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 themselves professional practitioners and who bridge the gap between creative and academic approaches to their fields. These include two award-winning playwrights, Simon Vinnicombe, whose work has been produced at the National Theatre, Old Vic and around the world, and Drew Pautz, who is additionally a screenwriter and director whose work has also been performed at the National Theatre. As a feature film screenwriter he has worked with UK and European production companies.

Our poetry lecturer Wayne Holloway-Smith was winner of the National Poetry Competition 2018 and has been published widely in national and international journals and anthologies. His debut poetry collection, Alarum, is published by Bloodaxe Books. Our prose lecturer Helen Gordon’s work includes a novel, Landfall, published by Penguin, and a book of nature and travel writing (forthcoming from Profile Books). Helen was previously an editor at Granta magazine and her journalism has appeared in, among other places, Wired and the Guardian.

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 two Poetry Fellows, 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. 


This MA will give you the opportunity to create a body of work alongside the skills and confidence to continue to the next stage of your life as a writer. You’ll gain practical knowledge and transferable skills, such as critical and analytical thinking, which can be applied to a range of professions, including publishing and the media, teaching, advertising and marketing. Some of our graduates go on to higher levels of studying, engaging in research in their chosen area or to pursue a Creative Writing PhD.  

With the continued help from academic staff, my poetry was also selected for publication through London publisher Out+Spoken Press and is due for release in 2019. All of this success was a process of hard work, support, sacrifice and struggle leading to reward. This was only possible through the great facilities and exceptional professional staff at Herts. Thanks to them every day I grow academically and become closer to what I really want to be.

Stevie Kilgour,

MA Creative Writing 2017-2018

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.