You will be guided in the production of creative work in a range of genres and styles, and also in critical reflection on your own work and that of other writers. The course tutors and guest speakers are all established literary professionals.
Who is the course designed for?
The MSt aims to facilitate students' creative practice, whether for their own personal creative development as writers or because their professional work impinges on these areas.
Aims of the programme
By the end of the course students should have:
- Developed their own writing and self-editing skills in a range of fiction and non-fiction genres
- Developed a solid and substantial understanding of the history (in terms of innovative developments) of fiction and non-fiction writing and of critical, analytical and narrative theory
Teaching and learning
The MSt is structured around four modules, each of which includes a residential block at Madingley Hall that students must attend. In the first year, each of the four residential blocks is preceded by guided preparatory reading and other activities, and followed by two writing assignments: one critical and one creative.
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) offers learning support to students while they are on the programme, including learning resources, peer-to-peer and student-to-tutor discussion between modules to build a virtual community of practice.
The first year is characterised by variety. Students will engage and experiment with a wide variety of genres, building on existing strengths and exploring unfamiliar territories.
Module 1: Writing for readers: the art of poetry and the craft of criticism (11 - 14 October 2017)
This module will combine close critical reading of selected examples of poetry and autobiographical prose with the writing of both by students.
Module 2: Writing fiction: imagined worlds (11 - 14 December 2017)
This module focuses on prose fiction, examining the relationship between memory, imagination and research and exploring the essential concerns of the fiction-writer, including plot and narrative, voice and character and the importance of place.
Module 3: Writing for performance: monologue and polyphonic scripts (12 - 15 February 2018)
This module explores various forms of writing for an audience, encompassing writing for radio, theatre, television, cinema and other forms of scripted public address and performance.
Module 4: Writing life: creative non-fiction (14 - 17 May 2018)
This module explores the concept of creative non-fiction and examines examples drawn from a range of sub-genres. These are likely to include biography, memoir, travel-writing and writing about the environment. Sessions on study and research skills will prepare students for Year 2. Visiting speakers for this module will include those from the world of publishing.
The second year is characterised by focus on a specialist genre. Students will work independently to explore further and develop their own literary and critical skills, resulting in an extended piece or portfolio of writing. They will work under the supervision of an expert in their chosen field with whom they will have regular contact.
Students will have five supervisions in the second year. The first will take place in October 2017, ideally at Madingley Hall, but Skype can also be used. The dates of this and the next three supervisions will be arranged between you and your supervisor (these can also be face-to-face or via Skype). The fifth and final supervision will usually take place at Madingley Hall at the time of the only residency in the second year, the Presentation and Discussion of Portfolios, on 29 - 30 April 2019.
It is essential that you attend all residential modules on the dates given above - your ability to complete the course will be severely compromised by missing any of these.
- Lectures, seminars and classes: 4 x 4-day residential sessions in Year 1; a 2-day residential session in Year 2.
- Supervisions and tutorials: each student has their own tutor to whom they will have several one-to-one sessions during the first year. During the second year students have 5 x 1-hour sessions with their supervisor.
Following the first residency, students will produce 750 words of poetry and a critical commentary of 3,000 words. Following the other three residencies students will produce 4,000 words of creative prose and a critical commentary of 3,000 words.
Students will produce a portfolio consisting of 15,000 words of creative prose (or an equivalent quantity of poems) and a 3,000-word critical commentary.
Students are given formal written feedback on their assignments and informal feedback throughout the course, including during tutorials and supervisions. Tutors produce a report for each student at the end of Year 1 and supervisors produce termly reports for each student during Year 2.
Expected academic standard
Applicants for this course will normally have achieved a UK 2.i honours degree or overseas equivalent.
There is provision to accept non-standard applicants who do not satisfy the standard academic criterion. Such applicants must produce evidence of relevant and equivalent experience and their suitability for the course.
- IELTS Academic: Overall band score of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component)
- CAE: Grade A
- CPE: Grade A, B, or C
- TOEFL iBT: Overall score of at least 110 with no element below 25
You will be required to provide supporting documents as part of your application - please see below for details. Please note the specific requirements for the writing samples.
Fees and funding
The fees for 2017 will be £6,903 per annum for Home/EU students and £13,803 per annum for overseas students. The combined graduate fee includes college membership. Students on this course can apply to Wolfson, St Edmund's or Selwyn.
Students will be expected to cover the application fee (£50 online) and any costs of travel and accommodation during residential sessions in Cambridge. As a student studying for the MSt in Creative Writing, you will be expected to be resident at Madingley Hall for study periods. The MSt bed and breakfast rate is c.£35 per night in addition to your course fees. Please note that, although you will be a member of a college, you will not be entitled to college accommodation.
Sources of government funding and financial support - including Professional and Career Development Loans
How to apply
Applications will be accepted online from 14 September 2016 until 31 January 2017. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on Monday 6th March - Wednesday 8th March at Madingley Hall and on Friday 10th March by Skype.
Read the MSt Application Guide to find out more about the application process and what you need to do and consider as a potential applicant. See below for details of the supporting documents you will need to provide when applying for this course.
Apply online when you are ready to start the application process.
Find out more
If you would like an informal discussion on academic matters before making your application, please contact the Course Director, Dr Sarah Burton: email@example.com.
If you have any questions about the application process, contact our Admissions team: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1223 746262.
For all other enquiries, contact the Course Administrator, Katherine Roddwell: email@example.com or +44 (0)1223 746223.
We shall hold an Open Morning specifically for this course on Friday 16 December 2016 10.30am-12.30pm. This will be an informal occasion at which the Course Director (Dr Sarah Burton) and Programme Advisor (Prof Jem Poster) will talk about the course, and you will be able to meet students in their first year of the 2016-2018 cohort. If you would like to attend, please let Katherine Roddwell know (contact details above).