About this course
This Writing MA from LJMU will provide you with the opportunity to read, write, reflect and develop your identity as a writer.
- Study on a unique programme providing lectures, discussion and detailed peer critique workshops
- Learn from published writers including LJMU staff and visiting writers
- Enjoy strong links with the creative writing industry
This unique programme will help you to learn about writing, develop your own writing style and practice, share ideas with teachers and peers, develop a contemporary and traditional foundation in creative writing, find a creative voice of your own. Read about the Programme Leader, Prof Catherine Cole in this meet the professor's feature.
The programme explores the process of writing from first inspiration to final draft and publication and reflects the need for writers to keep up-to-date with advances in contemporary publishing. You will benefit from the close study of writerly techniques and strategies, develop your work to a professional standard and gain access to professional practitioners, such as visiting novelists, poets and screenwriters as well as editors and publishers. In this way your work will be able to thrive in the wider world.
Although you will be encouraged to explore a number of genres of writing across the programme, you will be free to specialise in any genre. Workshops form the heart of the course, sharing your work, developing your editing skills, defining and enhancing your identity as a writer.
Other activities involve reading as a writer, as well as meeting representatives from industry. These further develop the programmes aim of finding the best ways for you to advance and perfect your writing.
"I've had no hesitation in recommending the course - it's been a wonderful experience and I've loved the structure, topics and diversity of it."
—Emma Rooke, Graduate
"The MA has truly been a highlight of the last two years and I will take away so many positive things from the experience of completing it. Not simply in allowing me to achieve the grade I received; but even more importantly how much my writing both creative and academic was improved by the experience and simply how much I enjoyed the last two years studies."
—David Traves, Graduate
Hear from some of our recent graduates about their experiences on the MA Writing.
Fees and funding
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students
The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:
- Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
- Access to programme-appropriate software
- Library and student IT support
- Free on-campus wifi via eduroam
Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:
- accommodation and living expenditure
- books (should you wish to have your own copies)
- printing, photocopying and stationery
- PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
- mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
- field trips (travel and activity costs)
- placements (travel expenses and living costs)
- student visas (international students only)
- study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
- academic conferences (travel costs)
- professional-body membership
- graduation (gown hire etc)
There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.
Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.
Further your career prospects
LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.
The programme sets out to make you the best writer you can be. It has links with many literary agents and industry experts. Student work is regularly published alongside that of established writers.
The MA has produced a wide range of successful writers, Our most recent published authors include: Mike Hollows, Jon Kinsella, Sean Watkin, James Rice with his debut novel Alice and the Fly, Claire Coombes with Definitions and Rich Owain Roberts with All the Places We Lived. The programme also offers students international connections through the university's project partnerships. For example see student work on the Australian site.
Read more about one of our alumna, Denise Blundred who has now published a pamphlet of her poetry following success as a Hippocrates prize winner.
Discover the building blocks of your programme
This course is currently undergoing its scheduled programme review, which may impact the advertised modules. Programme review is a standard part of the University’s approach to quality assurance and enhancement, enabling us to ensure that our courses remain up to date and maintain their high standard and relevancy.
Once the review is completed, this course website page will be updated to reflect any approved changes to the advertised course. These approved changes will also be communicated to those who apply for the course to ensure they wish to proceed with their application.
Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.
Writers' Workshop 2 (Drafting, Editing and Appraising)
This module aims to provide you with the creative, formal, and technical skills of drafting and editing; it confirms and fosters an original and creative voice as a writer through sustained attention on your own work. It:
- enables you to exercise practical and analytical knowledge of writing through self and peer appraisal
- helps you to reinforce a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to research that enriches and advances your creative work
- enhances your skills of scholarly presentation, organisation communication, documentation and evaluation
Portfolio and Critical Commentary
As the culminating component of the MA in Writing, this 60-credit Portfolio should demonstrate the student's ability to write at an advanced level, present his/her work professionally and show a capacity to contextualise and evaluate it in the accompanying Critical Commentary.
Writing Style, Structure and Genre
By engaging with a range of genres, styles and structures you will enhance your understanding of your own and other authors writing.
Foundation: Reading as a Writer
This module aims to introduce you to creative, formal research and technical skills appropriate to writing at Masters level, in particular the techniques of contemporary writing. It:
- enables you to identify and develop an original and creative voice as a writer
- enables you to acquire a practical and analytical knowledge of writing techniques sufficient to inform complex, creative composition and problem solving
- helps you to understand and initiate a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to research that enriches and advances their creative work
- establishes your practical skills of scholarly presentation, organisation communication, documentation and evaluation
- helps you to demonstrate a critical awareness of writerly commentary, especially that which shapes or generates current writing
Writers' Workshop 1
The aim of this module is to relate research and writing practice. It helps you to equip yourself with skills important to present work to professional standards and accuracy. It:
- helps you to further an original and creative voice as writers by fostering close reading and constructive criticism in a workshop setting
- enables you to produce two pieces of original creative writing
- enables you to develop a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to research that enriches and advances your work, in particular the importance of the drafting process
An insight into teaching on your course
MA Writing is a flexible, dedicated part-time programme designed to enable people who are in-work or have other responsibilities to undertake their studies and achieve their goals.
Examiners attest to the programme 's national standing, scrupulous assessments and high quality of teaching and student work. In the national 2014 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), the programme rated 100% satisfaction for most aspects of the course.
How learning is monitored on your programme
To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.
Assessment focuses on helping you realise the skills needed to be the kind of writer you want to be. Programme knowledge and understanding are assessed through creative and analytical coursework in written, oral and electronic form. Knowledge of technique and an understanding of research is assessed through the workshop process.
Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning
Prof Catherine Cole
Programme Leader MA Writing
Prof Catherine Cole
Programme Leader MA Writing
Catherine is Professor in Creative Writing at Liverpool Screen School. She has published three novels, Dry Dock (Harper Collins 1999, Duffy and Snellgrove, 2002), Skin Deep (Duffy and Snellgrove, 2002), The Grave at Thu Le, (Picador, 2006), two non-fiction books, Private Dicks and Feisty Chicks: An Interrogation of Crime Fiction (Curtin University Press, 1996) and a memoir about her friendship with the late Australian poet, AD Hope, The Poet Who Forgot (UWA Press, 2008).
We create a community of writers, each pursuing differing and highly personal goals, but each also intent on supporting each other. MA Writing regularly achieves 100% approval in the National Taught Postgraduate Survey, where students express the keenest praise for what they gain from each other and the smaller workshops that promote this.
Where you will study
What you can expect from your School
The School is based in the Redmonds Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpools growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds is shared by two Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - and Liverpool Business School, making for a rich blend of student learning experiences. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, broadcast studios, news rooms, media production suites, social spaces and a caf. It is only a short walk from LJMUs Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies.
You will need:
- Good Honours degree (classification 2:1 or above) in English, Writing or a cognate subject.
Alternative qualifications considered
Applicants who demonstrate professional skills and evidence of achievement in a related area without formal qualifications will also be considered.
We place particular emphasis on both the portfolio and the interview. The above requirements may be waived if a portfolio shows promise.
Please refer to the Application and selection section for further information on the application and interview process.
- IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (Minimum 6.0 in each component)
Application and selection
Securing your place at LJMU
To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.
Due to the competitive nature of this programme, applications are being considered in stages:
Stage 1 Application Deadline: Friday 9th September 2022.
1. Applicants should complete the online application form and include in the personal statement section reasons why they wish to study this programme.
2. Attach a CV which details your previous studies in the field and any publications
3. Attach a portfolio of creative work up to 2,500 words in length
4. Academic references and transcripts where appropriate
5. Prepare for a merit-based selection interview
Stage 2 Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend for interview in June or September (dates to be confirmed).
Merit based selection will assess:
1. Quality of work and potential for improvement/development
2. Commitment to the MA programme
3. Any publications/knowledge of the industry
4. Previous results and engagement, especially for this who have undertaken undergraduate studies
Applications received after the application deadline may not be considered if the programme is full.
Programme Leader of MA Writing: Professor Catherine Cole
The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.