Theory, Text, Writing
Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment
Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology
In a nutshell
Are you an experienced creative writer looking for new ways to hone their craft? Do you want to establish a professional career as a novelist, publisher or journalist? This forward-thinking MA in Creative Writing will offer a way to stretch your writing muscles, step out of the ordinary and take your writing skills in new and exciting directions.
On our MA Creative Writing programme you will develop work at the cutting-edge of new and evolving practices. You will take your creative writing to the next level so that it really stands out, making it unique and distinctively attractive to the current market.
You will do this by playing to your strengths as a creative writer while engaging with fundamental issues in theories of literature and creative practice. The course offers exactly what the name suggests – it opens your mind, allows you to explore philosophical writing and challenges you to critically reflect critically upon your own creative work.
This masters in Creative Writing course will be of interest to writers of prose, poetry, scripts, hybrid and visual forms. You will not be required to commit to any one form, and will have the opportunity to move between or mix forms if you wish.
And whether you choose to study full-time or part-time, as a creative writing postgraduate student studying at Salford, you’ll be surrounded by inspiring creatives from across a range of disciplines. Manchester’s creative hub is a vibrant and exciting place to study, build community and nurture your writing talent.
Learn more about our MA Creative Writing courses by signing up to one of our open days.
You can also follow our #EnglishatSalford Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, which are led by our English teaching staff so you can find out how we tell our story through English, Creative Writing and Drama.
- Learn from award-winning, internationally-recognised writers and performers
- Have the freedom to develop your own projects and inject your writing with the rigour and depth needed to work in the creative industry
- Graduate with a strong portfolio of work that can be used to establish your reputation as a creative writer
This is for you if...
You are a humanities graduate or experienced creative writer who is looking to challenge your conceptions of literature and creative practice.
You are looking for the inspiration to develop your creative writing in new ways.
You’re looking for the opportunity to build a range of transferable skills that can be used for a variety of careers in writing
All about the course
Throughout the programme you’ll have the opportunity to challenge your creative habits, strengthen your skills and learn how to conduct yourself as a professional writer – producing work that is profound, interesting and attracts the attention of publishers and directors alike.
In your first semester of study, you’ll be encouraged to push the boundaries of your own creativity and to explore experimental writing from across the ages. This will give you the chance to find what resonates with you most, and to help bring innovation into your own work.
As your course progresses, you’ll take part in stimulating and supportive creative writing workshops that will enable you to explore your social and political positioning in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
Your final project will encourage you to dig deep and complete an ambitious, large-scale creative project using the writing styles you’ve developed, while exploring the fundamental questions that have most fascinated you during the course.
The December 2022 External Examiners' report on this programme said:
This is an outstanding programme of study. The variety of assessment enables students to excel in different ways, but perhaps the most impressive element is the way in which the assessment strategy has been designed to allow students to develop throughout the programme.
In terms of feedback, this is exemplary. It is detailed, personalised.
The programme clearly provides students with a clear and robust sense of the publishing world in relation to creative writing. This is partly delivered through notions of context regarding the writing business, but it is also exemplified through the attention to different modes of writing. The development of highly-skilled communication strategies is an excellent measure of employability.
The uniqueness of the programme in relation to other creative writing postgraduate courses is one of the most impressive elements of this programme. It offers a focussed and rigorous notion of creative writing that, in its focus on experimental practice, marks this programme as exceptional in this area.
This module explores the ways we understand our literary and social world, allowing you to engage with critical, creative and hybrid work to improve your analytic and writing skills. Some of the questions we will debate include:
How do literary texts engage with the politics of class, race, gender, nationality and sexuality?
Can writing imagine alternatives to political, social and environmental crisis?
- What is the relationship between writing, well-being and world-building, for both individuals and communities?
You will be taught by critical and creative writers who will showcase their cutting-edge theoretical and literary practices to enable you to have confidence to work on exciting, innovative topics, and to experiment with your own practice.
A series of weekly sessions, alternating between seminars and practical workshops, this module explores the history of experimental writing techniques over the last seventy years and examines how writers have sought new forms for expression to address rapidly changing realities.
Topics covered may include:
- Conceptual Writing
- Visual, sound and concrete poetry
- The use of mathematical rules and constraints in writing (OuLiPo)
- Autofiction and new narrative
You can also study Experimental Practice as a standalone single module.
This module allows students to develop the skills they need for their future careers, whether you aspire to work in the creative industries, academia, publishing or any other role where creativity and innovation are valued. This is a practical skills-based module to help work on their professional portfolios with expert guidance.
Topics covered will include:
- The public value of the arts
- Marketing, publishing and networking
- Writing a research proposal
- Effective digital presentations
You will undertake a series of workshops in which you share your own creative projects with fellow students and a writing tutor. Work will be submitted regularly in advance to the group and the tutor, who will make detailed preparation for the workshops including annotated material. This workshop provides a context for an ongoing creative exploration of how theoretical ideas can influence and inform creative practice.
You can also study Writing Workshop as a standalone single module.
Dissertation: Creative Project
The Creative Project gives you regular one-to-one tutorial support as your pursue your creative vision. You will be encouraged to draw on your knowledge of theory, experimentation and your own developing practice. Reading material will be negotiated on an individual basis depending on your chosen area.
Year one, trimester one
- Theory Text Writing (30 credits)
Year one, trimester two
- Writing Workshop (30 credits)
Year two, trimester one
- Experimental Practice (30 Credits)
Year two, trimester two
Professional Practice (30 credits)
Year two, trimester three
Final Project (60 Credits)
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
Written creative and critical assignments
Final creative project
While you’ll be invited to regular workshops, lectures and seminars covering the theory involved in this creative writing postgraduate course, it is your own creative activity that is the main driver for learning.
Through personal tutorials you will receive feedback and one-to-one support to help unleash your creative potential, alongside masterclasses with visiting contemporary writers who will inspire you to think outside the boundaries of common literary approaches.
Your classes will be based at our Peel Park Campus.
Both full-time and part-time MA creative writing students will study alongside aspiring artists, musicians, performers and fashion designers, creating a vibrant sense of community and inspirational support network.
Theory, Text Writing (30 credits, joint module with literature students)
A critical essay 3,500 words; a critical, creative or hybrid essay using theoretical ideas 3500 words
Experimental Practice (30 Credits, Creative writing students only)
Creative piece of 3,500 words or equivalent, hybrid or critical essay 3500 words
Writing Workshop (30 Credits, Creative Writing students only)
Creative piece of 6,000 words or equivalent, statement of poetics 1000 words
Professional Practice (30 Credits, joint module with literature students)
A presentation 15 minutes, a written component involving either a journal article, PhD funding proposal or Arts Council application.
Final Creative Project (60 Credits)
Creative work of 12,000 words or equivalent, statement of poetics 2,000 words
I found the theory elements of the course particularly useful because they challenged me to think critically about my creativity. It helped me look at my writing not just as an artist but as an academic, giving me a better understanding of my own ideas. By the end of the course, I found that my creative work was underpinning theory effortlessly, the literary theory actually enhancing the quality of my work.
I don’t think I could go back to writing whatever came out of my brain without wanting to understand what the literary canon has to say about it. I’ve learned that to improve as a writer, I have to engage in the literary community, and the theoretical side of that journey is so necessary. Luckily, the staff at Salford recognise that and have shaped the course accordingly!
I came to this MA with an aim to invigorate my practice, to take it to the next level, after feeling for too long that I had plateaued as a writer—that I was at the mercy of inspiration, rather than my own ability or intentions. I came to this MA, too, with doubts that it would genuinely help me as an artist, and doubts that I would be able to keep up with the strange theoretical world of experimental and innovative writing. Thankfully, these doubts were soon assuaged. The opening module, Experimental Practice, was fascinating and awe-inspiring, asking for little more than an openness to new ideas and a willingness to try everything (and read even more!). It seemed to re-wire the neural pathways in my brain. From there, the knowledge, support, and opportunities offered to me on this MA helped me not only to change the way I write, but to change the way that I think about and approach writing, and the direction that I want to take myself in as an artist.
I am sometimes asked if it is totally necessary for me as a writer to take such a course. Absolutely. I absolutely needed to do it. If you, too, are looking for more, if you are willing to work hard, have an open mind, and challenge your own mis-conceptions about narrative, form, ownership of art, and more, then you will surely be able to find that next level that you are searching for as an artist.
A writer should never stay comfortable. The Masters at Salford has enhanced my relationship with writing by challenging my perceptions of it. Being equipped with theory to analyse experimental creative works, I now engage with writing on a committed level, on a level which acknowledges the craftsmanship in the writing process. With the dedication of experienced tutors, I have discovered and developed my writer’s voice and profile. The tutors attend to detail when they review your work and teach text with an eye to the detail of the writing and the choice of form and style. Through well-chosen exemplars, they taught me how to refine my self-expression and my awareness of how knowing my purpose and my audience can hone my writing.
Who are you as a writer? Why do you always write about that? How can you break free from your self-imposed boundaries? Over the course of the MA, I discovered the answers to these questions – and many more – as the blend of theoretical and creative modules allowed me to not only establish my identity as a writer but challenge myself to trust my instincts. The final creative project tested my strengths as a writer, dared me to address my weaknesses, yet provided me with the freedom to tell my story. The dedicated support of my supervisor was paramount during this journey as I realised the purpose of my writing was already hidden beneath the words.
BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
All our English courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.
Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.
Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.
"I am a Reader in English and Creative Writing at Salford, and I lead the MA in Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment.
I mainly work in haiku, poetry and visual text as a creative practitioner and an academic. However I also have a strong background as a playwright and short story writer and have won awards in both these areas.
My publications include four volumes of poetry, two research monographs and many articles. I have won awards for both my creative and my academic work, and my work has featured twice in Guardian round ups of best books of the year.
A keen and active collaborator with other art forms and translation practices, I am involved in various projects, such as the translation of Old English riddles, and have also acted as the incredible edible Todmorden poet laureate for several years. I am currently writing a book for Edinburgh University Press on the thickness of language and visual effects in translation and creative composition practices, and look forward to sharing some of my ideas with you."
Learn more about Judy Kendall or Explore the English faculty at the University of Salford.
EXPLORE OUR ENGLISH FACILITIES
Fancy learning your craft using the same type of equipment you’ll use when you’re working? Study with us, and you’ll become confident and comfortable with industry-standard kits and facilities. You won’t just be left to work it out on your own – our experienced tutors and technicians will show you how to master everything we have on offer.
Explore our English facilities at the University of Salford.
What about after uni?
Whether you aspire to literary greatness or you’re keen to pursue further study, our master’s in creative writing innovation and experiment will give you the tools and training you need to take the first step in your professional career.
While the aim of this course is to encourage you to challenge and develop yourself creatively as a writer, it offers much more besides that. Alongside establishing successful careers as creative writers, many of our graduates go on to secure professional roles in publishing, teaching and fiction writing, as well as arts administration and journalism.
Postgraduate research in Creative Writing is co-ordinated by the English Literature, Language and Creative Practice Research group in the Arts Media and Communication Research Centre, headed by Dr Scott Thurston. The group explores hybrid and inter-disciplinary ways of working and in our examination of marginal, experimental and emergent practices. We are concerned with looking at the overlooked and teasing out readings of neglected and/or transgressive authors and cultural practices. From looking at writing conflict in Northern Ireland to Victorian Sensation fiction, from discontented minds in Early Modern Drama to the representation of serial killers in film and fiction, from African modernism to experimental poetry, from the hidden meanings of place names to discourse analysis – our work is searching, critically-engaged and culturally relevant.
A key strength of the group is in the practice and study of innovative writing, covering experimental and literary fiction, young adult fiction, innovative poetry, visual text, scriptwriting, devising and directing for stage, performance, adaptation, autobiography and translation. Find out more.
Recent successes include:
- Dan Lovatt’s regular articles for Fourth Floor, and selection of his theatre play for a residency at Kings Arms during Manchester Fringe Festival
- Qudsia Akhtar’s first collection accepted with Verve Poetry Press of work written during the MA and success in obtaining AHRC funding for a phd at Salford
- Chrissi Nerantzi’s blog, including discussion of her experience of the Creative Writing MA
- Jazmine Linklater’s work in the marketing department of Carcanet Press;
- Kayleigh McGuire’s apprenticeship with the Arts Council;
- John Mansell (writer name John Blakemore) ‘What Love is’ in Purple Reign anthology, Erbaccce Press, 2019
- Leanne Bridgewater, Confessions of a Cyclist, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press:
- Richard Barrett, Hugz, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press:
- Nia Davies’ first full-length poetry collection with high-profile publisher Bloodaxe Books.
- Nigel Wood and Joanne Langton co-editing The Dark Would anthology of Language Art with Phil Davenport.
- Leanne Bridgewater’s work as a librarian in Coventry and publication of her first full-length collection with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press.
- Richard Barrett as widely-published poet and editor of Happy Books.
- Stephen Emmerson as a well-published poet with work from the if p then q press and co-editor of the magazine and small press BLART books.
- Jazmine Linklater’s first collection for Dock Road Press.
- Joanne Langton’s work as editor with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and current post teaching English in Mexico (she also published her first collection with KFS).
Many of these writers have performed at The Other Room poetry reading series in Manchester (2008-2018)
Many of our graduates participate actively in literary culture through organising and entering literary competitions, setting up and editing anthologies, publishing work elsewhere, and taking up internships with publishers of poetry and fiction or in arts administration.
Whether our students are writers of experimental prose, poetry or script, mixed-media creators, visual text makers or performance artists, we prepare Creative Writing MA graduates for a life in the creative industries, offering instruction on production and project funding bids, PhD applications, and journal writing.
The course benefits from a programme of visiting writers to the English Subject Group. In addition, at least two workshops per academic year are convened by key figures in innovative writing. Past visitors have included: Lucy Burnett, Robert Sheppard, Phil Davenport, Allen Fisher, Camille Martin, Carrie Etter, Philip Kuhn, Tony Trehy and Christine Kennedy.
Other industry links are Carcanet Press who offer one week’s internship in their marketing department, Arts Council England, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Streetcake experimental writing magazine, Knives Forks and Spoons Poetry Press, Portico Library and Working Class Movement Library.
Previous graduates have gone onto further study and training and participated in literary culture through organizing literary competitions and publishing creative work. Recent successes include: Kayleigh McGuire’s apprenticeship with the Arts Council; Fereshteh Mozaffari’s Arts Council funded public procductions of Bring Me the Mountain; Nia Davies’ first full-length poetry collection with high-profile publisher Bloodaxe Books; Nigel Wood and Joanne Langton co-editing The Dark Would anthology of Language Art with Phil Davenport; Nigel Wood editing a collection of writings on the work of poet Alan Halsey; Leanne Bridgewater’s work as a librarian in Coventry and publication of her first full-length collection with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press; Richard Barrett as widely-published poet and editor of Department Press; Stephen Emmerson as a well-published poet with work from the if p then q press and co-editor of the magazine and small press BLART books; Jazmine Linklater’s first collection for Dock Road Press; Jazmine Linklater’s current work in the marketing department of Carcanet Press; Joanne Langton’s work as editor with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and current post teaching English in Mexico (she also published her first collection with KFS). All of these writers have performed at The Other Room reading series.
What you need to know
To gain a place on this MA Creative Writing course, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements when you apply.
Within your personal statement (up to 4000 characters), we’ll want to understand:
• what motivates you and what current experiences do you have in terms of creative writing?
• how have you been involved and what did you do?
• do you have any knowledge of the communications and literature sector; are there any projects that inspire you?
• What are your future goals?
• and why the University of Salford and this course is the right choice for your future goals.
For some applicants, you’ll be asked to provide us with a portfolio of work and potentially take part in an informal group seminar discussion or interview– either live or on camera – to demonstrate your skills.
Normally we'd invite you to attend a face-to-face interview. At the moment though, we’re reducing the number of people we have on our campus. Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.
Want to know more about our postgraduate English courses? You can sign-up to our Open Day.
Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have.
You can also follow our #EnglishatSalford Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, which are led by our English teaching staff so you can find out how we tell our story through English, Creative Writing and Drama.
Standard entry requirements
Applicants to this course must have a good honours degree (2:2) in English literature, language or a related subject.
If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.5 with no element below 5.5. We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.
We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.
The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.
Two forms of APL may be used for entry: The Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2023/24||£8,550per year|
|Full-time international||2023/24||£15,750per year|
|Part-time||2023/24||Part time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Aziz Foundation Scholarship
The Aziz Scholarship Programme offers 100% tuition fee Masters scholarships to support British Muslims who wish to advance their careers and bring positive change to their communities by studying at one of their partner UK universities. One of the eligible programmes at the University of Salford is MA in Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment. Find out more about the Aziz Foundation Scholarship.
Scholarships for International Students
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.