About this course
Enhance your skills with a master's in creative writing at the University of Southampton. This programme challenges you to cross boundaries and become an expert in 5 areas of contemporary writing:
- creative non-fiction
- writing for young people
You’ll also be able to tap into the University’s rich resources in theatre, music, art, and the sciences. On completion of your degree, you’ll be ready for careers in publishing and arts administration.
Our Master of Arts in Creative Writing is a stimulating course which will prepare you to be a professional writer. You’ll have opportunities to publish and edit an anthology, take part in a literary festival, and pursue creative collaborations with everyone from scientists to visiting actors. Your fellow students will come from all over the world and bring with them a wide range of experiences and writing traditions.
The University of Southampton is home to the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing, which hosts regular events, readings, and conferences. Recent visitors to the centre include:
- Caroline Bergvall
- Lavinia Greenlaw
- Amitav Ghosh
- Lee Harwood
- Christopher Ricks
Our own creative writing team includes novelists Aamer Hussein, Alison Fell, and Rebecca Smith, short story writer Carole Burns, poet Peter Middleton, and playwrights Evan Placey and Adam Brace. They look forward to working with you.
We’ll provide you with a supportive environment in which to learn, grow and develop your writing skills. You can specialise in topics that interest you and benefit from a dynamic schedule of visiting speakers which includes established writers, editors, publishers and agents. You’ll also choose from a wide variety of modules offered by the School of Humanities, which will help you to think deeply and critically about your work.
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
- a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 or more years
Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.
Your course leader is a former journalist and accomplished short story writer with interests in narrative craft and the creative in both fiction and non-fiction. Visit Carole Burns’s staff profile to learn more about her work.
This course is based at Avenue.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree in English literature or a related subject.
If you are over 21 and feel you would benefit from degree-level studies, we can be more flexible with our entry requirements. We’ll expect you to demonstrate your commitment by means of some recent serious study, such as:
- at least 1 A level pass
- completion of an Open University foundation course
- completion of an appropriate Access course
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
We'll consider your application on individual merit and may ask you to attend an interview.
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
This is a full-time master’s course. You’ll study for 12 months, from September to the following September.
In the first 9 months (semesters 1 and 2) you’ll study the taught part of your course.
This is made up of modules that everyone on the course takes, including the Creative Skills Workshop which is the main feature of the programme. You’ll also choose from a list of optional modules from other Humanities MA programmes to personalise the course to your interests.
For the last 3 months, over the summer, you’ll work independently on your final Creative Project, with guidance and support from your supervisors.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules in year 1:
You must also choose from the following modules in year 1:
Learning and assessment
You may be surprised by what you find out about yourself during this course. Experience has shown that students often come to us thinking they want to write prose and end up writing poetry, or vice versa, or discover a gift for scriptwriting or children's literature they never thought they had.
We’ll challenge your preconceptions about yourself, so come prepared with an open mind. We don't promise to get you published outside of our own end-of-year anthology, but we do anticipate that by the end of the course you will have learned enough to make informed decisions about the directions your writing career might take next.
We aim to:
- develop your skills and confidence as a writer in specific genres of your choice
- train you to be articulate in your discussions and coursework
- give you an understanding of the theoretical and conceptual issues involved in writing
- enable you to work independently and productively on extended pieces of writing
- help you explore a range of periods and genres of English literature and culture
- introduce you to performance writing and the range of international literatures in English
Throughout the programme, we’ll develop your skills by emphasising:
- active participation
- independent learning
- personal initiative
We teach in small groups, with one or more writing tutors guiding students through the implications and potentials of their own writing paths.
We’ll expect you to read widely and experiment freely with your writing and composition beyond the parameters of individual modules.
Depending on the modules you choose, we’ll assess you through a combination of:
- individual and group presentations
- a creative portfolio
- creative work in fiction
- a short story
- critical commentaries reflecting on issues of genre, redrafting, creative influence and your voice
- your final Creative Project
For your final Creative Project, you’ll demonstrate your ability to develop an individual vision, realise it in textual form, and manage any problems that emerge along the way.
You’ll write a 15,000-word piece, working one-to-one with a supervisor in your chosen area. The project will be accompanied by a 3,000-4,000-word critical commentary, which will explore a key practice-based or research-led question raised by your creative work.
Your supervisors will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.
You’ll have access to:
- a personal academic tutor to give you guidance and support with academic or personal issues
- the Creative Skills workshop, which is a weekly forum focused on your own writing
- the annual Litmus project, which pairs creative writers with research scientists
- a final end-of-year anthology launch
- talks from former creative writing graduates
Our graduates go onto careers in:
- writing (from journalism to fiction)
- international PhD programmes
- creative industries
More generally, a master’s degree will help you develop the key skills that employers look for, such as:
- time, deadline and project management
- problem solving
- teamwork, relationship-building and working independently
- cultural awareness
- using your initiative
- critical thinking and research analysis
Above all, you will learn to communicate your ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £9,250.
- International students pay £18,812.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
You must get your application to us by the end of the day on 1 September 2020. You must supply all supporting documentation at least 2 weeks before starting your course.
We cannot guarantee you'll be able to start your course if you do not meet these deadlines.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
You may also be asked to provide:
- a sample of written work
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000