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St Mary's University

Creative Writing: First Novel MA

Previous degree


Distance learning available


Student visa accepted?



1 year (full-time)

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023: Top 10 for Student ExperienceThe Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023: Top 5 for Teaching Quality

Draft your novel in one year with our practical Creative Writing master’s

Shape your literary voice with our hands-on Creative Writing master’s. While other programmes will explore various written forms, we focus entirely on helping you plan, write and craft your novel. All assessed work is part of the novel you are writing. We’ll also provide the support, tools, and network to send your work to agents and publishers.

You’ll cover topics like:

  • reading like a writer
  • finding your own voice
  • style and technique
  • structure and plotting
  • point of view

Check out our published Simmies.

An immersive experience

You will learn in the environs of Strawberry Hill House – the home of gothic fiction. As a result, your degree is fully immersive and geographically distinct.

Expert guidance

Your lecturers are published novelists and industry experts. To enhance your skills and network, you’ll also attend guest seminars, masterclasses, and Q&As from writers, editors, and agents.

Personalised support

We’re a small university, so you’ll receive regular one-to-one supervision and personalised support. Our student, Jennifer, tells us that our academics are “accessible and happy to [share] their years of experience”.

Study around your schedule

You can study our Creative Writing MA on a part-time or full-time (two evenings a week) basis. Therefore, you’ll study around your commitments.


Dr Russell Schechter

Senior Lecturer and Course Lead - BA Creative & Professional Writing and MA Creative Writing

View profile

Upcoming Event

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MA First Novel webinar and Q&A - 7th March

Thursday 07th March 2024, 04:00PM

Book now

Course content


The modules listed below are the modules that were available to students in the 2023/24 academic year and are illustrative of what may be offered for 2024/25. 

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Entry requirements

A good first degree and 5,000-word sample submission are required for entry.


Previous degree

Additional requirement information

As part of your application, we require 5,000 words of prose fiction and a synopsis idea for a novel. The 5,000-word sample may be a complete chapter, story, or novel extract. The tutors will then invite applicants whose work reaches the required level for an interview.

The individual journey that you want to take is important and so that we can meet expectations candidates will be selected by interview and primarily on the strength of their work.

This is a particularly focused degree and we are looking for candidates who have written in short form but never attempted a novel, or who have written a work of novel-length but want to start again and improve their working practice.

International Requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section.

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

Further Information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Fees & funding

September 2024





Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme. Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken.

For further information about additional costs please see our additional costs webpage

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.


You can check on the UK government website to see if you may be eligible for a loan of up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate programme.

Home and international students may also be eligible for external sources of funding. International students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

For more information, please look at our postgraduate funding page.

How the degree is taught

Assessment methods

Each module produces a creative element of your draft which will be assessed. In the seminar modules, you will also be assessed by presentation to the group.

One-to-one tutorial feedback and support is essential for the writer aiming to complete a productive draft in just one year.

In formal assessment, each module will produce a mixture of creative submission to deadline, workshop engagement, critical reflection and seminar presentation. The weight of marking always rests with creative submission and the aim is to complete a draft of a novel through continuous assessment.

Career opportunities

Our Creative Writing master’s will help you develop a draft of your novel and the key tools you will need to complete and market the book. Essential transferrable skills, such as resilience, critical thinking, and communication are all a vital part of your course of study.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

What our students say about this course...

Jess is now working on two further novels, along with her first collection of short stories.

Jess Kidd

Apply now

September 2024

More from St Mary's


Postgraduate events

We have a range of webinars and events to help you decide whether St Mary's is the place for you.


Student life

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Open Days

Open Days are a fantastic opportunity for you to meet academic staff. You'll also be able to look around the campus, speak to current students and find out more about services such as Accommodation, Student Wellbeing and Study Abroad.

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