Creative Writing MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in English literature, Creative Writing or a related subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component
UK fees
£12,000 (Total)
International fees
£25,250 (Total)

Course overview

A student sits at a desk, she smiles as she writes something into her notepad. Her laptop is open beside her as well as a coffee cup.

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The MA in Creative Writing offers the opportunity to develop your skills in creative writing within the context of a School of English with a long and distinguished history in creative writing. The course appeals both to those who wish to deepen and broaden their creative writing practice, and to those who are working towards a single publishable piece of work.

With expert guidance from teaching staff who are actively engaged in producing and publishing creative writing, you will engage with a wide variety of literary genres, including poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. You will also have the chance to develop your literary and critical skills more broadly.

Throughout the course, you will be able to explore areas of personal interest and participate in workshops to hone your skills in diverse forms of writing.

You will also produce an independent research project, which can be dedicated to a single creative idea, or which might comprise a portfolio of your creative writing, according to your interests.

A student stands at a lecturn in a traditional looking library setting. He speaks into a microphone to the crowd of people sitting in the foreground. Behind him are two banners that read Leeds Lit Fest 2023.

Our expertise

The School of English has a long and prestigious history in creative writing. Creative Writing at Leeds has a great history of alumni and former staff, including Wole Soyinka, Geoffrey Hill, JRR Tolkien, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Hannah Copley, Luiza Sauma, literary agent Caroline Hardman, and our recent Douglas Caster Poetry Fellows Helen Mort, Anthony Vahni Capildeo and Malika Booker.

Our current staff includes Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, JR Carpenter, Kimberly Campanello, Campbell Edinborough, Zaffar Kunial, Alison Peirse, Sarah K. Perry, Jay Prosser, Jess Richards, Ross Raisin, Caitlin Stobie and John Whale. Our practices and passions run across creative and critical writing. They include: visual and experimental poetry; eco poetics; the contemporary novel and contemporary lyric poem; literature and medicine; disability studies; autofiction; and transgender memoir.

We are home to the University of Leeds Poetry Centre, which brings together the University’s strength and heritage in creative writing. It hosts regular poetry readings by visiting international poets and supports a poetry reading group.

Our creative writing community benefits from partnerships with llkley Literature Festival, Leeds Playhouse and Leeds Grand Theatre. We also support a thriving range of events and workshops with visiting writers.

Brotherton Library Reading RoomSpecialist resources

The University of Leeds Library is one of the UK's major academic research libraries. It has extensive holdings to support your studies, including English Literature Collections that have been designated of national and international importance.

Our Special Collections offer a huge range of rare books, manuscripts and art, as well as the archives of poets like Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill and Simon Armitage, and literary publications such as Stand and The London Magazine.

Other highlights include materials relating to novelists like Arthur Ransome, Angela Thirkell, Melvyn Bragg and Sophie Hannah, and critics like George Wilson-Knight and Bonamy Dobrée. The library also holds original manuscripts by the Brontë family.

Take a 360 tour around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

The MA in Creative Writing covers a range of literary forms, including poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction genres.

The course develops your skills as a creative practitioner. It also explores the history, generic conventions and experimental possibilities of creative literary forms. Through the Creative Writing core module you will learn about key practices in and approaches to creative writing, which you will then expand on through optional modules that allow you to tailor your studies to suit your interests and career ambitions. Optional modules include offerings in Creative Writing and English Literature, alongside modules in digital media and performance in the School of Performance and Creative Industries. Your research project will apply and expand upon what you have learned in these core and option modules.

Through your research project you will gain experience of creative practice as research. You will write a creative research project on a subject of your choice with support from a specialist supervisor and with access to the outstanding research resources of the University's Brotherton Library.

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The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information and a list of typical modules available on this course, please read MA Creative Writing (Full Time) in the course catalogue.

For more information and a list of typical modules available on this course, please read MA Creative Writing (Part Time) in the course catalogue.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Approaches to Creative Writing 30
Creative Writing Research Project 60

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
The Long Poem: Self, Land, Witness 30
So Where do you come from? Selves, Families, Stories 30
Writing Poetry 30
Writing Prose Fiction 30
Caribbean and Black British Writing 30
Romantic Identities: Literary Constructions of the Self, 1789-1821 30
Writing Places and Identities 30
Medical Humanities: Representing Illness, Disability, and Care 30
The Digital & English Studies 30
Postcolonialism, Animals and the Environment 30
Shakespeare's Tyrants 30
Planetary Aesthetics: Animism, Mimesis and Indigeneity 30
Digital and Intermedial Storytelling 30
Script Development for Film and Television 30

For more information please read MA Creative Writing (full time) or MA Creative Writing (part time) in the course catalogue.

Learning and teaching

You’ll have weekly seminars or workshops in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading and writing. You’ll have the opportunity to share your writing and receive feedback on work-in-progress. You’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of seminars and talks by visiting speakers and creative writers that we arrange throughout the year.

Independent study is a vital part of the degree, as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas as an academic researcher and a creative writer.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Assessment for this programme includes both creative and critical reflection on your creative practice. Modules are assessed either by a combination of these equivalent to 4,000 words, or by a single essay of around 4,000 words. While formal assessment tends to take place at the end of the module, during term you may also be expected to submit work in progress in order to gain feedback, or give presentations in your seminars.

The research project is typically a 9,000-word (or poetry equivalent) creative writing project with a 3,000-word critical reflection.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in English literature or Creative Writing, or a degree scheme that includes a significant proportion of English Literature or Creative Writing content, or a related subject. You will also submit a Creative Writing sample comprising approximately 1,000 words of prose or 3 pages of poetry (or a portfolio combining both genres). This gives us a chance to get to know some of the writing you have produced so far to help us determine suitability for this course.

Applications from those with degrees in other subjects may be considered on an individual basis, along with the sample you will submit.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office for more information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines.


You will need to apply for a place before applying for any scholarships, so check the deadlines for available scholarships on our website.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

You’ll need to upload the following documents when completing the online application form:

  • A transcript of your completed BA degree or grades to date

  • A personal statement of around 500 words in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form. It is important that you consider and respond to these questions.

  • A Creative Writing sample comprising approximately 1,000 words of prose or 3 pages of poetry (or a portfolio combining both genres)

  • If English is not your first language, you’ll need to submit proof of your English language results (eg IELTS).

We do not generally request references, unless further information is required to support the assessment of your application.

Next steps

We will decide whether to offer you a place based on your application form, personal statement, transcripts, predicted or actual degree results and, where appropriate, any additional documentation requested.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of English

Contact us

Postgraduate Administrator



UK: £12,000 (Total)

International: £25,250 (Total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

The School of English also offers a range of scholarships for taught postgraduate study. Find out more on our Scholarships page.

Career opportunities

This course will equip you with advanced transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.

You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You’ll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you’ll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you’ll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.

All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll be well equipped to pursue a career in a wide range of fields depending on your interests. These could include teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be in a good position to develop a career in academia. Students from our programmes have gone on to have successful careers as literary agents, journalists and researchers, as well as to become published novelists and award-winning poets.

Careers support

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Whether you're looking to pursue further study, change career, or stand out in the competitive graduate job market, you'll receive expert support in applying the skills you've developed in your chosen career.

Watch: Careers support at Leeds

Find out more about the careers and employability support that you'll receive as a student in the School of English.