Reasons to study Creative Writing MA at DMU:
- Specialist areas of study
provide an opportunity to develop advanced skills in your chosen genre, and to experiment with different forms of writing.
- Specialist staff with international reputations
as published writers in areas ranging from poetry, fiction, memoir, script to graphic novels
- Research and transferable skills
are developed through creative projects, practical training in writing for publication, professional and theoretical strands to the programme
- Work experience and placement opportunities
are available to all MA students
- Preparation for further study
as the MA, with its focus on individual research, provides ideal preparation for progression to PhD
- International opportunity
through #DMUglobal where you will have the opportunity for a meaningful international experience
The Creative Writing MA is a practice led programme with taught modules and extended projects, giving students the chance to develop their writing in chosen areas, or experiment with new forms and genres. Students will follow craft and writing industry focused modules, and have the chance to explore other specialisms via a module audit, or a carry out a negotiated project driven by their own interests. There are modules in research skills for writers, which help students shape and grow their projects and give them a theoretical basis to discuss and conceptualise their own work. Towards the end of the course, students have the chance to carry out an extended piece of creative work independently, with tutor guidance and feedback.
The course is ideal for students wishing to enrich or expand their current creative practice, but also a very thorough preparation for those who wish to go on to a PhD in Creative Writing. For part time students, we offer different attendance patterns in the afternoon or evening throughout the course, to make it easier to fit your learning around work and other commitments.
Structure and assessment
Developing Writing 1: Craft, Form and Genre / Exploratory Writing
This module aims to develop students’ writing practice and craft skills in their chosen genre(s). It will also encourage experimentation with writing, both in terms of pushing students’ current practice in new directions, and in trying new forms and ideas. Module teaching will involve workshops, discussions, exploratory exercises, example case studies and writer talks. There will be a focus on craft skills, as well as philosophical discussion around established conventions and the current received wisdom about what makes ‘good writing’ in an international context. It is envisaged that, in this module, students will be able to pursue their chosen writing pathways but also have the space to experiment and try new things. Subject areas covered will include fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, new media writing and experimental forms.
The Writing Ecosystem 1: Navigating networks
This module will focus on markets for creative writing in terms of publishing and production of written work. It will also investigate local, national and international ecosystems that provide paid commissions, professional development and support for writers. We will look at submitting work for publication, applying for grants, writing as a business and the publishing/production industries. We will also explore the avenue of producing your own work independently, both in terms of self-publishing and indie filmmaking via crowdfunding etc. The module will be taught by Creative Writing staff members but enhanced by visits from writing and publishing professionals.
Researching as a Writer 1: Icebergs and Audience
This is one of two creative writing research modules and takes as its focus Hemingway’s model of the iceberg; the idea that only an eighth of what the writer knows is visible to the reader. Students will understand, through practice, what the other seven-eighths consists of in terms of the practical, historical, and speculative research necessary to bring a piece of creative writing to life for a reader. It will involve looking at how writers build worlds, characters and stories, how they research settings, time periods and ideas. We will consider the use of archives, mood boards, video resources, images, paintings, newspapers, other fictional texts, websites, wider reading and experiences to aid them in creation of believable worlds, characters and stories, imagery, voice, or supplementary knowledge in poetry/experimental work. It will also look at the ways writers work to find creativity and ideas, and habits they use to enhance their practice.
The Writing Ecosystem 2: Performance, Presentation, Pedagogy
In the current professional landscape, it is imperative that writers are able to present themselves and their work, as they will need to be involved in events and promote their work and profile. This module prepares students for this aspect of writing life. Most writers also end up talking about their process and answering questions, running workshops or even teaching creative writing as part of a portfolio career. So, in addition to the presentational and networking skills, we will also consider teaching creative writing and pedagogy.
Developing Writing 2: Case Study / Negotiated Module
This module allows students to investigate other subjects that will feed into the final dissertation. Possibilities for this module may include: auditing a course elsewhere (for example, forensic science, or an undergraduate writing module); learning a language; a work placement; or experimenting in creative writing pedagogy. This module will be supported by collective sessions, and will be assessed by a creative or critical assignment, individually negotiated.
Researching as a Writer 2: Practising ideas, articulating practice
The second research module tackles how students approach understanding and articulating the research issues and questions that underpin specific projects, and their emerging sense of their wider writing practice. It gives students the opportunity to situate their writing, and thinking, amongst contemporary issues and ideas. These concerns may range across considerations of creativity, play, knowledge, gender, identity, sexuality, class, and the relationship between aesthetics and politics. Students will also explore the tradition of manifestoes, and the rich international heritage of ‘poetics’ as a speculative hybrid discourse, a mid-point between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’. They will experience leading a workshop discussion of reading they may select, and write an extended ‘essay’ that might itself be formally experimental, or contain aspects of manifesto and poetics.
The final dissertation module is an extended creative project. This might be a collection of poems or short stories, a novel extract, a creative non-fiction piece, or an experimental cross-platform/genre piece, supported by a critical or reflective commentary. The module gives students the chance to develop extensive work in their chosen genre and form with the expert help of a supervisor. The word count is usually 20,000-25,000 words, although extent is more important than count; thus a poetry collection might have the appropriate extent, even though the word count is significantly lower.
Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.
Facilities and features
The course has a visiting lecturer programme, which enhances learning and provides contact for students with industry professionals. There may also be opportunities for other projects, research trips, performances and publications, in line with students’ interests. Every year, we host the States of Independence, a writing festival in a day involving independent publishers; there are seminars, talks, launches, panels, screenings and book stalls as part of this event. We have strong relationships with Five Leaves Publications and Bookshop, as well as Leicester Writers’ Club, the Nottingham Writers’ Studio and the National Association of Writers in Education. All of our tutors are published and practising writers.
The Creative Writing Centre in the Clephan Building is available to postgraduate students in negotiation with tutors and contains reference books, break out space, tea and coffee making facilities, as well as a number of computers and a printer.
The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.
The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.
Our Learning Zones and the The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.
There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.
You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.
Opportunities and careers
Starting a business
If you are thinking of starting your own business or working for yourself, the Enterprise Team can help provide you with the right advice and guidance to get your business off the ground.
This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.
Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.
Students can undertake careers in a range of areas, including events management, teaching and further research including PhD research.They may also find publication or production opportunities for their writing, or may also choose to publish, crowdfund or perform their work independently. Many writers create their own portfolio career, with activities and self-employment in a number of areas.