MA Creative Writing

Why choose Herts?

  • Industry Accreditation: Accredited by the European Association of Creative Writing Programmes.
  • Industry Connections: You will benefit from writer, publisher, and literary agency guest sessions where you will interact with leading industry professionals.
  • Teaching Excellence: You will be taught by critically acclaimed, award winning professional practitioners.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

About the course

The University of Hertfordshire MA in Creative Writing offers you the opportunity to develop your creative, critical and professional writing skills in a stimulating and supportive environment.

Through writing workshops and intensive tutorial-based supervision our teaching staff - all established authors themselves - will help you improve your own writing as you explore the advanced craft, theory and techniques of poetry, prose and drama.

Whether you have an unfinished novel you’re passionate about or want to learn how to write powerful dialogue or create memorable characters, this MA Creative Writing offers a range of modules that give you both literary context and practical professional guidance.

In all modules you will be taught by lecturers who are leading writers whose work encompasses a wide range of approaches and styles and who bridge the gap between creative and academic approaches in their fields.

  • Wayne Holloway-Smith’s collection Love Minus Love was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and his poem ‘the posh mums are boxing in the square’ won the National Poetry Award.
  • Lorna Gibb has won the Granta Memoir prize and been shortlisted for the Sperber Biography Prize.
  • Joe Thomas’s most recent novel, Bent, was a Guardian Best Book of 2020 and picked by the Irish Times in their selection of the Best Crime Fiction of 2020.
  • Helen Gordon – a former editor of Granta magazine – has published the critically acclaimed novel, Landfall, and a non-fiction book on nature and travel, Notes From Deep Time is forthcoming in 2021.
  • Simon Vinnicombe’s work has been produced at the National Theatre and The Old Vic in London, the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York, and on BBC TV and BBC Radio.  
  • Drew Pautz’s work has been performed at the National Theatre, Soho Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, and on BBC Radio.

Find out more about the programme tutors in the UH Arts showcase series Family Is.

Guided by our staff, you’ll take two core Writing Workshop modules examining creative and critical processes in your first two semesters. These workshops provide supportive spaces for you to contribute your own writing, reading your work to your fellow students and learning in turn to critique their work from a writer’s point of view.

Other modules may change but could include Working as a Writer and People and Places. As part of Working as a Writer you’ll submit your work to magazines and creative writing competitions, helping you to gain a practical understanding of the publishing world and how to approach editors and prepare your work for publication.

People and Places focuses on aspects of writing with communities, including the methods and approaches writers have used to portray communities or locations in creative work, and the tradition of writers working with communities to create joint artistic projects.

In your final semester you’ll complete a dissertation. This can take the form of a novel, script for stage, TV or film, a work of creative non-fiction, short story or poetry collection. Wherever your writing ambitions lie, this is your opportunity to add polished work to your portfolio and look ahead to your future writing life. 

Why choose this course?

Top reasons to study MA Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire

We give you:

  • Teaching staff who are all published authors, poets or dramatists
  • Visits and talks by writers, editors and agents working across the creative writing industries
  • Opportunities to create and develop a portfolio of work, whether poetry, prose or drama
  • A platform for publishing your work and a springboard for your future life as a writer

What will I study?

This MA is practice-based, delivered mainly through writing workshops, led by experienced creative writing professionals. Regular tutorials with your individual supervisor supplement these workshop sessions.

A guest lecture series invites writers, editors, agents, poets and dramatists to share their professional insights, while students also have the opportunity to work closely with Out of Joint, the UK’s leading touring theatre company.

The University’s Poetry Fellows, Rachel Long, Mark Waldron and Jane Yeh, offer masterclasses, workshops and give regular readings as part of the University’s Poetry Hub, founded in 2017 to encourage the development of poetry at the University and beyond. The Hub offers an annual Single Poem Prize, judged by the Fellows.

There is also an active, student-run Creative Writing Society, adding to the vibrant and creative environment in which you’ll be working.

Available as a one-year full time course or a two-year part-time course, the full-time MA is taught in two three-hour classes a week, currently during the daytime. 

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Creative Writing Dissertation 60 Credits Compulsory
    Working as a Writer 30 Credits Compulsory
    The Writing Workshop1: Creative and Critical Processes 30 Credits Compulsory
    The Writing Workshop 2: Creative and Critical Processes 30 Credits Compulsory
  • Key staff

    Dr Joe Thomas

    Find out more about Dr Joe Thomas

    Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    MA Creative Writing Download
    Programme specifications
    MA Creative Writing Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year

    n/a

    Applications open to international and EU students

    Yes

    Student experience

    At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.

    Find out about how we support our students

    You can also read our student blogs to find out about life at Herts.

    Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.