The MA in English (Creative Writing) focuses on prose fiction and scriptwriting; applicants interested in writing poetry are referred to the Pg Dip in Poetry: Creativity and Criticism.
The programme is designed to help you develop your literary skill and technique, enable you to develop as an independent writer and a self-reflective lifelong learner, and provide you with a broad understanding of the literary marketplace and of the commercial aspects of literary production.
You’ll be taught by experienced novelists, playwrights and screenwriters, attend workshops with visiting authors, publishers, editors and agents, and have a variety of opportunities to present your work.
English - Creative Writing highlights
Queen's is ranked 6th in the UK for Creative Writing in the Complete University Guide and in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
World Class Facilities
- The Seamus Heaney Centre is an internationally-recognised hub of excellence for literature and a central part of Northern Ireland's literary community.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- Creative Writing students are taught by experienced novelists, playwrights and screenwriters and we are fortunate to have attracted staff with international profiles.
- Students have access to workshops with visiting authors, publishers, editors and agents, and have a number of opportunities to present their work, including at the Common Ground postgraduate conference held each year by the School of Arts, English and Languages.
Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (3 years) basis. Individual modules may be studied as a short course. 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, closely examining various master texts in order to widen skills and learn new methods. Master texts, including novels, plays and screenplays, are chosen to illustrate aspects of craft and analysed to illuminate students’ own writing. Taught in a weekly seminar, 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 written in response to one of the module’s set texts. By the end of the module, all students will have developed and 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)
This weekly workshop involves students writing scripts to be discussed with the convenor and other students. 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 to the group and 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.
(3) Creative Writing Workshop 1: Prose (ENG7292)
(20 CATS; compulsory)
This weekly workshop involves students writing prose, typically fiction, to be discussed with the convenor and other students. There will be weekly opportunities for the students to receive feedback on their developing prose. The fundamentals of prose writing will form the basis of the course materials: narrative voice, character, narrative, plot, dialogue, setting.
(1) Creative Writing Workshop 2 (ENG7095 / 7096)
(40 CATS; compulsory)
These are weekly two-hour workshop to which students bring their scripts and fiction to be discussed with the convenor and other students. The modules are designed for both prose specialists and dramatists; writers in both forms can benefit from the creative cross-fertilisation between these distinct but complementary disciplines. Students receive regular feedback on their developing work. Various topics underpinning the craft of writing will also be examined and discussed.
Both Prose and Drama workshops are available to all students, but you opt to be assessed in one form. Students will move towards greater specialisation as the year progresses, choosing to be assessed either in Prose or Drama for the full 40 CATS points.
Continuing on from the Semester 1 drama workshop, the drama workshop module places greater emphasis on getting work into the marketplace.
The second semester Fiction Workshop has an emphasis on the purpose and value of writing, seeking to identify some of the energies that might drive an author.
Professionalising the MA (ENG7988)
(20 CATS; compulsory)
In this new module, students are introduced to the professional marketplace through conversations with industry professionals and a focus on the skills and materials fundamental to professional work, including techniques for seeking out professional contacts and pitching or submitting creative projects.
Dissertation 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.
People teaching you
Contact Teaching Hours
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial
6 (hours maximum)
6 hours of workshops/seminars per week.
Occasional and optional seminars may take place on Saturdays.
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.
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.
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.
The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit http://go.qub.ac.uk/RPLpolicy for more information.
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 approximately 2000 words of fiction prose or 10-15 pages of script. The sample can be an extract.
Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 12th August 2022 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.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
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: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
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.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £6,450 Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,450 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,250 EU Other 3 £17,700 International £17,700
1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled or pre-settled status, are expected to be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly Student Fees Regulations. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB are expected to be charged the GB fee, however this is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
2 It is expected that EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI will be eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements. The tuition fee set out above is provisional and subject to the publication of the Northern Ireland Assembly student fees Regulations.
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 are for the academic year 2021-22, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Fees for 2022-23 will be published in December 2021.
Additional course costs
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.
English - Creative Writing costs
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
How do I fund my study?
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 £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How to Apply
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.
Fees and Funding