|Degree:||Master of Arts (MA)|
Critically engaged writing. Develop your intellectual, literary, and technical skills.
Consider the MA Writing programme part of the ongoing occasion of your learning, one which you have already begun, will share with us for a year, and which will then continue — irrevocably changed — once you leave. While you’re with us you will be taught a lot, but you will learn a great deal more.
There is not one particular type of writer that we would like to produce, and so whether you would like to write for a mainstream audience, or prepare for doctoral study, we will be able to support you to become the best possible version of the writer you’d like to be. If we tend towards anything it is ‘creative non-fiction’, imperfectly described, although ‘literary writing’, rather than literature, might be a less inadequate alternative. In recent years our students have used the expanded essay to produce an extraordinary range of forms and consider an extraordinary range of subjects, and you will be encouraged to do so, too. The projects often combine these different approaches unexpectedly, or fold together established genres — such as memoir and cultural history, for example — to produce work which possesses both intellectual rigour and poetic form.
Please note all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.
The Writing programme consists of distinct but complementary units through which you will develop your writing practice. Although you will be asked to respond to particular briefs and projects throughout these units, we don’t want you to think of these as discrete tasks but rather as parts of your larger writing practice. By the end of the programme, you will have not only a substantial portfolio of writing, but also a strong sense of how these works constitute your broader practice, and how you might want to develop this further. As such, you can use the programme units both as an opportunity to consolidate your practice and also the means by which you might test and extend it, whether that is by experimenting with form, or exploring new areas of enquiry.
The programme builds a supportive and critical environment between staff and students, and you will no doubt learn as much responding to the others as you will in having them respond to yours. Writing is largely reading, and so you’ll do a lot of that, extracts from novels, essays, and interviews, but perhaps more importantly you’ll read the work of your peers, and develop an intimacy with their writing unlike any you’ve experienced previously. And they with yours, too. This is the first step in developing a network of peers upon whom you can draw for the rest of your career, and many of our graduates continue to work closely with one another.
That writing is in the world, and of it, rather than simply being about it, is a fundamental ethos of the programme, and although this is certainly no vocational course, you will accumulate a great deal of professional skills, and meet a wide range of practitioners, from writers and editors to publishers and commissioners. Our graduates can be found editing The White Review, or being published by Granta, Zero Books, or Fitzcarraldo Editions. They work as editors on publications, or start up their own, or they pursue a career in academia, with our graduates having followed PhDs in Oxford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Goldsmiths, or Birkbeck, and teaching in numerous prestigious institutions, including the RCA.
When John Ruskin established his school of drawing at the University of Oxford it was not simply in order to produce better draughtsmen (although that too), but to use drawing as the means by which to attend to the world and understand it better, whether that is a Gothic arch or the material conditions of the artisan who produced it. We consider the Writing programme similarly: as the means to make better writers, yes, but also better thinkers, people who are better able to notice the world and so discern the best way to engage with it.
The School of Arts & Humanities is located across our Battersea and Kensington sites.
You'll benefit from being part of a vibrant art and design school environment. There are a number of bookable seminar and project spaces across the site available to all Arts & Humanities students.
To provide prospective students with opportunities to find out about the RCA experience and programmes we run a number of on-campus and online open days as well as events in various countries around the world. You can find out about upcoming events or watch replays of past open days on the RCA website.