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1 Year


Jonathan Gibbs
Jonathan Gibbs

Programme Director - Creative and Professional Writing
020 8240 4380

Apply now for: September 2020

Apply now

Apply now for: September 2020

Apply now

Write your first novel in a year with the supervision of industry experts. Two evenings a week full or part-time

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Why study Creative Writing: First Novel?

Our Creative Writing: First Novel master's degree works with a very small cohort. This means you'll receive one-to-one tuition on a far more regular basis compared to many other Creative Writing postgraduate courses. Here, you will be personally guided through the journey of your first draft, rather than being another student at the back of a large class.

Teaching is practical and focused on developing the tools needed for the production of a first novel draft. No short stories, no poetry, no screenplay, just your novel.

Your novel deserves a tutor that understands all - not just some of its parts - and you deserve a tutor who will coach not just the first draft of your novel, but also the development of your creative process.

Why St Mary's?

Our tutors are all published, practising writers. Drawing on our connections with the industry you'll also have seminars with some of the most sought-after agents and publishers in London.

When you have finished the degree, you can choose to continue workshopping and drafting with the dedicated cohorts we establish every year. We are passionate about our craft and about your craft too. That's why our first PhD student in Creative Writing struck a major two-book deal with Canongate and sales in multiple foreign territories.

Students receive visits from high-profile industry experts from the publishing world. These include talks, Q&As and masterclasses from writers, editors and agents. Recent years have seen visits from representatives of Conville and Walsh, Picador and Gollancz as well as writers such as Christie Watson, Claire Fuller and Lavie Tidhar.

We want to hear about your novel – the one you know you have to write. Pick up the phone or email the Programme Director: or call 020 8240 4380.

Key facts

  • Faculty of acclaimed, published, practising writers
  • Guest visits, seminars and masterclasses from writers, agents and publishers
  • Draft your novel in a year
  • Full-time places can be studied over two evenings a week
  • Friendly tutors offering regular one-to-one tutorials to help shape your novels
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus

Course content


  • Assessment Draft - Tutorial  
  • Reading Like a Writer - Seminar 
  • Structure and Plotting - Seminar 
  • Writing Workshop One: Voice 
  • Writing Workshop Two: Structure 
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

Some of our graduates go on to write full-time or apply to PhD programmes. Others work in publishing, teaching, journalism and a wide range of careers.

The transferable skills of being able to critically evaluate and articulate ideas as well as the ability to write well are relevant skills for any sector.

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

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

The course takes you from the exploratory phase of writing through to re-drafting, in five modules, across three semesters and a lecture series.

At the beginning of the course, you will be allocated a personal supervisor who will oversee the development of your draft through tutorials.

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.

How the course is taught

We run the course on two evenings a week, enabling those with other commitments the opportunity to study with us.

You will study individually and as part of a group. The supportive and committed nature of our cohort is important to us, and we seek to put together the best possible people, for the best possible learning experience.


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Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: £6,490
  • International: £13,650

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: £6,240
  • International: £13,650

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Part-time fees

Part-time students will be charged for the modules undertaken per academic year. Module prices are calculated as a percentage of credits against the total credits and cost of the degree.

Tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee per module for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.


For guidance about financing your studies, including information about government-funded loans, please check out Fees & Funding section.

International Students should check their eligibility for our International Scholarship.

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.

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 contact


Jonathan Gibbs Jonathan Gibbs

Programme Director - Creative and Professional Writing

Dr Russell Schechter Dr Russell Schechter

Senior Lecturer

Further information