Skip to Content
MA|Postgraduate Taught

English - Creative Writing

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
2 years (Part Time)
Places available
na (Full Time)
na (Part Time)

If you have a commitment to imaginative writing, if you would like to develop your artistic practice, build your professional skills as an author and engage with the vibrant creative community of the Seamus Heaney Centre, then the MA in English (Creative Writing) is for you. The programme includes prose writing (fiction and creative non-fiction) and script writing (screen and stage), and invites you to explore all these modes of writing before choosing a specialism.

You will be challenged to explore many different types of writing, to entertain new ideas, to read adventurously and to respond with rigour and generosity to the work of your fellow writers. You will develop your practice as an independent writer and a self-reflective lifelong learner, and build your understanding of the literary marketplace and of the commercial aspects of literary production.

You will be taught by experienced novelists, playwrights and screenwriters, attend workshops with visiting authors, publishers, editors and agents, and contribute to the rich tradition of literary creativity at Queen's University, Belfast.

Queen's is ranked 2nd in the UK for Creative Writing in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

English - Creative Writing highlights

World Class Facilities

The Seamus Heaney Centre is an internationally-recognised hub of excellence for literature and imaginative writing, and a central element of Northern Ireland's literary community.

Internationally Renowned Experts

Creative Writing students are taught by experienced, acclaimed authors, playwrights and screenwriters and many distinguished visiting fellows and associates.

Student Experience

Students have access to workshops with visiting authors, publishers, editors and agents, and have a wide range of opportunities to present their work in print and performance.

Course Structure

Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester.

The MA is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 13,000-13,500 word prose or script dissertation (60 CATS points).

Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1
(1) Craft and Technique (ENG7093)
(20 CATS; compulsory)

This module is about learning to read as a writer; reading in an interrogative way and exploring a wide range of set texts in order to broaden skills and learn new methods. The set texts will include novels, plays and screenplays, chosen to illustrate aspects of craft and for their usefulness to your writing. Taught in a weekly two-hour seminar and through Canvas, the module deals with a range of key issues in creative writing, including aspects of craft, the development of technique, the demands of structure, and approaches to characterisation.

The final assessment is by a creative piece of 2,500 words and a 1,000-word commentary essay, written in response to one or more of the module’s set texts and topics. By the end of the module, all students will have honed their analytical skills in evaluating prose and drama and will have practised applying new skills in their own creative work.

(2) Creative Writing Workshop 1: Drama (ENG7097)
(20 CATS; compulsory)

In this weekly two-hour workshop you and your fellow students have the opportunity to share your scripts and discuss them with the group. The workshop is a forum to share work-in-progress in an atmosphere of friendly rigour. At least two students per week present their evolving texts and we examine them in detail with a view to providing a set of notes for the basis of the next draft. The module’s fundamental aim is to induct students into the discipline of rewriting, thus provoking writing of real value. The module is assessed through the submission of a script of 3,500 words.

(3) Creative Writing Workshop 1: Prose (ENG7292)
(20 CATS; compulsory)

As in the drama workshop, in the weekly two-hour workshop you have the chance to discuss your work in progress with the group. At least two students per week will share their material and receive feedback. We will also read and discuss set texts to help us explore the fundamentals of prose writing: narrative voice, character, narrative, plot, dialogue, setting. The module is assessed through the submission of a work of prose (a short story or extract from a fully-synopsized longer piece) of 3,500 words.

Semester 2
(1) Creative Writing Workshop 2 (ENG7196)
(40 CATS; compulsory)

This weekly two-hour workshop runs in two separate strands for prose and drama. Various craft topics will be discussed, building on the discussions of the first semester. You will have chosen a specialism in either scriptwriting or prose fiction by this stage, and you will attend the relevant workshop, but those who wish to can also audit the other workshop, space permitting.

Assignments are in Prose Fiction (6,500 words) or Drama (6,500 words) for 40 CATS points.

Professionalising the MA (ENG7988)
(20 CATS; compulsory)

This module introduces students to the various marketplaces in which creative writers may operate. You will learn to write professional documents relating to a new piece of creative work, including the agent letter, the publisher letter, the logline, the short pitch, the outline, the synopsis and the treatment – amounting to around 3,500 words. Classes include visits from industry gatekeepers (editors, agents, producers, etc).


Creative Writing Dissertation (ENG7099)
(60 CATS; compulsory)

Students will be assigned a supervisor under whom they will complete a major creative work. (Prose or drama 13,000-13,500 words.) The dissertation is primarily a student-led individual research project, during which students will put into practice the skills and craft honed during the two taught semesters. It is worth 60 CAT points, or one third of the overall Masters programme.

Student Testimonials

People teaching you

Lecturer in Creative Writing


Contact Teaching Hours

Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial

6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of workshops/seminars per week.

Teaching Times

Teaching typically takes place on weekday mornings and afternoons. Occasional optional seminars may take place on Saturdays.

Learning and Teaching


  • -

    You’ll be part of a small, informal and chatty class. You’ll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well during workshops. You are expected to become an integral part of the Seamus Heaney Centre and are invited to attend and take part in the centre's regular events and readings.


Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • Portfolios of creative work.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules

Entrance requirements


A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any discipline. Exceptions may be made in the case of applicants with a strong track record of publication, production, prize-winning or relevant professional experience.

All applicants are required to submit a sample of original written work which will be assessed to determine if an offer of admission can be made. The sample should be 1800-2200 words of prose fiction or 10-15 pages of script. The sample can be an extract. Writing samples that exceed the length limit will not be considered.

The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit for more information.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 16th August 2024 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

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.

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.

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 degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: 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.

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 pool of graduates. Some students choose to continue their studies to PhD level on a chosen, specialised topic in Creative Writing.

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.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 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 £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

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

Download a prospectus