Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Write your first novel in a year with the input and supervision of published writers and industry experts. Taught on our historic campus two evenings a week, with a part-time option also available.

  • Draft your novel in a year
  • Faculty of acclaimed, published, practising writers
  • Guest visits, seminars and masterclasses from writers, agents and editors

Why study Creative Writing: First Novel?

While most Creative Writing MAs encourage students to sample a variety of written forms, our Creative Writing MA focuses on the novel, pure and simple.

It is aimed at students who want the time, support and tools needed to complete that crucial first draft – and the network and knowledge needed to take it further, towards an agent or publisher.

Why St Mary's?

Teaching on our MA Creative Writing: First Novel is practical, rather than theoretical, focussing on the obstacles that face all first-time writers. The course is taught through evening seminars and small-group workshops – where you’ll share your work in progress – as well as individual supervisions with a published novelist.

The small cohort means you'll workshop your novel-in-progress and receive one-to-one supervision on a more regular basis than many other Creative Writing postgraduate courses.

Our tutors are all published, practising writers. Drawing on our connections with the industry we offer seminars and Q&As with agents and editors from top UK agencies and publishers, as well as guest talks from visiting writers – including St Mary’s alumni who come back to launch their books at the university.

We are particularly proud of the strength of our Creative Writing cohorts, many of whom still meet to workshop with each other, and come back to campus for special writing development seminars that we run. You can find out more about their books on our published writers webpage.

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

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

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

Additional requirement information

We require 5,000 words prose in the first instance and a synopsis idea for a novel. The tutors will then assess the work and if at the required level will offer an interview. Those who are successful at interview are welcome to then formally apply.

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 (or equivalent).

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

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email apply@stmarys.ac.uk.

Course content

Modules

  • Reading Like a Writer Core
  • Writing Workshop 1: Style Core
  • Structure and Plotting Techniques Core
  • Writing Workshop 2: Structure Core
  • Dissertation Core

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.

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

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

September 2021

  • Home: £6,750
  • International: £13,950

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.

Funding

Government-funded loans of over £11,000 are available to many UK/EU postgraduate students.

For guidance about financing your studies, including information about the 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 russell.schechter@stmarys.ac.uk.

Facilities

View all facilities

Further information

Previous dissertations

There are many success stories for our graduates, with many going on to publish their novels or sign book deals:

  • Lara Dearman: Lara's first novel, The Devil's Claw, was published by Trapeze Books in 2017. The second book in the series, Dark Sky Island, was published in April 2019.
  •