MFA Creative Writing

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

UCD offers two graduate courses in creative writing, an MA and MFA. 
The MFA programme is a more advanced degree than the MA, and in some instances can follow on from the MA. MFA students will be part of a smaller cohort which offers very close supervision of a work in progress for the duration of an academic year. It is best suited to students who are working to complete a full-manuscript and have already undertaken courses in craft and/or related fields.


  • Develop your own writing skills under experienced tuition and supervision
  • Structural and line editing of the work in progress is a core component and class groups in this module are from two to four students
  • Taught by experienced, published staff of international reputation

Careers & Employability

Many graduates of the MFA in Creative Writing establish successful writing lives, several securing publishing contracts.  MFA student Colin Barrett (2015) 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. 2015, has also seen the publication of novels by four of our recent graduates; Susan Stairs, The Boy Between;  Paula McGrath, Generation; Andrea Carter, Death at Whitewater Church; Henrietta McKervey, What Becomes Of Us.   Henrietta won both the Hennessy First Fiction Award and the UCD Maeve Binchy Travel Award in 2014. The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize 2011 was awarded to graduate, Helena Nolan, while in 2013, graduate Jessica Traynor won the Hennessy Emerging Poet Award and the Hennessy Writer of the Year Award in 2013.


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

This course is suited to students who have already acquired the skills associated with a course in creative writing and have a work in progress to which they now wish to devote the greater part of an academic year with a a view to offering that work for publication.

The lectures, seminars, workshops and supervision meetings aim 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. Among the important issues addressed on an ongoing basis are voice and structure. Every effort is made to ensure that a student progresses on these as well as many other fronts.

UCD is associated with some of Ireland’s greatest writers
UCD has long been associated with some of Ireland’s greatest writers, including James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Mary Lavin, Anthony Cronin, Maeve Binchy, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Conor McPherson, Colm Tóibín, Hugo Hamilton, Joseph O’Connor, Emma Donoghue and many others. The distinguished playwright, Frank McGuinness, is Professor of Creative Writing, and internationally acclaimed novelist, Colm Tóibín is Adjunct Professor.

A fundamental tenet of the Creative Writing Programme at UCD is a belief in the value of learning from writers who have mastered their craft. Accordingly, the emphasis is on learning to read like writers.  Students who embark on this course will already have acquired many of the skills associated with a programme such as the MA in Creative Writing. They will have a full work in progress and will be given close individual supervision in the progress and completion of that work, with a view to offering it for publication at the end of the course.  The MFA focuses on fiction in a small cohort so the learning environment is upbeat and in every sense enabling, and is necessarily quite concentrated.  

On successful completion of the programme, students will have

  • an ability to select , negotiate, adapt and implement approaches / techniques appropriate to the work in progress.
  • an in-depth knowledge of successful works in the field / genre in which they are working.
  • competence in preparing a manuscript, a synopsis and a biog. for presentation to a literary agent / publisher.
  • insight into the different sources and methods of research, with particular emphasis on the assimilation of same into the work in progress.
  • mastery of pacing, narrative coherence and ending.
  • expertise in close editing and overall structuring a work of fiction.
  • contributed to an anthology and attended a selection of the literary events and festivals for which the city is renowned.

MFA Creative Writing (Z197) 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.

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. 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.

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.

A visiting writer programme brings all graduate students into contact with some of Ireland’s finest writers as well as literary agents and publishers. Every year a writer in residence provides a workshop and individual direction to students. Both MA and MFA students can also gain experience in the editing and production of the programme’s Creative Writing journal HCE, and participate in the UCD-based Associated Writing Programmes’ (Ireland) annual conference.

The following entry routes are available:

MFA Creative Writing FT (Z197)
1 Years
Full Time