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Master of Fine Arts

An MFA is a higher credential than the MLitt, and is the internationally recognized standard for teachers of Creative Writing in secondary and tertiary higher education; most consider the MFA the qualification required to teach creative writing in North America and Europe.

St Andrews is one of the first universities in the UK to confer an MFA degree. Within the programme, students will be able to focus on producing a substantial piece of creative work under the supervision of a world-class writing faculty, and on preparing themselves as teachers of writing in a variety of instructional contexts. Since our MFA Year 1 students complete the same taught classes as our MLitt students, there is a far stronger emphasis placed on contact time than in other universities.

Script reading seminar in the Byre Theatre

The School offers two Master of Fine Arts degrees:

  • Creative Writing
  • Playwriting & Screenwriting. 

About the MFAs

Both Masters of Fine Arts degrees are two-year postgraduate degrees, and consist of two distinct phases of study.  In addition, there are two career skills modules – in MFA Year 1, ‘Research Skills for Creative Writers’; in MFA Year 2, ‘Practical Pedagogy for Creative Writers’.

  • MFA Year 1 is taught through technical seminars, workshops and individual tuition.
  • MFA Year 2 consists of two semesters of postgraduate supervision, at the end of which students will submit a substantial piece of creative work. In MFA Year 2 there will be the opportunity to be involved in the practical business of publishing an online magazine.

MLitt students will have the option to transfer into the MFA programme upon successful completion of the taught element of their course, where their MLitt year will count as MFA Year 1. Students who already hold a Masters level degree in Creative Writing may apply directly into Year 2 of the MFA. Please mark this clearly on your research proposal document.

The MFA in Creative Writing has two separate streams: Poetry and Prose, and prospective students should apply for one stream only. For their final submission, students on the prose track will submit a thesis of publishable quality of around 40,000 words; for poetry, a thesis of about 40 pages of verse.

Students taking the MFA in Playwriting & Screenwriting will submit a thesis of approximately 90 minutes performance time.

MFA applications