Falmouth University students sat on sofas in a blue room with bookshelves

Professional Writing MA

Develop the skills to forge a successful career in professional writing.

Key details
Location
Falmouth Campus
Course duration
1 year
Attendance
Full-time

Course overview

Immerse yourself in the literary world as part of a lively community of fellow writers and visiting speakers. On this Professional Writing course, you’ll learn to craft fiction, script and non-fiction, as well as magazine features and marketing copy for a range of competitive and fast-moving industries.

You'll learn from active professionals and develop skills like genre writing, narrative structure, research and self-promotion. Graduating with a portfolio and an accomplished working style, you’ll be primed to tackle the industry head-on.

You will:

  • Learn from our team of practising writers, publishers and editors, as well as from visiting industry professionals
  • Develop the supporting skills you need to succeed as a professional writer, including how to pitch your ideas and build an online presence
  • Benefit from our industry connections, including our Writers in Residence programme, which has featured Xan Brooks, Wyl Menmuir, Lionel Shriver and Matt Haig
  • Experience the atmosphere of Falmouth, surrounded by creatives from a range of disciplines in a region rich with history and literature

Course details

On top of their regular learning, our professional writing students have placed work in local and national publications, and secured placements and ongoing work with leading publishers, media organisations, copywriting agencies, magazines and newspapers.

We'll develop your core writing skills in a range of formats and explore how different writers work in different sectors. You’ll then choose two specialisms from options like Fiction, Non-Fiction, Scriptwriting, and Business & Editorial Writing, so you can build a portfolio of your skills. We’ll also look into using the web and social media to build a profile as a professional writer.

You'll then carry out industry-focused research, and we’ll encourage you to secure work experience to help you develop a proposal for your creative Professional Writing MA project.

Module

Story, Structure and Form

In this module, you’ll interrogate what we mean by structure, and how aspects of structure and form influence and shape storytelling. You’ll consider how structure can assist you in your writing and also look at writers who have subverted form.  

Professional Contexts

In Professional Contexts, you’ll practice different kinds of writing - blog posts, profiles, case studies, reviews - in order to create a portfolio of work that advertises who you are as an emerging writer. You’ll be introduced to the skills and knowledge needed to operate in the professional writing industries. You’ll also think about ways of promoting your work, develop online marketing materials and learn how to use relevant social media platforms in a way appropriate to the genre you work in.

Inhabiting Narrative: Character, World and Genre

In this module, you’ll develop your understanding of core narrative techniques of narrative in order to create compelling, engaging fictional narratives. There’s also a strong focus on character development, point of view and the use of genre conventions. 

Business & Editorial Writing

In this module, you'll study the key skills needed to write features for magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as those needed for creative copywriting for businesses and other organisations. You’ll produce a portfolio of high-quality work that spans several different formats and contexts – from press releases to feature articles and web copy. 

Non-Fiction

In this industry-focused module, you’ll begin to develop and write a non-fiction project along with a commercially viable presentation package ready to send to a literary agent or editor. You’ll explore the market for non-fiction in its many forms and genres, gaining an awareness of specialist publishers and commissioning editors, and of fan bases and ‘containers’ for their ideas in sectors of the non-fiction market that have a special interest to them.  

Novel

In this module, you’ll develop the skills, techniques and considerations you need to develop your own novel, such as researching, plotting, structuring scenes, genre markers and tropes, as well as considering professional practice for novelists such as agent approaches and developing/maintaining your author profile. 

Scriptwriting

In Scriptwriting, you’ll develop your skills as a writer and establish standards of professional practice – those qualities that will help you stand out in a very competitive industry, whether writing for audio, television or film. You’ll also develop a critical awareness of contemporary practice at the forefront of screenwriting and an understanding of the market for screenwriting and opportunities within it. 

You’ll work independently on your Professional Writing MA project, with support from your specialist tutor, and write an essay on an aspect of your writing practice.

Modules

Independent Project & Contextual Essay

In this module, you’ll work independently on an individual project, which builds on the work completed in previous modules. You’ll work with a tutor who will supervise the development of the project, set deadlines and advise on areas of improvement. The essay will contextualise your work with regard to current practice and theory.  

The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.

How you'll learn

This 45-week Professional Writing course covers 3 study blocks and brings together seminars, lectures, real-world briefs, practical workshops and your own self-managed work. You'll work individually and in teams - collaborating with other media professionals, developing your own projects and business ideas, and giving and receiving feedback.

Our Writers in Residence programme has previously featured Wyl Menmuir, Emily Barr, Matt Haig, Lionel Shriver, Owen Sheers and Philip Marsden. You’ll also have the chance to attend the London Book Fair and Port Eliot Festival.

Assessment methods

  • Formal assessment and feedback at the end of each module, based on portfolios of creative, critical and reflective writing, as well as presentations and pitches
  • Final assessment is largely based on your extended creative project, which is accompanied by a contextual essay.

Study Professional Writing at Falmouth and you'll have the chance to attend specialist writing workshops, collaborate on industry projects and enter your work into writing competitions. Check out the stories below to see what our Professional Writing students have been up to lately.

Dawn French talks about her new book Because of You at inaugural Falmouth Book Festival
Dawn French at Falmouth Book Festival

An evening with Dawn French at Falmouth Book Festival

15 October 2021

This story was written by Falmouth University Professional Writing MA student Jon Cox. Dawn Frenc...

An evening with Dawn French at Falmouth Book Festival
close up image of a fly
Close up of fly

Students Publish Insect Love Songs

25 June 2020

Earlier this year Forward Prize-winning poet Fiona Benson visited Falmouth to lead a poetry workshop...

Students Publish Insect Love Songs
Nichola van der Bij - profile image
Nichola van der Bij

Writing student wins publishing competition

14 January 2019

Winning a publishing deal is a huge, unforgettable life moment. Being offered a publishing contract ...

Writing student wins publishing competition
Fathom

Writing School Collaborates with Maritime Museum

03 August 2018

The School of Communication have provided students and staff with the opportunity to contribute to F...

Writing School Collaborates with Maritime Museum

Staff

Our staff feature seasoned, published writers and industry professionals, with experience in areas like narrative and technology, game design, film directing, screenwriting, playwriting, journalism, young adult and children’s writing, and creating award-winning short films.

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.

Dr Jennifer Young staff picture

Dr Jennifer Young

Head of Writing and Journalism

Jennifer Young moved to Falmouth in 2019 to take up the post of Head of Writing and Journalism. She ...

Dr Jennifer Young

Tom Scott

Senior Lecturer

Tom studied english at Keble College Oxford before taking an MA in African Studies at the School of ...

Tom Scott

Dr Luke Thompson

Course Leader, MA Professional Writing

Luke is a writer of poetry and non-fiction and the founding editor of Guillemot Press. His inte...

Dr Luke Thompson
John Finnegan staff profile

John Finnegan

Module Leader, MA Writing for Script & Screen

John has worked in the film and media sector for fifteen years. He started his career as a...

John Finnegan

Kris Kenway

Associate Lecturer, Professional Writing

Kris graduated from Birmingham City University and later studied screenwriting at UCLA. His fir...

Kris Kenway

Oliver Bennett

Associate Lecturer, Professional Writing

Oliver is a prolific features journalist whose work appears regularly in national newspapers includi...

Oliver Bennett

Jane Pugh

Associate Lecturer, School of Film and Television

I live with friends and my dog by the sea. I write, teach and facilitate because my job is to create...

Jane Pugh

Dr Marshall Moore

Course Leader and Senior Lecturer

Dr. Marshall Moore hails from North Carolina and relocated to the UK in 2020 after living and workin...

Dr Marshall Moore

Facilities

  • Library with a wide range of online resources.
  • Media Centre with industry-standard audio/video recording and editing equipment.
  • Course-specific Virtual Learning Environment.
  • The Lighthouse – a dedicated writers' room and events space
  • The Soundhouse – podcasting facility
  • The Shed – dedicated study area
Pile of books by the writers in residence that have been at Falmouth.
SoWJ book pile

Careers

Our professional writing graduates have become published authors, and taken on roles like deputy editor, full-time playwright, psychologist, feature writer and entertainment journalist.

Adrian Martin poses as he signs at book
Adrian book signing new

Meet the accidental author juggling multiple books deals

16 March 2022

After honing his authorial prowess on Falmouth’s English & Creative Writing degree, Adrian Mar...

Meet the accidental author juggling multiple books deals
Fresh From Fal Light Blue
Fresh From Fal Light Blue

Fresh from Falmouth October edition

26 October 2021

Fresh from Falmouth, our monthly roundup of creative offerings from the talented students, staff and...

Fresh from Falmouth October edition
Dunkirk to D-Day Book Cover (Book by Philip Hamlyn Williams)
Dunkirk to D-Day

Graduate author publishes new book: Dunkirk to D-Day

19 August 2021

Philip Hamlyn Williams has published five books since graduating from MA Professional Writing at Fal...

Graduate author publishes new book: Dunkirk to D-Day
Nantwich Gin New
Nantwich Gin New

Graduate launches award-winning gin

04 May 2021

Falmouth graduate Holly Challinor has applied the lessons she learnt from her univers...

Graduate launches award-winning gin
Mark Illes

Professional Writing with Mark Iles

18 October 2018

Professional Writing graduate Mark Iles has achieved considerable success with his debut novel serie...

Professional Writing with Mark Iles
Judy Leigh

Postgraduate Publishes Debut Novel

30 May 2018

Female heroines have captured the imagination of readers and authors for time immemorial. From Hermi...

Postgraduate Publishes Debut Novel

How to apply

Talk to us

To find out more about this course, how you'll learn or what funding is available, get in touch with our Course Advisors. Click below to submit a form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. 

Request information

Apply now

Applications for September 2023 will open shortly.

Professional Writing course application process

We'll ask you to send us a sample of your work along with your application. This could be an unpublished (or published) short story, screenplay, report, journalistic feature, novel extract or anything else you've written. If we feel you have potential, we'll invite you to an interview. Skype interviews can be arranged if this isn't possible.

Once you've applied, you'll receive a Falmouth Applicant Portal login, where you'll find more details about these requirements.

We welcome applications from those with relevant equivalent Level 6 qualifications. Our typical applicants hold an undergraduate degree of 2:2 or above, or equivalent experience and a demonstrable interest in the subject.

We’ll also welcome your application if you have formal or 'certified' learning (such as training courses not run by universities or colleges) and learning from work experience or self-study. This is called Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), and should have been gained within the last five years, and be equivalent to the learning outcomes of our minimum entry qualifications.

APL applicants using experience to apply should note there is a £200 application fee for entry with advanced standing or with exemption from specific modules or credit.

If English isn’t your first language, you'll need to demonstrate English language skills that are sufficiently developed for successful completion of your studies. We accept a range of recognised English language qualifications that are equivalent to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic minimum score of 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

International applicants who require a student visa to study in the UK must take a recognised language test that is approved and vouched for by the University. Our Applicant Services Team can help with any questions you may have about study visas or suitable language tests.

Fees, costs & funding

Tuition fees

£8,950 per year - full-time UK (£250 acceptance fee payable. This is deducted from tuition fees.)

£17,460 - full-time EU/international (acceptance fee up to £1,000 payable, dependent on nationality. This is deducted from tuition fees)

£8,950 per year - full-time UK (£250 acceptance fee payable. This is deducted from tuition fees.)

£17,460 - full-time EU/international (acceptance fee up to £1,000 payable, dependent on nationality. This is deducted from tuition fees)

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible. 

The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs

Typical course costs

  • £200 - Suggested reading 
  • £350 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration

If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter.

Ask a student

What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?

From course details and academic support, to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Request information

Do you have questions about the course or studying at Falmouth? Fill in our simple online form and we'll get in touch to support your application journey.

Submit form
Student funding staff at a table with palm trees

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