MA Creative Writing

Overview

Join staff and students from around the world in the School of English. The variety of fresh perspectives you’ll find here will make your masters a unique experience.

MA Creative Writing

World-class teaching and facilities

The MA in Creative Writing grew out of our MA in English Literature and has now established itself as a highly successful programme in its own right. We are the only programme in the UK that offers students both training in creative writing and an MA in English Literature. 

Our current staff are all active and internationally recognised authors, academics and creative forces in their fields; previously, our students were also taught by Dr Vahni Capildeo, Professor Simon Armitage, Dr Honor Gavin and Professor Denise Riley.

Your future

This MA can help develop your creative writing to publishable levels of quality, providing a positive and nurturing environment for confident, imaginative development of poetry, prose, non-fiction, drama. The team of creative writing staff prides itself on the friendly, expansive and supportive framework of the course as well as the creative environment generated by the workshops and literary events. Writers on the course will benefit from the literary culture at Sheffield and be involved in readings, publications and festivals throughout their time with us. Many on the course stay on to do a PhD in Creative Writing with us.

We see our students following in the footsteps of graduates such as Ann Sansom, Chris Jones, Cliff Ashcroft, Eleanor Rees (all of whom have published two or more collections), Claire Lockwood (published in Poetry Review), Andrew Bailey (winner of the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize).

Affiliated Publications and Research Groups

Route 57
Blackbox
Centre for Poetry and Poetics

Fast facts

Title: MA Creative Writing

Award: Master of Arts

Duration: Full-time - 1 year, Part-time - 2 years

Entry: Minimum 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent. Overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

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Content

The poetry and fiction modules workshops will cover genre-specific skills and commission new work from students. Students will have the opportunity to close read one another's work, as well as receiving feedback from the tutor.

The workshops are accompanied by a series of other workshops, readings and events organized by the creative writing team involving guest writers and workshop leaders, involvement in festivals (Off the Shelf, the Sheffield Poetry Festival, etc.). Students are encouraged to publish their work and to set up student-led, peer-feedback editorial sessions.

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Full-time structure

A full-time student will follow the model of study below:

Semester 1

Either two creative writing modules, one poetry another fiction; or one creative writing module and a module taken from the general MA in English Literature

Semester 2

Either two creative writing modules, one poetry another fiction; or one creative writing module + a module taken from the general MA in English Literature

Then the completion of a dissertation: worth 60 credits, 80% creative and 20% critical reflection. The word count for fiction will be 12,000 words of creative work and a 3,000 word critical essay. For poetry the word count will be 20-30 poems or equivalent (roughly 600-1000 lines) and a 3,000 word critical essay. Mixed portfolios are welcome. You start your dissertation in May and submit in August.

Part-time structure

A part-time student will follow the model of study below:

Year one

One module per semester; for the year as a whole, either two creative writing modules, one poetry another fiction; or one creative writing module and a module taken from the general MA in English Literature

Year two

One module per semester; for the year as a whole, either two creative writing modules, one poetry another fiction; or one creative writing module and a module taken from the general MA in English Literature.

Then the completion of a dissertation: worth 60 credits, 80% creative and 20% critical reflection. The word count for fiction will be 12,000 words of creative work and a 3,000 word critical essay. For poetry the word count will be 20-30 poems or equivalent (roughly 600-1000 lines) and a 3,000 word critical essay. Mixed portfolios are welcome. You start your dissertation in May and submit in August.

Module guidelines

We offer the following dedicated Creative Writing modules as part of the Creative Writing MA programme:

Module Credits Semester
Creative Writing: Poetry 1 (LIT6043) 30 credits Autumn
Creative Writing: Fiction 1 (LIT6041) 30 credits Autumn
Creative Writing: Poetry 2 (LIT6044) 30 credits Spring
Creative Writing: Fiction 2 (LIT6042) 30 credits Spring

You will be required to choose a minimum of two Creative Writing modules, one per semester. You can choose both Poetry modules, both Ficition modules, or one of each genre.

For your other modules, you are encouraged to select from the broad range of optional modules offered on the MA English Literature programme. (Please note: certain modules offered on the MA in English Literature may allow you to submit creative work as part of your assessment). Alternatively, you are welcome to choose to study all four Creative Writing modules if you wish.

If you are a part-time student, you will choose just one module per semester. We recommend that you take Creative Writing modules in your first year.

Dissertation

You will also be required to complete a 15,000 word Creative Writing disseration (60 credits).

The Creative Writing Dissertation will be 80% creative and 20% critical reflection. For fiction, you will submit 12,000 words of creative work and a 3000 word critical essay. For poety, you will submit 20-30 poems or equivalent (roughly 600-1000 lines) and a 3,000 word critical essay. Mixed portfolios are welcome. You would usually start your dissertation in May and submit in August.

Teaching

For your Creative Writing modules, you will meet for a 2.5 hour workshop each week. These workshops are typially taught in the early evenings.

Modules from the MA English Literature programme are taught in seminars which can vary in length from 1.5 - 2.5 hours, and can be held weekly or fortnightly depending on the module. The mojority of these seminars will be held during the day.

Assessment

The two Creative Writing: Poetry modules are both assessed by portfolios of 15 to 20 poems + critical commentaries of 2,500 words. The two Creative Writing: Fiction modules are both assessed by 2,500 word critical reflection essays and portfolios of 4,500-5,000 words prose/drama.

Poetry modules

Creative Writing: Poetry 1 (LIT6043 - Autumn semester) / Creative Writing: Poetry 2 (LIT6044 - Spring Semester)

These modules will entail a practical writing workshop where students will read, discuss, analyse and critique their own and other students’ poetry, as well as learning the fundamentals of close reading, technical analysis and critical judgment of contemporary poets from a practitioner’s point of view. The workshopping will be structured according to a programme of topics, exercises and commissions which will encourage and train students in the basics of poetry techniques in the main genres and sub-genres, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study poetry through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks – such as form and convention, issues of class, race, language, gender in poetry, narrative, lyric, dramatic poetry– whilst also being encouraged to critique each others’ work, to workshop writing creatively and constructively, and to work with tutors to help prepare work in progress for the main dissertation project later in the year. Students will produce a portfolio of poems based on the workshop commissions as well as a critical essay reflecting on the creative processes involved in their submission.

Fiction modules

Creative Writing: Fiction 1 (LIT6041 - Autumn Semester) / Creative Writing: Fiction 2 (LIT6042 - Spring Sememster)

These modules will entail a practical writing workshop where students will read, discuss, analyse and critique their own and other students’ writing, as well as learning the fundamentals of close reading, technical analysis and critical judgment of contemporary writers from a practitioner’s point of view. The workshopping will be structured according to a programme of topics, exercises and commissions which will encourage and train students in the basics of fiction writing techniques in the main genres and sub-genres, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study fiction through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks – such as story development, issues of class, race, gender in writing, genre conventions, narrative theory – whilst also being encouraged to critique each others’ work, to workshop writing creatively and constructively, and to work with tutors to help prepare work in progress for the main dissertation project later in the year. Students will produce a portfolio of writing based on the workshop commissions as well as a critical essay reflecting on the creative processes involved in their submission.

Course content: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Our campus and how we use it: We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

Entry


Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) in English literature, language, linguistics, or a related discipline (e.g. history, philosophy, modern languages) is usually required. A portfolio submission of 2000 words of prose/drama or 5 poems (or equivalent, roughly 100 lines), to be sent along with the application form. Find out more about EU and international student entry requirements.

English language requirements:

For applicants whose first language is not English, IELTS is the preferred test of language. You need an overall IELTS score of 7.5, with at least 6.5 in all the component tests. Further information can be found here.


English language support

The English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) provides language support and development for students whose first language is not English. See their services here.


Disability support

We welcome applications from disabled students and students with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. Information for disabled applicants.


Fees and Funding:

Find information on fees and the sources of funding that can help you pay for your postgraduate studies.

Faculty of Arts & Humanities scholarships.


How to apply:

Apply online

Applying to start in over 12 months time?

Please feel free to submit your application via our online system, however please note that we will not be able to process your application for this course until 12 months before your proposed start date.


Visit us:

If you’re considering a postgraduate programme at Sheffield, you are very welcome to visit us. You can attend an open day or a visit afternoon, which will include a tour of the University campus and the department, or contact the school directly (english.admissions@sheffield.ac.uk) to arrange a personal visit to meet with the director of your chosen programme.

More information and booking


Further information:

If you have questions about the academic content of this course please contact Prof. Adam Piette or Dr Agnes Lehoczky.

If you need further information about studying at Sheffield, visit AskUS to browse our frequently asked questions or to ask a question.

For any other queries please contact Jane Lowe or email english.admissions@sheffield.ac.uk, T: +44 (0)114 222 2900

Staff

Core teaching staff:

Dr Agnes Lehoczky: Poet, academic, translator, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Convenor of Postgraduate and Undergraduate Creative Writing, Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and 20th and 21st Century Prose

Professor Adam Piette: War Studies; Modernist Literature; Translation; Contemporary Poetry

Dr Alicia Rouverol: Novelist, prose writer/poet, academic, Lecturer in Creative Writing, Fiction, Contemporary British and American Fiction, Narratology, Experimental Writing, Globalisation

Professor Denise Riley: European Philosophy, Poetry, Visiting Professor [2017-2018] at Sheffield, Professor of Poetry & History of Ideas, School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia