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Creative Writing (MA)

1 year (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The MA Creative Writing offers students the opportunity to study creative writing at an advanced degree level and in an environment of serious and committed peers wishing to pursue careers as writers and/or teachers of creative writing.  Tutoring staff are all experienced instructors as well as published authors.  Emphasis is attached to the production of fine writing across the duration of the course, along with an awareness of the creative process in the individual writer’s work. To this end, the course is structured around seminars and workshops that enhance students’ command of technique and craft, their self-awareness as writers, and the importance of editing and revision in the production of a manuscript.  In addition, a unique feature of the Cardiff MA in Creative Writing is a module that focuses on the Teaching of Creative Writing, in which students are asked to reflect on and engage with a diversity of teaching practices.

Course Aims

The MA in Creative Writing seeks to provide students with the opportunity to extend their knowledge and understanding of the practice of Creative Writing beyond first degree stage.  It aims to develop students’ creative writing abilities and ideas about the practice of creative writing through a series of complementary courses which stress an integrated experience of literary development and pedagogy of creative writing.  The programme is designed to encourage students to develop their knowledge and skills in the writing of one or more literary genre(s), the teaching of creative writing and the processes of editing and revision.  The end result is the ability to independently produce literary works of refinement and skill, and the ability to conduct writers’ workshops.

Special Features

Course Description

The MA delivers knowledge and expertise in the practice and craft of writing. Extensive writing workshops enhance your creative writing skills while supporting modules sharpen your analysis of the creative process and hone your understanding of the methods involved in teaching creative writing. Emphasis is placed on the production of fresh and articulate writing, with a critical awareness of the dynamics of the individual writer’s work. Critical evaluation of the contexts of one’s writing is also key.

Our dedicated teaching staff are all professional writers, as well as experienced teachers. They will help you to develop in-depth knowledge of technique and craft.

Course Structure

This one-year, full-time taught MA programme includes, in the autumn semester, a module on the creative process and also a writer’s workshop, the latter leading to the first portfolio of written work (approximately 6,000 words, with a critical commentary of 1,000 words).

In the spring semester, a module on the pedagogy of teaching creative writing is delivered and students have the chance to sit in on undergraduate classes and to teach a session; there are also visits out to local schools and colleges. On completion of an essay on teaching creative writing, Part 1 is completed. The writer’s workshop continues during the spring semester alongside one-to-one sessions with portfolio tutors. During the period from May to September, candidates devote their time to completing the second portfolio, which consists exclusively of writing produced during the course.

The degree programme consists of four modules which are assessed discretely at separate stages of the academic year. The degree as a whole is worth 180 credits and is made up of a 60-credit portfolio of writing (worth 33% of the degree and to be completed in late March) and two essays (each 30 credits), one on the Creative Process (due mid-January) and one on Teaching Creative Writing (due in mid-May). Together the essays are worth a further 33% of the degree. The full MA award necessitates the completion of the second portfolio (equivalent to 60 credits). This is worth a further 33% of the marks.

Semester 1
Semester 2

Teaching Methods

Teaching is by a combination of small-group seminars, workshops, tutor led one-to-ones, placements in undergraduate classes and visits to outside schools and colleges; there is also a three-day residential at Gregynog Hall. Students will be expected to read and analyse a range of critical and literary texts, read and assess peer work and develop self-reflective skills. The learning activities will vary from module to module, but may include writing exercises, critical reading, analysis of craft, the presentation of critical and creative work to others, micro-teaching, etc. Students will be expected to support one another in the group workshop and to give focused and constructive feedback.


Written formative feedback is given weekly in the writer’s workshop, and from staff in portfolio one-to-ones. Students are encourage to regularly meet with staff to discuss their creative and critical (essay) projects.

Detailed summative feedback for the autumn and spring semester modules is provided in the form of a collated and detailed review from the module leader and an assigned second marker. Formative feedback for portfolio 2 will be given via a supervision log following each one-to-one supervision meeting. 

Detailed summative feedback for Portfolio 2 will two detailed reports from each of the two markers.

Teaching Staff

Prof Richard Gwyn

Dr Tristan Hughes
Senior Lecturer & Programme Director

Dr Shelagh Weeks
Senior Lecturer

Dr Tim Rhys

Skills Practices & Developed

The skills gained on the MA in Creative Writing mean that graduates from the programme are in frequent demand by professions including arts management, publishing, public relations, business advertising, journalism, arts consulting and community work. The MA also provides an excellent preparation for teaching certification.  It will appeal to teachers who seek further experience and enhanced knowledge of the techniques and practices central to the teaching of Creative Writing. It is also ideal for those who wish to enhance their employability before taking up a career, as well as those who are seeking professional development in their current employment.  Past MA students have gone on to careers in journalism, publishing, teaching, research and administration.

Career Prospects

Postgraduate study in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy is a gateway to many careers within and beyond academia. Many overseas postgraduates return to lectureships with much enhanced career prospects. Example employers in the UK include Cardiff University, HMRC, Mencap, Poetry Wales Magazine, Teach First, and the Welsh Government, with jobs that include Creative Writing Lecturer, Librarian, Poet, Recruitment Consultant, Teacher, and Writer.


'Cardiff is a great place to do the MA in Creative Writing.'

Gareth Davies, MA in Creative Writing, 2017

Read Gareth's full testimonial

'Cardiff is a great place to do the MA in Creative Writing. The course is thought provoking and challenging and the feedback I have received through the workshops and talking with my personal tutor has really made me recognise my own weaknesses and develop as a writer.  As well as the course, there is a vibrant literary scene in Cardiff. This has allowed me to develop my writing skills in a safe environment while gaining an audience for my writing at writers’ groups and open mic nights, and get a taste for the literary world at book launches and readings.'

Gareth Davies, MA in Creative Writing, 2017

'Among the many things that the MA in Creative Writing programme has provided me, perhaps the most valuable has been opportunity.'

Jamie Gillingham, Editor of the Cardiff Review
MA in Creative Writing, 2016

Read Jamie's full testimonial

'Among the many things that the MA in Creative Writing programme has provided me—time, camaraderie, insight—perhaps the most valuable has been opportunity: I’ve taught creative writing to kids; I’ve travelled throughout Wales; and I’ve produced an anthology of short fiction in partnership with other local artists. Top of the list, though, has been the opportunity to work with ENCAP to bring to fruition The Cardiff Review, the School’s literary magazine. Myself and three other graduates of the programme first approached ENCAP in September of 2015 with a pitch for a magazine that gave precedence to postgraduate writing. Damian Walford-Davies, the Head of School, was excited by what we had presented, and some short months later we published our first digital issue. The university has been the most receptive and supportive I’ve attended: I came from Canada to study Creative Writing at Cardiff University on the suggestion of a former professor, and I couldn’t be more pleased that I did.'

Jamie Gillingham, Editor of the Cardiff Review
MA in Creative Writing, 2016

Additional information

Students on the MA in Creative Writing are required to attend a Portfolio 1 workshop every Monday throughout each semester from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

The Visiting Writer programme and Open Mic sessions take place on a Monday.  At schedule of visiting writers will be issued at induction.

Core Module 202 The Creative Process takes place from 10 a.m. – 12 noon on Wednesday mornings in the autumn semester.

Core Module 203 Teaching Creative Writing takes place from 10 a.m. – 12 noon on Wednesday mornings in the spring semester.

Students arrange one-to-one supervision sessions with their allocated supervisor for Portfolio 2 in the spring semester.

The Writers’ Retreat at Gregynog usually takes place for four days in the first two weeks of December in any given year.

A literary magazine of contemporary graduate writing, publishing fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and run by alumni from the MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff University accepts monthly submissions from current Cardiff University students and alumni. To view the magazine and the submission criteria visit 

For a list of recommended reading for this MA please contact

Entry Requirements

1st or 2:1 UK Honours degree, or equivalent. Applicants are not required to have a degree in a particular subject area; emphasis will be placed on the quality of the portfolio of creative writing submitted with the application.

In addition, applicants whose first language is not English must obtain a British Council IELTS score of at least 7.0 (with a minimum subscore of 6.5 in each component), or an equivalent English language qualification. However, applicants with an IELTS score of 6.5 (with a minimum subscore of 6.0 in each component) will be considered provided they undertake and successfully complete the University’s ten-week pre-sessional English course. This requirement may be waived if the applicant can furnish sufficient evidence that they are suitably proficient in the use of English.

In addition to the application form and supporting documents applicants should also provide:

Decisions are made on on a continuous basis throughout the year, on the basis of written application and references received.

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £6,250 £14,750
Part-time n/a n/a
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: ENCAP Postgraduate Office, Timothy Collins  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4722 



School Website:

More information

School of English, Communication and Philosophy


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