Entry requirements

In order to apply, you will need to submit a completed application form, a sample of creative writing, a critical review and one reference. You can apply online or download an application form here: mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/postgraduate-taught-course.

On the application form, you will be asked to give a personal statement and should use this to tell us a bit about yourself and give a good sense of what you have been reading and writing, what has led you to apply for our course, and which one of our specialist routes you are applying for. Personal statements should be up to 500 words long.

For the creative sample, applicants to the Novel, Children's/YA and Creative Non-Fiction routes should submit up to 2,000 words of prose (a complete piece, or an extract/extracts from a longer work); poetry applicants should submit up to 15 poems; and scriptwriting applicants should submit up to 15 minutes running time of script.

The critical review should focus on a piece of published or produced work in your chosen specialist route, be up to 500 words long, and show evidence of close reading, explaining what it is about the piece you find useful as a writer. Both the creative and critical samples should be relevant to the specialist route to which you are applying (Novel OR Poetry OR Writing for Children/YA OR Scriptwriting OR Creative Non-Fiction).

Your reference can be from anyone of professional standing (e.g. a current/former employer or tutor) who can vouch for your suitability for study at postgraduate level or the quality of your writing, or, if you are unable to obtain a reference from someone who is familiar with your written work, simply verify your identity.

Please collate and submit the application form, writing sample, review and reference, where possible. It will not speed up the processing of your application if you send some elements now with others to follow. 

We have intakes into the programme in September and January each year. For application deadlines, please see the 'How to Apply' section below.

In each application assessed we will be looking for evidence of:

  • A very high standard of written English; 

  • Creative talent and potential; 

  • Control of form, style and technique; 

  • Commitment to the craft of writing and willingness to engage with the editorial process of receiving feedback and redrafting work-in-progress;  

  • Experience of the development of writing skills through workshops, supervision, mentoring or previous study; 

  • Commitment to the craft of writing and the development of writing skills through workshops and supervision; 

  • Substantial reading within the relevant field. 

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to produce evidence of English Language proficiency. Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 overall, with no sub-component below 5.5, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

If your application meets these criteria, a tutor may contact you to arrange a telephone or face-to-face interview at a mutually convenient time.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

On our Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programme, you will explore and practice techniques and styles of modern and contemporary writing and apply these through the development of your own full-length book or script. 

MFA students undertake all of the elements of our MA Creative Writing programme (a taught element blending writing workshops with reading units, an elective, and a dissertation), then take an additional unit about the publishing, literary and arts industries and submit a full-length manuscript: a completed novel or short story collection, poetry collection, book for children or young adults, script for stage, screen or radio, or book of creative non-fiction.

You will be introduced to professionals from the publishing industries, which may include literary agents, publishers, broadcasters and arts practitioners, and the School has strong links with many major arts, educational and cultural organisations. Our MFA model is exceptional in coaching students through the development and completion of a full-length book under the sustained guidance of distinguished, practising writers and seeing those students achieve success in publishing. 

You will specialise in one of the following routes: Novel (including Short Fiction), Poetry, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Scriptwriting (for stage, screen or radio) or Creative Non-Fiction. 

The MFA is available to complete in two years full-time or three years part-time. The Novel, Poetry and Scriptwriting routes are available to study on campus (full-time or part-time) or online (part-time only). The Writing for Children and Creative Non-Fiction routes are online (part-time) only. We have intakes to the programme in September and January each year. 

Applications are also welcome from those already holding an MA in Creative Writing (180 credits) from Manchester Metropolitan or other universities who would like to top-up to an MFA by taking an additional 120 credits (including the Manuscript unit). 

Visit the Manchester Writing School website for more information, including profiles of staff and published students, news, events and projects.

Please visit our Masters scholarships page for information on funding opportunities.

Features and Benefits

  • One of the most successful programmes of its kind in the UK today – with more than 100 students and graduates publishing first books and having work produced, with many more achieving publication in journals and magazines, winning writing awards and prizes, setting up small presses and anthologies, and finding roles in the publishing industry.

  • Extensive calendar of events - which may include author Q&As, book launches, festivals, podcasts and performances at Manchester Met, partner venues across the city, and online.

  • Industry links - strong links to the publishing, arts and cultural industries, and guest speakers which may include agents, publishers and producers.

  • Flexible learning - classes for core Workshop and Reading units take place in the evenings (6-8pm UK time) during the autumn or spring semesters. Full-time students usually have classes two evenings per week, and part-time students one evening per week. 

  • Live online teaching - the course can be completed entirely online, with core Workshop and Reading unit teaching for distance learning students via weekly online classes in Microsoft Teams, and some elective units also available online (availability varies each year). 

  • Option units - all students take 30 credits of optional units and can choose from a range of 15 and 30 credit Creative Writing units or options from courses across Arts and Humanities subjects, including English Studies and Publishing. Option units run in the spring semester; delivery models and scheduling vary depending on choice and availability. 

  • Full-length manuscript - MFA students submit a full-length manuscript: a completed novel or short story collection, poetry collection, book for children or young adults, feature-length script or book of creative non-fiction, completed over a full year with one-to-one editorial input from a dedicated Manuscript Mentor. Manuscript students also attend The Industry - a semester of weekly seminars with guests from the publishing, literary and cultural industries introducing career opportunities for creative writers. 

  • Academic expertise - taught by high-profile writers and critics including: Carol Ann Duffy DBE, Susan Barker, Laura Barnett, Andrew Biswell, Malika Booker, Kirsty Bunting, Sarah Butler, Eleanor Byrne, David Cooper, Nikolai Duffy, Paul Evans, Catherine Fox, Rachel Genn, Chloe Germaine, Blanka Grzegorczyk, Oliver Harris, Andrew Michael Hurley, Sarah Ilott, Rachel Lichtentsein, Anjum Malik, Andrew McMillan, Helen Mort, Kim Moore, Joe Ward Munroe, Gregory Norminton, Zodwa Nyoni, Adam O'Riordan, Minoli Salgado, Michael Symmons Roberts, Monique Roffey, Jean Sprackland, Simon Stephens, Joe Stretch, Alex Wheatle MBE and Lara Williams. 

  • Home to Manchester Poetry Library - Manchester Poetry Library is the North West's first public poetry library and holds over 12,000 books and recordings that can be explored through the online catalogue, in person and through the annual programme of events.

  • Manchester City of Literature - Manchester has been designated an international UNESCO City of Literature in recognition of its thriving live literature scene, with a diverse range of regular author events, writers’ forums, networking opportunities and open mic nights.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

UK students
For further information: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/
International students
For further information: https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/


Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Course Enquiries Team
0161 247 6969