This course allows you to develop your work as a writer to a professional level, going beyond the personal and writing with an engaged sense of literary culture, its social role and contemporary practices. The MA is designed for those who are dedicated to their practice and want to see their work in print. Individual creative practice will be fostered in weekly workshops, critical classes and tutorials.
You will take one of four distinct pathways: Fiction, Literary Non-Fiction,* Poetry or Poetic Practice, working in small groups and with extensive individual attention. In addition to the workshop, you will take modules in Supplementary Discourses and Reading as a Writer. You will submit critical and creative coursework, and will undertake a final practical project and critical dissertation. Our summer programme of events and masterclasses introduces you to leading writers, editors and agents who advise on how to take the next step.
- This MA is taught in Bedford Square, in the heart of literary Bloomsbury.
- The course ranks among the top creative-writing programmes in the country and is taught by leading writers. Jo Shapcott has received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the Forward Prize, and the Whitbread Prize. Lavinia Greenlaw has received a Forward Prize for Poem of the Year, the Prix du Premier Roman and the Ted Hughes Award. Nikita Lalwani won the Desmond Elliot Award, and was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker prize. Eley Williams has won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize. Robert Hampson was longlisted for the Forward Prize. Redell Olsen has been Judith E. Wilson Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge.
- Our prizewinning, internationally successful alumni include the novelists Sarah Perry, Tahmima Anam, Jenni Fagan and Barney Norris; short-story writer and poet Eley Williams; and the poets Liz Berry, Kayo Chingonyi, Sam Riviere and Sophie Robinson.
You will learn how to structure and edit your prose to a publishable standard while also developing an expert sense of how best to draw on the personal, the actual and the imagination. We have no house style, and encourage both experiment and rigour. In developing your analytical and editorial skills, you will sharpen your self-criticism.
You will explore the broad range of possibilities that literary non-fiction has to offer from memoir to manifesto, from the essay to the hybrid form. You will be taught how to research, and how to activate and deploy your material. You will learn how to draw on these to develop original work of your own to publishable standard.
*New for 2019-20. This pathway has yet to be formally approved and may be subject to some minor changes.
This pathway is for writers of all kinds of poetry, who are focused on publication on the page. You will learn how to locate and refine your personal poetics, and how to develop a poem to its fullest potential. You will be taught how to revise and edit a poem, how to sustain a writing practice, and how to locate your poetry within a broader literary context.
This pathway foregrounds the writing in an expanded field of contemporary poetic practice. It offers a consideration of contemporary trends in innovative and experimental poetry: redefinitions of lyric writing, bookworks, visual poetics, performance, sound, conceptual writing, digital poetics and site-specific work.
This is a weekly one-and-a-half hour seminar involving critical and theoretical reading designed to supply you with appropriate critical and theoretical discourse for discussing your own work with others.
The principal aim of the module is to enable you to read as a writer in order to inform your literary composition. You will read a selection of contemporary fiction and poetry from the perspective of the writer.
You will undertake a major extended fiction, non-fiction, poetry or poetic practice project under supervision.
The princial aim of the Dissertation on Practice is to enable you to demonstrate your ability to reflect critically and theoretically on your own practice and to locate your practice in relation to contemporary writing practices.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.Pathways
This module is designed to develop your understanding of, and ability in, fiction writing beyond first-degree level. You will attend a weekly three-hour workshop, in which work you produce will be discussed.
You will develop your understanding of, and ability in, contemporary poetry beyond first-degree level. You will be expected to embark on an advanced programme of writing and critical thinking through creative exploration and dialogue with the tutor and other members of the group.
You will develop, and reflect on, your own practice in the context of an understanding of contemporary experimental practice in poetry from the UK and North America, and consider how contemporary poetry and poetics intersect with such fields as conceptual art writing, sound art, live art, digital poetics, book arts, installed texts and writing in relation to site.
Teaching & assessment
At the beginning of the Spring term fiction writers will submit a 5,000-word piece of work. Poets on both the Poetry and the Poetic Practice pathways will submit a portfolio of 12 pages and a 3,000-4,000 word essay arising from their work in Supplementary Discourses. They will be given feedback and then, at the beginning of the Summer term, resubmit improved versions together with a second piece of creative work of the same length, and a second essay in relation to Reading as a Writer. Part-time students hand in their work for Supplementary Discourses and Reading as a Writer at the end of the Spring and Summer terms respectively, and will submit their portfolios for the pathway at the start of September.
At the end of the course fiction students will submit a 15,000-word piece of work and poets a portfolio of 24 pages. In addition, students will write a dissertation of 10-12,000 words, relating to their creative work and to their wider literary interests, to be submitted with the portfolio. Part-time students will make these final submissions at the end of their second year.
Single or combined honours English.
Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider a high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘high 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.
Applicants with degrees in other subjects or with relevant publications are also encouraged to apply. Past students have come from a range of first-degree backgrounds.
You will be required to submit an example of your writing; either a piece of fiction or non-fiction prose of up to 5,000 words in length or at least 12 pages of poetry.
You will also be required to submit 1,000 words of critical writing in support of your application.
Undergraduate essays and reviews are acceptable.
Suitable applicants will be invited for an interview.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English (not including some language courses). You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 7.0 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 69 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE IV.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.
Your future career
A significant number of our Creative Writing students have become published authors or found work in publishing and allied professions.
We have an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs; recently they've secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, Sussex and UEA, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland.
This course will give you a distinctive, creative edge in careers such as publishing, teaching, writing and journalism, administration and marketing. Recent graduates have taken up jobs at the BBC and in art therapy.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9200
International students tuition fee per year**: £16400
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email email@example.com for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.
Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.