Two scholarships payable towards fees for the MA in Poetry at Queen’s are available to fulltime students from September 2017. The Seamus Heaney Centre MA scholarship of £10,000 is available to an international student; the Ruth West MA scholarship of £5,000 is available to a home or international student.
The MA in poetry is suitable for both poets and critics alike, and the awards are open to applications in both areas of study. The programme provides specialist academic training for critics and scholars who wish to focus on the study of poetry at MA level, and with a view to PhD work. It introduces students to the major poetry traditions of Ireland, Britain and the US, in terms of their formal properties, and their critical, social, intellectual and political contexts. It also provides workshops and training for poets, alongside a critical grounding that facilitates further study of creative writing (poetry) at PhD level.
The MA offers the unique opportunity for students to develop critical perspectives on poetry in collaboration with creative writers and vice versa, in the tradition of the Belfast ‘Group’ established in the 1960s, and attended by such distinguished Queen’s alumni as Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon. The MA in Poetry is taught by award-winning poets and critics who write and publish extensively in the field of modern poetry, among them Prof. Fran Brearton, Dr Leontia Flynn, Dr Philip McGowan, & Dr Gail McConnell.
The closing date for applications is 15 May 2017. Those who have already applied to the programme will be automatically considered for the awards. For further information and to apply please see
Postgraduate students of Creative Writing in the School of English at Queen’s take advantage of MA and PhD programmes which are at the forefront of the teaching of Creative Writing as an academic discipline in both Ireland and the UK. The MA in Creative Writing is currently in its thirteen year and regularly recruits students from all over the English-speaking world, including Canada, the U.S.A and New Zealand. The MA allows students to focus exclusively on poetry, prose, or scriptwriting whilst simultaneously offering modules which develop and challenge work undertaken in these core disciplines.
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Seamus Heaney was a founding member of the famous ‘Belfast Group’ in the 1960s, a forum in which young poets came together with critics to discuss their work and the craft of good poetry more generally. This fruitful interaction of creative and critical activity remains a core ethos of the Seamus Heaney Centre and is at the heart of what this unique MA offers.
As a student on the MA in Poetry you can choose to follow either a critical or a creative pathway, or 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.
Two scholarships for the MA in Poetry are available from September 2016. The Seamus Heaney Centre MA fee scholarship of £10,000 is available to an international student; the Ruth West MA fee scholarship of £5,000 is available to a home or international student. (Closing date 1 June 2016).
The MA in Poetry consists of the following compulsory modules:
(1) Reading and Writing Poetry (double module). The core module provides the opportunity for students to analyse and evaluate new and established writing by themselves, and/or by others. The reading poetry seminars involve consideration of the poet-as-critic, through supplementary study of critical writings on poetry by a range of Irish, British and American poets such as Yeats, Eliot, Larkin, Stevens and Heaney, and of the poem itself as a vehicle for criticism. The writing workshops involve detailed discussion of students’ own poetry which they bring to class each week for feedback from the tutor and other students.
(2) Structure and Serendipity: form in poetry: Centred on the analysis of how poetic form in general is produced, this module introduces students to the form and language of poetry as well as the historical dimensions of, and contexts for, various poetic forms.
(1) The Poetry Collection: Awareness of issues pertinent to the production of, and critical response to, poetry is developed through analyses of the format, production and reception of contemporary poetry collections.
(2) The Long Poem: an investigation of the formal and thematic possibilities of the modern and contemporary long poem, with analysis of long poems by, for example, Louis MacNeice, Paul Muldoon, Robert Pinsky, or Alice Oswald.
In the second semester, students then choose a third optional module from either:
(3) Poetry Writing Workshop
(4) Post-1945 Irish and British Poetry
Dissertation or Poetry portfolio (double module equivalent; individually supervised study).
For details on how to apply and funding, go to:
The MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) is designed to develop your writing for stage, screen and radio. It is largely taught by Jimmy McAleavey. He brings nearly twenty years’ experience as a writer, along with the critical/technical focus of an ex-academic (who is also delighted to read genre pieces) and complete commitment to his students’ work. When we write we put our worth on the line: Jimmy considers it a privilege to have you share your work with him.
The course is built around a weekly workshop where students examine each other’s work closely in a spirit of friendly rigour.
The MA in Creative Writing (Drama) begins with a fortnight focusing on elements of craft common to scriptwriting and prose. This is followed by a 10-week module on Craft & Technique, where Jimmy and his students use specific works to illustrate general principles of dramatic writing.
The Craft & Technique module augments the tools developing in the parallel weekly workshop, where students encourage and support and provoke each other in writing and, crucially, rewriting. Hard questions are asked, but in comfortable chairs.
The second semester includes some further work on elements of craft, the weekly workshop (which intensifies) and a parallel module run by the playwright and screenwriter Dr Tim Loane where you co-write and produce a piece. This module is a unique offering which has been highly praised by external examiners.
During the second semester, we also focus on the business of writing and give you the opportunity to make professional connections in the worlds of stage, radio and screen.
The summer term is spent writing a dissertation in consultation with Jimmy – a full-length work for stage, radio or screen.
Tea and coffee provided. You bring the biscuits.
The spine of the MA in Creative Writing (Prose) is the workshop, which runs through both semesters. In addition to the workshops, students undertake a module in Research Methods for Creative Writers – this module requires students to undertake a piece of original research and to use this research as the basis of a new creative work in the genre of their choice.
In the Craft and Technique module students examine existing ‘master’ texts and students to apply the techniques deployed by these authors to their own writing.
The MA in Creative Writing (Prose) is taught by the novelists Dr Darran McCann and Garrett Carr with additional input from other writers on the Seamus Heaney Centre staff. Creative writing students can also avail of a workshop offered by a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing from the U.S.A. in the second semester of the academic year.
"As the MA progressed I found myself growing more confident with my skills as a writer and began to produce work to a higher standard than I’d ever managed to produce before. I was lucky enough to have a story that was written for one of my modules published in the Irish Independent and I have been nominated for a Hennessy ‘New Irish Writing’ Award (ceremony to be held March 2014). I had contact with published writers as well as literary agents and industry experts – which gave me a real insight into how the publishing process works. While all this was incredible, the greatest skill I gained while on the MA was how to critically evaluate and edit my own work – a task I had always struggled with."
"I now feel like I can call myself a writer and I would recommend undertaking the MA at the Heaney Centre to anyone who is interested in learning about the craft of writing. My year at Queen’s was one of the most important of my life and I would do it all again in a second if I had the chance." (Former student, Brendan McLoughlin)
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What postgrad students at the Seamus Heaney Centre have gone on to do.
The PhD in Creative Writing involves both an extended piece of creative work and a related critical component. To apply for a PhD in Creative Writing you must have already completed an MA in Creative Writing in the same genre. Students with a Distinction at MA level will be given preference.
The School of English at Queen’s remains one of a handful of institutions which offer a PhD in Creative Writing. A former graduate of the MA in Creative Writing, Emily Dedakis, was the first student in Ireland to attain a PhD in Creative Writing and places are currently available for students wishing to study poetry, prose, or scriptwriting at doctoral level.
Contact Linda, email@example.com.
The spine of the MA in Creative Writing (Prose) is the workshop, which runs through both semesters. In addition to the workshops, students undertake a module in Research Methods for Creative Writers – this module requires students to undertake a piece of original research and to use this research as the basis of a new creative work in the genre of their choice. In the Craft and Technique module students examine existing ‘master’ texts and students to apply the techniques deployed by these authors to their own writing. The MA in Creative Writing (Prose) is taught by the novelists Dr Darran McCann and Garrett Carr with additional input from other writers on the Seamus Heaney Centre staff. Creative writing students can also avail of a workshop offered by a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing from the U.S.A. in the second semester of the academic year.