English - Poetry

Drawing on our long-standing reputation for producing distinguished critics and poets, this programme's creative-critical intersections make it suitable for a new generation of poets and critics alike. Students will be joining an academic environment with a world-leading expertise in the critical appreciation, writing, and understanding of modern poetry.

English - Poetry highlights
World Class Facilities
•Poetry is, quite simply, the activity for which Queen's University is best known around the world. Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney was both a student and lecturer here at Queen's, and other famous poet-alumni of the university include Ciaran Carson, Paul Muldoon and Medbh McGuckian. Heaney was a founding member of the famous 'Belfast Group' in the 1960s, a forum in which young poets came together with critics to discuss their work and the craft of good poetry more generally. The fruitful interaction of creative and critical activity is at the heart of what this unique MA offers.

Student Experience
•You will be joining an academic environment with a long-standing reputation for the writing and critical appreciation of poetry from Ireland, Britain and the United States, and will also benefit from the literary activities and resources of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's – the first centre of excellence for poetry in Ireland. Poets and poetry critics in the Centre include Leontia Flynn, Ciaran Carson, Fran Brearton, Edna Longley, Gail McConnell, and Stephen Sexton, along with annual visiting international poetry fellows.

Course Details
Students take 3 taught modules in each semester (the core 'Reading and Writing Poetry' module in semester 1 is a double module). In semester 1 students explore a range of writings – both poetry and criticism – through concepts and themes such as: Conflict; Politics; Death; Sickness; Things; Animals; Nonsense; Confession; Work. Poets studied in the seminars include Yeats, Plath, Auden, Eliot, Bishop, and Heaney. Students are introduced to the form and language of poetry, as well as to the historical dimensions of, and contexts for, various poetic forms – both traditional and experimental. The writing workshops involve detailed discussion of students' own poetry, which they can bring to class for feedback from the tutor and other students. In semester 2 students study contemporary poetry collections, focusing on the ways in which the structure of a given poetry collection contributes to the overall meaning of the work, as well as choosing from specialist options which include Irish poetry, American poetry, and writing workshops. The optional module list is indicative only.

Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:
Teaching Times
Morning and Afternoon

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements
Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in English, or joint or combined Honours with English as a major subject.

In addition, applicants are required to submit a piece of literary-critical written work which will be assessed to determine if an offer of admission can be made. If applicants wish to pursue both critical and creative forms of assessment in the programme, they are required to submit both critical work and a sample of poems.

Applicants who wish to pursue creative writing-only assessment normally require a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in any discipline, and are required to submit a sample of original written work (poems) which will be assessed to determine if an offer of admission can be made. In certain circumstances, applicants may be admitted on the strength of their writing alone.

International Students
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.


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

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
Employment after the Course
Graduates of the programme have a good employment record, entering professions such as publishing, journalism, arts administration, events organisation, the media, public relations, teaching, advertising, business and industry. The programme has an excellent track record of student success in publication and prizes.

Further enquiries

Professor Fran Brearton 
Arts, English and Languages
Email: f.brearton@qub.ac.uk

Professor Sinead Morrissey 
Arts, English and Languages

Subjects taught

Compulsory Modules
Reading and Writing Poetry
Structure and Serendipity
The Poetry Collection

Optional Modules
Irish Poetry
American Poetry
The Poetry Workshop
Fulbright Scholar special option

Assessment method

Creative Portfolios

Application date

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal go.qub.ac.uk/pgapply and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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