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Creative Writing and Critical Life, MA

University of Leeds, the United Kingdom

University of Leeds

Study options for this course

The award How you will study Study duration Course start Domestic course fees International course fees
MAFull-time12 monthsSeptemberGBP 7250 per totalGBP 17500 per total
MAPart-time24 monthsSeptemberGBP 7250 per totalGBP 17500 per total

About Creative Writing and Critical Life, MA - at University of Leeds

This programme enables you to engage in both creative and critical writing while focusing on the larger critical question of identity. You'll be able to develop a theoretically informed understanding of the relationship between writing and the self while exploring a range of literary genres as a critical reader and as a practitioner. You will study a wide variety of genres, such as memoir and autobiography, lyric poetry, prose fiction, and drama.

You'll develop your knowledge of research methods in critical and creative studies and choose from a range of options to explore genres that suit your own interests.

With the support of active researchers, publishers and writers you'll have access to wide-ranging research resources in our library as well as workshop opportunities to develop expertise in a range of different kinds of writing skills which will be valuable not just in the creative sphere, but in a variety of careers.

You'll learn in a stimulating environment with access to excellent resources for your research. The world-class Brotherton Library has extensive holdings to support both critical and creative writing. Our Special Collections are full of archive and manuscript material, including the extensive archives of contemporary poets, including Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill, and Simon Armitage. The University Library offers full training to help you make the most of them, equipping you with valuable skills in the process. The School of English also hosts readings and workshops by contemporary writers, including the Poetry@Leeds series of readings run by the Poetry Centre; and there are creative writers on its staff, including the Douglas Caster Poetry Fellow.

This degree is also available to study part-time over 24 months.

  • Course content

    Two core modules in your first semester will develop your understanding of research methods in the study of English, build your research skills and provide an introduction to critical and creative writing practices. In the following semester, you'll choose at least one of the optional modules related to critical and/or creative writing, with the option to choose one final module from the full range of English modules or from outside the School of English.

    Throughout the programme, you'll have the opportunity to explore the complex relationships between writing and identity through critical and theoretical reflection while also working as a writer within your chosen genres. You'll also have the opportunity of specializing in either critical or creative work in your research project, though you may continue to combine the two sides of the programme if you wish. If you choose to focus on the creative side, this will entail a critical reflection on your own work to accompany the portfolio.

    If you choose to study part-time, you'll take fewer modules in each year and study over a longer period.

    Course structure

    These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

    Year 1

    Compulsory modules

    • Studying English: Research Methods 30 credits
    • Research Project 60 credits
    • Writing Identities: Criticism, Creativity, Practice 30 credits

    Optional modules

    • So Where do you come from? Selves, Families, Stories 30 credits
    • Feeling Time 30 credits
    • The Magic of Mimesis 30 credits
    • War, Mourning and Memory: 1914-1939 30 credits
    • Literature and the Politics of Language 30 credits

    For more information on typical modules, read Creative Writing and Critical Life MA Full Time in the course catalogue

    For more information on typical modules, read Creative Writing and Critical Life MA Part Time in the course catalogue

    Learning and teaching

    You'll generally have two-hour weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you'll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks by visiting speakers that we arrange throughout the year. You'll also have a series of foundational workshops in the first semester to develop your creative writing skills. Further workshops will feature depending on your option module choices in semester 2 and you will benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with an allocated dissertation supervisor.

    Independent study is a vital part of the degree as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas.


    Most of our modules are assessed by a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you submit at the end of the semester in which you studied the module. You may also be expected to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work, or give presentations in your seminars. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.

  • Applying, fees and funding

    Entry requirements

    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (Hons) in English Literature or a related subject.

    We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of English admissions team.

    English language requirements

    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

    International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.


    How to apply


    We don't have a final deadline for MA Applications, and we'll consider your application right up until the start date of the programme. However, we encourage you to apply before the end of July if possible, to make arrangements such as securing funding, accommodation or visas. Modules will be allocated to offer holders in early August, so if you apply after that point you may have a more limited choice of modules.

    You'll also need to apply for a place before applying for any scholarships, so check the deadlines for available scholarships on the postgraduate scholarships database.

    • Apply (Full time)
    • Apply (Part time)

    This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
    If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

    Documents and information you need

    You'll need to upload the following documents when completing the online application form:

    • A transcript of your completed BA degree or grades to date
    • A personal statement of around 500 words outlining your reasons for applying to the programme and your suitability to the programme
    • A recent sample of your academic work of around 2,000 words on a topic relevant to the programme
    • We do not generally request references, unless further information is required to support the assessment of your application
    • If English is not your first language, you'll need to submit proof of your English language results (e.g. IELTS)

    Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

    Admissions policy

    School of English Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy


    UK/EU: £7,250 (total)

    International: £17,500 (total)

    Read more about paying fees and charges.

    For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

    Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

    Additional cost information

    There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

    Scholarships and financial support

    If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

    The School of English also offers a range of scholarships for taught postgraduate study. Find out more on our Scholarships page.

  • Career opportunities

    This programme will equip you with advanced transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.

    You'll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You'll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you'll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you'll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.

    All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you'll be well equipped to pursue a career in a wide range of fields depending on your interests. These could include teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you'll be in a good position to develop a career in academia.

    Careers support

    Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

    We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That's one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

    The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

  • Related courses

    Critical and Cultural Theory (English Studies) MA
    English Literature MA
    Writing for Performance and Publication MA

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in English Literature or a related subject.

Language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component

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