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

More about course fees »

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.

  • This course runs on a biennial basis and the next intake will be 2017
  • 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 (formerly Mersey TV), creators of Brookside and 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 three Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies – Liverpool Business School, Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - 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.

Academic and writer Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988. His debut collection, physical, will be published by Jonathan Cape in July 2015, and follows three critically acclaimed pamphlets, most recently Protest of the Physical (Red Squirrel Press 2013). In 2014 Andrew received a Northern Writers Award from New Writing North and in 2012 won the Live Canon International Poetry Competition.

The Centre for Writing at LJMU also includes the poets, Eleanor Rees and Sarah Maclennan, screenwriters John Maxwell and Dave Jackson, poet and novelist, Aileen La Tourette, 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. Other academic qualifications, for example: A Levels, BTEC, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers, will also be considered.

Applicants who demonstrate professional skills and evidence of achievement in a related area: film and video production, publishing, journalism, radio, theatre, and creative writing, 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.

All prospective students will be required to complete an application form, which includes a one-page statement explaining their reasons for applying, and to submit 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.

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 full and part-time 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 pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.

Sources of funding

Postgraduate loans for students from England, Wales and the EU

Postgraduate Masters loans are available for those studying in the 2017/18 academic year. The new government loans, of up to £10,280, are available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses. To be eligible part time courses need to be studied at 50% intensity. Personal Eligibility is based on your age, your residency and if you have studied at Masters level previously.

Loan repayments will begin the April after course completion, with the first cohort of borrowers commencing repayments in April 2019. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of income above an earning threshold of £21,000. This threshold will be frozen until 2021. For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to:-


Postgraduate Loans for students from Northern Ireland

The Northern Irish government is also introducing a loan for students commencing postgraduate study from September 2017 onwards. Unlike the loan for students from England and Wales this scheme offers a loan for tuition fees only with no funding available from the NI government for living costs. The loan for tuition fees will be paid direct to LJMU.

The maximum loan for those starting in 2017 is £5,500 per course. Please note this means in some instances the loan will not cover your tuition fees in full and you will need to make alternative arrangements to pay the balance as well as source funding for your living costs.

LJMU Alumni Award

Alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*).

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants. 

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.

Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.

LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. 

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

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 may make changes to a programme of study or module where 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.
Further guidance on programme changes

Take the next steps towards your future today