University of Chester

Programme Specification
Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction

Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction

University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 Year

6 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities English

There are no relevant subject benchmarks for the programme.


English Module Assessment Board

Wednesday 4th December 2013

Provide a stimulating, challenging and worthwhile MA programme in Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction.

Facilitate, in various contexts (seminars, workshops, talks), a critical understanding of the conventions and techniques of prose fiction, analysing a range of published works (flash fiction, short stories, novels) as well as the students' own writing.

Develop the skills associated with the interpretation, evaluation and critique of original prose fiction.

Consider, analyse and discuss aspects of the creative process relevant to the creation of original pieces of prose fiction, enabling students to apply insights gained from a critical understanding of published prose fiction to their own writing practice.

Place the creation of original prose fiction in its full developmental context, with an emphasis on each aspect of the process of writing; and support and guide students through the stages of this process (including drafting, redrafting, revision, editing and proofing) from conception to the completion of original prose fiction.

Create a supportive environment for students to discuss and disseminate their fiction and the fiction of others, encouraging participants in a process of critical reflection upon their own writing and the writing of others.

Explore a range of sources of information available to writers and to enable students to consider and practise the range of researching skills, competencies and methods useful to the prose fiction writer.

Initiate and promote research into publishing, performing and promoting opportunities and outlets available to prose fiction writers, and to consider the current markets for the publication of original fiction.

Students will demonstrate a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of:

  • Late-twentieth-century prose fiction (flash fiction, short stories, novels);
  • the central issues informed by the professional practice of prose fiction writers;
  • current critical and theoretical positions in advanced scholarship and research on prose fiction;
  • the range of research methods available to the writer of prose fiction;
  • the current world of prose fiction publishing.

Students will demonstrate an ability to:

  • deal with complex issues arising from the analysis of prose fiction, both systematically and creatively;
  • evaluate current critical and theoretical positions in advanced scholarship and research on prose fiction;
  • critically analyse the current world of prose fiction publishing;
  • engage in critical self-reflection on their own oral and written communication skills.

Students will:

  • show originality in the application of knowledge to the creation of new pieces of prose fiction;
  • demonstrate a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry can be used to interpret knowledge and to inform creative practice;
  • reveal a critical and practical (creative) understanding of the relationship between form, technique and subject in a range of prose fiction;
  • demonstrate a practical understanding of the world of prose fiction publishing.

Students will have demonstrated an ability to:

  • systematically and creatively handle complex information relevant to the field of prose fiction;
  • understand the key issues informed by the professional practice of prose fiction writers;
  • understand techniques applicable to their own research and writing practice;
  • apply their understanding of ‘originality' to the creation of new pieces of prose fiction;
  • make sound judgements in the absence of complete data;
  • communicate their conclusions and their practice clearly;
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving the problems of creating new and original prose fiction texts;
  • autonomously plan and solve complex tasks;
  • advance their own knowledge, understanding and creative practice, and develop new skills to a high level.

Students will have the skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • sensitivity to language;
  • clear communication;
  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations;
  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

The programme is structured to develop students' critical understanding of, and practice in, a range of prose fiction (short-short stories, short stories, novels) and their knowledge of the world of fiction publishing. Three taught modules are taken before the major writing project that concludes the programme. Students will therefore become increasingly autonomous as learners, while demonstrating throughout the programme an awareness of the importance of originality, research, critical analysis, and self-evaluation.

Students begin with EN7106 Writing Short Fiction for Publication (40 credits), which examines the ways in which flash fiction (‘the short-short story’) and the short story are constructed. This will involve close analysis of such crucial aspects of short-fiction writing as: singleness of effect; economy; implication; openings; endings; setting; characterisation; dialogue; and point of view. From studying a variety of representative late-twentieth-century and contemporary texts, students will gain technical knowledge and an awareness of what makes short fiction both publishable and a critical success.

The next module students take, EN7107 Writing Novels for Publication (40 credits), extends EN7106's exploration of fiction by focussing on novels. Using a variety of representative late-twentieth-century and contemporary texts, the module will examine the ways in which novels are constructed. This will involve a close analysis of such crucial aspects of novelistic writing as: narrative; setting; characterisation; dialogue; point of view; and the internal monologue. A range of other issues and themes will be considered.

In preparation for the major writing project and the students' writing after its completion and submission, students then take EN7108 Getting Published (20 credits). Research into the world of publication is a fundamental part of any writer's work. The writer must research everything that supports publication: literary magazines (print and online); literary agents and publishers; e-publishing; websites/blogs, the internet, and the media; festivals, readings, workshops, and other literary events. The module places publication in its full context, exploring the different kinds of research needed for a successful writing career.

The PG Certificate, the PG Diploma and the MA are target awards within this programme.

[Students wishing to exit with a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction must successfully complete: EN7106 and EN7107; or EN7106 and EN7108; or EN7107 and EN7108.]

Students then proceed to the award of MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction by completing EN7104 The Writing Project. The 80-credit, 16,000-word project gives students the opportunity to develop their own specialist interest to produce a substantial text aimed for publication. The range of acceptable projects includes: a collection of short-short stories and/or short stories; a novella; an extract from a novella/novel. This part of the programme will necessarily be conducted mainly through private tutorial supervision, though there will be opportunities for workshop sessions allowing students to share their developing projects.

[Students who successfully complete the programme's three taught modules but choose not to proceed with EN7104 may opt instead for EN7105 The Short Writing Project (20 credits), which, if completed successfully, will lead to the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction.]

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
EN7104 7 The Writing Project 80 Comp
EN7105 7 The Short Writing Project 20 Optional
EN7106 7 Writing Short Fiction for Publication 40 Comp
EN7107 7 Writing Novels for Publication 40 Comp
EN7108 7 Getting Published 20 Comp

60 credits at Level 7 lead to the award of Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction
120 credits at Level 7 lead to the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction
180 credits at Level 7 lead to the award of Master of Arts in Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction

A minimum of a good second-class honours degree, or the equivalent, in an appropriate discipline (for example, Communication Studies; Creative Writing; Cultural Studies; English Language; English Literature; Film Studies; Journalism; Media Studies; Professional Writing). Credit exemption may be given for appropriate certified or experiential learning undertaken or completed within the previous five years (in line with the University of Chester's policy on APL/APEL), and where the applicant can demonstrate the prior achievement of learning outcomes related to one or more Creative Writing modules. Admission to the programme is subject to written application, an acceptable entry qualification profile, a sample of creative writing (fiction), and in some instances an interview.

There are as yet no relevant subject benchmarks for the programme. The MA Creative Writing: Writing and Publishing Fiction accords with the descriptor for a qualification at Level 7 included in the QAA’s ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’ (second edition, August 2008) and with the more detailed description of defining characteristics in the QAA’s ‘Master’s Degree Characteristics’ (March 2010).

Workshops; seminars; tutorials; tutor-supported private learning; talks; lectures; and contributions from guest speakers.

The programme uses a range of assessment methods: portfolios of original written work and critical commentaries; critical essays; research journals; and extended writing projects. These methods test the Learning Outcomes and follow nationally acknowledged best practice for assessing Level 7 Creative Writing students.

On completion of the programme, graduates will have acquired a range of skills and competencies valuable to their employers and to potential employers (though it is also recognised that the programme will also appeal to those who wish to develop their writing for its own sake rather than for their employment prospects).

The critical skills they will have acquired and developed will enable them to interpret, analyse and evaluate very different types of textual material. They will be expert communicators, with refined expressive and listening skills, who can present, discuss, and share their ideas and the ideas of others with individuals and groups, both fluently and sensitively. They will be highly motivated individuals who can see complex projects through from conception to completion, working well to deadlines. They will be able to respond well to advice and guidance, but will also be autonomous learners with a self-disciplined approach to their responsibilities. The students will have high-level researching skills and will be able to apply their knowledge and research findings practically to the completion of a range of tasks. But they will also be reflective learners, with an ability to criticise their own work in a way likely to continue to help them develop their skills after graduation. Most importantly, they will be highly creative and imaginative individuals capable of original thought and expression, able to solve problems and overcome difficulties whether working alone or in teams.

Such skills are clearly transferable to a whole range of professional contexts. Some graduates will wish to begin (or continue) to publish their fiction. Others will want to apply their skills to the workplace. Obvious outlets include publishing, editing, literary agencies, teaching, journalism, television and radio, but most forms of employment require the various skills graduates will be able to bring to their jobs.

The programme conforms to the University's Equal Opportunities Policy and the appropriate Codes of Practice. By its very nature, the programme actively engages with issues of race, gender, disability, and age. The Department of English, which hosts the programme, is fully committed to the support of all of its students whatever their circumstances. Over the years, the Department has sought advice and received training in the support of students with a variety of disabilities.

Students on the programme have the opportunity to enrich their studies by taking part in the extra-curricular writing activities offered by the Department. We publish an annual creative writing magazine,Pandora's Box, which showcases the best work by students and staff in the University. The magazine has now expanded to include a creative writing website (Pandora's Inbox) that is able to include a broader range of work than the annual magazine, and is updated throughout the year. In addition, the Department runs a well-established and successful series of open-mic evenings, in which students, staff and guests share their creative writing in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The University's Seaborne Library subscribes to numerous creative writing magazines and literary journals, which the students are encouraged to use for research and, if appropriate, submit their work to:Aesthetica, Ambit, Anon, Aquarius, Areté, The Author, The Bookseller, Critical Quarterly, Dandelion Arts Magazine, Eclectic Flash, Envoi, First Time, Flash: The International Short-Short Story MagazineFractured West, Freelance Market News, Frogmore Papers, Granta, Iota, Irish Pages, Journal of the Short Story in English, Krax, Leaf Writers' Magazine, Life Writing, London Magazine, London Review of Books, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Mslexia, Nano Fiction, New Writer, North, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Orbis, Penniless Press, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry London, Poetry Monthly, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, PN Review, The Reader, Shearsman, Short Fiction in Theory and Practice, Smoke, The Southeast Review, Stand, Tears in the Fence, Vestal Review, Writers' Forum, Writing Magazine.

Seaborne Library also houses an invaluable resource for students on the programme: the Flash Fiction Special Collection, the world's largest archive of short-short-story anthologies, collections, magazines and secondary texts.

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