Creative Writing

University College Cork

Creative Writing

Course Outline
Only you can write the book that you would like to write, be it a collection of poetry, a novel, a memoir… nobody else can write that book. The purpose of this Creative Writing MA at UCC is to give you the tools to write the book waiting to be written, and many more after it.

As well as honing the techniques and craft of creative writing, our MA is also designed to prepare you for a variety of career options including publishing, and the creative arts – where we will introduce you to the publishing industry (engaging on a weekly basis with published authors and publishing professionals).

We will provide access to the community of writers that exists, both in the wider world and in Cork, with its thriving literary scene. This programme affords you time to write; it will introduce you to other emerging writers, and like-minded individuals on the same pathway as yourself. Ultimately we aim to empower you to connect with your most creative and productive self – what a journey!

This MA Creative Writing programme is offered by the Department of English which is part of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences (CACSSS) at UCC.

Our Department of English treats writing as a living, evolving practice: students taking the course will read and write in a context in which literature is being performed, transformed and adapted, and in doing so offer you a safe space to learn, to practice, and to develop your craft towards inventive and authentic forms of expression. The course as a whole encourages and supports a full exploration of the creative self while also maintaining a strong vocational emphasis.

Directed by IMPAC longlistee Dr Eibhear Walshe, all of our courses are embedded in Cork's thriving artistic scene, rooted in expert practice and taught by highly accomplished professionals.

A rich variety of modules are available, including Fiction, Poetry, Life Writing, Creative Non-fiction, and reading creatively (through Craft of the Novel).

Additionally, the Business of Writing module is dedicated to the professional life of the creative writer, including work placements, and a series of visiting speakers such as Mike McCormack, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Nicole Flattery, Lisa McInerney, Tramp Press, The Stinging Fly and many more.

Writing and reading are intertwined as acts — opposite ends of an attempt to understand what it's like to be in the world. Never has that been more important. Never has the world needed more writers, and more readers, and an over-arching guide to the UCC MA in Creative Writing's approach is to foster such readers and writers in achieving their potential.

Course Practicalities
The MA in Creative Writing is taught on Mondays and Tuesdays during the Autumn and Spring Semesters (September to March). Seminar hours are approximately 6-8 per week and reading hours/writing assignments are likely to take a further 8 hours per week. The course involves a mixture of seminars, workshops, placement and writing practice and students will work on self-reflexive essays and projects.

Students are assessed continuously during the course, submitting specified creative work alongside commentaries on their own creative practice.

Why Choose This Course
This Creative Writing MA programme will empower you in the honing and development of your craft as a writer; we will provide you with the tools and critical prowess to commence a career in writing and publishing.

Some of Ireland's greatest writers have studied or taught at UCC, including Frank O'Connor, Sean O'Faolain, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and John Montague, while more recently the Creative Writing programme boasts published graduates including Madeleine D'Arcy, Tadhg Coakley, and Laura McKenna. Notable poets associated with UCC include Mary Noonan, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Thomas McCarthy, Sean Dunne, Paul Durcan, Theo Dorgan, and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

The School of English hosts an annual Writer-In-Residence and holders of this prestigious post have included Mary Morrissy, Claire Keegan, Danielle McLaughlin, Thomas Morris, Eimear Ryan, Danny Denton, and Matthew Sweeney. In addition to this, we host a reading series that has included guests such as Kevin Barry, Claire-Louise Bennett, Conor O'Callaghan, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Nuala O'Connor, Brian Turner, and Zadie Smith.

We encourage and support a full exploration of the creative self while also maintaining a strong vocational emphasis, sustaining and supporting a life-long relationship with writing.

Subjects taught

Students take 90 credits in total.

Part I (50 credits)

Core Module

EN6036 The Business of Writing (10 credits)
Elective Modules

Choose 40 credits from the following:

EN6031 Poetry I (10 credits)
EN6032 Fiction Workshop: Serving the Idea (10 credits)
EN6033 Writing the Self: Fiction & non-Fiction (10 credits)
EN6042 Creative Writing Workshop (5 credits)
EN6056 Reading the Novel Creatively (5 credits)
EN6057 Writing for Other Media (5 credits)
EN6060 Poetry II: Mythology & Contemporary Poetry (10 credits)
EN6061 Poetry Workshop (5 credits)

In order to ensure coherence and a good workload balance over the course of the programme, students will select their modules in consultation with the programme coordinator and other members of the Board of Studies as appropriate. Not all modules may be available every year.

Part II

EN6040 Dissertation in Creative Writing (40 credits)
Please consult the University Calendar (MA Creative Writing – English) for further programme details.

Additional Teaching Mode Information
The part-time option for the MA in Creative Writing is offered biannually and is taken over 24 months. This programme is taught during weekday working hours and evening hours over two years.


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our Book of Modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

Entry requirements

Applications will be considered from graduates of all disciplines. Applicants will normally have a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or above, in any discipline. For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.2 is normally expected. Applicants with relevant writing or arts experience (eg. working in publishing, journalism or arts administration) are also invited to apply.

All applicants will be asked to submit a short piece of creative writing (of 1000 words (any genre). This piece of creative writing will be used by the teaching team to evaluate each applicant's suitability. Further examples of the applicant's work may be requested.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Please visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland
Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.

Application dates

The closing date for non-EU applications is 1 March 2023

How Do I Apply
1. Check Dates: Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

For Irish and EU applicants we operate a rounds system and you can check the rounds closing dates here.
Note that not all our programmes are subject to the rounds system so check the opening and closing dates for your specific programme in the fact file boxes above.

2. Gather Documents: Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply Online: Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.
Additional Requirements (All Applicants)
Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions.

You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

Please submit a short portfolio (no more than 1000 words) of your creative writing. This can be in the form of a poem/poems, a short story or an extract from a novel, or an excerpt of memoir.

Please detail your computing/technical/IT skills.

Please add the name and email addresses two referees.

Please note that successful EU applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €500 on acceptance of their place.

Deferrals are not permitted on the 2-year part-time option.

Assessment Info

Students are assessed continuously during the course, submitting specified creative work alongside commentaries on their own creative practice.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
This MA will provide an excellent foundation for a variety of writing and publishing careers, including authorship across a range of forms and styles, journalism, teaching, publishing, and arts administration.

The design of the MA fosters contacts with agents, publishers, and the professional world of the creative industries; it also produces well-crafted writing in one (or more) of the forms of creative writing.

Students experiment with, engage with, and reflect on a diversity of writing practices and establish an awareness of the role of technique and craft in their own work. They also learn how to interact with peers on an editorial level, and to understand the importance of editing and revision in the process of writing. Developing appropriate research methods and recording processes of self-reflection are also key components of the MA, encouraging students to reflect upon and discuss the conceptual challenges of the creative process, key contexts, and practical concerns. Finally, the MA fosters in its students an understanding of the practical constraints and professional opportunities of life as a writer, and a lifelong relationship with the written word.

More details
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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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