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UCD School of English Drama Film Scoil an Bhéarla, na Drámaíochta agus na Scannánaíochta UCD

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‌ MA Creative Writing  &  MFA Creative Writing [Fiction & Poetry]

The School of English, Drama & Film offers two taught postgraduate programmes in Creative Writing, an MA and an MFA [Master of Fine Arts] Fiction and Poetry, and a research degree, the PhD in Creative Writing.

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. There are over thirty full-time members of staff with expertise ranging from Old English to contemporary literature and drama and a number of practising writers, including the distinguished playwright, Frank McGuinness.

The School of English, Drama and Film has always included in its programme of extra-curricular activities a rich array of readings, writing workshops, writers’ groups, and special seminars offered by writers-in-residence. In 2006 a structured programme of courses and supervision, the now well-established MA in Creative Writing, was introduced to enable committed writers to develop their potential within a supportive framework. It is a one-year course of lectures, seminars, workshops and supervision meetings which aims to provide committed writers with taught classes on theories and practices of writing, presentation and editing techniques, reading of selected texts as writers and supervision of a major writing project.

UCD now offers an MFA in Creative Writing (both fiction and poetry).  This is the first MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in Creative Writing (fiction and poetry) to be offered by an Irish university. It is a full-time course, devised in response to demand for an advanced postgraduate course, offering close supervision and direction of a novel / collection of short stories/ collection of poetry for the duration of an academic year. This course is suited to students who have already acquired the skills associated with a full programme in creative writing; MA, M Phil Creative Writing, BFA, BA Creative Writing Major/Joint Major or equivalent and have a work in progress to which they now wish to devote the greater part of an academic year with a view to offering that work for publication. Credits are weighted accordingly. Fifty of the overall ninety are allocated to this work, which on submission will be a complete novel or collection of short stories or a collection of poetry. In addition, this course offers a module in the teaching of creative writing, comprising both theoretical and practical components.

The PhD programme in Creative Writing provides you with the opportunity to engage in individual research over three years of full time study under the supervision of a member of academic staff, leading to a thesis that combines creative work with a critical commentary. The majority of your research will be practice based, that is carried out through your own creative practice, and will lead to a novel, a collection of short stories, a poetry collection or other major piece of writing. You will also need to produce a critical commentary that contextualises your writing and demonstrates understanding of the writing process. The final composition of the submitted thesis will be a matter of negotiation between the supervisor and the candidate in order to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of doctoral study, but will be approximately 70% creative work and 30% commentary.

There are first rate libraries in UCD and the Dublin area. Several have renowned archives as well as expertly resourced electronic collections. Over many years, the School has established a worldwide reputation for excellence in fostering postgraduate research and in teaching. Designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2009, Dublin has an immense amount to offer aspiring writers.

The MA programme

•  provides opportunities to explore and develop your own creative writing skills under experienced

   tuition and supervision

•  ensures that the art of writing is informed by of theories and practices of contemporary writing

•  allows for small classes by strictly limiting the number of participants

•  actively fosters the development of students’ capacity to edit their own work

•  is taught by experienced, published staff of international reputation

•  builds on UCD 's long tradition of fostering literary talent

•  offers courses incorporating the manuscripts of works of leading writers held in Special  Collections

• benefits from engaging with many visiting guests across the arts and publishing sectors. Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie, and J.K. Rowling were among the many writers to read at the college in recent years. In addition, students have participated in writing seminars presented by William Trevor, Edna O’ Brien, Jane Urquhart, Alistair MacLeod and Paul Harding. Booker Prize winning author, Anne Enright, in her capacity as Laureate for Fiction, taught on both the MA and MFA programmes in 2015-16.

Semester One

Semester Two


Writing Project –c.15,000 words  (35 Credits)

The MFA programme

In addition to sharing the objectives as outlined above for the MA programme, the MFA [Fiction and Poetry] provides close supervision and direction of a novel, a collection of short stories or a poetry collection already well underway prior to the commencement of the course.

* The modules offered in the teaching of creative writing, Pedagogic Strategies 1 & 2 are only available to those holding a post graduate degree.

Students are assessed in a variety of ways, which may include writing assignments, editing exercises, creative responses to texts, class presentations, and writing portfolio.

The Teaching Team

Prof. Frank McGuinness   – Playwright, Poet.

Prof. Ian Davidson – Poetry

Katy Hayes – Writer Fellow in Fiction

Dr Paul Perry – Writer Fellow in Poetry and Fiction

Declan Hughes --  Fiction

A writer-in-residence is appointed for the second semester by the University in conjunction with the Arts Council.

Among the visiting writers, publishers, editors, scholars 2007-2015 were;

Brendan Barrington (Publisher & Editor) Catriona Crowe (Archivist, essayist and Critic) Prof. Paul Durcan (Poet) Hugo Hamilton (Fiction and Memoir Writer) Claire Keegan, (Fiction Writer), Claire Kilroy (Fiction Writer), Maggie McKernan (Literary Agent), Conor McPherson (Playwright, Screenwriter, Film and Theatre Director), Deirdre Madden (Novelist), Edna O Brien (Former Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at UCD), Fiction writer), Denis O’Driscoll (Poet, Prose Writer, & Critic), Billy Roche (Playwright, Novelist, Short-story & Screenwriter), Jonathan Williams (Literary Agent), Michael Longley (Poet and Ireland Professor of Poetry), Caroline Walsh (Literary Editor, Irish Times), Catherine Dunne (Fiction Writer), Dave Rudden (Fiction Writer), Claire Hennessy (Fiction Writer), Donal Ryan (Fiction Writer), Peter Murphy (Fiction Writer) Chris Binchy (Fiction Writer)  Ferdia MacAnna (Fiction Writer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Film and Theatre Director) Siobhan Parkinson (Fiction Writer), Faith O’Grady 9Literary Agent), Siobhan Parkinson (Fiction Writer and former Childrens’ Literature Laureate), Louise O'Neill (fiction writer) Declan Meade (Stinging Fly Director and Ed. In Chief)


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.

The entry requirements for the MFA programme , as stated earlier, are any of the following; an MA, M Phil [Creative Writing] BFA [Creative Writing], BA Creative Writing Major/Joint Major or equivalent, a portfolio with an outline [max 2.000 words] of the novel in progress, together with the opening 25 /30 pages. In the case of a short story collection, two stories, and in the case of poetry, a minimum of ten poems, maximum of fifteen; and finally, a personal statement of reasons for taking the course and references.

 Any candidate considering a PhD is required to complete a detailed project proposal. These should be developed in collaboration with your potential supervisor. An essential first step is making contact with a potential supervisor to discuss possible research topics.   See here for further general information.

Please contact Prof. Ian Davidson ( [email protected] ) if you have any queries about which staff member may be most relevant to your proposed research.

Enquiries about the Graduate Studies programmes can be emailed to [email protected] or telephone 716 8323.   

Student Profiles

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and countries, including Ireland, the UK, US, New Zealand, India, Austria and Germany.  Most have a good deal of writing experience and wish to pursue professional careers in writing, with specialisations in novel writing/ short stories or poetry. Several have won prestigious awards. Last year, 2014, 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.  This year Colin was nominated as one of the five under 35 honourees by the National Book Foundation in the US. His stories have appeared in Five Dials, A Public Space and The New Yorker. 2015, has also seen the publication of novels by four of our recent graduates; Susan Stairs, The Boy Between , [Pub. Hachette Ireland ];  Paula McGrath, Generation , [Pub. John Murray Originals];  Andrea Carter, Death at Whitewater Church , [Pub. Constable/Little Brown]; Henrietta McKervey, What Becomes Of Us [Pub. Hachette Ireland]; Henrietta won both the Hennessy First Fiction Award and the UCD Maeve Binchy Travel Award in 2014. See Photo below.  The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize 2011 was awarded to graduate, Helena Nolan, while in 2013, graduate Jessica Traynor won the Hennessy Emerging Poet Award and the Hennessy Writer of the Year Award in 2013.

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MA Creative Writing

Graduate taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90).

UCD offers two graduate courses in creative writing, an MA and MFA. The MA programme includes workshops, seminars and supervision meetings, providing committed students with the support they need to produce a major piece of writing by the end of the course. 

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 Booker Prize winning novelist Anne Enright is Professor of Creative Writing, and among the teaching staff are novelist Sarah Moss, poet Ian Davidson, poet and novelist Paul Perry, novelist and playwright Declan Hughes, life writer and critic Catherine Morris and novelist Paula McGrath. 

The MA programme :

Careers & Employability

Many graduates of the MA in Creative Writing establish successful writing careers. Graduate of the programme Colin Barrett won the Guardian First Fiction Prize with Young Skins  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. 

Curricular information is subject to change

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

Lectures, seminars, workshops and supervision meetings aim to provide committed writers with taught classes on the theory and practices of writing. These include presentation and editing techniques, creative reading of selected texts as well as the supervision of a major writing project. Among the important issues addressed on an on-going 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 recent module conveners have included Anne Enright, Laureate for Irish Fiction, Paula Meehan, Ireland Professor of Poetry, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, Writer Fellow, Sinéad Gleeson, Writer in Residence,  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

What modules can I take?

View All Modules Here

Fees, Funding and Scholarships

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 .

Entry Requirements

The entry requirement for the  MA programme  is a BA Hons English or equivalent (NFQ Level 8), 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. 

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 


Dave Rudden MA 2013 Award-winning author

The Creative Writing Masters in UCD has been incredibly useful to me as an author. I still use some of the lessons I learned in that year in my creative writing classes, and the expert advice of the lecturers contributed massively to me finding a home for my Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy at Puffin. I cannot recommend it highly enough.  

Graduate Profile Erika Meyers, USA Although there are many programmes that offer masters in Creative Writing in North America, I decided to attend UCD because it allowed me the opportunity to pursue my interests in poetry and fiction, rather than forcing me to choose one over the other. The creative versatility of the programme not only resulted in the publication of a novel and a poetry collection (both written while under the guidance of James Ryan and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne during my MA), but also provided me with the knowledge and experience necessary to earn a Santander scholarship and pursue my PhD in Irish Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

Related Programmes

How to apply?

The following entry routes are available:

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

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Student stories

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Programme Overview:

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Mfa in creative writing.

Professor Lucy Corin

Our innovative MFA program includes both studio instruction and literature courses. Writers can take workshop courses in any genre, and they can write a thesis in fiction, nonfiction, poetry or “hybrid” (multi-genre) form. In the second year, they teach popular Creative Writing courses to Davis undergraduates under faculty supervision, gaining valuable experience and sharing their insight  and enthusiasm with beginning practitioners.

Admissions and Online Application

Events, Prizes, and Resources

At UC Davis, we offer you the ability to fund your MFA. In fact, all students admitted to the program are guaranteed full funding in the second year of study, when students serve as teachers of Introduction to Creative Writing (English 5) and receive, in exchange, tuition and health insurance remission as well as a monthly stipend (second year students who come to Davis from out of state are expected to establish residency during their first year). We have a more limited amount of resources – teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and out of state tuition wavers – allocated to us for first year students, but in recent years, we’ve had excellent luck funding our accepted first years. We help students who do not receive English department funding help themselves by posting job announcements from other departments during the spring and summer leading up to their arrival. We are proud to say that over the course of the last twenty years, nearly every incoming student has wound up with at least partial funding (including a tuition waiver and health insurance coverage) by the time classes begin in the fall.

We have other resources for students, too – like the Miller Fund, which supports attendance for our writers at any single writer’s workshop or conference. Students have used these funds to attend well-known conferences like AWP, Writing By Writers, and the Tin House Conference. The Davis Humanities Institute offers a fellowship that first year students can apply for to fund their writing projects. Admitted students are also considered for University-wide fellowships.

Cost of Attendance

The M.F.A. at Davis is a two-year program on the quarter system (our academic year consists of three sessions of ten-week courses that run from the end of September until mid-June). The program includes classes and a thesis project. It requires diverse, multidisciplinary study and offers excellent mentorship.

Writers concentrate in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or “hybrid” (multi-genre) forms. They take at least four graduate workshops, and they’re required to take one workshop outside their primary genre (many of our students choose to take even more). Writers at Davis also take graduate courses in literature from abundant options, including the program’s Seminars for Writers. Writers can also take graduate courses in literary study taught by scholars in the English Department. And many of our writers enroll in courses relevant to their work in other departments like art history, comparative literature, linguistics, and performance studies.

At the end of the first year, writers form a thesis committee with a Director and two additional readers from the faculty. In the second year, writers at Davis concentrate on Individual Study units with these mentors, working closely with their committee to create a book-length creative work. Writers present their projects at intimate, intense, celebratory defense in May with all members of their committee in attendance.

We’re a new MFA, but we’ve been a successful and respected Creative Writing Program since 1975—a “sleeper” program, as one guide to MFA programs called us. The people who founded the CW program at UC Davis were all lovers and teachers of literature, and chose to call the program an MA, rather than an MFA because they wanted to ensure that the degree would not be seen as a “studio” degree but one in which the study of literature was integral.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s, most often under the leadership of Jack Hicks and Alan Williamson, the program emphasized writing on the American West and the wilderness. Our high profile faculty included Sandra McPherson, Gary Snyder, Sandra Gilbert, Clarence Major, Katherine Vaz, Elizabeth Tallent, Max Byrd, and Louis Owens.

We also created an introductory sequence of workshops taught by graduate students, which has become one of the highlights of the program for the second years who teach the courses and the undergraduates who take them. There’s more to teaching these courses than learning to teach; teaching helps our writers understand their own writing in ways that no other aspect of a writing program can do. Pam Houston joined the program in the early 2000’s and she led a faculty that included Lynn Freed and Yiyun Li. As an MFA, we remain a place that values sustained literary study as core to the making of art, but we’re also allowing our vision of genre to expand and embrace the other arts and media.

The town of Davis began as "Davisville," a small stop on the Southern Pacific railway between Sacramento and the Bay Area.  Some of our graduate students choose to live in Sacramento or the Bay Area, making use of the commute-by-train option, which is still very much in place.  For those commuting by car, Davis is a 15-25 minute drive from Sacramento and a 60-90 minute drive from the Bay Area.

Students also choose to live in Davis itself, which CNN once ranked the second most educated city in the US.  Davis is a college town of about 75,000 people. Orchards, farms and ranches border it on all sides. The town boasts a legendary twice-weekly farmers market (complete with delicious food trucks and live music). Bike and walking paths lead everywhere (many students prefer not to own a car while they are here) and there are copious amounts of planned green space in every subdivision. The flatness of the land makes Davis ideal for biking, and the city over the past 5 decades has installed bike lanes and bike racks all over town. In fact, in 2006,  Bicycling Magazine , in its compilation of "America's Best Biking Cities," named Davis the best small town for cycling. Packed with coffee houses, bookstores, and restaurants that serve cuisine from every continent, Downtown Davis has a casual vibe. It’s a great place to hole up and write. Davis is filled with hard wood trees, and flower and vegetable gardens, and wild ducks and turkeys walk the campus as if they own the place. It’s a gentle place to live. Although summers get quite hot, the other three seasons are mild, and each, in their own way, quite beautiful. For more about the town, check out the Davis Wikipedia page .

Woodland and Winters, two small towns close by to Davis, are also options for housing—and they’re good options for those who are not so desirous of the college town scene.  Yet another option is to live in the scenic rural areas Davis is surrounded by.

To the west of Davis, Lake Berryessa and the Napa valley are close by.  To the east, the Sierra mountains are close by; Reno and Tahoe are just a couple hours drive in that direction. 

Voorhies Hall on the UC Davis Campus

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Creative Writing

Graduate Studies

The UC Davis graduate creative writing program is a two-year master of fine arts degree rooted in the study and creation of literature that reaches toward the other arts with the goal of presenting students with a wide range of aesthetic approaches and models for being a writer. Students may specialize in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, as well as multi‐genre, multi‐media, or hybrid forms of literary art. 

Graduate Program Requirements

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MA Creative Writing in University College Dublin

About MA Creative Writing in University College Dublin

UCD offers two graduate courses in creative writing, an MA and MFA. The MA programme includes lectures, seminars, workshops and supervision meetings, providing committed students with the support they need to produce a major piece of writing by the end of the course. 

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.

Many graduates of the MA in Creative Writing establish successful writing careers. Graduate of the programme Colin Barrett won the Guardian First Fiction Prize with  Young Skins  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. 

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Go Big or Go Home – Studying a Creative Writing Masters in UCD


Dave Rudden

I decided to apply for the UCD Creative Writing Masters last summer because I wasn’t quite sure whether I was a writer or not.

I did write – a handful of poems here and there, flash fiction when a good line popped into my head – I’d even had a smattering of pieces published here and there. The thing is that it is easy to write when you’re inspired and I only ever wrote when it was easy. Showing your characters the gates of heaven or tossing them off a cliff is simple, intuitive and exhilarating. What’s more difficult is getting up in the morning and writing about your character getting up in the morning.

I wanted the Masters to fix my lack of discipline and the fact that I knew nothing about writing except that certain words looked better in a line than others. I’d imagine that’s what attracts a lot of people – the need to step beyond your own amateur efforts, the feeling that there’s another level you want to reach and you’ve maybe come as far as you can on your own.

This article is a resource for people considering the Creative Writing Masters in UCD based on my own experiences.

When you’re submitting keep in mind that what they look for is potential. Don’t worry about your work being Booker Prize level – if it was then you wouldn’t need the course. They ask for twenty-five pages of material. Try and vary it if you can – whatever shows off your strengths. Be wary of submitting hard science fiction as we were told by a lecturer that they don’t feel the coursework accommodates it. Take a look at the course breakdown before you apply – what won me over with UCD was the Myth & Folklore module in Semester 1. If you’re looking for a course that will polish writing in theatre specifically you’ll need to look elsewhere.

My favourite thing about the Masters was that I was constantly forced out of my comfort zone. I had my writing habits, the genres I liked, and the people I liked showing my work to. I was pushed to engage with work out of my balliwick, not only reading it but writing my own. It’s not always pleasant but it is necessary and a good learning experience. Reading more, dealing with varied prompts and the demands of the course also meant that by the end of the year my body of work had grown exponentially.

The best example of this is in the Novel module in Semester 1. You’re required to write a first chapter and an outline. Up until this, I had never attempted a novel. I thought that at twenty-four I just hadn’t had an idea that was sustainable over seventy thousand words. The course made me go out and find one, and then after I handed it in… I just kept writing, and bringing it to the class, and writing some more. It’s now at the tail end of its second draft.

This is actually a key point. Go join a writers’ group. The closing date for applying to the Masters is in May, you have time. Go now. This might seem obvious – or not, depending on where you are in your own writerly wanderings – but learn the skill of giving good feedback. Learn how to tell a stranger you like this part of their story but you don’t like that part. Learn the right terms to use and how to do it graciously. It takes practice but the set-up of the course in UCD means the majority of feedback you’ll be getting is from your classmates. If you’re not comfortable saying it to their faces write it down and give it to them in class. It wasn’t something I was always superb at, but nothing fosters goodwill in a class like being handed a sheet full of comments. The comments don’t have to be all positive and the author of the piece can totally ignore them if they like – the point is you did them. You engaged with the piece. That’s encouragement in itself. You’ll also learn the skill of receiving feedback. Agree with it, apply it, ignore it – whatever. Smile and nod and say thank you. You can curse their bloodlines in private.

This is especially prevalent in the poetry module. I was very unfamiliar with poetry going in and felt I was missing the tools needed to properly dig into my own work and that of others at least at first. By the end of the course I was writing two poems per assignment and reading them at open mic nights. There is so much to be learned in the difference between those two forms, even if you have no interest in one after the course is done.

There were also plenty of frank discussions about the industry in class – our lecturers maintaining a perfect balance of enthusiasm and realism. In the second semester class speakers came in such as representatives from Penguin Ireland and the Stinging Fly.

A big part of the Masters in UCD is the anthology released every year by the class. If you’re planning to do the Masters or you’ve just started then consider this next piece of advice to be written in ten foot tall letters of black iron.

Don’t wait until the second semester. The anthology is a weird beast – it’s not staff-curated and it requires a lot of fundraising. There are also no marks going for it so expect varying levels of commitment.  It’s a good idea to contact old students and chat to them about how they did it and what problems they encountered. It is worth it when you get to the end, but it is an extra complication on an already demanding Masters.

It can be argued that all of the above can be done without the course. Be discerning about your writing groups and you’ll find people you can trust to give excellent feedback. Go to events and research publishers to learn about the industry. Put aside what you read normally and learn plotting from crime fiction, world-building from fantasy, despair from Faulkner or subtlety from Ford.

What I will say is that I needed it. I needed to go big or go home – fulfil this sideways logic I had that if I were to make the commitment of a Masters that meant I was serious about writing. I couldn’t give up or get distracted or call in sick to a day of writing. The year I spent and the amount I paid was a symbol of the commitment I made. I needed that push. It’s up to you whether you do as well.

(c) Dave Rudden

Dave Rudden is the award winning author of the Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy which won   The Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year 2016: Senior  at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards,  The Great Reads Award 2016: Most Read Award (Junior) and  was alsobeing selected as the novel for the 2017 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Reading Campaign for Children . The   Knights of the Borrowed Dark film rights have been bought by Ideate Media and the first novel has been listed by the Department of Education as a suggested reading choice for First Years Junior Cert English 2018 – 2023. More recently he has written a book of  Doctor Who short stories for the BBC, entitled Twelve Angels Weeping .

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University College Dublin

Ma in creative writing.

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Masters Program

Creative Writing

Creative Writing ,

Arts and Humanities

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€20,500 / year

€20,500 / 12 months

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English with Creative Writing

BA (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

creative writing masters ucd

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Curricular information is subject to change.

If your interest in literature extends to an ambition to write creatively, this degree programme will support that ambition through classes, workshops, and seminars dedicated to the development of your creative talent. In the final year, you will work on – and complete to high standard – a substantial writing project. To help you reach this standard, you will be advised and directed by one of the supervisors on the Creative Writing or English team.

You will study the work of a wide range of writers, focusing on how they create their works. You will learn about form and genre. You will explore a range of narrating voices by reading texts selected to illustrate this range. In a similar way, you will learn how characters are constructed, how to handle dialogue, how to manage time and sequencing and many other elements of the craft of writing, which will be generally helpful and occasionally inspiring in your own writing. You will be introduced to contemporary developments in literature by considering the work of a number of Irish writers, who will address the class and provide valuable insight into the writing process.

Modules include:

As well as a range of English with Creative Writing modules students will benefit from an additional subject stream. Options include:

Second Year

For detailed information on subject content click here.

You will choose from a range of options that will enable you to broaden your horizons and enrich your academic experience:

Students will also choose from a wide range of specialist English modules such as Making Shakespeare, Gender & Sexuality in the 18th Century, Austen’s Peer, Yeats, Reading Ulysses, Reading Beckett, The Theatre of Martin McDonagh.

Fourth Year

In addition to a 10,000-word Creative Writing or English Literature dissertation, students will choose from a wide range of advanced English modules, including: Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Detecting Fictions, Contemporary Irish Writing, Memory & the Irish Stage, Contemporary Irish Women’s Poetry, Modern American Poetry & Poetics. Students will also partake in advanced Creative Writing Workshops.

Students can study in various EU and non-EU destinations through the Erasmus and Study Abroad programmes, in partnership arrangements between UCD and universities across the world.

Writer, editor, literary agents and critics, content creator, copywriters, broadcaster/journalist, public relations, business, law, politics, teaching, management consultancy, humanities research and many others.

UCD English, Drama and Film offer a wide range of postgraduate courses, including the MA and MFA in Creative Writing.

See  for more details.

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“Studying English with Creative Writing has allowed me to take something I love and incorporate it directly into my degree. The hardest part about writing is often finding the time to do it. The English with Creative Writing course allows me to focus entirely on something I am passionate about. The School of English, Drama and Film offers an impressive range of English modules is unparalleled and gives me the freedom to explore English and Creative Writing in great depth. This year, I was able to do an internship with the National University of Ireland. It was a fantastic practical experience, editing documents for publication and transcribing lectures from politicians.”

Djamel White, Student

UCD School of English, Drama & Film Newman, Belfield, Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716 8323 Email: [email protected]

CAO Code: DN530

Cao point range 2022: 423-625, length of course: 4 years, typical class size: 64, leaving cert subject entry requirements: o6/h7 in english, irish, a third language and three other recognised subjects., other school leaving requirements: see, other courses of interest, useful information, privacy overview.

We have 12 Masters Degrees in Creative Writing, Dublin, Ireland

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Masters Degrees in Creative Writing, Dublin, Ireland

creative writing masters ucd

Dublin City University

Become a part of our vibrant and innovative community

creative writing masters ucd

Maynooth University

One of the leading new universities in the world, ranked #50 in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Young Universities’ list.

creative writing masters ucd

Trinity College Dublin

Ireland’s leading university

creative writing masters ucd

University College Dublin

Ireland’s Global University

MA in Creative Writing

Dublin city university faculty of humanities and social sciences.

Have you always wanted to write but never had the time, the focus, the space, or the encouragement? The DCU MA in Creative Writing aims to unlock the writer in you through an immersion in Drama, Poetry and Fiction. Read more

MA Creative Writing

University college dublin ucd school of english, drama and film.

UCD offers two graduate courses in creative writing, an MA and MFA. Read more

MFA Creative Writing

UCD offers two graduate courses in creative writing, an MA and MFA.  The MFA programme is a more advanced degree than the MA, and in some instances can follow on from the MA. MFA students will be part of a smaller cohort which offers very close supervision of a work in progress for the duration of an academic year. Read more

Maynooth University Department of English

The MA in Creative Writing combines workshops and seminars with one-on-one mentoring of writing projects. Students may take optional modules in literature or other creative modules from across the Faculty, such as Writing for Screen Media. Read more

Creative Writing - MPhil

Trinity college dublin school of english.

This course, the first Masters course in creative writing in an Irish university, was offered by the School of English for the first time in 1997-98. Read more

Irish Writing - MPhil/PgDip

The course offers graduates in English or in related disciplines (e.g. history, art history, Irish studies, a modern language) the opportunity to study a broad range of Irish writing in English from the late-sixteeenth century to the present. Read more

MA Writing for Stage & Screen

The Writing for Stage and Screen MA offers you the opportunity to devote a considerable amount of time to write, evolve and reflect on your own creative practices. Read more

Playwriting - MFA

Trinity college dublin school of drama, film and music.

This course is designed to equip students of exceptional talent with the skills necessary to pursue a career in theatre and related industries through the development of skills, professional practices and creative approaches to writing for performance. Read more

Higher Diploma in English (Part-time)

The Higher Diploma in English is a programme designed for applicants who already hold a BA or comparable degree, and who wish to add English to their list… Read more

Higher Diploma in English (Full-time)

Ma in children's and young adult literature.

The study of children’s literature at the School of English, Dublin City University, has its origins in the long tradition of scholarship in the discipline… Read more

ProfCert Contemporary Irish Writing

University college dublin ucd school of irish, celtic studies and folklore.

Full Time option suitable for: Domestic(EEA) applicants:  Yes International (Non EEA) applicants currently  residing  outside of the EEA Region.  No. Read more

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Dublin’s Masters in Creative Writing

Creative Writing postgraduate programmes have long been a staple of the academic world in the US. Prominent writers like Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace and Joyce Carol Oates have all worked as creative writing professors since as far back as the seventies.

Yet, despite Dublin’s literary heritage and wealth of authors, it has only recently come to be recognised as a centre of excellence for such courses. Now, it attracts scores of hopeful young writers from around the world every year.

UCD’s Masters in Creative Writing

“You can’t teach people to be creative. You can only accelerate the pace at which people are developing creatively.”

These are the words of Professor James Ryan, the director of UCD’s creative writing programmes – including its Masters course , which started in 2006 and now receives applications from all over the world.

One of the bigger pulls for me was the fact that I was going to be studying in Oscar’s house.

UCD has a long association with some of Ireland’s greatest writers – James Joyce, John McGahern and Maeve Binchy among them. Its successful MA applicants will go on to work with revered writers, such as distinguished playwright Frank McGuinness, who is a Professor here, and internationally acclaimed novelist Colm Tóibín, who teaches part-time.

Alumni also include Colin Barrett, author of the searingly popular Young Skins  and winner of The Guardian First Book Award. “The people who come to us are already creative writers, who really wish to hone their craft,” says Ryan.

creative writing masters ucd

Plaque on the wall at 21 Westland Row, birthplace of Oscar Wilde (Image: Rohan Swamy)

One student’s experience at UCD spoke with Dubliner Helen Chandler, who graduated back in 2008, about her experience on UCD’s Masters in Creative Writing course.

“I was 24 at the time, a year out of undergrad and flailing around without a proper job, wondering what to do with myself,” she says.

The people who come to us are already creative writers, who really wish to hone their craft.

After taking classes at the Irish Writers Centre and working various office jobs, she decided to take the next step in her education and do a Masters. As one student in a class of fourteen, she remembers her time fondly and credits Professor James Ryan as “a warm, kind and supportive presence”.

“It was amazing to have someone like that at my disposal, who believed in my work, who saw my work as legitimate,” she says. “I ran into James at a party years after I graduated and he not only remembered me, but quoted the opening line from a story I’d written for his workshop – word for word! That’s dedication.”

Helen Chandler, who attended the UCD MA in Creative Writing in 2007/2008.

Helen Chandler

Helen is now living in the US, where she teaches Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Her writing has also appeared in The Dublin Review  and The Stinging Fly.

“There’s so much talk about how writing can’t be taught and about how MA and MFA programmes create a certain ‘type’ of writer,” she says.

However, for Helen, the course was crucial – particularly when it came to providing her with the time she needed to write.

“You just have to be smart about it,” she says. “Don’t go into debt for a degree in creative writing. That would be insane. Save for an MA or get into a fully-funded MFA programme”.

She continues: “And once you’re in, make use of every minute. Conference with the professors, spend hours talking about writing and literature with your colleagues, write like a motherf***er!”

More of Dublin’s creative writing courses

UCD isn’t the only Dublin university offering Creative Writing postgrads. The American College offers an MFA in Creative Writing under the guidance of such acclaimed writers as Mia Gallagher, Sean O’Reilly and Mike McCormack.

Trinity has the city’s longest established programme, offering an M.Phil in Creative Writing since 1997. This is taught in the rooms at 21 Westland Row – the house where Oscar Wilde was born.

creative writing masters ucd

Gavin Corbett

Dublin-based author Gavin Corbett, who was a Writing Fellow at Trinity and taught on the M.Phil, says he sees Dublin as a natural base for courses of this sort.

Beyond the classroom, the streets are steeped in literary history and Dublin’s literary culture is: “One of our most strenuous exports – other than stout, creamy liqueur and soda bread”.

“It’s Dublin’s identity in a nutshell, its writers and writing,” he says.

So to what does he attribute the growing popularity of Dublin’s creative writing programmes?

He thinks that the momentum developed from the MFA culture in America and Dublin’s third-level institutions have recognised the “very unique commodity that we have – something that the wider world is interested in drawing from”.

A Trinity graduate’s experience

Rohan Swamy from Bombay, India completed the Trinity M. Phil five years ago. The course was “on his radar” in India and he was familiar with the work of teachers like Deirdre Madden and Carlo Gebler.

“I knew exactly how good they were,” he says. Plus, Trinity was more financially viable than similar programmes in the US. Once the course began, he says he felt “spoiled” to have the prominent poet, Professor Gerald Dawe, as his supervisor.

Dublin’s writers have long influenced Rohan. “I drew up on Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker when I was doing my own reading back in India,” he says. “One of the bigger pulls for me was the fact that I was going to be studying in Oscar’s house. That was a big deal.”

Making the move from India to Ireland

Rohan also believes that Ireland and India share a lot of values when it comes to cultural history. He cites the two countries’ history of oppression, battles for independence and divisions along religious lines.

“I chose to focus on the similarities rather than the differences,” he says.

creative writing masters ucd

Rohan Swamy

Rohan describes his first night in Dublin after arriving on his own.

“I met random strangers, who told me they’d never met anyone from India before. They showed me around and bought me a couple of drinks and wanted to listen to my story and it was so nice,” he says.

“Even though I knew I was halfway across the world from India, I didn’t feel like I was in an alien land. It was more like home.”

Today, Rohan works behind the scenes at Trinity College, but he continues to write short stories and articles as well. He has been published in both Ireland and India.

Never wanting to leave Dublin

Ana Arellano from California was a classmate of Rohan’s on the M. Phil at Trinity College. She first fell in love with Dublin on a family holiday and became determined to pursue a postgrad here.

“I’ve always had a fascination with Ireland since I was a kid, but I chose Trinity because of its literary history,” she explains.

She calls Oscar Wilde her ‘spirit animal’ and says she went to Trinity specifically to follow in his footsteps. As a writer of young adult fantasy fiction, Ana wanted to find her voice as a writer. And her studies in Dublin have certainly helped.

Ana Arellano

Ana Arellano

On the possibility of returning to California, Ana says: “I don’t ever want to go back. I adjusted quickly to the Dublin way of life. There’s a very: ‘It’s grand’ attitude. And that to me is perfect.”

Ana is still based in Dublin and continues to write young adult fiction. Recently, her work was published in the Honest Ulsterman too.

Ana acknowledges the cynicism that some people have toward creative writing postgrads, but she doesn’t let it get to her.

“I’m doing what I love to do and I’m really proud of the fact that I got accepted into Trinity,” she says. “I still can’t believe that.”

Want to go to university in Dublin? Check out our articles on studying in the city for more information.

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a photo of alison lyons, the director of the Dublin unesco City of Literature programme, holding a copy of echoland

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature

Dublin residents are by now familiar with the UNESCO emblem on programmes and posters for the city’s many literary events, but it was only on the 26th of July 2010, that Dublin was designated a City of Literature by the cultural arm of the United Nations. The fourth city to receive such a designation, after Iowa City, Melbourne and Edinburgh, it was a recognition of Dublin’s lively contemporary literary scene built on the strong foundation laid by past masters.

creative writing masters ucd

The Third Level – From Munich to Dublin

Doing a Masters in Dublin: An international student’s experience Romina Dashghachian is from Germany, while her parents are from Iran, and she came to Ireland to study in Dublin. In 2019, she began her Masters Degree in Public Relations at DCU. During her stay, Romina shared her experience as an international student with Why Romina did her Masters in Dublin Romina reckons that Dublin and her hometown of Munich have a lot in common. “Munich has a community feel, so you never feel like you’re in a giant anonymous city,” she says. “And that’s why I like Dublin as well. When you’re here, you don’

creative writing masters ucd

Dublin Treasures – Sweny’s Pharmacy

Sweny’s: A literary landmark frozen in time Tucked away on Lincoln Place, in the heart of Dublin’s south inner city, is Sweny’s pharmacy. 100 years ago, it was made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses. Though Sweny’s is no longer a working pharmacy, it is a key part of Dublin’s literary culture. Today, it is run by volunteers who maintain its original 1850s Victorian style. A mahogany counter and old glass cabinets outline the room. Shelves of medicine cover the walls and old photographs sit in the cabinets. There’s even some hundred-year-old prescriptions still waiting to be collected. The original chemist sign is still intact too


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