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PgDip|Postgraduate Taught

English - Poetry

Entry year
Entry requirements
2.2 (minimum 55%)
2 years (Part-time)
1 year (Full-time)
Places available
open (Part Time)
open (Full Time)

Poetry is, quite simply, the activity for which Queen’s University is best known around the world. Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney was both a student and lecturer here at Queen’s, and other famous poet-alumni of the university include Ciaran Carson, Paul Muldoon and Medbh McGuckian. 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. The fruitful interaction of creative and critical activity is at the heart of what this unique programme offers.

Drawing on our long-standing reputation for producing distinguished critics and poets, this programme's creative-critical intersections make it suitable for a new generation of poets and critics alike. Students will be joining an academic environment with a world-leading expertise in the critical appreciation, writing, and understanding of modern poetry.

As a poetry student 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 modern poetry. Poets who come to develop their own creative writing have the unique opportunity of working with some of Ireland's most renowned poets.

English - Poetry highlights

World Class Facilities

Housed in the beautiful Lynn Building – formerly the library where Heaney, Muldoon, Carson and McGuckian read slim volumes of poetry, and Philip Larkin was a librarian – The Graduate School is a dedicated social and academic space for postgraduate students at Queen’s, offering research facilities and ongoing training in all aspects of research, essential skills, and career development. The award-winning McClay library houses Irish Special Collections, with unique resources on modern and contemporary Irish poetry, including Belfast Group worksheets and manuscripts, and extensive journal collections. The Seamus Heaney Centre has a dedicated work and social space for postgraduate students and a lively programme of activities all year round.

Student Experience

You will be joining an academic environment with a long-standing reputation for the writing and critical appreciation of poetry from Ireland, Britain and the United States, and will also benefit from the literary activities and resources of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s – the first centre of excellence for poetry in Ireland. Poets and poetry critics in the School include Leontia Flynn, Fran Brearton, Edna Longley, Gail McConnell, Stephen Sexton and Nick Laird, along with annual visiting international poetry fellows.

Our ‘Belfast Group’ heritage is a distinctive feature of our programme. The poetry programme inherits and updates the tradition begun in small back rooms in the 1960s of poets and critics coming together to produce and discuss poetry. Our unique interdisciplinary approach continues this fruitful commingling of creative and critical perspectives and methods.

Internationally Renowned Experts

English at Queen’s is ranked in the top 150 in the world (QS World Rankings by subject 2023). Alongside the expertise and guidance you’ll receive from the teaching team, you will have the chance to attend workshops and one-to-one consultations with outstanding poets and writers who spend time at Queen’s each year: The Ireland Chair of Poetry, International Visiting Poetry Fellow, Seamus Heaney Centre Fellows and Ciaran Carson Fellows.

Student Testimonials

Course Structure

Full-time students take 3 taught modules in each semester (the core ‘Reading and Writing Poetry’ module in semester 1 is a ‘double’ module).
Part-time students take 3 modules in each year, on either a 1+2 or 2+1 model across the two semesters.

Semester One Modules:

ENG7307: Reading and Writing Poetry. Compulsory. 40 CATS. Weekly workshop and weekly seminar.
ENG7300: Form in Poetry. Compulsory. 20 CATS. Weekly seminar.

Semester Two Modules (Indicative):

ENG7301: The Poetry Collection. Compulsory. 20 CATS.
ENG7305: Irish Poetry. Optional. 20 CATS.
ENG7094: The Poetry Workshop. Optional. 20 CATS.
ENG7375: Love Poetry. Optional. 20 CATS.
ENG7119: Fulbright Scholar Special Option. 20 CATS.

The PG Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete compulsory and optional taught modules totalling 120 CATS points.

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

Compulsory Modules

Reading and Writing Poetry
Structure and Serendipity
The Poetry Collection

Course Details

In semester 1 students explore a range of writings – both poetry and criticism – through concepts and themes such as: Art, Love, Death, Animals, Nonsense, Music, Weather, Work. Poets studied in the seminars include Yeats, Plath, Auden, Eliot, Bishop, and Heaney. Students are introduced to the form and language of poetry, as well as to the historical dimensions of, and contexts for, various poetic forms – both traditional and experimental. The writing workshops involve detailed discussion of students’ own poetry, which they can bring to class for feedback from the tutor and other students.

In semester 2 students study contemporary poetry collections, focusing on the ways in which the structure of a given poetry collection contributes to the overall meaning of the work, as well as choosing from specialist options which include Irish poetry, Love poetry, and writing workshops. The optional module list is indicative only.

Optional Modules

Irish Poetry
Love Poetry
The Poetry Workshop
Fulbright Scholar special option

People teaching you









Teaching Times

Teaching is typically on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings or afternoons.

Learning and Teaching

You will have the chance to take a variety of modules and to develop writing and research projects of unique interest to you.

  • -

    You will be part of a cohort of poets and critics who you’ll get to know well in weekly seminars and workshops, and you’ll be taught and supervised by a small staff team who are passionate about the reading and writing of poetry.


Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

  • Creative Portfolios
  • Essays
  • Learning Journal




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

    Form in Poetry (20 credits)

    Optional Modules

    Love Poetry (20 credits)
    Irish Poetry (20 credits)

Entrance requirements


Normally a strong 2.2 Honours degree (with a minimum of 55%) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University either in English, or in Comparative or World Literature, or in Creative Writing; or joint or combined Honours with English, Literature, or Creative Writing as a major subject.

In addition, applicants are required to submit a sample of literary-critical written work (eg an essay on literature completed as part of an undergraduate degree), and, for those who also wish to pursue creative assessment options, a sample of 8-10 poems/pages of poetry, which will be assessed to determine if an offer of admission can be made.

Applicants who wish to pursue creative writing-only assessment normally require a 2.2 Honours degree (with a minimum of 55%) or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any discipline and are required to submit a sample of original written work (8-10 poems/pages of poetry) which will be assessed to determine if an offer of admission can be made.

Exceptions may be made in the case of applicants with a strong track record of publication, 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 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

Employment after the Course

Graduates of the programme have a good employment record, entering professions such as publishing, journalism, arts administration, events organisation, the media, public relations, teaching, advertising, business and industry. The programme has an excellent track record of student success in publication and prizes.

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 £4,867
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,867
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £6,167
EU Other 3 £14,333
International £14,333

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