Taught course

Creative Writing

Durham University · Department of English Studies

Entry requirements

Students are usually required to have an Honours Degree at 2:1 level or higher or GPA average of 3.2 from a recognised national or international university. Students should submit a sample of 4-6 poems or 2,000 words of fiction. All students must provide two positive academic or professional references.

Months of entry


Course content

Our MA in Creative Writing is an exciting and rewarding course, taught with academic rigour by award-winning writers. It will help sharpen your practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction and develop your knowledge and understanding of twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

The teaching and research provided offers a combination of conceptual and theoretical reflection, analysis of historical and cultural contexts, pays close attention to literary texts and primary sources, and enables the imaginative creation of new writing.

You will be supported with writing workshops and one-to-one tutorials where you will be encouraged to express and develop your own ideas. You will be based in an environment where your curiosity and imagination as well as your intellectual discipline and the individual nature of your responses is respected and valued.

Alongside the teaching modules you will have access to an extensive events programme, which includes the sharing of work and expertise by leading researchers and writers.

We are one of the most well-regarded English departments in the country. We are, in addition, one of few English departments in the world to teach and research in literature produced in Britain from the early medieval period to the present day as well as in anglophone literature from across the globe.

Consequently, with the learning opportunities provided by the department’s world-leading scholars, our course will give you the freedom to study broadly or to specialise, but always within a support structure where you will always be able to develop your own creative writing ideas.

Reading as a Writer introduces twentieth century poetry or prose, the writer’s technique and the way in which writers learn from each other. You will gain a high level of understanding of a range of individual authors, schools of writing and writing genres with the aim of extending your own powers of analysis through a writer’s eyes with the emphasis on poetic form, narrative architecture, voice and style. You will also be guided in choosing and developing ideas for your research project.

Reading as a Writer: The Workshop is a companion core module to the Reading as a Writer module and introduces you to the workshop format with short, directed writing assignments and their subsequent discussion. The focus of the module is on formal and technical experiments that develop your ability to draft and edit original work, with assignments reflecting the texts studied in the Reading as a Writer module. Prose and poetry students work together and share their work and ideas with subjects for assignments including adapting syntactical techniques, investigative creative non-fiction, experimenting with poetic forms, creative translation, writing an opening paragraph or trying out editing methods.

The Research Project is an extended critical essay on a subject of your own choosing and a portfolio of creative work, consisting of new works written after you have completed the workshop-style modules. You will be steered in your choice of essay topic by the module convenor. Exploring a particular subject in depth, it will encourage the development of sophisticated argument, the marshalling of evidence, the reading of the relevant criticism and contextual material, and the appropriate high level of bibliographical and presentational skills.

The remainder of the course comprises one option module from:

  • Creative Writing Poetry
  • Creative Writing Prose Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction

And one further module from:

  • The Word in the World
  • A module from another MA programme offered by the English Studies Board of Studies
  • A module offered by another Board of Studies (subject to approval)

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

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