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Creative Writing

MA Creative Writing
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)
The MA in Creative Writing builds on the well established commitment of the UCD School of English, Drama and Film to fostering and supporting new writing. The university has long been associated with some of Ireland's greatest writers, including James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, Mary Lavin, Anthony Cronin, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Conor McPherson, Marina Carr, Colm Tóibín, Emma Donoghue, Maeve Binchy and many others. The distinguished playwright, Frank McGuinness, is Professor of Creative Writing for the College of Arts and Humanities, and internationally acclaimed novelist, Colm Tóibín, is Adjunct Professor.

The MA programme:
-provides opportunities to explore and develop your own creative writing skills supervised by experienced published staff of international reputation.
-actively fosters the development of students' capacity to edit their own work.
-ensures that the art of writing is informed by contemporary theory and practice.
-offers courses incorporating the manuscripts of works of leading writers held in Special Collections and courses which explore material in the National Folklore Collection in UCD, one of the richest archives of oral tradition in the world.

Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Course Description
The seminars, workshops and supervision meetings aim to provide committed writers with taught classes on theories and practices of writing, presentation and editing techniques, creative reading of selected texts, and supervision of a major writing project. Among the important issues addressed on an ongoing basis are voice and structure. Every effort is made to ensure that a student progresses on these as well as many other fronts.

Vision and Values Statement
A fundamental tenet of the MA in Creative Writing is a belief in the value of learning from writers who have mastered their craft. The writers who contribute to the course will vary from year to year, but the module conveners in the academic year 2015 – 16 included Anne Enright, Laureate for Irish Fiction, Frank McGuinness, Professor of Creative Writing, Paula Meehan, Ireland Professor of Poetry, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Writer Fellow, Lia Mills, Writer in Residence, James Ryan, Programme Director and Paul Perry, Poetry co-ordinator. Towards that end the MA in creative writing offers a selection of modules in the first semester which direct and encourage students to explore several literary forms, the novel, the short story and poetry. The aim here is to present students with a broad range of possibilities, set them on a course of discovery for a form, or combination of forms, where they will best realise their creative potential. The learning environment is positive, enabling and friendly and the class group, fourteen or less students, are actively encouraged to support each other in their creative endeavours. The second semester modules provide an opportunity to embark on a more specific path, while at the same time continuing to extend the boundaries of what is possible in fiction. As the semester progresses a student's individual work is increasingly guided by course conveners and supervisors, both in workshop settings and on a one-to-one basis. The end goal is the creation of a substantial piece of writing, a solid basis from which a student will continue towards the completion of a full work, whether that be a collection of short stories, a novel or a collection of poetry.

Programme Outcomes
-On successful completion of the programme, students will have a thorough understanding of how to meet many of the challenges confronted in the construction of a piece of fiction; character, voice, place etc.
-Have a solid working knowledge of genres and forms.
-Have learned to read like writers, to recognise the challenges facing authors at various stages in the creation of a piece of fiction and to critically assess the extent to which these challenge have been met.
-Have created a substantial piece of writing, a solid basis from which to continue towards the completion of a full work, whether that be a collection of short stories, a novel or a collection of poetry.
-Participated in a weekly visiting writer's programme, contributed to an anthology and attended a selection of the literary events and festivals for which the city is renowned.
-Have developed a positive sense of themselves as writers, with an active role to play in the literary/artistic culture wherever they should find themselves.

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for the MA programme is a BA Hons English or equivalent, and/or proven commitment to and experience in the field of creative writing; a portfolio (c.25 pages) of recent creative work; a personal statement of reasons for taking the course and references. Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 7.5 (no band less than 7.0 in each element), or equivalent


1 year full-time.

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

Careers & Employability
Many graduates of the MA in Creative Writing establish successful writing lives, several securing publishing contracts. Last year, 2015, Colin Barrett won the Guardian First Fiction Prize with Young Skins [Pub. Stinging Fly Press / Jonathan Cape(UK)] Grove Black Cat editions (US) then went on to win both the Frank O'Conner International short story award and the Rooney Prize for Literature. Other graduates go into the publishing industry, while some go on to do an MFA in Creative Writing.

Further enquiries

Contact Number: +353 (0)1 716 8480

Subjects taught

Stage 1 - Core
Reading & Writing the Novel

Workshop-writer in Residence

Writing Project

Writing Poetry

Writing Lives

Creative Reading

Stage 1 - Option
Craft and Composition

Sound & Visual Poetry


The MA is suitable for those who want to pursue careers in writing, with specialisations in novel writing, poetry and short stories.

Application date

How to apply?
The following entry routes are available:
MA Creative Writing FT (Z012)
1 Years

Full Time

Rolling *

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.

Course fee

MA Creative Writing (Z012) Full Time
EU fee per year - €7640
nonEU fee per year - €19200

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2019/2020 September

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