Diploma in Arts Creative Nonfiction

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Structure
  • Career Opportunities
  • Fees
  • Next Steps

woman and pen

Click here to view provisional Autumn 2017 timetable.


Developed in response to the currently burgeoning public interest in “life writing” and other forms of writing that occur on the boundaries of fact and fiction, this course provides a critical guide to the wide variety of genres, forms, traditions and outlets available to the writer of creative nonfiction and offers students a closely supported introduction to the art of research and writing for publication. Taught by experienced writing tutors, it is a primarily activity-based course that develops creativity and practical know-how, but also works to sponsor critical and intellectually informed discussion of the formal, cultural and personal issues surrounding the craft of non-fiction.

Programme Aims & Objectives

The course is designed to facilitate those with an interest in nonfictional writing in all of its many forms and aims to serve the needs of the complete beginner or the more experienced writer in search of inspiration, ideas or direction. The overall objectives of the course are to equip students with key research and writing skills, to acquaint them with the demands of writing in different forms and for different publications, and to thereby set them on the path to becoming confident, self-directed and successful writers in the future.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

• Discuss and judge pieces of nonfictional writing with knowledge and sensitivity, including writing they themselves have produced

• Demonstrate understanding of the processes and methods involved in the creation of nonfictional writing

• Produce appropriately structured and formulated pieces of nonfictional writing in two different forms or genres.

Course Content

Classes will be interactive and will incorporate a variety of approaches and activities— lectures, in-class instruction, close critical readings, field trips, and a series of writing workshops. The workshops are the core of the course and provide a forum for students to try their hand at a variety of nonfictional writing forms and to work towards the honing and perfection of any two pieces of personal writing.

The content of classes will be partly directed by the interests and project ideas students bring to the course, but will be governed by the following general pattern:

• Course introduction

What is creative non-fiction?  Writing about the self and others; finding ideas; keeping a journal; becoming a flaneur

• Tools for the writer

Reading; research; conducting interviews; tone and style; thinking about structure

• Field trip: Irish Writers Centre, National Gallery, or other centre of interest

• The Personal Essay

Definitions; structural variations, 

•  Memoir and biography

Definitions; variations; contexts; interviews; the pen portrait

• Travel writing

The travel diary; collecting details; research and writing about “place.”

• Faction

Definitions; variations; contexts; research

• Online Writing

Personal websites; blogging; social media presence for the writer

• Editing and Submitting

Proofing and re-writing for publication; competitions; magazines; finding publishers; self-publishing

• Class editorial board

Selections to be made for inclusion in the course book; book design

• Course conclusion: Publication of DBS Creative Writing Book


To be awarded the Diploma in Arts students will be required to actively participate in workshops and class exercises (20% of total final mark) and to produce two pieces of written work for possible publication in the course book (40% each).   


The course is delivered in a series of 12 weekly three hour classes. In the first part of the course students work to deadlines to produce a variety of short pieces to be submitted in advance of classes; later they work on the development any two selected pieces under close guidance from lecturers and in response to feedback from fellow learners;towards the end of the course the class forms an editorial board for the selection and final editing of the best writing produced by the class for inclusion in a course book to be published in the final week. The best of these can then be put forward for consideration by other publications.

Career Opportunities

The course will be particular value to those already engaged in or seeking an entry into creative nonfiction writing, but it also provides a useful study for those interested in culture, literature or journalism, and an accessible experience of creative arts education for those seeking a route into advanced level study. 


The fee for this Diploma is €300. This is inclusive of tuition, registration, exam fees and DBS library membership. View all DBS Evening Diploma Fees here.

DBS Diploma students can also avail of a wide range of facilities to assist them in every aspect of their studies, please see below for more details.

DBS Student Facilities

• Online Notes System (DBS Moodle)- is an eLearning system designed to provide you with a range of course material which will enhance and support your learning experience within DBS. 

• DBS Library Aungier Street- the Library provides a programme of classes in the areas of Library resources, essay writing skills, avoiding plagiarism and referencing to assist you in your studies.  

• DBS Careers and Appointment Service- which provides a range of services for Diploma students such as career advice and workshops in CV writing and interview skills. 

• Subsidised Parking- DBS provides subsidised parking arrangements for students, which provides easy access to all main public transport routes in and out of the city centre. 

• Subsidised Student Canteen- Diploma students can avail of the Student Canteen which is open in the evenings and offers a wide variety of choices on its menu.

Next Steps

Visit Us

Open days are a great way to help you make your decision about your course of interest. The open day will give you the opportunity to receive one on one advice and direction from leading academics in your chosen subject area, meet current students and also have your questions answered on entry requirements, student support and the admissions process. Find out when our next Open Event is taking place. The Admissions Office is located in our Aungier Street campus and you are welcome to visit the college to speak with a member of our admissions team from Monday to Fridays, 8:45am – 5:15pm. 
Alternatively, you can contact us by email.

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Course overview


Awarding Body:
Dublin Business School
Schedule: One evening per week
Intake: October
Duration: 12 weeks

Contact Us

We are now accepting applications for programmes taking place in 2018. Contact our admissions team for more information

Email: admissions@dbs.ie
Phone: 01 417 7500
Opening times:
Monday to Friday
8:45am to 5:15pm