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Creative Writing (MLitt) 2021 entry

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.

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Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. However a candidate who demonstrates outstanding writing abilities may be accepted on the basis of an equivalent qualification (e.g. 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.

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Tuition fees

UK: £9,900
Overseas: £20,370

Application deadline

31 January 2021 for those also applying for School of English scholarships; Friday 28 May 2021 for all other applicants, however those not applying for scholarships are still encouraged to apply as early as possible for international visa purposes.

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)
  • portfolio of original verse (10 poems) or prose (10 to 15 pages)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

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

Course information

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.

Highlights

  • 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.

Teaching format

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.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

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 Writers: 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: this covers 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 an original piece of 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.


The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 
 

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

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Conferences and events

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:

  • 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.

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

Funding

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. 

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. 

After the MLitt

Research degrees

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). 

Careers

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 on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Contact information

School of English
University of St Andrews
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2668
Email: pgeng@st-andrews.ac.uk

English website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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