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 (a complete piece, or an extract/extracts from a longer work).

The critical review should focus on a piece of 21st century work, 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. We normally aim to respond to applications within four weeks of receipt of all four elements: application form, writing sample, review and reference, although it may take a little longer outside of term time.

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;

  • 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, 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

At the heart of the Manchester Writing School are our masters programmes in Creative Writing, available to study on campus in Manchester, and also from anywhere in the world via online distance learning.

On our Master of Arts (MA) Creative Writing programme, you will explore and practise techniques and styles of modern and contemporary writing and apply these through the development of your own creative work. You will undertake a taught element blending writing workshops with reading units and an elective, and then complete their studies through submission of an extended piece of writing from a proposed full-length book or script.

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

The MA is available to complete in one year full-time or two 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.

You can also choose to pursue our MFA Creative Writing masters.

Visit the Manchester Writing School 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 in the past ten years.
  • Extensive calendar of events - including The Manchester Children's Book Festival, The National Creative Writing Industry Conference, Manchester Writing Competition Gala, Poetry Festivals, book launches, podcasts, and question and answer sessions with guest writers at Manchester Met and Manchester arts venues.
  • Industry links - strong links to the publishing industry with visits from major agents, editors and publishers.
  • 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.
  • Extended piece of writing - all MA students will complete an extended piece of writing from a proposed full-length book or script, supported by a term of one-to-one supervision.
  • Gain an MFA - students who successfully complete the MA can continue their studies with an additional year, completing a further 120 credits (which includes writing a full-length book or script) and gaining an MFA.
  • 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).
  • 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, Alistair McDowall, Andrew McMillan, Livi Michael, Helen Mort, Kim Moore, Gregory Norminton, Adam O'Riordan, Minoli Salgado, Michael Symmons Roberts, Monique Roffey, Jean Sprackland, Simon Stephens, Joe Stretch, Alex Wheatle MBE, Julie Wilkinson and Lara Williams.
  • Visiting Fellows - our courses feature contributions from our visiting fellows, including: Ed Caesar, Mandy Coe, Tim Cresswell, Amanda Dalton, Steve Dearden, Guy Garvey, Colin Harvey, Jennifer Makumbi, Rachel Mann, Shirley May, André Naffis-Sahely, Ra Page, Stephen Raw, David Shook, Hugh Stoddart and Barry Wood.
  • Home to Manchester Poetry Library - Manchester Poetry Library is the North West's first public poetry library and holds over 10,000 books and recordings that can be explored through the online catalogue, in person and through the annual programme of events.

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/

Find out more about Postgraduate funding here.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details

Course Enquiries Team
0161 247 6969