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:

  • Provides opportunities to explore and develop your own creative writing skills supervised by experienced published staff of international reputation.
  • Actively fosters the development of students' capacity to edit their own work.
  • Ensures that the art of writing is informed by contemporary theory and practice.
  • Offers courses incorporating the manuscripts of works of leading writers held in Special Collections and courses which explore material in the National Folklore Collection in UCD, one of the richest archives of oral tradition in the world.

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

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

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.

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.

  • Have a solid working knowledge of genres and forms.
  • Have created a substantial piece of writing, a solid basis from which to continue towards the completion of a full work, whether that be a collection of short stories, a novel or a collection of poetry.
  • Have developed a positive sense of themselves as writers, with an active role to play in the literary/artistic culture wherever they should find themselves.
  • Have learned to read like writers, to recognise the challenges facing authors at various stages in the creation of a piece of fiction and to critically assess the extent to which these challenge have been met.
  • On successful completion of the programme, students will have a thorough understanding of how to meet many of the challenges confronted in the construction of a piece of fiction; character, voice, place etc.
  • Participated in a weekly visiting writer’s programme, contributed to an anthology and attended a selection of the literary events and festivals for which the city is renowned.

MA Creative Writing (Z012) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 10100
nonEU    fee per year - € 22600

***Fees are subject to change

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.

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 (a 3,000 word sample of prose or 6 poems, or a combination of prose and poetry) 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.


The following entry routes are available:

MA Creative Writing FT (Z012)
1 Years
Full Time