Taught course

Creative Writing

Institution
Birkbeck, University of London · School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
Qualifications
MA

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2 or above, though this requirement may be waived if you can demonstrate exceptional talent), a personal statement (to be submitted with your application form) and a portfolio of prose writing of no more than 3000 words.

Your portfolio should be a section of a novel with a synopsis, a couple of short stories or a combination of the two. Please note that poetry, children’s fiction, journalism, screen- or playwriting are not appropriate submissions for this MA. Students are selected on the basis of their portfolio and statement, an interview (selected candidates only) and their degree.

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.

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

January, October

Course content

This MA Creative Writing gives you the chance to better understand the craft of writing and gain valuable constructive criticism from other writers and experts who are as serious about developing your work as you are. It is ideal if you want to develop your practice as a writer and work toward publication and/or sustaining a career in the industry.

Why choose this course?

  • Our MA is highly respected nationally and internationally and we have a growing list of published and prizewinning authors whose work started life in our seminars, recently including Abi Daré, JJ Bola, Lily Dunn, Annalie Grainger, Louise Hare, Sally Hinchcliffe, Vanessa Onwuemezi, Melody Razak and Saba Sams.
  • You will study the art of writing with a faculty of acclaimed authors, which include Julia Bell, Luke Williams and David Eldridge, to name a few.
  • You will benefit from the experience and expertise of a team who have been running this creative writing course for almost 20 years enabling diverse cohorts of students to develop as writers across genres and to support their careers.

What you will learn

On this MA Creative Writing you will deepen your knowledge of reading and writing and the possibilities of literature across all forms and genres, as well as developing critical and professional skills relevant to the workplace.

You will take core modules which focus your attention on the fundamentals of writing and then choose option modules which give you the opportunity to diversify your practice and experiment in more specialist areas and concerns including:

  • writing for video gaming
  • screenwriting
  • playwrighting
  • memoir writing
  • poetry
  • creative non-fiction
  • genre fiction.

How you will learn

In workshops, tutorials and supervisions you will benefit from close and attentive readings of your work. In lectures and seminars, we consider issues of craft, expression and meaning within the context of how you see the world, how we theorise writing and contextualise our work within broader traditions. You will build on existing skills and develop new techniques and approaches to writing under the tutelage of published authors who are experts in your specialism.

Entry to the course is based on the submission of a portfolio of creative work, and candidates whose work shows promise will be invited for interview.

Highlights

  • Birkbeck was ranked 2nd in the UK for its English Language and Literature research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
  • In particular, this environment is fostered by close links between the MA 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.
  • The Mechanics' Institute Review, MIROnline, is a forum for the most exciting new writing in short fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction selected from students on this course 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. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space.
  • We have a range of scholarships available to enable talented students on low incomes to study with us, such as the Sophie Warne Fellowship. Once you have secured a place on the course you will be invited to apply for these awards. We offer a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
Careers and employability

On successfully graduating from this MA Creative Writing, you will have gained an array of important transferable skills, including:

  • strong creative and critical skills
  • a sophisticated use of written and spoken English
  • an advanced ability in engaging with ideas and developing your own opinions and arguments
  • facility and precision in the use of analytical tools
  • strong skills and initiative in collecting and organising complex materials and writing up clear, well-presented reports or fluent critical arguments
  • adaptability, resilience and initiative.

Graduates can pursue career paths in areas such as:

  • academia
  • research
  • teaching
  • publishing
  • copywriting
  • marketing
  • narrative design
  • editing.

Birkbeck Creative Writing graduates include:

  • Niki Aguirre
  • Sarah Alexander
  • Laura Allsop
  • Amer Anwar
  • Iphgenia Baal
  • Amy Bird
  • Phoebe Blatton
  • JJ Bola
  • Mary Lynn Bracht
  • Nicole Burstein
  • Tray Butler
  • Melissa De Villiers
  • Lily Dunn
  • Liz Fremantle
  • AJ Grainger
  • Jules Grant
  • Julia Gray
  • Emma Henderson
  • Sally Hinchcliffe
  • Anna Hope
  • Heidi James
  • Keith Jarrett
  • Olya Knezevic
  • Nik Korpon
  • Louise Lee
  • Matthew Loukes
  • Fiona Melrose
  • Suzanne O'Sullivan
  • Nii Parkes
  • Victoria Richards
  • Nadim Safdar
  • Karin Salvalaggio
  • David Savill
  • Stefanie Seddon
  • Sogol Sur
  • Luke Tredget.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

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 6.5, with not less than 6.0 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

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