Degrees and courses for international students
You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.

MA Creative Writing part 1

Building on skills learned at undergraduate level or as a practising writer, this module helps to harness your individual strengths, helping you to generate and develop ideas. You'll build a disciplined practice of writing in a genre of your choice (fiction, poetry, scriptwriting or creative non-fiction), while also experimenting with at least one other genre. You'll develop a practical focus, come to read as a writer, encounter texts from various cultural settings, while refining your analytical and editorial skills. You'll learn about professional writing practice, and hone your writing skills through sharing, reading and critiquing work-in-progress.

Vocational relevance

Studying creative writing will equip you with an adaptable set of skills that can give entry to a vast range of occupations and career directions. You’ll develop sophisticated writing and editorial skills, and you’ll learn to evaluate and assimilate information when identifying and solving problems. Creative writing will help you to increase your critical and analytical abilities. Often, you’ll work independently as a creative thinker, but you’ll also collaborate at times, building your communication skills. You’ll also develop new, flexible, fluent and sophisticated research and IT skills. All the above are skills greatly valued in the workplace – whether you’re already working, volunteering, planning to work freelance or changing career.


A802 is a compulsory module in our:

A802 is an optional module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

Download a brochure

Explore our subjects and courses.

Download your copy today

What you will study

This module is the first part and a compulsory module of the MA in Creative Writing (F71). It is made up of four blocks, each of which will develop your understanding of different approaches to particular genres. You'll be introduced to a range of techniques and ideas, and will engage in forum work and peer-to-peer feedback, while honing your ability to read as a writer by analysing a variety of texts relevant to your chosen genres. Choosing from fiction, poetry, script and creative non-fiction, you will study a primary genre (your specialism) and a secondary genre, and therefore define your own pathway through the module.

You'll start Block 1 writing in your primary genre and in Block 2 you'll write in your secondary genre. In Blocks 3 and 4 you'll revert to your primary genre but reap the rewards of widening your generic awareness. No matter which genre you opt to specialise in, the module will culminate with you writing a substantial piece of creative work.

Block 1: You'll study your primary genre covering the essentials, reintroducing ideas and techniques that may be familiar from undergraduate study and taking them further in terms of sophistication and complexity. Topics covered include point of view, plot and setting in fiction; figurative language, voice and structure in poetry; dialogue, scene and character in script; and research, memoir and narrative-shaping techniques in creative nonfiction. You'll engage in the exchange and critiquing of work within your peer group.

Block 2: You'll select a secondary genre. For instance, if your primary genre is fiction, you might now choose poetry as your secondary genre and work through topics such as figurative language, voice and structure; or you might choose script and cover topics such as dialogue, scene and character. You'll start thinking about your end-of-module submission and further develop your peer reviewing and critiquing skills. You'll also refine your approaches to commenting and writing reflectively on your writing process.

Block 3: The materials and activities in this block will advance your understanding of your chosen genre, focussing on some of its finer points as well as introducing more challenging techniques and themes. Topics covered range from rhetoric, maximalism and minimalism, and subgenres in fiction; characterisation, experimentalism and personal poetics; collaboration, structure and adaptation in script; and the lyric essay, place writing and style in creative nonfiction.

Block 4: The final block is comprised largely of independent study as you'll develop a substantial piece of creative writing as your end-of-module assessment. In the taught units you'll reflect on issues of professional practice, as well as approaches to planning and editing.

Throughout this module you'll encounter guided activities and prompts to stimulate your writing and thinking. However, there is a much greater emphasis on generating and developing your own ideas independently than exists at undergraduate level.

Online tutor-group forums will enable peer-group discussion of your work. Peer review is an essential element of all creative writing courses. You'll be expected to give informed and constructive evaluations of the work of your peers, and submit your own writing for review. You'll be assessed on this work, as well as on your ability to generate, develop, write and edit your creative writing, and on your ability to reflect upon, write about and contextualise your creative process.

You will learn

On this module you will:

  • develop writing skills and an awareness of approaches to writing in multiple genres: fiction, poetry, life writing and script for film, radio or stage;
  • develop and hone sophisticated writing skills in at least one of those genres;
  • engage in sharing, critiquing and reviewing work in a variety of genres;
  • prepare a substantial piece of work to a professional standard
  • refine your reflective approaches to literature and your own practice

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work in assessments, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Tutors will mainly use the provided online forums to keep in touch. There are three online tutorials on this module, two delivered by your tutor and one delivered to the whole cohort by the module team. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are specific difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

MA Creative Writing part 1 starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2025.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    You must hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent), preferably with at least a 2:1 classification and preferably in Creative Writing or a closely related subject.  If you are not a creative writing graduate you will need some experience of the subject as this module assumes all candidates have the knowledge and skills usually acquired by pursuing the subject at undergraduate level. Please note that this is not a module for those who are just starting to write.

    If your degree is not in Creative Writing or a closely related subject, we strongly recommend that you read the preparatory work indicated below. Alternatively, you could undertake our open-access creative writing courses on OpenLearn to ensure your skills (writing, reading, editorial, reflective, analytical) are at an appropriate standard.

    As this module is completed entirely online, you will need basic computing skills such as sending and receiving emails; using online forums; downloading and uploading documents; and participating in online conference calls.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Outside the UK

    This module is suitable for study from outside the UK.

    Preparatory work

    If you have not studied creative writing at university you are advised to read the following:

    • Anderson, L. (2006) Creative Writing: A workbook with readings ISBN 978-0-4153-7243-5
    • Neale, D. (2008) A Creative Writing Handbook: Developing dramatic technique, individual style and voice ISBN 978-1-4081-0941-0 

    You should pay particular attention to the genres in which you intend to write (i.e. Part 2 of the Anderson book, chapters 5-11, if you plan to write fiction), but be aware that there is some cross over between genres in both volumes. You should note that there is no coverage of scriptwriting in the Anderson volume.


    Start End Fee Register
    01 Oct 2022 Jun 2023 Not yet available

    Registration closes 15/09/22 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2025.

    Future availability

    MA Creative Writing part 1 starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2025.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All teaching material for this module is delivered online via the module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • module materials for each week, including set readings
    • audio and video content
    • assignment details and advice on assignments
    • online forum access (tutor group forums and specialist genre forums)
    • peer review workshops.

    You will need

    You may find it useful to have access to a large public or university library.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The materials for this module are provided as a series of web pages via the module website and should be accessible using screen readers. Written transcripts of any audio components are available. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.