Writing MA

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home/EU full-time annual tuition fee: N/A
Home/EU part-time tuition fee: £3,125 per annum
International full time annual tuition fee: N/A

Course type



Liverpool Screen School

Study mode

Part Time (2 years)

About your course

Explore your own original ideas in a specialist environment of feedback and critique from academics, novelists, playwrights and poets. Housed within the Liverpool Screen School you will produce a body of creative work and gain an in-depth knowledge of your craft.

  • Course now recruiting on an annual basis
  • Masters degree available to study part-time (two years)
  • Learn from practising and published writers
  • Study on a unique programme providing training in e-publishing and detailed peer critique workshops
  • Strong links with Curtis Brown, Blake Friedman, The Society of Authors, the Royal Literary Fund, NAWE, Hodder and Stoughton, Parthian, Salt, Everyman Theatre, Byte the Book, Tindall Street, BBC Radio, Comma Press and Faber & Faber
  • Taught in the £38million Redmonds Building in the heart of Liverpool city centre

Choosing this MA was the best decision I could have made. It helped me find an agent, and ultimately sign a publishing deal.

James Rice, author of Alice and the Fly

The Writing MA taught me how to become a writer and led to my first novel being published. The lectures, workshops and assignments were all invaluable. The programme also goes beyond this and provides links to agents, publishers, bestselling authors and agencies, making sure that you feel part of a writing community. To finish the course and have my book available in Waterstones less than a year later, was an amazing testament to how far the MA has taken me.

Clare Coombes, author of Definitions

Introduction to the School

The Liverpool Screen School offers you a warm and friendly environment founded on a strong commitment to nurturing and supporting creativity while offering excellent learning resources and first-class student support.

You will be taught by professional, experienced and enthusiastic academic staff with extensive and current practical industry experience. 

The School is part of the BBC North Developing Talent Scheme and the Journalism teaching team has a growing international reputation and has in the past won contracts with the British Council to liaise with universities abroad. The team is involved in a range of international projects and is developing links with various countries. The department also has close links with local and national news organisations, including the BBC and ITV. 

Staff have all worked in the industry with years of experience in print, radio, television and online journalism. Many of them have an excellent record of research and publications in Journalism and International Relations.

Liverpool is a truly international city with a thriving journalism industry. The city has one of the country's largest and most successful evening newspapers, the Liverpool Echo. Merseyside also has a flourishing local newspaper and magazine industry. There are several television companies in Liverpool such as the BBC and Granada TV. Lime Pictures, creators of Hollyoaks, as well as numerous other TV programmes are located in the city.

Top class facilities

The School is based in the Redmonds Building, located in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant campus and Liverpool’s growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds Building 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.

As well as broadcast studios, news rooms and media production suites, you will have access to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and the ground floor Starbucks cafe.

Redmonds Building is only a short walk from LJMU’s Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why study this course at LJMU?

This MA offers the opportunity to read, write, reflect and develop your identity as a writer, in a community of like-minded peers, and with tutors passionate about all aspects of writing.

Although you will be ecouraged to explore at least two genres of writing across the programme, you will be free to specialise in any genre. Workshops form the heart of the programme, sharing your work, developing your editing skills, defining and enhancing your identity as a writer.

Other activities involve reading as a writer, exploring new technologies such as websites, e-publishing and social networks, as well as meeting guest writers, agents and editors. These further develop the programme’s aim of finding the best ways for you to advance and perfect your writing.

Programme outline and structure

The part-time MA Writing programme is ideal if you want to develop your writing talent with tutors who are practicing and published writers.

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 rapid advances in the new technologies of 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, agents and publishers. In this way your work will be able to thrive in the wider world.

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.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core modules for further information on what you will study.

  • Foundation: Reading as a Writer

Develop your creative, formal, research and technical skills appropriate to writing at masters level, in particular the techniques of contemporary writers and you will relate your own reading to your writing

  • Writers Workshop 1

Work towards achieving presentation to professional standards and further an original and creative voice as a writer by fostering close reading and constructive criticism

  • Defining a Writer's Identity: New Technologies and the Marketplace

Deepen your understanding and develop your creative formal and technical skills by acquainting yourself with the technological side of the writing industry and developing the relevant skills

  • Writers Workshop 2

The module will further develop the creative, formal, and technical skills of drafting and editing

  • Portfolio and Critical Commentary

You will show creative, formal and technical skills appropriate to creative writing at masters level - your finished portfolio will consist of a substantial piece of creative work negotiated with your tutor

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled 'What you will study' is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained.

Please email courses@ljmu.ac.uk if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

The programme is staffed by practising writers who are dedicated to the craft and disciplines across the genres. Assessment is careful, rigorous and intent on helping you realise the skills needed to be the kind of writer you wish to be.

At the end of each of the five semesters, you will submit creative work, but there will be a range of other assessment exercises such as reflecting on your reading as a writer, pitching, critiquing and developing a writerly identity via social networks, that further your understanding of your creative work.

We encourage you to write in at least one other genre – a learning experience in itself – so that the genre in which you specialise will have this added experience. Increasingly writers need to be adept at writing across the genres. 

Reading as a writer is crucial throughout the programme: for inspiration, for models of good practice, for seeing who else does what you might be doing so you can do it better – or differently.

Staff research interests

The Liverpool Screen School has a creative culture that is rooted in collaboration with national and international partners in the fields of art, writing, media and new media. Our academic team work hard to ensure that course design fully reflects advancements in the field, and that through our lectures we deliver to you a deep insight into effective writing practices.

The team includes James Friel, whose latest novel, The Posthumous Affair, was published in 2011. He has published four other novels, and his short fiction has been published nationally and internationally in Boomerang, Blithe House, Etchings, Pretext and by Comma Press. His work is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and internationally, and he works with the film and radio production company, Catherine Bailey Ltd.

Jeff Young is also a member of the academic team. His work includes 35 radio plays, including four autobiographical drama documentaries and the site-specific drama documentary, Carandiru, recorded in a prison in San Paulo, Brazil. He has been nominated for Prix Europa, Prix Italia and Sony Radio Awards. His TV work includes BBC dramas Eastenders, Doctors, Casualty and Holby City. His CBBC children’s drama Download was part of the RTS North Award winning series Stepping Up.

Writers' Workshop at LJMU also includes the poets, Dr Helen Tookey and Sarah Maclennan, screenwriters John Maxwell and Dave Jackson, and also hosts an impressive array of guest speakers and lecturers from the writing professions across all media.

Entry requirements (Home)

Good Honours degree (classification: 2:1 or above) in English, Writing or a cognate subject.

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.

Due to the competitive nature of this programme, applications are being considered in stages, with deadlines for 2018 entry as follows:

  • Stage 1 Application deadline: 31 May 2018

1. Applicants should complete the online application form and include in the personal statement section reasons why you 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 work up to 2,500 words in length

4. Prepare for a merit-based selection interview

  • Stage 2 Short-listed applicants invited to attend interview: Interviews take place week commencing 25 June 2018

 Merit based selection will assess:

1. Quality of work and potential for improvement/development

2. Commitment to the degree

3. Any publications/knowledge of the industry

4. Previous results, especially for those who have undertaken undergraduate studies

The panel will read, discuss and call in for interview in June.

Applications received after the application deadline may not be considered if the programme is full.

Entry requirements (International)

As this is only offered as a part-time masters degree, international students are not eligible to study this programme.

Application and selection

You will be required to complete an application form, which includes a one-page statement explaining your reasons for applying, plus a portfolio of 20 pages of screen, stage and/or radio play(s), or 3,000 words of fiction, or 100-150 lines of poetry, or an equivalent combination of these genres.

Will I be interviewed?

Before an offer is made, we invite promising applicants to an interview. The interview is an opportunity to discuss your work in detail, outline the course in full and discuss if the MA is suited to your individual needs as a writer.


6.5 (Min. 6.0 in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or in instalments. If you need advice about how to pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team.

Funding sources

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans and Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Graduate employment

Focus on the craft and the discipline of writing – and reading as a writer – to develop a creative voice of your own and discover the contexts and audiences in which your writing will work best.

The programme sets out to make you the best writer you can be. This is what our students most want from a programme of this nature and character. Our most recent successes have been James Rice with his debut novel is Alice and the Fly, Claire Coombes with Definitions and Rich Owain Roberts with All the Places We Lived. These were all published in spring 2015.

The MA in Writing has links with many literary agents and industry experts including Curtis Brown, Blake Friedman, Faber & Faber, The Society of Authors, Pulp Idol, the Writing in the Wall Festival, Parthian, Salt, the Royal Literary Fund, Byte the Book, NAWE, BBC Radio, Comma Press, Wild Writers and In the Red, in which student work is published alongside that of established writers such as Roger McGough, Gunter Grass, Alice Oswald and Dave Eggers.

International study

Please note: this programme is not suitable for students who require a Tier 4 visa. Due to immigration requirements, Tier 4 international students must study on a full-time basis.

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.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

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