creative Writing
School of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Our MA courses give you the chance to explore the subjects you love with the guidance of leading researchers. The range of options available means you can design the masters you want.
Our staff are highly respected researchers, critics and writers. They’re also passionate, dedicated teachers who work hard to make sure your masters experience is as rich and rewarding as possible.
We believe the study of language, literature and art is vital to our wellbeing as a society. All our research, our teaching and our pioneering work with communities, reflects this ethos.
About the course
You’ll study contemporary creative writing and develop your skills in different genres and styles.
You’ll also develop and explore your own writing through practical workshops.
You’ll complete two core modules, optional modules and a dissertation. Your final portfolio of work may take the form of short stories, a novel extract, script or poetry.
Our teaching team includes poet and broadcaster Professor Simon Armitage, poet and translator Dr Agnes Lehoczy and highly respected editor and scholar Professor Adam Piette.
Choose two from:
A range including:
Fiction writers and dramatists: 12,000 words of creative work. Poets: 50 poems or equivalent. All students complete a 3,000-word critical essay.
Part-time students usually take one taught module in each semester. In the second year, you'll also take a dissertation module. For most courses, you'll need to come in for one half-day per week.
This course is taught in the evening. We try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the different needs of our students.
A good first degree (2:1 or above, or the equivalent) in English literature, language, linguistics, or a related discipline, for example history, philosophy, modern languages.
English language requirements
International students need a minimum IELTS score of 7.5 and a minimum of 6.5 in all other components.
Fees and funding
There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by the University. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring. For details, see our website.
There is always something going on, and there are plenty of chances to get involved. We have extensive links with arts and heritage organisations including Arts Council England and Sheffield Theatres. Recent poetry readings featured Carol Ann Duffy and Ciaran Carson.
Our Arts/Science Encounters events bring together musicians, writers, architects and academics to explore ideas. The English Society, run by our students, organises theatre trips, guest lectures and seminars. Students also get the chance to take part in drama and readings.
The University Library subscribes to the major periodicals and full-text electronic archives, including Early English Books Online and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online.
Special collections include an outstanding collection of Restoration drama, the Hope Collection of eighteenth century periodicals, the Jack Rosenthal scripts collection, and papers of contemporary writers such as Anita Brookner, Marina Warner, Fay Weldon and Peter Redgrove.
Our graduates are published poets, literary prizewinners and critics. We see you following in the footsteps of alumni such as Ann Sansom, Chris Jones, Andrew Bailey and Ben Wilkinson.
Research training for PhD
If you intend to progress to a PhD, your course can be tailored to include essential research training. The same applies to students on the online course.
We're based in a brand new building at the heart of the campus. There are computer workstations especially for postgraduates and a DVD library with viewing facilities.
Our theatre workshop is a fully equipped teaching/performance area with excellent film-viewing facilities and audio suites.
What made you choose to come and teach at the University of Sheffield?
I love the city for its pride and work ethos and propensity towards participation and performance – be that in music, literature, even politics. And I’d been working with the University as part of a community- based project for about a year, so everything seemed to click. Academically the department I’m working in is very strong, and I’m keen to make poetry and creative writing one of its core activities, something it’s recognised for.
Which masters courses do you teach on?
The Creative Writing MA.
Can you explain how your work feeds into the teaching?
A case of preaching what I practise, I suppose. But even though the course is about writing, the real focus must also always be reading. You need to work out which gods to worship and which monsters to avoid. You can’t be a writer without being a reader.
What inspires you to do the work you do? Where does your passion come from?
From language, from wanting to communicate and express myself, from believing in poetry as an enduring mainstay against the white noise of everyday life.
Can you recall a moment of discovery, perhaps in your childhood, or from your own student years, when you first realised that this was what you wanted to do?
Reading Ted Hughes at school – the light bulb went on. I didn’t know the world was such an interesting place, and hadn’t realised that it could be represented, even recreated, by these small, dense fragments of language. It didn’t make me want to study English – my learning took a different route, towards more orthodox forms of employment – but it confirmed me as a reader of poetry, and perhaps inevitably the writing followed. Eventually.
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.
If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:
Dr Madeleine Callaghan