Creative Writing (MLitt) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The MLitt in Creative Writing develops original work while providing critical and creative study in either poetry or prose. The MLitt offers practice-based, technically and creatively oriented tuition by leading contemporary authors with an emphasis on the development of individual style, and the goal of literary excellence.

Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2025
One year full time
School of English

Application deadline

Thursday 8 August 2024 

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

  • A 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. However, a candidate who demonstrates outstanding writing abilities may be accepted on the basis of an equivalent qualification (for example, a body of published work or a relevant professional qualification), but such cases are entirely at the discretion of staff and require decanal approval.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • Supplementary application to School of English (Word)
  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • academic critical essay on an English literature topic (approximately 2,000 words) 
  • Poetry applicants should supply a portfolio of original verse (10 poems)
  • Prose applicants should supply original fiction and/or non-fiction writing (10 to 15 pages) 
  • two original signed academic references (on university headed paper) from your most recent degree awarding institution
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates 

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.  See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MLitt in Creative Writing is a one-year taught programme run by the School of English. The course consists of two semesters with taught components followed by an individual creative writing project taking place over the whole year, but with particular focus during the last three months. 

The School of English also offers a separate MLitt in Playwriting and Screenwriting.


  • have the opportunity to study with leading contemporary authors 
  • gain a firm grounding in style and technique 
  • learning critical thinking and the ability to be your own best editor 
    learn the importance of broad and well-informed reading in the development of an original ‘voice’ 
  • develop an awareness of creative industry norms in publication and networking. 

Further course information


The modules published below are examples of what has been taught in previous academic years and may be subject to change before you start your programme. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the module catalogue.

Students take one compulsory module on research skills in Semester 1 and two modules in a chosen area over both semesters. 

The following module is compulsory for everyone studying Creative Writing: 

  • Research Skills for Creative Writing: an introduction to primary skills such as proofreading and copy-editing; the literary marketplace, and the roles of editors, publishers, agents and festival organisers; the use of IT resources and library materials. 

Students who select the prose option for the MLitt will study the following compulsory modules over Semesters 1 and 2: 

  • Writing Prose 1 and Writing Prose 2: a critical and practical study of the writing of literary prose, including short and long fiction, as well as the literary essay, life writing and other non-fiction forms.  

Students who select the poetry option for the MLitt will study the following compulsory modules over Semesters 1 and 2:  

  • Writing Poetry 1 and Writing Poetry 2: these cover a range of essential topics in poetry and its composition, including the creative process, the poetic line, the use of lyric, imagery, metaphor, metre, experimental practice, meaning and interpretation. 

In August, students will submit a dissertation comprising original work in one of the following forms:  

  • Poetry: a collection of at least 20 pages of verse. Candidates who opt to submit a long poem or poems should do so only after consultation with their supervisor. 
  • Prose: a prose extract of around 15,000 words. It need not be the opening of the book, but it should be a continuous excerpt and it must be supported by a one-page outline or synopsis showing the intended development of the book. 
  • Short stories: one or more stories of 15,000 words in total. Prose work in other forms (for example, creative non-fiction) may be submitted but should be discussed in detail with a supervisor. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt. 


Teaching methods include seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. 

Class sizes typically range from three to ten students, ensuring high levels of individual attention. 

Modules are assessed through coursework essays, original writing and the final dissertation.

The School of English prides itself on its support of student work through detailed feedback and commentary. 


The School of English hosts research events through its four research groups: 

The School of English normally also hosts an annual colloquium. Recent themes have been: 

  • Reimagining Andrew Marvell: The Poet at 400  
  • The English Legal Imaginary, 1500-1700 
  • Bannockburn, 1914: Anniversary culture, war and national identity in Scotland 
  • Opera and Fiction 
  • World Literature and Dissent 
  • (Un)Civil War? 
  • John Keats and Romantic Scotland 
  • Libraries in Literature 
  • Devouring Men: Food, Masculinity and Power. 

The Postgraduate Forum offers postgraduates the opportunity to present research in progress to a group of their peers.  




Application fee

Before we can begin processing your application, a payment of an application fee of £50 is required. In some instances, you may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Details of this, along with information on our tuition fees, can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances.

All School of English study applicants will be given access to the My Application portal. The Scholarships and Funding area of the portal includes an online catalogue through which you can apply for available relevant awards.  

15% Recent Graduate Discount

If you have graduated from the University within the last three academic years, you may be eligible for a 15% discount on postgraduate taught tuition fees. Terms and conditions apply.

Taught postgraduate scholarships    Postgraduate loans

After your degree


Graduates of the course have gone on to become published writers or pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, marketing, publishing and teaching. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

Further study

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

Students who have a Masters in Creative Writing may apply directly into the second year of the MFA (different fees apply for the MFA - see tuition fees for taught postgraduate programmes for more information).  

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate online visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2668
School of English
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

School of English website