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    MA
    2024 start September 

    English Literature (Creative Writing)

    School of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    Study contemporary creative writing and develop your skills in a variety of genres and styles. Choose to specialise in either poetry or fiction, or to study both, and explore and improve your own writing through practical workshops.
    Student writing in a book

    Course description

    You’ll study contemporary creative writing methods and practices and develop your skills in different genres, cross-genres and a wide range of formal and genre experimentations. You’ll also develop and explore your own creative and critical writing through practical workshops and the critical reading of contemporary creative and theoretical texts.

    You’ll be encouraged to take all four creative writing core modules, with a minimum of three, which are designed to interact with each other theoretically, thematically and methodologically, to allow for experimentation between literary practices and productive genre crossovers.

    The course culminates in a dissertation. You’ll be producing portfolios of both creative and critical work for each module and for your dissertation, all of which may take the form of poetry, prose poetry, short stories, a novel extract, poetic prose, hybrid texts and other genres, as well as formal or cross-media experimentations.

    This MA will help you develop your creative writing to a publishable quality, providing a positive, friendly, nurturing, intellectual and creative environment for confident, bold and imaginative development of contemporary creative writing forms and practices. You’ll explore your own writing through practical workshops and learn how to creatively and constructively critique your own and other students' work.

    You’ll benefit from the buzzing literary culture at Sheffield and get involved in public and university readings, publications and festivals throughout your time with us. You're encouraged to publish your work and to participate in student-led, peer-feedback editorial sessions.

    We run monthly public readings within the Centre for Poetry and Poetics with established writers and have an annually published creative writing journal, Route 57, which is edited and assembled by our own creative writing students. Each year we also run various creative writing projects, student readings and hubs which will give you a variety of opportunities to meet fellow writers within our well established Postgraduate Creative Writing community which comprises current and alumni students of the MA and PhD.

    Modules

    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Optional modules may also include the many modules listed under the general MA in English Literature.

    Core modules:

    Creative Writing: Fiction, Genre, Theory

    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 learn 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 cross-genres including genre experimentation and fusion, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study prose through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as story development, issues of class, race, gender in writing, genre conventions, and 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 various aspects of contemporary writing.

    30 credits
    Creative Writing: Poetry, Poetics, Fusion

    The module will entail a practical writing workshop/seminar where students will read, discuss, analyse and critique their own and other students' writing, as well as learn the fundamentals of close and critical 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 techniques in the main genres, sub-genres and cross-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, prose and hybrid texts through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as form and convention, issues of class, race, language, gender in poetry, narrative, lyric, prose poetry, poetic prose, etc - 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, poetic prose, and hybrid writing based on the workshop commissions, as well as a critical essay reflecting on various aspects of contemporary writing.

    30 credits
    Creative Writing: Poetry, Prose, Hybrid

    The module will entail a practical writing workshop/seminar where students will read, discuss, analyse and critique their own and other students' writing, as well as learn the fundamentals of close and critical 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 techniques in the main genres, sub-genres and cross-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, prose and hybrid texts through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as form and convention, issues of class, race, language, gender in poetry, narrative, lyric, prose poetry, poetic prose, creative nonfiction, etc. - 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, poetic prose, and hybrid writing based on the workshop commissions, as well as a critical essay reflecting on various aspects of contemporary writing.

    30 credits
    Creative Writing: Prose Experiment, Prose Transformations

    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 learn 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 cross-genres including genre experimentation and fusion, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study prose through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as story development, issues of class, race, gender in writing, genre conventions, and 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 various aspects of contemporary writing.

    30 credits
    Dissertation (MA in English Literature)

    The Dissertation is an independent research essay equivalent to around 15,000 words on a topic chosen by the student relating to their programme of study on either the MA in English Literature, MA in Creative Writing or the MA English Studies. It will be supervised by a member of staff with an academic interest in the topic, and student and supervisor will meet approximately three times. The dissertation should present an argument that develops over a series of chapters/sections. It should demonstrate an ability to carry out effective research using appropriate methods of enquiry, as well as expertise in writing and the communication of research discoveries, and in organisation.

    60 credits
    Core Skills in Postgraduate Study

    This module will help support you in making the transition to MA study. It is taught through a series of workshops on topics such as writing essays at MA level, finding and using secondary materials, giving presentations, and employability. Throughout, you'll be encouraged to reflect on your experiences and expectations, as well as receiving guidance from lecturers. Although the module is not formally assessed, and does not carry credits, it's taken by all students on the MA English Literature programme and as well as helping you to understand the skills you'll be using at MA level will include reflection on your learning and development.

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours

    Duration

    • 1 year full-time
    • 2 years part-time

    Teaching

    How we teach core modules

    For the four core creative writing modules, you’ll meet for a two-hour workshop each week. These workshops are held in the late afternoons or early evenings.

    A workshop is an informal, creative and critical environment that allows you to receive feedback on your writing from both the tutor and your fellow students. 

    You’ll have the opportunity to discuss creative and theoretical practices, drawing on a wide range of selected contemporary reading material. You'll be encouraged to produce new writing on a weekly basis, which we discuss in the workshops.

    How we teach optional modules

    Modules from MA English Literature are taught in seminars, which can vary from 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. These are held weekly or fortnightly depending on the module. Many of these seminars are held during the day.

    Teaching staff

    Our current staff are active and internationally-recognised authors, academics and creative forces in their fields:

    Former teaching staff have included Dr Vahni Capildeo, Professor Simon Armitage, Dr Honor Gavin, Professor Denise Riley, Dr Laura Joyce and Dr Rachel Genn.

    Assessment

    You'll be assessed at the end of each term on creative writing portfolios which will include your creative work and a critical essay as well as your dissertation project which will consist of both creative and critical components.

    The dissertation is 80% creative and 20% critical reflection on your own work, genre or relevant literary tradition. You'll prepare for it through work you've done in both creative writing modules.

    The word count for fiction is:

    • 12,000 words of creative work
    • 4,000 words of which may already have been workshopped or submitted
    • 3,000-5,000 word critical essay

    For poetry, the word count is:

    • 20 poems, or equivalent (roughly up to 400 lines approx), five of which may have already been previously workshopped or submitted (as long as drafts are submitted to indicate changes)
    • 3,000-5,000 words critical essay

    Mixed portfolios are welcome. For work previously submitted, we would like you to submit drafts to show changes and developments made to the material.

    Your career

    Our alumni have gone on to publish creative work and pursue research paths in various sectors. View a list of publications by our current students and alumni who have published work during and since completing our degree programme in Creative Writing.

    Alumni and student publications

    Your career - the School of English

    School

    School of English

    We're a research-intensive school with an international perspective on English studies. Students can specialise in their chosen subject, while taking modules from other programmes, forging interdisciplinary connections. We encourage you to get involved and to apply your academic learning, working in partnership with external organisations both within the city of Sheffield and beyond.

    Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

    We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. Our modules use a range of innovative assessments and can include designing websites, writing blog posts, and working with publishing software, in addition to writing essays and delivering presentations.

    We're committed to providing you with the pastoral support you need in order to thrive on your degree. You'll be assigned a personal tutor with whom you'll have regular meetings. You're welcome to see any of our academic staff in their regular student consultations if there's anything you want to ask.

    Facilities

    Our students get to make the most of the University's facilities across campus. Explore some of the teaching, library and social spaces you'll be able to visit as an arts and humanities student.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in English literature, language, linguistics or a related subject (eg history, philosophy, modern languages).

    A portfolio submission of 2,000 words of prose/drama or five poems (or equivalent, roughly 100 lines), to be sent along with the application form.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    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.

    There are a number of bursaries and scholarships available, including the Dan Walker scholarship, the Scott Trust (owner of The Guardian), Journalism Diversity Fund, The Aziz Foundation Scholarship and others.

    Funding opportunities for MA degrees in journalism

    Apply

    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now

    Contact

    english.admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
    +44 114 222 0220

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

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