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    School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Creative Arts & Design

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    27 September 2019

Programme description

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, this one-year, full-time taught Masters programme is tailored towards your practice in either fiction or poetry.

There is a strong practical element to the programme, helping you develop your creative skills through workshops, presenting your work for peer discussion, and hearing from guest writers and other professionals on the practicalities of life as a writer.

You’ll also sharpen your critical skills through seminars exploring the particulars of your chosen form and through option courses in literature, helping you move from theoretical considerations to practical applications.

The programme culminates with the publication of ‘From Arthur’s Seat’, an anthology of student work.

Literature has been taught here for over 250 years, and today Edinburgh thrives on its designation as the first UNESCO World City of Literature, home to the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, and a number of celebrated publishing outlets, from Canongate and Polygon, to Luath Press, Birlinn and Mariscat. The University hosts the prestigious James Tait Black Awards, established in 1919 and the oldest literary prizes in Britain.

You’ll be based at the heart of the University, in George Square, which has variously been home to Sir Walter Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jane Welsh Carlyle, and which hosts the Main University Library, lender of some two million borrowable volumes. In summer, it’s a popular Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue.

There are lots of opportunities to write and share your work, from ‘Student’, the UK’s oldest student newspaper (founded in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson), to ‘50GS’, a new student-led digital journal, and our own ‘From Arthur’s Seat’. Around the city, you’ll find library readings and bookshop launches, spoken word gigs, cabaret nights and poetry slams.

We team teach our programme so that you benefit from the input of a range of tutors, as well as your fellow students and our Writer in Residence, Claire Askew, who also co-ordinates a range of student writing prizes and our annual industry event, The Business.

Programme structure

Over the duration of the programme, you’ll take two core courses, both worth 40 credits, and two optional courses chosen from a wide range of subjects, both worth 20 credits.

The core courses in Creative Writing are two-hour, tutor-led workshops in which you’ll present your work-in-progress, and critique the work of your fellow students. You’ll also attend a weekly two-hour seminar exploring techniques and issues specific to your practice (either fiction or poetry), and the statements and theories of practitioners.

We have a large number of option courses to choose from, including preferred courses for fiction and poetry (which will be offered to Creative Writing students in the first instance), and courses from across the Department of English Literature and the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

Throughout the programme, you’ll be expected to attend readings and talks by visiting speakers. Early on, these will be from published writers and, later, advisors from the writing business: literary agents, magazine editors and publishers.

  • The final element of the programme is your dissertation, a piece of creative writing (worth 60 credits) written with the advice and support of a designated supervisor. Fiction dissertations are between 15,000 words and 20,000 words, poetry dissertations between 30 and 35 pages.

Learning outcomes

Students taking the programme will expand and refine their skills in poetry, or fiction. They will develop critical skills as readers of their own and others' work and will gain experience in the processes of presenting and publishing literary writing.

Career opportunities

Over the course of this programme, you’ll complete a body of creative work that has been rigorously peer reviewed.

A number of our graduates have seen their student work professionally produced, such as Sarah Kamlet (now Fulton), a writer and photographer living in Los Angeles, who’s ‘Ode to Jeff Goldblum’ was written for the Creative Writing MSc and subsequently made into an animated short on Funny or Die.

Our students go on to careers in a wide variety of fields, including publishing, marketing, arts administration, web and audio book editing, script and ghost writing, and gaming narrative design.

You may also follow your own creative path, becoming a published writer, or decide to extend your studies and move into a career in academia.


Visit the Creative Writing (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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