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Creative Writing - MA

Course Details


Available: Part- Time Full- Time

Duration: 1 Year FT, 2 Years PT

Award: Masters

Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Course Type: Taught Professional/Flexible

Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Joseph O'Connor
School of English, Irish and Communication
+353 61 202623
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Read instructions on how to apply

Brief Description

This programme is available full-time over one academic year or part-time over two years. It enables students to develop their Creative Writing skills through consideration of the work of established writers; through study of the many aspects of a piece of successful Creative Writing; through assignments that foster strategies for revision of work; and through an understanding of the requirements of the redrafting, submission and publication processes

The University of Limerick offers a Master of Arts in Creative Writing. Our Chair of Creative Writing is Prof Joseph O’Connor (author of nine novels including Ghost Light, The Thrill of it All, the million-selling Star of the Sea, and Shadowplay, winner of the Novel of the Year Award  at the 2019 Irish Book Awards, shortlisted for the UK's prestigious Costa Novel Award, 2020). Our outstanding teachers include twice Booker-Prize-longlisted Donal Ryan, (author of The Spinning Heart, From a Low and Quiet Sea and Strange Flowers), widely acclaimed Rob Doyle (Here Are the Young Men and This is the Ritual), and Irish Book Award nominee Prof Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (The Apple Tart of Hope and A Strange Kind of Brave), internationally published Young Adult author and lecturer on self-motivation for writers.

Our Creative Writing students enjoy teaching-visits and readings from outstanding contemporary authors. Visitors to UL Creative Writing have included Colum McCann, Anne Enright, Louise O’Neill, Claire Keegan, Melatu Uche Okorie, Colin Barrett, Anna Carey, Paul Lynch, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Sarah Davis-Goff, John Boyne, Kit de Waal, Kevin Barry, Mary O’Malley, Sara Baume, Liz Nugent, Marian Keyes, Sinead Gleeson, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and Laureate for Irish Fiction Sebastian Barry.

Students gain practical experience through working on our literary journal The Ogham Stone, through meeting publishers, editors and literary agents, and in the preparation of their dissertation portfolios.

For dissertation, recent students have offered work across a range of creative genres, from memoir to short stories, chapters of novels, collections of poems and song lyrics. Our Creative Writing student cohort is always diverse and has attracted students from the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, Brazil, India, South Africa and the UK as well as wider Europe and Ireland. Mature students are always a welcome part of our MA class.

Local literary attractions include the Limerick Literary Weekend in Honour of Kate O’Brien; the Doolin Writers’ Weekend, the Eigse Michael Hartnett Poetry Arts and Literary Festival; Cuisle, the Limerick International Poetry Festival, the Ennis Book Clubs Festival, and the world-famous Listowel Writers' Week in north County Kerry.


Full time Programme:

Autumn Semester - Core Modules


Spring Semester - Core Modules Summer Semester
-Creative Writing 1 -Creative Writing 2 -Dissertation
-Applied Editing1 -A Weekly Workshop  
-Project Development for Creative Writers         -Applied Editing 2  
  -Writerly Reading: Aspects of Storytelling  
  -Individual Creative Writing Project with Dissertation Plan  
Autumn Electives (choose 1) Spring Semester Electives (choose 1)
-Literary Modernism -Creative Writers in the Community
-Gender and Sexuality in Irish Writing -Issues in Modern and Contemporary Poetry
-Literature, Film and Human Rights -Politics and American Literature
-Literature of Migration -Post‐Colonial Theory and Literature
-Writing Memoir, Biography and Autobiography -Feminist Literary Theory
  -Textual Constructions of Cultural Identity
  -Utopian Theory and Texts
  - Public Fiction and Private Life

Part time Programme:

Year 1

Autum Semester - Core Module Spring Semester - Core Module
-Creative Writing 1  -Creative Writing 2
Autumn Electives (choose 1) Spring Semester Electives (choose 1)
-Literary Modernism -Creative Writers in the Community
-Gender and Sexuality in Irish Writing -Issues in Modern and Contemporary Poetry
-Literature, Film and Human Rights -Politics and American Literature
-Literature of Migration -Post‐Colonial Theory and Literature
-Writing Memoir, Biography and Autobiography -Feminist Literary Theory
  -Textual Constructions of Cultural Identity
  -Utopian Theory and Texts
  -Public Fiction and Private Life

Year 2:

Autum Semester - Core Module Spring Semester - Core Module Summer Semester
-Project Management for Creative Writers     -Individual Creative Writing Project -Dissertation
-Project Management for Creative Writers    -Advanced Editing 2  
Autumn Electives (choose 1) -Principles of Storytelling  
 -Literary Modernism    
-Gender and Sexuality in Irish Writing    
-Literature, Film and Human Rights    
-Literature of Migration    
-Writing Memoir, Biography and Autobiography    


How to Apply
Applications will open for the MA in Creative Writing for Academic Year 2021/22 in November (2020). We do not operate a deadline; instead we close applications when the class is full. Generally we accept a maximum of 24 applicants. Many applicants for our Creative Writing MA have a first or second class Level 8 honours degree (NFQ or other internationally recognised equivalent) but application is open to everyone, including applicants who do not have a primary degree but have what might be considered equivalent experience, perhaps in the arts, publishing, bookselling, writing, creativity or some related activity. Please note, we always receive more applications than we have places to offer.

Applicants must accompany their formal online application with a 3,000 word sample of their creative writing (this can be one single piece or several pieces totalling 3,000 words) and a one-page letter setting out why they would like to work with us on our MA programme as opposed to the many other Creative Writing MA programmes now available.

Previous experience of Creative Writing workshops is helpful.

The Application Portfolio is assessed by a small committee of staff, who judge submissions on their originality, technique, and readability.  Please note that we are not in a position to offer feedback to applicants who are not offered a place.

Applicants must satisfy the English Language Requirements of the University. 

Visit‐students for details.

Applications should be submitted online. Further details can be found here:


Admission will also be based upon a piece or pieces of creative work up to 3000 words submitted by the student as part of the application process. This might be a novel extract, a short story, a set of poems or a screenplay. This creative work will be assessed by a small committee of staff, who will judge submissions on their originality, technique, and intellectual rigour.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of either prior successful completion of a degree qualification taught through the medium of English or meet one of the criteria below (no longer than two years prior to application):

Acceptable English Language qualifications include the following:

  • Matriculation examinations from European countries where English is presented as a subject and an acceptable level is achieved
  • Irish Leaving Certificate English –Ordinary Level Grade D or above
  • TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 90 (internet based)
  • IELTS – Minimum score of 6.5* with no less than 6 in any one component.
  • English Test for English and Academic Purposes (ETAPP) – Grade C1
  • GCE ‘O’ level English Language/GCSE English Language – Grade C or above
  • Cambridge Assessment English –Certificate of Proficiency in English - Grade C / Certificate in Advanced English Grade B
  • GCE Examination Boards – Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations – Grade C / Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate – School Certificate Pass 1-6 / University of London Entrance and School Examinations Council – School Certificate Pass 1-6

Results in examinations other than those listed above may also be accepted as meeting our English language requirements. Contact the International Education Division for advice.

What to include with your application

  • Qualification transcripts and certificates
  • Portfolio
  • Supporting Statement
  • English language qualification if English is not your first language
  • Certified English translations of your transcripts/certificates where the originals are in a language other than English.
  • A copy of your birth certificate/passport


For information on funding and scholarships please click here.

Recent graduates of our Creative Writing MA have been published nationally and internationally and have won or been short-listed for major literary prizes, including the prestigious Hennessy New Writer of the Year Award, the RTE Francis McManus Award, the Listowel Writers’ Week Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, the Arts Council Next Generation Award and the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Award

Pippa Slattery, MA Creative Writing 2020/21 “My confidence in my writing has also developed immensely. Because of the MA, I now feel like I’m on my way to becoming an author, not just a writer.”