Introduction........................................................ 3
Admission requirements..................................... 3
Application, application fees, course fees........... 3
Full time course structure.................................... 4
Part time course structure................................... 5
Assessment.......................................................... 5
Course dates for 2015.......................................... 6
Staff...................................................................... 6
Writing teachers................................................... 6
FAQ....................................................................... 7
2015 Application forms........................................ 9
Application Summary for 2015
Step 1: Application should be made on the standard MA application form at the end of this document or
downloadable from the Rhodes University website here. A 20-page portfolio of creative writing must
accompany the application and the combined forms can be emailed to [email protected] or posted via
Registered or Insured Mail to: The Registrar, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South
Step 2: The 20-page portfolio of creative writing must also be sent to the course administrator
at [email protected] or MA in Creative Writing, ISEA, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa.
Candidates may be required to attend an interview. Closing date for 2015 admission is 31 October
MA in Creative Writing
Rhodes University
Rhodes University's MA programme in Creative Writing is committed to innovative work that
expands the possibilities of writing. At once critical and creative, the programme emphasises
the essential relationship between reading and writing.
The programme runs over one year for full time students based in Grahamstown and two
years for part time students living elsewhere. The next part time intake is for 2016, with
applications accepted during October 2015.
The teachers, who are all practising writers, are Kgebetli Moele, Lesego Rampolokeng, Stacy
Hardy, Vonani Bila, Paul Wessels, Anton Krueger, Ingrid Winterbach, Rian Malan, Paul Mason,
Eben Venter and Robert Berold.
During the first 16 weeks full time students undertake coursework [in English] taught by a
different writing teacher each week. They have four group contact hours a week with writerteachers in the first semester, and weekly one-to-one meetings throughout the year.
Part time students cover the same curriculum over a two year period, their coursework is
covered over 32 weeks in two week cycles. They receive their coursework assignments
electronically, and receive feedback from their supervisors by email and in small group online
feedback sessions. In the first of their two years they, together with the full time students and
all the teachers, attend two separate week-long intensive sessions at Rhodes.
About a third of the way into the course, students are assigned a supervisor from one of the 11
teachers, and begin work on their extended thesis – a book-length creative work. The thesis can
be written in English, isiXhosa, or Afrikaans, and can be a novel, non-fiction work, playscript,
short story collection, or poetry collection. In the second half of the programme the coursework
seminars and assignments end, and the writers work only on their extended project.
Admission requirements
Students need an Honours degree in any discipline or the equivalent (e.g. a 4-year B. Journ
degree). If a candidate lacks the necessary formal qualifications but has an extensive
publication record or outstanding potential as a writer, admission as an ad eundem gradum
candidate may be possible. A range of other university support programmes is available to
students, including personal counselling, and assistance with using electronic collections in the
Application, application fees, course fees
Step 1: Application should be made on the standard MA application form at the end of this
document or downloadable from the Rhodes University website here. A 20-page portfolio of
creative writing must accompany the application and the combined forms can be emailed
to [email protected] or posted via Registered or Insured Mail to: The Registrar, Rhodes
University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa.
Step 2: The 20-page portfolio of creative writing must also be sent to the course administrator
at [email protected] or MA in Creative Writing, ISEA, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown,
6140, South Africa.
Application fee: The fee is R100 (one hundred South African Rand).
Application deadline: Closing date for 2015 applications is 31 October 2014.
The course fee for 2014 was R17 300 – course fees for 2015 [tba; see
applying/fees/]. Part time students pay the full fee for each of the two years. If a student
drops out or fails to fulfill the programme requirements, fees are not refundable.
Full time course structure
A combination of teaching modes is used to stimulate and guide students:
• Weekly seminars followed by weekly assignments based on the seminar content
• Small weekly peer feedback groups of 4 or 5, to read and comment on assignments, attended
by the teacher who set the assignment
• Personal one-on-one supervision
• Focused reading tailored to the needs of the individual and covering various genres
• Interaction with practising writers in different genres
• Learning opportunities within the university, such as research seminars
• Some excursions and writing expeditions
The seminar programme is structured by the various teachers’ own creative interests and
expertise. Each weekly cycle starts with a seminar, followed by a three-day creative assignment,
and at the end of the week, a peer feedback session with students and the teacher, where
drafts are discussed. The student has the weekend to re-write the piece in response to the
feedback, and hand it in.
The full time course is divided into two semesters. In the first semester the emphasis is on
exploration through various coursework assignments, embarking on ‘creative reading’, and
finding a writing discipline and rhythm that works for each student. Halfway through the first
semester students choose the coursework stream in their preferred genre, and begin to work
on their extended writing projects.
In the second semester students continue their extended writing projects without coursework
but with regular meetings with their supervisors. The extended project should be a minimum of
30 000 words for a prose project, 40 pages for a poetry project, or 10 scenes or episodes for a
playscript or screenplay. No project may exceed 80 000 words.
Students are required to record their ongoing experience as writers in a reflective journal,
which is sent regularly to their supervisors as part of the supervision dialogue. In the journal
they reflect on their learning experiences, and comment on the coursework assignments and
on their reading.
At the beginning of the course students are given modular reading lists of fiction, poetry and
non-fiction, adapted to their needs. They are given assignments to write creative reviews of
various books read during the year, which are incorporated into their reflective journal. A
related assignment requires students to research contemporary South African writing via
literary journals, using the unique resources of the National English Literary Museum in
Students are encouraged to send work for publication during the course and to learn how to
deal with editor responses. The course includes the publication of a student magazine. There
are readings at schools and other public venues during the National Arts Festival and at the
launch of the student magazine.
Part time course structure
Note that the next intake for the part time course is in 2016 [with applications taken in the
month of October 2015]. The part time course follows the same curriculum as the full time
course, split into four semesters as follows:
Year 1 first semester: the same coursework structure of the full timers is run over 16 teaching
weeks – that is, a seminar and assignment every two weeks. The seminar is an audio recording
of the full time seminar and its assignment, uploaded on an mp3 file. Students have a week to
complete the first draft of their assignment, which is shared in small groups of 4 or 5 using a
combination of written comments and an audio group feedback session. After the comments
they submit a final version.
Year 1 second semester: coursework continues, but as with the full time course, the students
choose a genre stream and begin their extended thesis project. The seminar-assignment cycle
focuses on the thesis project with its assignments feeding into aspects of the project.
Year 2: students continue their extended project with their supervisors. A draft is handed in at
the beginning of August and a final version in November.
Part time attendance in Grahamstown
Part time students are required to spend two separate weeks in Grahamstown, in February and
July of their first year (2016), and arrange to cover their own accommodation and travel. In
these intensive weeks, they meet each other, teachers and potential supervisors, and the full
time students. They participate in writing and feedback sessions, and take part in a writing
Final assessment to award the degree is done by two external examiners per student. The
weighting of the assessment is 75% for the extended writing project and 25% for their
‘portfolio’, which is an edited collection of excerpts from their reflective journals and
coursework assignments, including book reviews. The MA final mark is awarded in three
categories: pass, fail, or pass with distinction.
Course dates for 2015
Note that the MA course dates are not the same as the university terms and holidays.
Full time student orientation occurs in February and runs from a Monday to a Friday [dates to
be announced].
First intensive week (for all students, part time and full time, and teachers):
9am Monday [dates tba] [NB: be in Grahamstown by Sunday night and
leave on Saturday]
Full timers Easter break: in April [dates tba].
Grahamstown National Arts Festival: July [dates tba].
Second intensive week: July 2015 [dates tba].
Full timers draft thesis + portfolio deadline 15 September.
Full timers final (examination) thesis + porfolio submission 15 November.
Programme Coordinator: Robert Berold
Assistant Coordinator: Paul Wessels
Course administrator: Carol Leff ([email protected]) Tel 046 603 8565
ISEA Secretary: Nomangesi Kelemi
Writing teachers
Poetry: Robert Berold, Vonani Bila, Lesego Rampolokeng
Fiction: Paul Wessels, Anton Krueger, Paul Mason, Eben Venter, Stacy hardy
Non-fiction: Rian Malan, Hazel Crampton
Scriptwriting: Anton Krueger
Xhosa: Russell Kaschula, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Mpumi Cilibe
Afrikaans: Eben Venter, Ingrid Winterbach
Frequently asked questions
1. What is the application deadline for 2015?
30 October 2014
2. Where can I find an application form?
At the end of this document, or download from page 3 (above), or from this
3. When will I know whether or not my application was successful?
You will be informed by email or phone by mid-November 2014.
4. Do you accept emailed applications?
Yes. These must be sent to [email protected] before 31 October, together with your writing portfolio
and scanned certified copies of your academic certificates (as well as a copy of your marriage certificate
if your maiden name was different).
5. Can my portfolio be a combination of different genres, say prose and poetry? Is there a minimum or
maximum length?
Yes, it can be a combination, but you should weight it in favour of your preferred genre. Minimum
length 20 pages and maximum 25 pages.
6. Is there a preferred style (font and spacing) for the portfolio?
For readability, we prefer a 12 point font and 1.0 spacing. Preferably start each piece of writing on a
new page. Besides the portfolio that you send to the registrar with your application, you should send an
electronic copy to the ISEA course administrator. Do not use fancy fonts or visible page borders.
7. I have written a 20 page short story. Can I send this as my full portfolio?
Yes, but it would it improve your chances if you demonstrated some variety. Rather send an excerpt
from your story together with other pieces of writing.
8. Is the course for writers in English only?
The 16 week coursework section is taught in English, and the assignments must be written in English.
However the extended creative writing project can be written in either English, Afrikaans or Xhosa and
will be supervised in that language.
9. Can I send in writing in different languages in my portfolio?
Yes, English or Xhosa or Afrikaans or a combination.
10. I have not done any “creative writing”, but would my journalistic writing be eligible for the
Creative non-fiction or narrative journalism is considered creative, i.e. writing which incorporates the
techniques of fiction such as character, dialogue, description, narrative. If you are going to include
journalistic pieces, best to send those that demonstrate these features.
11. I have been working on a novel for the past two years. Would I be able to get guidance on it from
my supervisors and finish it as my thesis project?
No. All writing submitted for the course must be written while on the course. We would expect you to
write a new work as your thesis project. When the course is over, we would advise you to go back to
your earlier manuscript and apply the new skills and insights you have learned on the course.
12. I have taken some creative writing courses in the past and I have written and published two
books. Could I be credited for my track record and not have to do the coursework part of the MA?
No. We consider the coursework to be absolutely essential, even for experienced writers. Every teacher
brings a different approach and at least some of these approaches will be new to you. The coursework
assignments will bring you feedback from your teachers and fellow students which will give you fresh
insights into your writing.
13. What does ‘full time’ actually mean? Would I be able to do the full time course if I lived in
No, full time means studying full time and based in Grahamstown (February to November). You will
have to attend seminars and feedback groups and meetings with teachers and supervisors every week.
14. What does ‘part time’ actually mean?
Part time students complete the programme over two years, working mainly from home. They attend
two week-long contact sessions in Grahamstown each year, in February and July. Teaching is done
through audio recordings, and course assignments are submitted electronically, followed by online
comments and audio interaction in small groups.
15. What bursaries or financial assistance is offered?
A: There are no dedicated bursaries for the MACW programme, but the university’s postgraduate
financial aid section does offer student loans and, in some cases, grants. Information on funding
opportunities can be found at When applying,
indicate whether you are applying as a full time or part time student. If part time, state whether you
will be unemployed, partly employed, or employed full time in 2016. Email [email protected] if
you have any further questions.
16. If I am a part time student, what happens if I cannot attend the intensive writing weeks in
The two contact weeks in Grahamstown are compulsory. Besides the teaching done in those weeks,
they are essential for meeting your teachers and fellow students, and potential supervisors.
17. If I am a part time student, will the course pay for my accommodation and travel for the
Grahamstown intensive weeks?
No. We will try to help you to find reasonably priced accommodation and transport, but you will have to
organise and pay for accommodation and travel yourself.
18. Is there anywhere I can see the work produced by previous students?
Yes, you can buy any of the past editions of our magazine Tyhini, which features work from the full time
and part time students taking the course in any particular year. Available from the course administrator
([email protected]) for R130 (price may vary, and will include postage).
Other than Pharm D / MBA or degrees in Psychology (for which separate forms are available).
Year of admission
FIRST NAMES (in full):
MAIDEN NAME (if applicable):
TITLE (Mr, Ms, Miss, etc):
Population group (required for statistical purposes): 
Home language:
Are you a South African citizen? ü Yes
If “NO”, are you a permanent resident? Yes
If not South African citizen, state nationality:
SA identity number or passport number:
Date of birth:
Have you ever been registered at Rhodes?
Student No:
Are any of your immediate family Old Rhodians?
(e.g. mother, father, siblings etc)
Please  where relevant
NAME: _____________________________________ Student No:
NAME: _____________________________________ Student No:
Are any of your immediate family currently registered at
Rhodes? ü
If “YES” please give their student number(s)
Please indicate any disability:
Partially Sighted
Intellectual (Learning Difficulty)
Speech Defect
More than one disability
Cerebral Palsy
Partial Hearing
Communication (Talking/Listening)
Physcial (Moving/Standing/Grasping)
You are required to provide this information about your disability at the time of your application. If
you do not, the University cannot undertake to provide reasonable assistance.
Full-time ü
In attendance? ü Yes
Choice of degree (e.g. MA) ____________________ in the Department of _________________________
Subject _________________________________________________________________________________
(Applications for MA in Creative Writing should be accompanied by a 20-page portfolio of creative work)
Degree by ü Research thesis
Coursework and thesis/research project
Coursework only
Proposed supervisor (if you have one): _______________________________________________________
Proposed field of research or thesis title: ____________________________________________________
(For MA in Creative Writing please indicate the genre of writing, e.g. novel, poetry book or play)
NB ALL future correspondence will be sent to your email
address. Hard copies of specific correspondence will be
supplied on request. It is essential that you keep the
University informed of your current email address.
Next of kin: ü
Title, initials & last name of next of kin: ____________________________________________________
Title, initials, last name of person responsible for fees. If self leave blank: ________________________
Account address. If the same as the home postal address, leave blank: ___________________________
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I am already in residence
House of 1st choice _____________________(may answer “ANY”) 2nd choice: _____________________
There is no guarantee of accommodation in a preferred residence.
Please give details of the last higher education institution that you attended.
University/institution: _____________________________ Student Number: ________________________
Degree/qualification: _________________________ Degree/qualification completed? ü Yes
All postgraduate applicants are required to submit with the application form a full official
academic transcript reflecting the detailed results, including percentage marks, of all previous
qualifications and the award of degree(s). Copies of degree certficates do no consitute an
academic transcript.
Applicants who at the time of application are completing a degree requisite for admission, should
submit all available academic results on application, with submission of the full/final academic
transcript as soon as this is available. Rhodes students do not need to submit Rhodes transcripts.
Married women: where your previous qualifications are in your maiden name, please supply a
copy of your marriage certficate for record purposes.
Have you attached your academic transcripts? ü Yes
(if not your appliction cannot be considered.)
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Account Name: Rhodes University
Account Number: 62145504553
Branch Code: 210-717
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ
Attach a copy of the Deposit Slip to this Application Form.
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To the best of my/our knowledge and belief the information furnished in this application is true and
correct and that if it be found to be false, and misleading in any respect, this application may be
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indemnify the University against any loss or damage howsoever caused in respect of property left at
the University by the Applicant. I/we also indemnify the University against any claim whatsoever for
damages howsoever caused or arising which the Applicant may sustain whilst registered as a student at
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absolute risk. This indemnity shall be binding on the Applicant’s Executors and Heirs:
That I/We acknowledge that a Minimum Initial Payment (MIP) is required by mid-January each year,
including the first year of study, unless satisfactory arrangements have been made with the University.
Details of the MIP amount will be included in future correspondence with the applicant:
That a statement signed by the Registrar (Finance) shall represent the amount owing to the University
by me/us, and further that in the event of such amount being handed over for collection I/we shall pay
all legal charges incurred on the attorney and client scale:
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monthly and calculated from the first day of each month following the date by which final payment of
all fees and disbursements must have been made:
That I/We shall abide by all regulations of the University – and further that the applicant shall, if
accepted, be under the disciplinary control of the University as from the date on which he/she takes
up residence at the University or the day on which he/she commences studies or attends an orientation
week or summer school or similar function or registers as a student, whichever is earliest, until the
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That although the University does not take any responsibility for informing parents or guardian or
major fee contributor of disciplinary action against a student (whether pending of finalized), academic
performance or any other matters relating to the student, the University may in its discretion report
to the parents or guardian or major fee constributor such breaches of the rules by the applicant as
the University deems necessary and further to report on any matter concerning progress, conduct,
well-being or health of the applicant, and further that the University may take all such steps as it
considers reasonable in the event of the applicant becoming ill or requiring medical attention without
the University undertaking any legal obligation to do so.
Signature of applicant: ________________________________________________________________
Signature of person responsible for fees (if not applicant: __________________________________
Date: _______________________________________________________________________________