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UCAS code

3 Years



UCAS points
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UCAS points
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Jonathan Gibbs
Jonathan Gibbs

Programme Director - Creative and Professional Writing
020 8240 4380

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"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work." - Stephen King

Creative and Professional Writing is also available as an undergraduate degree with a foundation year.
Creative and Professional Writing video

Why study Creative and Professional Writing?

Creative writing challenges you to explore the universes of your imagination and to sharpen your practical writing skills to the highest degree. You must love words and language and be passionate about reading and writing to undertake this course of studies, but the rewards can be immense and hugely satisfying.

Few people write really well, but if you learn to do it - and we can help you - you will always be a step up on the competition. In the current marketplace the transferable skills offered by this degree in terms of critical thinking and coherent, compelling expression are second to none.

Creative writing anthology

We publish an anthology of work submitted by our Creative and Professional Writing students every spring. Read the anthology...

Why St Mary's?

Our goals on the St Mary’s Creative and Professional Writing programme are threefold: to help students develop into the writers they want to be; to hone the core writing skills that will set them up for all manner of careers across the creative and other industries; and to give them a general introduction to the publishing world and literary scene in the UK and beyond.

There's no snobbery in the teaching of creative writing at St Mary’s. We're open to all kinds of writers with a wide array of interests, from science fiction to screenplays and from rap to romance. We recognise that reading and writing is changing, and we try to reflect new developments, from social media to video game writing. You tell us what you want to write and we will help you to write it as well as you can.

In the Creative and Professional Writing programme we want you to write. A lot. And read. A lot. We give students regular writing exercises to guide them towards their assignments, and we encourage wide reading. Most of the set texts on the course are contemporary – from the last 20 years – so that students learn how people are writing now. Much of what they read is very recent. We want our students to be up to date on what is happening in the creative writing world now.

At St Mary's we are friendly and supportive and get to know our students very well. We operate an open door policy in Creative Writing where we meet students regularly to discuss books, film and life. There is a lively Professional and Creative Arts Society, and regular informal reading evenings, where students share work with each other.

Our teachers are all practising, published novelists, poets and writers. There are fantasy and horror writing experts, acclaimed book critics and literary novelists, international journalists and TV scriptwriters. 

You will also have the opportunity to study abroad in the second year in countries including America and Australia.

Key facts

  • 91% teaching satisfaction among English and creative writing students at St Mary's (Guardian Uni League Tables 2019)
  • Acclaimed journalists and novelists on staff. Innovative teaching techniques
  • No modules are assessed through exams
  • Transferable skills that apply to any industry
  • Opportunities to study abroad
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus

Joint honours combinations

Creative and Professional Writing can be combined with any of the following courses to create a joint honours degree programme:

Course content

Year one

  • Foundation of Writing 
  • Reading across Literary Forms 
  • Voices in Contemporary Fiction 
  • Writing Short Fiction 

Year two

  • Eighteenth-century London: Writing the Metropolis 1700-1832 
  • Journalism 
  • The Publishing Industry 
  • Writing Adaptations 
  • Writing for Film and Television 
  • Writing Genre Fiction 

Year three

  • Creative Non-Fiction 
  • Extended Essay 
  • Screen and Script: The Codes and Structures of Film and Television Narrative 
  • Writing Children's Fiction 
  • Writing Poetry 
  • Portfolio Core
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

Our students go onto a wide range of graduate level careers and postgraduate study. There are challenging career opportunities in publishing, journalism, advertising, the media, editing and creative writing, teaching. 

The programme is useful for all careers. We teach critical skills as well as those transferrable skills of being able to write well and articulate ideas, as well as gain confidence in advanced communicative skills. It is excellent preparation if you would like to pursue further specialised training at postgraduate level and increasingly valued in a wide variety of professions.

The Careers Service has more information on careers and postgraduate study options available to Creative and Professional Writing students who have started their studies at St Mary’s.

There is also the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of your degree. The Centre for Workplace Learning offers work-related modules that can be embedded within your studies.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

The Creative and Professional Writing programme is taught by means of lectures, seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. Enthusiastic student participation is essential to success in the programme.

Students are encouraged to start creative writing at a very early stage in the course and to regularly share their work with colleagues. There are opportunities for collaborative projects and developing skills in constructive criticism of creative work. Jonathan Gibbs (Programme Director, Creative & Professional Writing) has written an article on the role of the short story in teaching creative writing.

Assessment methods

With no exams, the programme - by its very nature - places a premium on practical exercises, coursework and projects, so skills will be assessed by a diverse range of methods. 

Modules are assessed on the basis of creative writing portfolios, course workbooks and presentations. Attendance and active participation in writing workshops is an essential aspect of assessment for some modules. All assessment is coursework based, with no examinations.

In the final year of the programme it's possible for you to be assessed in large part on lengthier-scale projects. These will be produced within the framework of a special study or portfolio, under the close supervision of a specialist tutor.


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Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: coming soon*
  • International: £12,250

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £11,750

* Please note: These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the Governments review of Higher Education Funding.

Information about tuition fees, student loans and funding your studies can be found within our fees and funding section.

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

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

Further information

UCAS Application Timeline