UCC Postgraduate courses

Creative Writing

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling Deadline. Open until all places are filled or no later than 1 May. Early application advised
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 1 May 2024. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Only you can write the book that you would like to write, be it a collection of poetry, or essays, or a novel, or a memoir… nobody else can write that book. The purpose of the MA in Creative Writing at UCC is to give you the tools to write the book waiting to be written, and many more after it. As well as honing the techniques and craft of creative writing, our MA is also designed to introduce you to the publishing industry, and prepare you for a variety of career options, including publishing and the creative arts.

Engaging on a weekly basis with published authors and publishing professionals, we will provide access to the community of writers that exists, both in the wider world and in Cork, with its thriving literary scene. This programme affords you time to write; it will introduce you to other emerging writers, and like-minded individuals on the same pathway as yourself. Ultimately we aim to empower you to connect with your most creative and productive self.

This MA Creative Writing programme is offered by the Department of English which is part of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences (CACSSS) at UCC.

Our Department of English treats writing as a living, evolving practice: students taking the course will read and write in a context in which literature is being performed, transformed and adapted, and in doing so offer you a safe space to learn, to practice, and to develop your craft towards inventive and authentic forms of expression. The course as a whole encourages and supports a full exploration of the creative self while also maintaining a strong vocational emphasis.

Directed by IMPAC longlistee Dr Eibhear Walshe, all of our courses are embedded in Cork’s thriving artistic scene, rooted in expert practice and taught by highly accomplished professionals.

A rich variety of modules are available covering fiction, poetry, life writing, creative non-fiction, and reading creatively.

Additionally, the Business of Writing module is dedicated to the professional life of the creative writer, including work placements, and a series of visiting speakers (writers, agents & publishers) such as Mike McCormack, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Nicole Flattery, Lisa McInerney, Tramp PressThe Stinging Fly, John Connolly, Will Keohane, Eimear Ryan, Róisín Kiberd, New Island Press and many more.

Writing and reading are intertwined as acts — opposite ends of an attempt to understand what it’s like to be in the world. Never has that been more important. Never has the world needed more writers, and more readers, and an over-arching guide to the UCC MA in Creative Writing’s approach is to foster such readers and writers in achieving their potential.


Part I (50 credits)

  • EN6036 The Business of Writing (10 credits)

Plus choose 40 credits from the following:

  • EN6031 Poetry I (10 credits)
  • EN6032 Fiction Workshop: Serving the Idea (10 credits)
  • EN6033 Writing the Self: Fiction & non-Fiction (10 credits)
  • EN6042 Creative Writing Workshop (5 credits)
  • EN6056 Reading the Novel Creatively (5 credits)
  • EN6057 Writing for Other Media (5 credits) 
  • EN6060 Poetry II: Mythology & Contemporary Poetry (10 credits)
  • EN6061 Poetry Workshop (5 credits)

In order to ensure coherence and a good workload balance over the course of the programme, you will select modules in consultation with the programme coordinator and other members of the Board of Studies as appropriate. 

Part II

  • EN6040 Dissertation in Creative Writing (40 credits)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

The MA in Creative Writing is taught on Mondays and Tuesdays during the Autumn and Spring Semesters (September to March). Seminar hours are approximately 6-8 per week and reading hours/writing assignments are likely to take a further 8 hours per week. The course involves a mixture of seminars, workshops, placement and writing practice, and students will work on self-reflexive essays and projects.

Our students are assessed continuously during the course, submitting specified creative work alongside commentaries on their own creative practice.

Part-time Option

This programme is taught during weekday working hours and evening hours over two years. 

Why Choose This Course

After UCC I never looked back. I was treated as a writer by faculty and classmates. And so, I became one...

Tadhg Coakley, Graduate & author of The Game

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UCC’s MA in Creative Writing helped me to develop my voice...

Molly Twomey, Graduate & author of Raised By Vultures

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UCC’s MA in Creative Writing programme not only provided the opportunity to build a portfolio of work...

Mahito Indi Henderson, Graduate, author, & publisher with Skein Press

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From UCC, I learned how writing can be put in the service of others…

Frani O’Toole, Graduate, author, & urban planner

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I chose the MA in Creative Writing at UCC because the course has a specific focus on the crafting and development of each writer’s individual voice...

John McLeod, International Student

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This Creative Writing MA programme will empower you in the honing and development of your craft as a writer; we will provide you with the tools and critical prowess to commence a career in writing and publishing.

Some of Ireland’s greatest writers have studied or taught at UCC, including Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and John Montague, while more recently the Creative Writing programme boasts published graduates including Madeleine D’Arcy, Tadhg Coakley, and Laura McKenna. Notable writers associated with UCC include Mary Noonan, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Thomas McCarthy, Sean Dunne, Paul Durcan, Theo Dorgan, and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

The School of English hosts an annual Writer-In-Residence and holders of this prestigious post have included Mary Morrissy, Claire Keegan, Danielle McLaughlin, Thomas Morris, Eimear Ryan,Danny Denton, Cathy Sweeney and Matthew Sweeney. In addition to this, we host a reading series that has included guests such as Max Porter, Jackie Kay, Kevin Barry, Claire-Louise Bennett, Conor O’Callaghan, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Nuala O’Connor, Brian Turner, John Banville, and Zadie Smith.

Finally, outside of our for-credit modules, we also run series of optional craft-specific masterclasses from writers such as Dónal Ryan, Catherine Ryan Howard, Victoria Kennefick, Olivia Fitzsimons, Sean Williams and many others.

We encourage and support a full exploration of the creative self while also maintaining a strong vocational emphasis, sustaining and supporting a life-long relationship with writing.

Skills and Careers Information

This MA will provide an excellent foundation for a variety of writing and publishing careers, including authorship across a range of forms and styles, journalism, teaching, publishing, and arts administration.

The design of the MA fosters contacts with agents, publishers, and the professional world of the creative industries; it also produces well-crafted writing in one (or more) of the forms of creative writing.

Students experiment with, engage with, and reflect on a diversity of writing practices and establish an awareness of the role of technique and craft in their own work. They also learn how to interact with peers on an editorial level, and to understand the importance of editing and revision in the process of writing. Developing appropriate research methods and recording processes of self-reflection are also key components of the MA, encouraging students to reflect upon and discuss the conceptual challenges of the creative process, key contexts, and practical concerns. Finally, the MA fosters in its students an understanding of the practical constraints and professional opportunities of life as a writer, and a lifelong relationship with the written word.


Applications will be considered from graduates of all disciplines. Applicants will normally have a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or above, in any discipline. For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.2 is normally expected. Applicants with relevant writing or arts experience (eg. working in publishing, journalism or arts administration) are also invited to apply.

All applicants will be asked to submit a short piece of creative writing (of 1000 words (any genre). This piece of creative writing will be used by the teaching team to evaluate each applicant's suitability. Further examples of the applicant's work may be requested.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
  • Describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • Submit a short portfolio (no more than 1000 words) of your creative writing. This can be in the form of a poem/poems, a short story or an extract from a novel, or an excerpt of memoir.
  • Detail your computing/technical/IT skills.
  • Add the name and email addresses two referees.


Please note that successful EU applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €500 on acceptance of their place.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 1 May 2024. Early application is advised.

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact