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MA Creative Writing

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Institution C58


Bishop Otter campus (Chichester)

12-36 months Full & Part Time

Entry Requirements and Fees


2021/22?UK fee: £6,750

2021/22 International fee: £14,300

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.


Entry Requirements:

  • An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in a related discipline
  • You will be required to attend an interview and provide a portfolio of work
  • If English is not your first language then English language proficiency required is IELTS 6.5 (with no element less than 5.5) - or equivalent qualification

Student view

Ironopolis in its current form wouldn’t exist without the M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. It was there I started corralling the nebulous ideas I had for the novel, where I was encouraged to experiment with perspective, form and technique, and where I shared the results of those experiments in submissions and workshops. This last aspect was truly galvanising to me. For many years, writing had been something I did in isolation—something vaguely shameful—so the encouraging, reciprocal nature of the M.A. was a wonderful lesson in collaboration. It not only strengthened my own work, but being part of workshop dialogues with fellow writers and their own works in progress sharped my critical and editorial abilities enormously.

And this, I think, is where the true value of the M.A. lies—in the way it chalks off a space in your life where engaging seriously with prose, or poetry, or play-writing is your first priority. It’s in that space you grow as a writer. During my time at Chichester, I became submerged in the writing process from initial inspiration to final polish, and in doing so pushed my creative and technical abilities to the point where the novel I was writing felt like a viable bet. Throughout, I was supported by the talented, enthusiastic and knowledgeable faculty, and by my inspirational course-mates, some of who are now friends for life. And by the end of the M.A., I also had a book.

Ironopolis is published by Parthian Books.

See here for a review in the Guardian

Course content

The MA in Creative Writing is focussed on writing as a craft. It is designed to give students a structure within which they can develop their writing, experimenting with the wide range of possibilities available to the contemporary writer. It is possible to write prose fiction (the novel or short story), poetry, creative non-fiction (biography, autobiography, memoir, travel), film scripts or drama for the stage or radio. You may want to work on one project such as a novel, throughout the course. Or you may wish to explore different genres. The course allows for both options.

Our MA Creative writing students 'read as writers', explore their reading in group discussions and engage in writing exercises designed to enlarge and stimulate their practice. However, the MA is not a literary critical MA: the approach to reading is one of looking at the craft of writing.

In the intensive MA workshops, students share work, learn to write to deadlines, learn how to redraft, polish, edit imaginatively and find the creative thread which, when followed, reveals how their own writing will achieve its optimum level. We believe in creating a community of writers who can support and learn from one another.

All written assignments are accompanied by the writing of a commentary on the process; the commentary speeds and makes explicit a writer's discoveries, and so aids future practice.

We advise on publishing and the market place. Every May we have our Agents and Editors’ Panel for which experts from the publishing industry come to Chichester to talk about getting published and to make contacts with our students. A number of our students have met their agents and/or editors at one of these panels.


Recent guest readers include: Jim Crace, Kate Mosse, Helen Dunmore, Michele Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Bethan Roberts, Jo Shapcott, Adam Marek, Matthew Sweeney and Robert Shearman.

Find out more in the?application pack here.

Find out more about our?South Coast Creative Writing Hub.


This course starts in September?


Where this can take you

Many of our writers go on to publish and win prizes.?For instance,?Bethan Roberts’ novel Mother Island won the 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.

MA graduate Wendy French won the £5000 2010 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Amber Dodd’s novel for children, We Are Giants, won the 2017 Calderdale book of the Year Award. Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm was selected by Independent Booksellers as the Book of the Season Spring 2018 and has been shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award, The Awesome Book Awards, Leeds Book Awards, Stockton Book Awards, and was also listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards.

These are just a few recent examples of the success of our graduates.

The annual Publishing Panel of six specialists has regularly welcomed literary agents from agencies such as David Godwin Associates, Rogers, Coleridge and White, United Artists, Greene & Heaton, Janklow and Nesbitt, RAFT and Lucy Luck Associates.

Agents join literary editors for a discussion of the publishing world today and how to approach an agent or editor.

We have welcomed literary editors from Penguin/Hamish Hamilton, Chatto & Windus, Myriad Editions, Simon & Schuster, Pighog Press, the Frogmore Papers and producers from BBC Radio.

Indicative modules

The MA comprises four taught modules and a creative dissertation:

  • The Writing Studio enables writers to experiment in any genre prose, poetry or drama, while exploring key features of those genres. This first module also serves as induction to the MA and to the distinctive methods of the 'Chichester workshop'.?
  • Metaphor and the Imagination encourages innovation and experimentation, pushing writers beyond their usual boundaries.?
  • Sources and Transformations engages writers with the essential writerly skills of transforming both outer research and inner biographical concerns into fiction.?
  • Launching the Manuscript encourages autonomy, sustaining the longer project, learning about the publishing industry and includes guest readers and the publishing panel.

The Manuscript (a creative dissertation of 20,000) allows writers to develop a longer piece of work through one to one tutorials with a tutor as a consultant reader.


International English Studies

Include International English Studies: 

Teaching and assessment

The MA in Creative Writing is taught through a combination of seminar discussion, writing exercises and workshops. Each taught module is twelve weeks in length. The first six weeks comprise input sessions from tutors and visiting writers. Each session also includes writing exercises. These sessions are designed to help you to develop your work by considering the work of other writers. The second half of each module is dedicated to workshopping. Students work in groups of about five. The function of the workshops is to push you to develop your craft through supportive feedback.

In addition to taught sessions by MA staff and talks by visiting writers, students will also benefit from two master classes a year by our visiting Professors, novelist Kate Mosse and novelist and short story writer Alison MacLeod.

Assessment is by a portfolio of creative work with a short accompanying commentary, comprising 6000 words for each module.

The dissertation is taught by one-to-one tutorials with one tutor. Students submit 20,000 words at the end of the dissertation period.


To gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing, students need to complete four modules. Each module is assessed by an assignment of approximately 6,000 words or equivalent.

To gain an MA in Creative Writing, students need to complete all four modules and a dissertation of 20,000 words (or poetry/drama equivalents).

Teaching staff:

Dr Hugh Dunkerley (Course Leader)

Dr?Naomi Foyle?

Suzy Joinson?

Karen Stevens

Dr?David Swann

Additional Costs

Include Additional Costs: 



Bethan Roberts

Bethan Roberts has published five novels and writes drama for BBC Radio 4. Her first novel?The Pools?(2007) won a Jerwood/Arvon Young Writers’ Award. Her?second novel?The Good Plain Cook?(2008) was serialised on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was chosen as one of?Time Out’s books of the year.?My Policeman,?the story of a 1950s policeman, his wife, and his male lover,?followed in 2012, and was chosen as that year’s City Read for Brighton. Her fourth novel,?Mother Island,?was the recipient of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize.?She also writes short fiction, for which she has won the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Prize?and the RA Pin Drop Award. Chatto & Windus publish her new novel, Graceland, which tells the story of Elvis Presley and his mother.

Bethan is represented by The David Higham Agency and her website can be found at?


Gabrielle Kimm

Gabrielle Kimm gained her MA from Chichester in 2007. Since then she has published three novels with Sphere: The Last Duchess, The Courtesan’s Lover and The Girl With The Painted Face. The Last Duchess was described as ‘a stunning debut, rich in historical detail’ by the Irish Times. Her work has been published in nine countries. Gabrielle met her agent, Judith Murray, at one of the English and Creative Writing Department annual Agents and Editors’ panels.


Juliet West

Juliet West worked as a journalist before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. She graduated with distinction and was joint winner of the university’s Kate Betts’ Memorial Prize in 2010. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies including The French Literary Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears?and the Sunday Times online magazine. Juliet’s debut novel Before the Fall was published in 2014 by Pan Macmillan, and her second novel, The Faithful, was published in 2017, also by Pan Macmillan.


Karen MacCarthy

Karen completed her MA in 2012. Her debut poetry collection, An Aviary of Small Birds, was published by Carcanet in 2014. An Aviary of Small Birds?was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and selected by Kate?Kellaway?as a Guardian/Observer book of the month;?Kellaway?described the books as a ‘beautiful, painful, pitch-perfect debut’. It was also nominated for the Forward and?Aldeburgh?First Collection prizes. Karen’s most recent collection, Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet 2017) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was described by?Warsan?Shire as ‘a stunning and strange collection from a true writer’. Karen is a fellow of?The Complete Works?— a nationwide professional development?programme?committed to creating?more cultural diversity in mainstream poetry publishing and is?the editor of the?associated?anthology?Ten: The New Wave?published by?Bloodaxe?Books.?


Vashti Hardy

Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm was published in March 2018 by Scholastic UK and is a middle grade fantasy with sky-ship explorers, sapient creatures and twin heroes. Brightstorm was selected by Independent Booksellers as the Book of the Season Spring 2018 and was been shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award, The Awesome Book Awards, Leeds Book Awards, Stockton Book Awards, and was also listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards. It has currently sold to six other countries including China. Her new book is out in May with Scholastic UK.


Isabel Ashdown

Isabel completed her MA in Creative Writing with us in 2010. While on the MA, she worked on her first novel,?Glasshopper, which was published by Myriad Editions in 2009.?Glasshopper?went on to be named among the best books of 2009 by both the?Observer?and?The Evening Standard. Since then she has published four more novels. The latest,?Little Sister, is a psychological thriller published by Trapeze, an imprint of Orion publishing. Isabel is represented by Kate Shaw of The Viney Agency.

Isabel’s website can be found at?


Joan Taylor-Rowan

As a part time student on the MA Creative Writing course, Joan has had the chance to organise a one-woman show at the Hastings Jerwood Gallery, reading stories inspired by art. It was one of those stories, Three Sisters on the Edge, that was chosen for the anthology Departures (published by Arachne Press). Since studying, Joan has also been invited to judge on a nationwide short story competition, Solstice Shorts. As a prize winning writer, Joan has been broadcast on Radio 4, been shortlisted for The Asham Award and appeared in further anthologies including London Lies and Stations; Tales of the Decongested; Stories for Homes Volume 2. Her novel The Birdskin Shoes was a winner of the Spreadtheword novel pitch competition.
"We have been encouraged to work independently on this course which is essential for a writer. Workshopping with other writers has been an important element, as it’s often easier to be objective about their work than your own. Seeing their flaws or successes gives you the chance to critically evaluate your writing, which is very helpful in improving your own piece. Doing the MA has really given me the confidence to take my writing seriously and even use the word ‘writer’ to describe myself."
Find out more at?


Visiting Professor Kate Mosse


Kate Mosse is one of our Visiting Professors of Creative Writing. Kate says “I’m Chichester born and bred, so it's a great pleasure to be asked to support my local university. I like the spirit of UOC and its Creative Writing degrees are highly regarded in literary circles nationwide. There is also a healthy attitude to the ecology of writing, and its history of successful alumni - of students of all ages - is to be celebrated. I hope to bring the experiences of my career as an international-selling author, interviewer, editor, and former publisher to the students of Chichester.”