One year full-time.
Two years part-time.
Please see our Entry Requirements section below.
Next intake: September 2020
The Masters in Creative and Critical Writing seeks to advance current research in English studies by exploring the meaningful, complex and conceptually challenging relationships between creative and critical discourses. Building on the success of our undergraduate programme ranked 1st in the UK for Student Satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2020, the course brings together the study of English literature, critical theory and creative writing in a holistic and engaging postgraduate curriculum.
The MA in Creative and Critical Writing offers you the opportunity to focus on your passion for creative writing whilst engaging with the most up-to-date debates in critical theory. On the course, you will develop skills as a creative writer, reader and researcher, broadening your knowledge of the production and reception of literature under the supervision of qualified academics and award-winning authors. You will experience an integrated approach to creative writing and contemporary developments in critical and cultural theories while exploring a range of established and evolving literary genres, such as historical fiction, memoir, and children’s literature.
Studying the MA in Creative and Critical Writing is an inclusive, student-centred experience. Our taught modules connect with and reflect on each other, fostering intellectual curiosity and inviting you to enhance your creative and critical writing skills both separately and as a blended form. In seminars and intensive writing workshops, you will develop your ideas, voice, listening skills, writing techniques and craft, honing practice through sharing and critiquing work in progress. You will be introduced to the industry through guest lectures and workshops delivered by publishers, editors and literary agents. You will also learn how to nourish your ideas in the production of a dissertation and a substantial body of professional-standard work.
The MA in Creative and Critical Writing reflects the research interests and expertise of staff teaching English within the School of Social Sciences and Humanities. The course is underpinned by our shared ethos that all writing is critically reflective and creative, opening up new possibilities for creative fusion, innovative fiction, and original insights in academic writing. Our approach enables you to make scholarly and imaginative connections between writing and theory within a vibrant multidisciplinary environment dedicated to excellence in teaching, learning and research. The course is delivered as a flexible programme, accommodating full and part-time study routes, as well as CPD opportunities.
Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.
This module supports students in the preparation and submission of their Masters Project in Creative and Critical Writing. This assessment comprises of a 12,000-word writing project and a 3000-word reflective commentary. Students may use a multi-focussed approach to fiction/non-fiction or creative/critical writing. This might be either part of a longer project, such as a novel or screenplay, or a collection of shorter pieces, such as short stories or poems, critical essays, creative responses to critical thought or a combination of both. Students will develop rigorous editorial skills and work with established writers and supervisors to edit, draft and polish their work.
This module provides students with the main theoretical approaches and methodological frameworks that underpin the MA programme. In interactive seminars, students will be encouraged to reflect on the interconnected fields of creative writing and critical thinking and to develop their writing practice through the discussion of key concepts in critical theory. The module runs in semester 1 and semester 2 with alternating seminars in creative and critical writing respectively. The seminars in creative writing will be devoted to the study of specific fields and genres of contemporary writing, explicitly contextualising the themes and topics taught in the critical writing workshops.
Historical fiction is concerned with creative representations of the past, encompassing storytelling and history while engaging with questions of public and private memory, the role of the imagination, textual representations of experience, historiography and the nature of historical truth. In this module, students will consider ways of writing historical fiction, between what is known through experience, what can be known of the past, and what can be imaginatively created. Through close reading and discussion, the module aims to support students in their own historical fiction writing, providing individual consultation and expert guidance for creative projects.
Children’s literature is a vibrant and rapidly growing field of academic study, bringing together scholarly perspectives from a diverse range of subjects and discipline backgrounds. On this module, students will be invited to explore a selection of children’s literature across the genre’s development, from the ‘golden age’ of nineteenth-century classics to contemporary examples from the twenty-first century. By focusing on the criticism and practice of writing prose for children in the areas of middle-grade (9-12 yrs) and young-adult fiction (12-18 yrs), students will expand their knowledge of current debates and have the opportunity to develop their own creative work in progress.
Adaptations of literature have appeared on screens since the birth of cinema, but the practice has expanded considerably in twenty-first-century culture, with many adaptations also engaging with a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives to appropriate literary and non-literary source texts. This interdisciplinary module invites students to reflect on these critical and creative developments through a series of twenty-first-century case studies. As well as engaging with textual examples and scholarly approaches, students will have the opportunity to write their own critical and creative response to a selection of academic and literary source texts.
Writing residences are increasingly becoming part of the writer’s professional working practice and occur in diverse settings including libraries, book festivals, county archives, schools, hospitals, prisons, and wildlife trusts. Residences offer exciting opportunities for writers to produce new work, respond creatively to and with communities, and build profile, audiences, and networks for further outreach work in the community. As a means to further knowledge and creative confidence in professional writing practice, this module aims to support students in the initiation and organisation of a writer residency of their own.
The MA in Creative and Critical Writing is designed to support you in a number of professional contexts such as teaching, publishing, editing, and professional writing, as well as enhancing life skills and providing access to doctoral-level study. The course addresses the needs of regional professionals in the creative industries seeking the next generation of writers in Suffolk and responds to an increasingly complex job market which prioritises creative approaches.
The English team has established partnerships with a number of organisations including the New Wolsey Theatre, the Red Rose Chain, the Ipswich Institute, and the Suffolk Book League. The development of the Hold and ties with Suffolk Record Office also provide greater opportunities for students to access local information and collaborate with the initiatives of the Suffolk Archives. Our partnerships aim to be mutually beneficial, always ensuring a greater quality of experience for our students while supporting local organisations and giving back to the community.
Any of our optional modules can be completed individually as CPD opportunities prior to course enrolment. This includes our 'Writers in Residence' module, which invites you to build fruitful relationships within a chosen residency, community or environment. As the potential for residences is rapidly growing and extremely varied across the UK, our course encourages you to think and act autonomously in planning and engaging with the role of the writer in the community.
Fees and finance
- Full-time tuition fee: £7,965 p.a.
- Part-time tuition fee: £885 per 20 credits (please contact the Infozone for further information).
- International tuition fee: £11,790 p.a.
At the University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for.
If you don’t meet the entry requirements, we may still be able to consider you. If you’re interested in applying, call our Clearing Hotline to discuss your suitability for study.
Minimum second class honours degree in a relevant, cognate discipline.
Relevant work and life experience will be considered.
Applicants must provide a short (1,500 - 2,000 words) sample of recent, unpublished writing (creative or critical) with their application, plus a personal statement including their reasons for applying, their life experiences and the types of literature they aspire to write.
If you have previously studied at higher education level before you may be able to transfer credits to a related course at the University of Suffolk and reduce the period of study time necessary to achieve your degree.
Facilities and Resources
The Ipswich campus offers an ideal location for studying creative and critical writing, with its state-of-the-art facilities including the Waterfront Building, a dedicated teaching, learning and social space at the heart of Neptune Quay, and The Hold, a unique and bespoke research centre for Suffolk’s nationally and internationally significant archives.
Suffolk hosts a number of literary festivals including the Aldeburgh Literary Festival, the Felixstowe Book Festival, Latitude near Southwold, Flipside in Snape, Lavenham Literary Festival, and Ink Festival in Halesworth. The county's coastal villages and towns attract writers and artists from all over the world and feature in classic novels by Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Arthur Ransome, as well as recent fictional works by authors such as Marcus Sedgwick, P. D. James and our own course lecturer, Dr Amanda Hodgkinson.
Our Creative Writing visiting lecturers include Fellow and Virginia Woolf scholar, Gill Lowe, and poet, memoir and fiction author, Professor Blake Morrison. Previous visiting authors and guest speakers include Jill Dawson, Zoe Gilbert, Julia Blackburn and Caitlin Davies. Study Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Suffolk and you will be adding your voice to a thriving literary and cultural community.