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, and Dr Alice Honor Gavin.

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

What do I need to bear in mind when reading these listings?

Modules are listed by core and optional modules.

Information relates to 2017-18 academic year: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Guidelines for choice of modules

MA in Creative Writing

LIT6043 Creative Writing: Poetry 1, Professor Denise Riley (30 credits)
LIT6041 Creative Writing: Fiction 1, Professor Adam Piette (30 credits)
LIT6044 Creative Writing: Poetry 2, Dr Agnes Lehoczky (30 credits)
LIT6042 Creative Writing: Fiction 2, Dr Agnes Lehoczky (30 credits)

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.

The Creative Writing Dissertation, worth 60 credits, will be 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 would usually start your dissertation in May and submit in August.

Students are encouraged to take one module each semester and combine them with one module from the general MA in English Literature (choice of modules from those listed on pp. 8-16). You may choose to take both poetry modules or both fiction modules or to take one of each genre.

So you have several options:

you can choose two modules from the four creative writing modules available, Poetry 1, Poetry 2, Fiction 1, Fiction 2, and combine these with two modules from any of the modules on the MA in English Literature – the list of modules is available on the right hand menu.

For the creative writing modules, you meet for 2 1/2 hour workshop for each module per week; they're taught in the early evenings. You have the option of either taking a specific genre, say poetry, and doing the two modules, combining this with two modules taken from the full suite of modules available on general MA in English Literature (which include three modules in contemporary period which allow for creative forms of submission for assessment); or doing all four creative modules, two poetry, two fiction.

So, for example, someone who wishes to specialise in fiction might opt to take prose 1 and prose 2, and combine these with modules that deal with contemporary fiction and allow for creative submissions, modules like Tales of the City and Memory and Narrative (these academic modules are 1.5 hour seminars per week, and are taught during the day).

You are free to choose one poetry and one fiction module too, in any order (so Fiction 1, then Poetry 2, or Poetry 1, Fiction 2).
If you are studying with us part-time over two years, you will be choosing just one module per semester: we recommend that you take creative writing modules in your first year.
Detailed information about the four creative modules will be provided at induction, but see Autumn and Spring semester below for a broad outline.

Autumn semester

Autumn

LIT6043 Creative Writing: Poetry 1: taught by Professor Denise Riley – The module 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.

LIT6041 Creative Writing: Fiction 1: taught by Professor Adam Piette – The module 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.

Spring semester

Spring

LIT6044 Creative Writing: Poetry 2: taught by Dr Agnes Lehoczky – The 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.

LIT6042 Creative Writing: Fiction 2: taught by Dr Agnes Lehoczky – This module 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.

Entry

Academic 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.

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@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.

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

Staff

Core Teaching Staff:

Dr Agnes Lehoczky: Poet, academic, translator, 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

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