Creative Writing MFA

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing - Take your writing to the next level. Complete a book-length work: The next exciting step for those who have already completed a taught Masters.


York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 20 Full-time Home & EU students: £6,500, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
1 year full-time | 2 years part-time
Start date
September 2019
Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Course overview

Students have the flexibility to pursue a project that they are passionate about, and to be supported by the expertise of the staff team. This allows for a range of diverse backgrounds in terms of learning experiences, ethnic diversity, disability, gender and age; projects will be developed and tailored to the individual’s learning needs.

All staff members are actively publishing their writing and have won several awards between them for creative outputs. The team have expertise in speculative fiction, historical fiction, scriptwriting, screenwriting, adaptation, poetry, experimental poetry, hybrid forms, horror fiction, literary fiction, creative non-fiction (including memoir and true-crime), and are able to support writing in a number of genres.

The staff team of award-winning writers have an exciting and diverse approach to creative writing and are able to supervise a huge range of proposed projects. Current full-time staff members include: 

In addition, the Creative Writing team at York St John has a strong focus on the relationship between critical theory and creative writing and the intersection of a number of theoretical perspectives with creative practice, including eco-criticism, psychoanalysis, biopolitics and regionality. Members of the team have undertaken interdisciplinary and collaborative research exploring music, memory, medicine, uncanny landscapes and pollination.

Take a look at the taught Masters in Creative Writing to find out what our students learn on the programme.

Find out more about York St John's thriving and inspiring literary community at the York Centre for Writing

Discover some of our student success stories on our Beyond the Walls: The Creative Writing blog

Course structure

Creative Writing at York St John University is distinguished by:

  • The integration of writing practice, critical appreciation of texts and employability skills.
  • A focus on contemporary writing.
  • Regular engagement with visiting speakers and writers.
  • Partnerships with local publishers and writing festivals
  • The innovative use of the local and regional landscape in learning and teaching.
  • Research-led teaching.
  • Diverse and inclusive syllabi.
  • Opportunities for students to experience field trips as part of their learning experience.
  • Value added in terms of student achievement.



The three distinct routes offer focussed, but flexible structures to fulfil a range of motivations. This is distinctive in the UK market:

  • Publication/book route – your aim is to produce a full-length work (e.g. novel, poetry collection, script, biography) for publication/performance/dissemination. The Critical/reflective Commentary will focus on this, whilst the creative submission can be in any form/genre.
  • Community/Heritage route –your aim is to produce a book-length work, performance or account exploring an outreach project with a partner, for example in health, arts, music or heritage. The Commentary may focus on the development and implications of this project, and could incorporate some qualitative/quantitative data or case studies, where appropriate.
  • Critical/theoretical route – your aim is to produce a book-length work in any form (novel, poetry, script). The project has a strong theoretical/critical underpinning, in which the Critical/reflective Commentary explores and analyses a movement, literary theory or other critical idea and the creative work performs a practice-based exploration of the same. Intended for students considering moving onto a PhD, but not exclusively for them.
  • Your final manuscript will comprise 40,000-70,000 words of prose or approx. 1,200 lines of poetry (the aim being a book-length manuscript appropriate to the chosen the form). Writers wishing to produce a script will produce an equivalent ‘time’ length. Your final manuscript will be accompanied by a Critical Commentary of 6,000 words which reflects on the process of composition.
  • Your project will be supported by one to one, expert supervision. This can be undertaken full- or part-time, face to face, online or a blended approach to suit your circumstances.
  • You will take part in a termly Writers’ Workshop to share work in progress with like-minded peers in a nurturing atmosphere.
  • A Residential Writing Retreat offers an opportunity to reflect and focus on your progress amongst a community of writing peers, facilitated by tutors, in a beautiful and inspiring regional or city setting.
  • Close links to agents, publishers, literary events and local arts and heritage organisations will fuel your creativity and hone your employability skills.

Teaching and Learning

  • Taught via one to one supervision in three ten-week terms starting in October.
  • Termly peer Writing Workshops.
  • Weekend Residential Writing Retreat in April/May of the final year (with Portfolio Progress presentation assessment worth 20 of the 180 credits).
  • Manuscript submitted in September of the final year.
  • Whilst the learning is independent, but supported, students are encouraged to take a professional approach and attend the variety of events provided by the York Centre for Writing, which include visits from agents, publishers, editors and writers and foster an important sense of belonging and community.

Key Graduate Attributes

  • To have the confidence to research, compose and critically evaluate a substantial, complete body of creative writing for potential publication/exhibition/dissemination
  • To be reflective in relation to their own work and a body of texts, cultural artefacts and cultural contexts.
  • To be aware of, and sensitive to, a range of audiences/readers.
  • To take a professional approach to editing, drafting and critiquing creative work.
  • To have an awareness of the wider role of creative writing in culture.
  • To understand the publishing industry and feel confident in approaching agents, publishers, editors, directors etc.
  • To engage with a writing community, both at a local and national level.
  • To be generous in the support of creative peers within a community of practitioners.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry requirements


Applicants must hold a Masters Degree in Creative Writing or a related discipline and have achieved at least a Merit/60/B at Postgraduate Level.

Applicants will also need to submit a sample of creative writing, either in Prose, Script or Poetry of at least 1,000 words (or 3 poems)

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Visit York St John.

Discover life as a York St John student by visiting us. You’ll be able to explore our beautiful city-centre campus, meet our friendly staff and find out more about your chosen course.

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £6,500 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

A 25% discount is applicable to all graduates of the Creative Writing MA programme (subject to a minimum of a grade Merit).


Overseas 2019 / 20

The tuition fee for 2019 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International webpages.


How to Apply

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. 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.

To submit your proposal please attach your completed MFA Creative Writing Proposal Form, along with your writing sample in your online application, or you can email it to us separately to

Apply Now: Full-time

Apply Now: Part-time

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876598.

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