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Postgraduate study
Creative Writing and Wellbeing (Online)

Creative Writing and Wellbeing (Online) MA

Are you interested in the ways that creative writing can be used as a tool for wellbeing? Perhaps you already work with creative writing in this context or maybe you’d like to find out more about this growing field of practice and research?


Course overview

The course is taught by distance learning with no requirement to attend classes at a set time. You can access the course space and complete the coursework in your own time, whatever your work or personal commitments.

This means it is highly suited to teachers; writers developing their teaching and workshopping skills to work in the community; and those using writing in therapy, healthcare and other professional settings.

The course explores the meeting points between writing, identity, health, wellbeing and personal and professional development. You gain knowledge and understanding of the theoretical, critical and practical frameworks for using creative and reflective writing for greater wellbeing in a range of settings and in your own life.

Alongside developing your own creative writing skills, you will think through the particular challenges and ethical concerns around creating safe spaces in which people can explore their writing.

Top reasons to study this course

> Flexibility around your commitments – learn and complete course work at a time that suits you.

> Career routes are wide and eclectic including publishing, editing and freelance writing, wider creative industries (television, journalism, new media), healthcare sectors and professions that require advanced writing skills.

> Unique focus on helping you develop a professional plan that you can go on to implement after the course.

> The teaching team are both practicing creative writers and experienced in creative writing and wellbeing.

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Course details

The course consists of four 30-credit taught modules, three are delivered online. Writing and Groups is a week-long intensive group learning experience where you will gain hands-on experience of what it means to be a member of a writing group and how to facilitate writing groups in a range of settings and for a number of different aims.

The Creative Writing and Wellbeing Project is an opportunity for you to create a final portfolio of your creative and critical writing, or a piece of action research in writing and wellbeing (subject to ethical approval).

Each module offers you opportunities to experiment and develop your interests, whether these are in prose fiction, poetry, creative life writing, or in using writing to work with people in personal and professional development and healthcare settings.

The course is designed to be flexible and highly accessible so that you can study alongside your work and commitments. It makes active use of our leading online learning framework and materials in creative writing, developed through our popular MA Creative Writing (Distance Learning), which recruits students from around the world.

Course structure

Core modules

Core Skills and Techniques

This introductory module allows you to explore and express your ideas in a supportive environment. Learning activities are designed to support you in establishing or deepening your creative practice and gathering ideas with an emphasis on developing your confidence, identifying your core strengths and interests, and extending your skills and knowledge.
You are encouraged to experiment with a range of forms, techniques and approaches designed to help you to develop new ideas and ways of working. You will gain skills and experience in crafting, redrafting and editing, learning to become a constructive reader of your own and others' work through our supportive learning community and workshop environment.

You gain skills in advanced critical and reflective practices, helping you to begin to develop your analysis and understanding of your own creative work and process. By the end of this module, you will have established or enriched your creative writing practice and be beginning to think about what motivates you to write and the context and future direction of your work.

The Creative Writing and Wellbeing Project

This project draws together the learning and development you have gained throughout the course. You complete this independent research project under the supervision of your tutor. With regular guidance and support you develop an initial project proposal outlining your key aims and objectives, and work this into either: a final portfolio of creative writing (in any form or genre), of publishable standard plus accompanying reflective and critical analysis of your work; or a piece of action research. This forms your final submission for the master’s award.

The Professional Writer in the World

You consider and frame your writing within contemporary contexts, developing the skills you need to thrive as a professional writer in the world. You explore some of the many ways and contexts in which writers work, and the skills required to make an income as a writer or enjoy a sustainable writing life.

We help you to gain the knowledge and skills needed to market, publish and/or self-publish your writing; and we give you insights into the many other ways in which you can work with others using writing, from work in schools and the community to therapeutic settings. If you are already a teacher or writing facilitator, this is an opportunity to reflect on your practice and develop it further. If you are just starting out, we will help you to acquire the tools and skills you need. We will guide you towards the development of a professional plan that you could go on to implement after the course is over. In the past, students have used this module as a springboard to launch professional web sites, writing retreats, podcast series, workshops, events and festivals.

Writing and the Self

You explore the connections between creativity, writing and the self, and reflect on the idea of the self in the writing process and use key ideas and theories drawn from literary autobiography, life writing, autofiction, narrative theory and the psychology of creativity to develop your work and process.

Writing exercises, prompts and selected readings are designed to help you to let go of any unhelpful self-concepts about yourself as a writer that may be getting in the way of you producing imaginative work. Ideas explored in this module often help people to overcome blocks, access greater fluidity and flexibility in their writing, develop imaginatively and creatively, and rediscover the sheer pleasure of the writing process. You explore approaches such as writing identity, writing the body, fictionalising from self-experience, objectifying and shaping the stories of our lives on the page and exploring personal metaphor. Concepts such as personal truth, inner dialogue and helpful distance allow you to deepen your writing and write from a felt sense.

Writing Specialisms

You develop knowledge and skills in your chosen area of interest, with respect to form, genre and readership/audience. Working with a tutor who is a practising writer, you gain in-depth knowledge of the techniques and approaches required to continue to deepen and extend your practice.

You select one pathway from the following:

1. Poetry for Publishing and Performance
2. Prose/ Fiction


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Each unit will usually consist of:

  • a short introductory video, in which your tutor introduces the week’s key themes
  • writing prompts and exercises
  • supporting materials, reading questions and suggestions for further reading and research to discuss in the discussion forum
  • a dedicated private space to workshop your ideas and writing-in-progress with the tutor and fellow students.

You will also receive help, support and feedback on your work directly from the tutor, both through the online course space and by email.

You don't need to be a technology expert to take this course. All you need is a PC, laptop or tablet to access the course materials and forum and share your writing with the tutors and your peers.

How you are assessed

Each taught 30-credit module is assessed against clear learning outcomes through written assignments, usually consisting of both creative work and some critical or reflective work. In addition to the taught modules, you produce a final project (60-credits) in your chosen form and genre.


Entry requirements

You should normally have an undergraduate degree of 2.2 or above in English, creative writing or a cognate discipline. Other relevant experience or equivalent qualifications are considered on an individual basis.

You must also submit a portfolio of your creative writing of up to and no more than 2,000 words in any one or two forms or genres, for example poetry, prose fiction, life writing, or screen writing. You must also submit a short reflection on your interest in the links between creative writing and wellbeing of no more than 500 words. Please include this portfolio in your online application.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements



Career opportunities

Graduates of the MA (Distance Learning) in Creative Writing and Wellbeing may already be working in a number of helping professions where they could apply their new skills, eg health and social care, education, youth work, counselling or psychotherapy; or may go on to consider further training in these areas.

You may go on to develop your careers in the broad area of arts and health, medical humanities and/or professional writing, including further study or research to PhD level. Alternatively, this course may enrich your own personal and professional skills.



  • Not available full-time


2022/23 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£982.50 for each 30 credits

More details about our fees

  • Length: 2 years
  • Attendance: Online
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

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