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MA Creative Writing and Publishing

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time

This forward thinking and industry-relevant MA offers creative writers the opportunity to not only develop advanced writing skills, but also a solid understanding of the different ways in which writers can now engage with the publishing industry.

Offering both full-time and part-time routes, this innovative MA equips you with the knowledge and skills to take your writing into the commercial marketplace in both print and digital formats. You will develop creative writing across a variety of forms, with a focus on transmedia storytelling and the skills to independently publish your work working as a publisher; learning and applying skills in editing, PR and marketing (including digital marketing), design, production, and budgeting. You will also analyse the cultural and critical influences on the writer and publishing industry, as well as your own practice, thus honing the skills, knowledge and understanding to progress to further research at doctoral level, if desired.  

By the end of the course, graduates will be able to write creatively and effectively, to publishable standard, for a variety of different audiences and media. Central to the MA is the university’s own publishing press, Fresher Publishing, which provides you with the opportunity to work on real-life publishing projects. You can also engage with the university’s annual international creative writing competitions: The Fresher Writing Prize for emerging voices in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction; and the New Media Writing Prize for stories that integrate a variety of formats, platforms and digital media.

Tutors on the MA are not only experienced writers/practitioners, but have also acquired Masters degrees and/or doctorates in Creative Writing or English themselves, and thus are proven in their ability to teach, encourage and support you as you develop your work to Masters and, hopefully, publishable quality. Our academics are supported by prestigious guest tutors from the world of writing and publishing.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, January 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year full-time (September start); 17 months full time (January start); 2 years part-time

Required subjects:

Communication, Creative Writing, English, Literacy, Cultural Studies

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject, or equivalent. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

On this course you will be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Core units

Cultural & Critical Influences: This unit will focus on 20th/21st century literature and its impact on writers and writing. You will explore the advent of Modernism and the influence which ideologies such as Nationalism, Socialism, the development of psychoanalysis and linguistics/semiotics had on the composition of texts across a variety of media.

Publishing Cultures: from Cuneiform to Kindle: Writers ought not to work in a historical vacuum, especially when it comes to the conditions of their own production and, by taking the long view of publishing, the opportunities presented by the closing of an industrial era can be more easily recognised and grasped. This unit will look to the past, but also explore how history is being made right now.

Marketing & PR for Writers: This unit will equip you with the knowledge and marketing skills needed by writers and publishers, regardless of the format. You will develop your own ‘brands’ online and will have the opportunity to work on real-life projects for Fresher Publishing, devising marketing and PR strategies to raise awareness/sales of the Fresher Writing Prize and the Fresher Writing anthology.

Design, Editing & Publishing: The aim of this unit is to enable you to evaluate and practice the significant processes of professional publishing. It seeks to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed by writers, editors and other professionals in the publishing industry by engaging in real publishing projects for Fresher Publishing, the university’s own publishing press.

Interactive Storytelling: Using a narratological and creative approach, you will study the development and nature of the art of storytelling in the context of digital-interactive media.

Writing Fiction: The creative writer must learn to critically examine their own work and the work of others. Here, in a workshop environment, you will develop your skills as a writer of prose fiction by developing your own writing and responding to critical feedback from your peers.

The majority of assignments are all individual coursework, although the publishing semester will include group work.  You will work on real-life publishing projects for the university’s publishing press, Fresher Publishing and will have the opportunity to be involved in the administration of The Fresher Writing Prize and New Media Writing Prize.

Dissertation/Major Project:

You may choose between a purely theoretical, academic dissertation or a major creative writing project supported by either a reflective or ‘route to publication’ rationale.

By bringing together the skills, craft, theories, knowledge and critical insight you have developed during the programme, you will hone your individual strengths and establish lines of enquiry that may take you onto further doctoral study or into future careers.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MA Creative Writing and Publishing.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

An exciting and valuable part of your studies with us is the opportunity to undertake an appropriate three-week placement in the Spring vacation. This is optional and not assessed.

The Faculty of Media & Communication have a range of established, high-profile contacts which offer excellent placement opportunities.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For MA Creative Writing and Publishing we are looking for able, innovative, and articulate students who like to read as much as they like to write, and who will work well in a group, offering constructive criticism to their peers. Equally, you will be able to work independently, developing your own work in response to feedback from fellow students and tutors. You will also need to be commercially and digitally aware; ready to learn new publishing software and apply it to practical, real-life projects.

Selections methods

Admission to the course is based on your application form and a short portfolio of two different pieces of written work. – maybe a short story and a piece of creative non-fiction or the first two chapters of your novel (maximum 5,000 words for whole portfolio). 

Please make sure your application stands out from the crowd and leaves us in no doubt why you want to study MA Creative Writing and Publishing at Bournemouth University.

For more information, take a look at our how to apply pages.

Full entry requirements

The entry requirements for this course are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject, or equivalent. 

Applicants for this course will be asked to supply a writing portfolio in support of their application, this should contain two examples of writing such as two chapters of a novel and a short story (maximum 5,000 words for whole portfolio).

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry Team for more information.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other components or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our study postgraduate entry requirements page.


In this course you will learn the advanced craft of creative writing plus the business and practice of publishing. You will also analyse cultural and critical influences on the writer and the industry. Learned skills will be put into practice in group publishing projects for the university’s own publishing press, Fresher Publishing.

This course will provide you with a wide range of skills for employment in the media and communication related industries including:

  • Authorship
  • Media writing
  • Publishing
  • Journalism
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Teaching

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.


As part of the well respected School of Journalism, English and Communication at Bournemouth University, MA Creative Writing and Publishing students are immersed in a vibrant media culture and have access to an extraordinary range of multimedia facilities, including radio studios. This offers the potential for students to produce audio clips for their author websites (produced in the Marketing and PR unit) and even full length audio books.

You will be working on industry relevant software, including Indesign and Photoshop, and will also have the opportunity to use the university’s own software – Genarrator - for producing interactive narratives.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU pages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies,(with or without attendance) you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course changes

The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text
26/01/18 Deletion of text: 

We may wish to explore this further by inviting you for an informal interview which could be in person or by Skype or telephone (depending on your location).

Selection criteria: Selection methods.

We may wish to explore this further by inviting you for an informal interview which could be in person or by Skype or telephone (depending on your location).

26/01/18 Deletion of text: Please note an interview may be required either in person or via Skype. Full entry requirements.

Please note an interview may be required either in person or via Skype.


Removal of Option Unit: Writing Creative Non-Fiction and for full-time route amendment from optional to core units for: Interactive Storytelling and Writing Fiction.

Course details.

Writing Creative Non-Fiction.