MA in Creative Writing - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

This MA in Creative Writing aims to:

  • help to harness your individual strengths as a writer by nurturing your abilities to generate and develop ideas and to build a disciplined practice of writing 
  • consider writing in a number of cultural settings and genres - including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and scriptwriting - while developing a concentrated and practical focus on at least one genre
  • develop your analysis and editorial skills, your technical knowledge and vocabulary, and your ability to gauge and critique both work-in-progress and contextual reading 
  • enable you to develop your conceptual ability, communication skills, and your capacity for creative and independent thinking and working

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • approaches to writing several genres including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and dramatic scripts, with specific knowledge as practitioner of sophisticated narrative and stylistic methods in relation to at least one of those genres; 
  • research methods (including information technology) relevant to creative writing study at postgraduate level;  
  • both practical and theoretical aspects of the creative process;
  • professional practice in relation to writing, editing, formatting and presentation in various contexts;
  • historical, literary and contextual reading and performance relevant to practice-led postgraduate writing study.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will have developed:

  • an ability to engage analytically with a range of literary and media texts, as well as complex technical, theoretical and historical material related to the creative process
  • an ability to diagnose writing problems and issues in work-in-progress, along with an appropriate vocabulary with which to discuss such editorial, technical and thematic matters
  • an independent and rigorous mode of reflective practice in relation to your writing, research and reading
  • skills in initiating, conceiving and developing ideas, subject matter, stories, characters, voices, lines, forms, narratives and themes which are appropriate to specific genres and media.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • write with creative energy, control, empathy and precision, realising authentic forms, characters, settings and themes;
  • work independently and set own targets, initiating ideas, organising own time and workload, as well as undertaking regular reflective practice;  
  • collaborate in a mutually supportive writing and literary community via oral and written exchanges, communicating accurately and flexibly in online platforms using appropriate technical terminology. 
  • edit and present manuscripts and scripts to a professional standard, specific to genre and media.

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • write clearly and imaginatively in an appropriately complex fashion, with an awareness of readership and audience and in a style which is appropriate for specific genres and media;
  • engage in productive and regular reflective activities and practices;
  • use information technology to conduct necessary contextual research connected to creative projects and critical reflections on the creative process, and also to communicate fluently and flexibly via various online forums and formats;
  • read and view published and draft work, text and performance, with a sophisticated contextual and editorial awareness

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will study both modules for the MA entirely online. You will gain knowledge and understanding through study of published and broadcast literary texts and performance, distance-learning materials and a detailed study guide. You will also benefit from audio-visual materials such as interviews with authors, extracts from books and performances, writing exercises, assignment and project guides, module website resources (including a study planner) and written feedback on assignments. Learning outcomes are assessed by means of assignments: creative writing projects (such as fiction, poetry and drama scripts), reflective commentaries and critical appraisals..

You will develop and practise cognitive skills through study of the course materials, through your further reading and writing practice, and through assessment. These skills are also taught and practised through online tutor group work, carefully monitored written feedback by tutors on assignments and through developing competence in giving and receiving constructive criticism to fellow students. 

Practical and professional skills are taught throughout the programme in a cumulative way. For instance, you will be producing potentially publishable creative work throughout the programme, and part of the peer and tutor assessment will gauge and discuss such work’s position in the literary or media landscape. There is also a 'writer of the world' and professional practice strand in the modules, which considers such elements as media-specific formatting and publishing submission strategies, among other professional issues. This strand will be assessed in various ways. For instance, you will be asked to research markets and write approach letters along with synopses of your writing projects.

Peer review – the sharing and critiquing of work – is a foundational element of Creative Writing, and features on most academic courses in the subject. On this qualification, you will submit your work for review by your peers, online. In turn, you will review their writing. This crucial aspect is assessed in both modules of the MA programme.

Skills in digital and information literacy will be addressed throughout the assessment where, for instance, research for creative projects is assessed, alongside contextual reading and understanding of the creative process. You will be developing IT and information literacy skills by, for instance, using the OU library’s e-resources which include databases, ejournals and ebooks, and by participating in online activities such as asynchronous online forums and workshops. These activities will figure directly and indirectly in assessment. In this way, throughout the programme, you will be assessed on skills valued by employers, such as critical and independent thinking, analysis, creativity and communication. There will also be online tutorials at key moments throughout the programme of study.

Many of the activities and assessments on the MA will have reflective components which invite you to consider your own learning and development. This will feed readily into ongoing personal development planning. These reflective activities will run throughout the programme of study, accompanying all formative and summative assessment of creative work. Such reflections will range from responding to tutor and peer feedback on a specific project, to considering feedback on a project proposal, to reflecting on your overall progress and development as a writer.

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