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Creative writing programs uk

Creative Writing MSc

The community has been one of my favourite parts. The department has very warm and encouraging staff. Some of my classmates are now close friends, and we still workshop stories across time zones, and complain to each other about writing – and not writing!

Bhavika Govil, prize-winning fiction writer MSc in Creative Writing, 2020

Postgraduate mini Open Day

Join us at the Postgraduate mini Open Day on Wednesday 29 June.

Programme description

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, this one-year, full-time taught Masters programme is tailored towards your practice in either fiction or poetry.

There is a strong practical element to the programme, helping you develop your creative skills through workshops, presenting your work for peer discussion, and hearing from guest writers and other professionals on the practicalities of life as a writer.

You’ll also sharpen your critical skills through seminars exploring the particulars of your chosen form and through option courses in literature, helping you move from theoretical considerations to practical applications.

The programme culminates with the publication of ‘From Arthur’s Seat’, an anthology of student work.

Why Edinburgh

Literature has been taught here for over 250 years, and today Edinburgh thrives on its designation as the first UNESCO World City of Literature, home to the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, and a number of celebrated publishing outlets, from Canongate and Polygon, to Luath Press, Birlinn and Mariscat. The University hosts the prestigious James Tait Black Awards, established in 1919 and the oldest literary prizes in Britain.

There are lots of opportunities to write and share your work, from ‘The Student’, the UK’s oldest student newspaper (founded in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson), to The Selkie, which was founded by Creative Writing students in 2018 to showcase work by people who self-identify as underrepresented.

Around the city, you’ll find library readings and bookshop launches, spoken word gigs, cabaret nights and poetry slams.

We team teach our programme so that you benefit from the input of a range of tutors, as well as your fellow students and our Writer in Residence, the poet Ryan Van Winkle, who also co-ordinates a range of student writing prizes and our annual industry event, The Business.

The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, including well-published and prize-winning writers of poetry, prose fiction and drama. They include:

Programme structure

Over the duration of the programme, you’ll take two core courses, both worth 40 credits, and two optional courses chosen from a wide range of subjects, both worth 20 credits.

The core activities in Creative Writing are tutor-led workshops in which you’ll present your work-in-progress, and critique the work of your fellow students, and regular seminars exploring techniques and issues specific to your practice (either fiction or poetry), and the statements and theories of practitioners.

Optional courses

We have a large number of option courses to choose from, including preferred courses for fiction and poetry (which will be offered to Creative Writing students in the first instance), and courses from across the Department of English Literature and the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

Visiting speakers

Throughout the programme, you’ll be expected to attend readings and talks by visiting speakers. Early on, these will be from published writers and, later, advisors from the writing business: literary agents, magazine editors and publishers.

Dissertation

The final element of the programme is your dissertation, a piece of creative writing (worth 60 credits) written with the advice and support of a designated supervisor. Fiction dissertations are between 15,000 words and 20,000 words, poetry dissertations between 25 and 30 pages.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Award Title Duration Study mode
MSc 1 Year Full-time Programme structure 2022/23

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify, conceptualise and define formal elements of craft in your chosen field (poetry or fiction) within published works and within works by your peers
  • remain open to criticism and respond effectively and creatively to feedback on your own creative work
  • work from initial conception through multiple drafts to the final version of a creative piece within your chosen field (fiction or poetry)
  • transfer editorial skills and creative abilities from one context to another
  • analyse creative works within your chosen field (fiction or poetry), work with a focus on craft effectiveness, and articulate strengths and weaknesses in a piece of writing in a constructive manner

Career opportunities

Over the course of this programme, you’ll complete a body of creative work that has been rigorously peer reviewed.

Our students go on to careers in a wide variety of fields, including publishing, marketing, arts administration, web and audio book editing, script and ghost writing, and gaming narrative design. Some decide to extend their studies and take a PhD with us.

Many of our alumni go on to achieve literary success, publishing novels and short story and poetry collections, and winning awards. Our graduates’ recent successes include:

  • Debut novels from Amanda Block (The Lost Storyteller, published by Hodder Studio), Karin Nordin (Where Ravens Roost, published by Harper Collins), August Thomas (Liar’s Candle, published by Simon and Schuster), Secrets of a Serial Killer by Rosie Walker (published by One More Chapter) and Mark Wightman (Waking the Tiger, published by Hobeck Books and shortlisted for Scottish Crime Debut of the Year 2021)
  • Debut short story collections from Dayle Furlong (Lake Effect, published by Cormorant Books), and Dima Alzayat (Alligator and Other Stories, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award for Fiction)
  • A non-fiction debut from Sonali Misra (21 Fantastic Failures, published by Rupa Publications India)
  • Debut poetry collections from Rebecca Tamás (WITCH, published by Penned in the Margins), Naomi Morris (Hyperlove, published by Makina Books) and Aileen Ballantyne (Taking Flight, published by Luath Press)
  • The 2021 Brotherton Poetry Prize, won by Lauren Pope, and the 2021 Pontas & JJ Bola Emerging Writers Prize, won by Bhavika Govil

Meet our graduates

A word from our Programme Director

Entry requirements

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in any discipline. This will often be in a directly related subject like English Literature/Creative Writing, but we welcome applicants from all academic backgrounds.*

Applicants who are entered into selection will be asked to provide a sample of written work to enable their suitability for the programme to be assessed.

(*Revised 9 November 2021 to clarify that degree may be in any discipline.)

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS , TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE , in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

MA Creative Writing / Overview

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Number of places/applicants

Please note that we receive a large amount of applications for this course each year. You are advised to apply early in order to avoid disappointment. The deadline for applications is 5 August, 2022.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MA Y Y N N

Attend an open day

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Discover more about this subject area

Course overview

  • Engage with writers, editors and agents.
  • Become part of a network of esteemed alumni .
  • Learn from a distinguished team that includes novelists Jeanette Winterson CBE, Ian McGuire, Kamila Shamsie, Beth Underdown, Honor Gavin and Luke Brown; poets John McAuliffe, Frances Leviston, Vona Groarke and Michael Schmidt; and non-fiction writers Ellah Wakatama and Horatio Clare.
  • Discover the rich literary fabric of Manchester, a UNESCO City of Literature, through Literature Live, Manchester Literature Festival, The Manchester Review, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and Manchester-based publishers.

Open days

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2022, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £10,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £21,000
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £5,250
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £10,500

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University’s Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Scholarships/sponsorships

Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School’s funding page where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University’s postgraduate funding database to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a 1st within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught masters course.

The Manchester Master’s Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.