PGT Course Detail


English [Poetry: Creativity and Criticism]

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Key Programme Information

Entry Year


Programme length *

1 year(s)

Places available

Subject to staff availability.


Full-Time, Part-Time


Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Arts, English and Languages

* 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.


Poetry is an art that brings together creative and critical thought. This programme combines these two strands into one, making it suitable for poets and critics alike.

Why Queen's?

The MA in Poetry: Creativity and Criticism is based at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, under the auspices of the School of English. This Centre is the first Centre of Excellence for poetry in Ireland. Poets in the Centre include Ciaran Carson, Sinead Morrissey, and Leontia Flynn; its director is the poetry critic Fran Brearton.

The Centre provides resources for emerging and established poets, researchers and critics, and serves to link creativity to criticism and academic scholarship. The Centre also ensures that the dynamic tradition of poetry at Queen's extends to a wide audience and is of benefit to students, writers, and the community.

Students on the MA in Poetry: Creativity and Criticism will have ample opportunity to present their work to the public, through readings (including the successful Lifeboat Readings series), and journals, such as The Yellow Nib (published in association with the Seamus Heaney Centre) or The Open Ear (produced by PhD students at the Seamus Heaney Centre). Students are encouraged to take up internship positions with both The Yellow Nib and the Belfast-based poetry journal, Irish Pages.

Course Details

Programme Content  

As a student on the MA in Poetry: Creativity and Criticism you can choose to follow either a critical or a creative pathway, or you can choose to pursue a combination of the two. Students who follow a critical pathway will be joining an academic environment with a long-standing reputation for the critical appreciation, reception and understanding of poetry from Ireland, Britain and the United States. Poets who come to develop their own creative writing have the unique opportunity of working with some of Ireland's most renowned poets. The following module list should be considered as indicative only.


  • Reading Poetry
  • Structure and Serendipity: form in poetry


  • Irish and British Poetry
  • Fulbright Poetry Workshop/Special Topic
  • Poetry Creative Writing Workshop
  • The Long Poem
  • The Poetry Collection

Plus a dissertation of up to 15,000 words or a poetry portfolio on an agreed topic for the MA.

Assessment & Feedback

Practical exercises and essays.

Learning and Teaching

Morning and Afternoon.

Entry Requirements

MA: a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.
PGDip: normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

All applicants are required to submit a piece of written work to assess their suitability for this programme.

Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL)
Admission to the programme(s) under Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) is permissible in the following circumstances:

  • A lower level of performance in an Honours degree, in combination with suitable experience acceptable
  • Applications will be considered on the basis of experiential learning in combination with a sub-Honours degree level qualification
  • Applications will NOT be considered on the basis of experiential learning alone

International Qualifications

For information on international qualification equivalents please select Your Country from the list on our International Students website.

Additional Information for International Students

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required.

*Taken within the last 2 years.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this programme, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this programme. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

How To Apply

Applicants for Postgraduate programmes are strongly advised to carefully read the important information and follow the steps set out here before submitting their application via the Postgraduate Direct Applications Portal.

If you have queries on course content please contact the school representative below.

A sample of creative writing (12-15 pages of poetry) or a critical essay (c3000 words) should accompany the application. If your interest is in a combination of creative and critical modules and assessments, please submit both samples for consideration.


Professor Fran Brearton, or Professor Sinead Morrissey
School of Arts, English and Languages
Tel: 028 9097 5103

How To Apply

Queen’s University Belfast Terms and Conditions 2017 Entry
The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.

Career Prospects

Graduates from these programmes have a good employment record. Professions including publishing, journalism, public relations, teaching, advertising, the Civil Service, business, industry and the media all recruit from our range of graduates. Some students choose to continue their studies to PhD level on a chosen, specialised topic in Poetry.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

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Fees & Funding

There is a range of funding and scholarship options available to those considering study at Queen's.

Find out more

For tuition fee information see

Postgraduate loans
From the academic year 2017/18, the Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

Fees and Funding

The Seamus Heaney Centre MA fee scholarship of £10,000 is available to the top-ranked international applicants; For the most recent information please see the Postgraduate Studies section of the School of Arts, English and Languages website.    

For fees and funding information please see the University's Graduate School website.


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