Saturday, 29 March 2008

More MAs in creative writing in the UK


There are so many MAs available, full and part time as well as distance learning. Do your homework. They are not all the same. Check the curriculum, the alumni, the fees and above all, the teachers. UPDATED 7-Apr-08

Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge looks like it may be leaning on its geography. It's for fiction.

Bangor University offers full and part time MAs in Creative Writing with the possibility of distance learning.

Birkbeck University in London offers a full or part time MA.

Brunel University has an MA for new novelists and Prof Fay Weldon.

University of East Anglia is where I would go in a perfect world. Andrew Motion is Professor of Creative Writing. It is directed towards those who are committed to writing, who have already produced work, whether published or not, who have a strong formal and aesthetic curiosity, and who welcome the chance to develop their writing in a university atmosphere. George Szirtes, Roberts, Trezza Azzopardi and Lavinia Greenlaw teach. Competition is intense. 45 places.

University of Exeter Julia Copus is a Royal Literary Fund Writer.

University of Glasgow has a taught MLitt.

University of Hull is in its second year of a Creative Writing MA.

Lancaster University's Creative Writing MA is long established. They have a distance learning MA too which sounds innovative and interesting.

Loughborough University doesn't have a lot of info but it's available full and part time.

Manchester University offers full and part time and distance learning and has 30 students split between fiction and poetry. Vona Groarke teaches and Martin Amis is being paid big bucks to show up now and then.

Newcastle University Full and part time options. Tutors include Jackie Kay, Sean O'Brien, Neil Astley and Jo Shapcott.

Northumbria University offers full and part time MAs.

Nottingham Trent University is building a reputation in writing. Visiting professors are Michael Eaton and David Almond, whilst recent guest lecturers have included Kate Mosse, Penelope Lively and David Lodge. There is a fortnightly workshop.

Oxford University offers an MSt in the Continuing Education department. Very low residence but very little teaching too. 12 students a year.

University of Plymouth has an MA/PgDip in creative writing too. Full and part time options. Not much to distinguish it from any other.

Roehampton University London has 20 places on an MA in Creative & Professional Writing. They offer specialised courses in fiction, poetry, writing for children, nonfiction and screenwriting and offers full and part time options. But online reviews of the university sound a bit lacklustre.

Royal Holloway in London offers full and part time MAs with Prof. Andrew Motion, Jo Shapcott and Susanna Jones sounds like the place for poetry.

Salford University offers a 15 month full time or part time MA.

Sussex University has an MA in Creative Writing and Authorship.

University of Winchester I think is the only place concentrating on Writing for Children. Full and part time options. I've heard good things about this MA.

15 comments:

puthwuth said...

And of course the University of Hull, 'the most poetic city in Britain', according to Peter Porter.

Emerging Writer said...

Thanks puthwuth. I'll update the post. Do you know anything about it?

David Krump said...

Your assessment that Oxford's Mst has very little teaching isn't a valid one. It has piles of teaching, but they take place over 12 hour (and longer) days while in residence, and this does not take into account all the individual contact students have with their supervisors when working on their year one portfolio, and year two theses. When I was on the programme, we had over 140 contact hours while in residence and retreat. If a different programme meets twice per week for three hours at a time (6 hours per week), for seventeen weeks per semester. 6x17= 102 (?) hours per year. This still puts Oxford ahead by 16 hours (with the advantage that the hours are spread over two years, during which time greater growth is possible than all with everything jammed into one year). Though I can't be sure, I believe you'll be hard pressed to find a programme that meets six hours per week for 34 weeks per year. Oxford's Mst doesn't break for summer. It rolls straight away for two full years.

This programme is different because all students are expected to work in all genres. Students specialise in year two. Students are also expected to be critically competent (there are required critical essays). Another reason this programme is different: As part of the course, students take full-time placements at publishing houses, societies theaters, and the like for one to two weeks.

Still, it should be noted, this programme isn't for everyone. A high level of self-motivation, individual creative exploration, and the ability to take risks in unfamiliar genres are required to make the most of it. If one is new to creative writing, and in need of guidance on a weekly or daily basis, this isn't the programme to apply to. It's not easy, but it is a very outstanding new programme, with very solid tutors. There is an amazing amount of individual attention given to the students because there are so few of them admitted, a benefit that those enrolled into large programmes don't get to realise easily.

As a member of the first graduating class, I'd highly recommend it.

Emerging Writer said...

Hi David,

Thanks for the input. It's great to hear from the horse's mouth so to speak. Do you think you got your money's worth? Can you study and work full time too on this course?

David Krump said...

Dear EW,

Yes, to both questions. I worked full-time (over-time sometimes) while on the course. As to the money's worth, well, yes... and more. While on the course I won a 15 grand fellowship. Of course, that's not a common occurrence, and I can't give the course all the credit, but I give it credit nonetheless. I give credit to each of my classmates and tutors. There's not one that didn't substantially aid me as an individual and as a writer.

I just looked at my math in the last post and was way off. In my estimate, Oxford should be ahead by 38 contact hours, not 16.

I also looked for meeting times on some of the other MA's you posted and couldn't find one which detailed that it met more than three hours per week. Some programmes didn't say anything about their class hours. The data is inconclusive, but it makes me wonder.

It's a programme to watch. I just finished last November. In the past year, I've had work published in the most prestigious reviews in UK and US, and I've won five significant awards, even shortlisted for the Bridport, etc. Another classmate's got an agent for her novel. Others have had plays produced, and work published, won other contests, and such. Others are just finishing their novels. So I'm sure it's helped all of us.

It can't really be compared
to a programme like East Anglia, for at least one good reason. East Anglia has forty years of graduate's achievements to point to, which might be misleading, when one considers the thousands of students who've gone through the programme that they aren't pointing to. Something to think about.

mickey said...

Hi Emerging Writer....
Do you happen to know any good distance learning creative writing courses in the U.K.? Thanks a lot....

mickey from Hong Kong

Emerging Writer said...

Hi mickey

The only one that springs to mind is the OU. And that's not a full MA (yet) I believe

Sheenagh Pugh said...

Mickey - the University of Glamorgan has a mainly distance-learing MPhil in CW and you don't necessarily need a first degree to get on to it; they go on quality of writing.

cosmicjourno said...

TO David Krump:
David - i am currently looking into undertaking the Mst at Oxf. Would you be prepared to answer some more questions (perhaps by email) about your experience and the program?

Kind Regards
Anthony

Hadiza said...

Hi Emerging writer,
I am currently trying to decide which university to go to for the creative writing MA. I have offers from Loughborough University, Royal Holloway, Kingston University and Bath Spa University. My goal is to improve my skills with a view to getting my novel published.
I would very much appreciate any advise you can give.
Best regards,
Hadiza

Emerging Writer said...

Hello Hazida

Thanks for dropping by. I really don't have enough knowledge to advise you how to choose. There are so many variables.

- where to live
- tutors
- how the course is taght
- cost (!)
- reputation - ask who are past students

Does anyone else have any advice for Hazida or can they point out other places to ask?

Emerging Writer said...

Hello Hazida

Thanks for dropping by. I really don't have enough knowledge to advise you how to choose. There are so many variables.

- where to live
- tutors
- how the course is taght
- cost (!)
- reputation - ask who are past students

Does anyone else have any advice for Hazida or can they point out other places to ask?

Hadiza said...

Thanks EW. Please if anyone has an opinion I would love to hear it.

SS said...

Dear EW,
I've been searching for a good distance learning course in creative writing. I just stumbled across this old post of yours - would you have any updated info on this?

Thanks!
Swati

Emerging Writer said...

Hello SS. If you'd like to write an updated post, I'd be delighted to post it.