Are MAs in Creative Writing useful?

I've sometimes thought about doing an MA in Creative Writing, but several things have put me off.

Creative writers? Photo by Tim Gouw

Creative writers? Photo by Tim Gouw

Apart from the obvious issues like the expense, and time, the big question is: can creative writing really be taught, or do the tutors simply try to mould you into their way of writing?

As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out, as they say. However, I read an article in the September 2016 issue of Writing magazine by someone who started an MA at the age of 60. She really enjoyed it, and it seems to have served to have really galvanised her to write a couple of novels and other stuff.

Also, I recently did a short course in flash fiction, taught by Mez Packer. She pointed out a potential advantage of doing an MA in Creative Writing that I hadn't considered before. She said that they can make it much, much easier to get signed up by an agent.

Also, as is the case in other fields, some MAs are better than others, so I think you have to do your research -- not only in finding the right syllabus, but also a course that seems to be able to help you enjoy the outcome you are seeking.

Personally, I love the idea of doing an MA in Creative Writing: it sounds like a good combination of fun, creativity and intellectual stimulation. However, I'm busy enough already, and, for the time being at least, I'm not especially interested in acquiring an agent.

But it's good to know that Creative Writing MAs can be useful in more ways than one.