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Postgraduate course

Creative Writing MA

Unleash your creative potential and indulge in your passion for writing.

Student writing in a  notebook

Our Creative Writing MA offers a distinctive and flexible pattern of study. This is ideal if you're looking to extend or develop your interests in creative writing. Taught by award-winning authors with specialisms in fiction, poetry, non-fiction and scriptwriting, you will learn the craft of creative writing whilst exploring the theory behind it.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full-time | 2 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 undergraduate degree in a related subject

    1,000 word writing sample

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021-22 £6,500 full time

    International 2021-22 £12,750 full time

Course overview

This programme offers a great opportunity to join our thriving literary community and grow your creative potential. You will develop your skills as a writer and explore the theory and practice of writing in the contemporary world through a combination of taught modules, independent study, writing and research.

You will have the opportunity to develop employability skills, work on a publication, and complete your own final project where you work on a longer portfolio in depth, supervised by a dedicated member of staff.

Modules offer a thematic approach and you may write in any form on any given course (you are not asked to pin down whether you are a 'poet' or a 'novelist'). There are also modules that develop your employability - these are ideal if you have an interest in either facilitating writing groups yourself, or learning how the publishing industry operates.

The portfolio project is an opportunity for independent and in-depth development of a writing project, supervised by a writer on the team, and supported by three workshops. The course is enhanced by a range of further opportunities including a writing retreat, an opportunity to meet with an agent/publisher/editor and a wealth of brilliant events through the York Literature Festival.

You will have the opportunity for one-to-one sessions with your tutors every term. The final project is independent and is a chance to invest in a project of your choice.

Course structure

Level 1


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Gain an understanding of the key concepts of creative writing in an academic environment. Interrogate the study of creative writing as an academic subject. Explore your writing practice and engage with notions of creativity and authorship. You will develop drafting, group work-shopping and editing skills. Apply these as you progress through your course. We will also teach you to reflect on your work and write critical commentaries.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module engages with the written 'voice' in your own compositions and the works of others. You will deconstruct the concept of the 'writer’s voice' and consider practical issues relating to the expression of voice on the page. Study creative language in its cultural context, the use of speech and the voice. Explore the importance of speech-like forms in published works and your own writing.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module encourages you to consider wider contexts for your writing. We explore how you could get published in journals, magazines and books. Discover how to collaborate with other practitioners, and how to facilitate writing in various contexts. You will have the opportunity to meet industry professionals. From agents and publishers to facilitators and collaborators, this will allow you to gain insight into various possible routes for employability.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module, you will engage with the politics of space, place and the environment. Do this by reading contemporary fiction, poetry, non-fiction and scripts. You will produce your original work in response to a variety of environments, thinking in both critical and creative terms. This module will build upon the critical, reflective and creative skills developed on Critical Approaches to Creative Writing. It will also further develop your presentation skills.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module will focus on specific issues concerning the writer/audience relationship in various genres. These genres may include poetry, prose fiction, prose non-fiction and scriptwriting. Sessions will be tailored to projects you are developing, with a focus on audience and genre considerations. This will help you produce original writing, develop awareness of genre concepts and convention. This will ultimately enhance the impact you have on your on audiences.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Critically reflect on genre conventions and how writing can experiment with these traditions and boundaries. We will consider the relationship between historical and contemporary writing in a variety of forms. You will develop an understanding of influence, adaptation, appropriation and dialogues between texts. Experiment with and develop your own responses to the theme of tradition and innovation.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

This is your opportunity to develop a portfolio of creative writing in a sustained and professional manner. You will conduct research to support your composition. The portfolio may consist of a ‘collection’ of works, be a continuous work or an extract from a larger piece. Through one to one supervisions, you will develop, discuss and perfect your portfolio. Your supervisor will support you in researching your chosen genre.

Teaching and assessment

You can study for the Creative Writing MA part-time over two years or full-time over one year. The year is organised over three terms, autumn, spring and summer, with the MA starting in the final week of September each year. There will be one module per term for part-time and two modules per term for full-time students. Sessions are typically taught 6.00pm - 8.00pm on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings.

Sessions are taught in small groups (typically 10 - 12) and are facilitated by an expert member of the writing team. The atmosphere is intended to support and nurture your writing practice. You will be introduced to a range of inspiring contemporary texts in a variety of forms and genres, from poetry to fiction and scripts. You will share work in progress with your group and take part in writing prompts and exercises intended to inspire you. You will also learn how to edit and perfect your work and prepare for submission or dissemination.

The final portfolio project is an opportunity for independent and in-depth development of a writing project, supervised by a writer on the team, and supported by three workshops. There will also be an opportunity to attend a residential writing retreat and meet with an industry professional such as an agent, editor or publisher.

Entry Requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 undergraduate degree in a related subject

    1,000 word writing sample

We normally require a BA degree at 2:1 grade or higher (or equivalent). We are open to considering previous degrees in the Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences.

Writing Sample

You will need to submit a sample of creative writing, either in Prose, Script or Poetry of at least 1,000-2,000 words (or 3 poems) in order for staff to ascertain if the writing is of an appropriately high standard.


International Students 

International students will need to demonstrate that they have equivalent experience /qualifications as home students (ie the same entry criteria as above).

If their first language is not English they must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.


If you can't meet these minimum requirements it may be possible to take into account evidence of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) as an alternative method of meeting the programme’s entry requirements. In such a case, appropriate references and records of employment might be presented to support the applicant’s case for admission.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU fees for 2022 - 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £6,500 for full time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students studying part time, the tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £3,250 per year.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about postgraduate funding opportunities.

International fees for 2022 - 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Student Visa must be studying full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021-22 £6,500 full time

    International 2021-22 £12,750 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are an alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for Alumni

Additional costs and financial support


Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.


View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Apply for this course

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (full time or part time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Applications for September 2021 entry must be submitted and completed by 5 October 2021.

This course is no longer accepting applications for 2021 entry.

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