Taught course

Creative Writing

Institution
Birkbeck, University of London · English, Theatre and Creative Writing
Qualifications
MFA

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Entry requirements

We usually require an MA in Creative Writing from any accredited university. However, in individual cases this requirement can be waived.

Interviews are granted on the basis of the following writing portfolio:

  • 5000 words of your original fiction or creative non-fiction, together with your application form, including a personal statement.
  • 300 words giving a description of the writing project you intend to work on, should you gain a place on the MFA.

Portfolio guidelines:

  • Submit application
  • Wait up to 48 hours
  • Submit writing portfolio (Word or PDF) by logging into your MyBirkbeck profile, then going to the ‘Manage my application’ link and attaching the document

Until all these materials are received, your application cannot be considered.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

October

Course content

Our MFA (Master of Fine Art) in Creative Writing offers you the opportunity to write a full-length work of fiction or non-fiction to a standard where it may be offered to literary agents.

The course is initially taught through small, dynamic workshops and seminars. But the core of the MFA is a one-to-one mentoring relationship with a regularly published and produced award-winning writer. Together, these will help you strengthen and professionalise your identity as an author. A session of feedback from a London-based literary agent will also be offered.

As part of a small, supportive group of writers, you will regularly present work for critique by your peers, and develop a critical and cultural awareness of other writers' work. You will then develop your awareness of the contemporary writing scene through a series of seminars and lectures.

In addition, novelists, editors and agents will be invited in to speak. In the past we have welcomed: Sophie Mackintosh, Polly Samson, Rachel Cusk, Deborah Levy and Louise Doughty; Jamie Byng of Canongate, Francesca Main of Picador, Hannah Griffiths of Faber, Richard Beswick of Little, Brown; and agents from Aitken Alexander, AP Watt, Curtis Brown and Janklow and Nesbit.

Highlights

  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • In particular, this environment is fostered by close links between the MFA and the Centre for Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, which runs a wide variety of talks and conferences in this field. In addition to working with the established and award-winning writers who teach the degree, you will have contact with industry professionals, such as publishers and literary agents, who offer a series of platform discussions in the summer term.
  • Our annual creative writing magazine, The Mechanics' Institute Review, is edited by Birkbeck MA Creative Writing students and features writing from the course as a showcase for the degree, with wide distribution beyond Birkbeck to literary agents, publishers, etc. Read an account of how our students created the most recent issue. MIROnline is an interactive website, edited by PhD students and volunteers, with all the latest news and writing from this programme and beyond.
  • Birkbeck is located in the heart of literary London, in Bloomsbury, WC1. You could be studying in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group, now home to our School of Arts. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space.
  • Read the Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing blog to keep up to date with our research activities.
  • The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members' screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists' Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MFA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Name
Student Advice Service
Email
studentadvice@bbk.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)20 3907 0700