MA Creative Writing & MFA Creative Writing [Fiction]- UCD

MA Creative Writing & MFA Creative Writing [Fiction]


The School of English, Drama & Film offers two postgraduate programmes in Creative Writing, an MA and an MFA [Master of Fine Arts] Fiction

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 and many others. There are over thirty full-time members of staff with expertise ranging from Old English to contemporary literature and drama. The distinguished playwright, Frank McGuinness, is Professor of Creative Writing for the College of Arts and Celtic Studies, and internationally acclaimed novelist, Colm Tóibín, is Adjunct Professor.

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, creative reading of selected texts, and supervision of a major writing project.

UCD is now introducing an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction). This is the first MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in Creative Writing (fiction) to be offered by an Irish university and can be taken either part or full time. It has been devised in response to demand for an advanced postgraduate course, offering close supervision and direction of a novel or collection of short stories 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. In addition, this course offers a module in the teaching of creative writing, comprising both theoretical and practical components.

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 the study of theories and practices of contemporary


• 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 and courses which explore material in National Folklore Collection in UCD, one of the

richest archives of oral tradition in the world.

• 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 the course of the past year students participated in writing seminars presented by

William Trevor, Jane Urquart, Alistair MacLeod and Paul Harding.

Semester One
Reading and Writing Fiction [10 Credits]
The Archive of Imagination: Myth & Folklore in fiction [5 Credits]

Poetry in Progress [5 Credits]
Craft & Composition (10 Credits]
Peer Reviewing Workshop

Semester Two
Fiction in the Making [ MA ]; a single text study [10 Credits]
The Library of the Imagination; Short Fiction [5 Credits]

Poetry in Context [5 Credits]
Workshop [+ individual consultation] with Writer-in-Residence [10 Credits]
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] provides close supervision and direction of a novel or a collection of short stories, already in draft form or well underway prior to the commencement of the course.

Semester One
Fiction in the Making [ MFA ]; a single text study [10 Credits]
Line & Structural Editing of work in progress [10 Credits]
Pedagogic Strategies 1. Theory [5 Credits]*

Module from selection of School of English postgraduate offerings

Semester Two
Line & Structural Editing of work in progress [10 Credits]
Pedagogic Strategies 2. Practice [5 Credits]*

Module from selection of School of English postgraduate offerings
Completed Work [Novel / Collection of Short Stories] –c.50,000 words [50 Credits]

* 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.


About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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