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Creative Arts & Design×

University of St Andrews, Full Time Masters Degrees in Creative Arts & Design

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Intensive critical and creative study in poetry or in a variety of prose forms, including fiction, life writing and playwriting. An emphasis on best practice in recent and contemporary writing. Read more

MLitt in Creative Writing

• Intensive critical and creative study in poetry or in a variety of prose forms, including fiction, life writing and playwriting.
• An emphasis on best practice in recent and contemporary writing.
• Encourages the development of your work, in either prose, poetry or writing for performance.
• You should be adept at academic study as well as your own writing, and will be taught by published writers who are familiar with the problems, pressures and pleasures of writing.
• Writing for Performance students will require to participate in a number of theatre visits and will be required to meet costs of approximately £200.


* The School admits around 30 new taught postgraduate students each year.

* Research excellence in all periods of English literature from Old English to the present day.

* Members of the School include winners of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Whitbread Prize, T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, the Forward Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Canongate Prize, the Petrarca Preis, the Prix Zepter Prize and a Commonwealth Writers Prize for fiction.

* The University has one of the highest concentrations of mediaevalists in the UK, united by the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS).

* The School is home to the Cambridge University Press edition of Virginia Woolf edited by Susan Sellers and Jane Goldman (University of Glasgow), making St Andrews a prestigious international centre for Woolf studies.

* Members of the School sit on the editorial board of Forum for Modern Language Studies, a humanities journal published by Oxford University Press.

* The School offers Creative Writing classes taught by some of the most highly regarded novelists, poets and playwrights in the UK – John Burnside, Robert Crawford, Oliver Emanuel, Lesley Glaister, Zinnie Harris, Don Paterson, Susan Sellers and Ruth Thomas.

Postgraduate community

The School has a vibrant postgraduate community of around 80 students (full and part time) with a dedicated administrator who manages and advises on all postgraduate matters from admissions queries to PhD vivas, ensuring continuity for both postgraduates and staff.

Postgraduates meet regularly at the School’s Postgraduate Forum and at various voluntary seminar series organised by English or other Schools within the Faculty of Arts. The crossfertilisation of ideas between traditional literary / theoretical research and creative writing provides a uniquely stimulating environment supporting the usual individual meetings between postgraduate students and their supervisors. All taught postgraduates have access to research funds to help offset the costs of attending conferences or other research libraries.

Students are part of a welcoming and lively academic community. There is an active student-run Literary Society and the Postgraduate Forum, where postgraduates meet to present and discuss their ongoing work. Each semester, the School invites distinguished visiting academics and creative writers to lead seminars, lectures and workshops as part of our regular research events.


The teaching rooms and staff offices of the School of English are housed in two nineteenth-century stone buildings, Castle House
and Kennedy Hall, opposite St Andrews Castle and overlooking the sea. 66 North Street, the School’s dedicated Centre for research students, is only a few minutes’ walk away. It offers bench rooms with PC workstations for all postgraduates, both taught and research. This lovely nineteenth-century building also has a well-used kitchen, common room and sunny garden. The encouragement of postgraduate study is a special concern of ours, and the number of postgraduate students has grown markedly in recent years.

The University Library has outstanding resources for research in English. The Copyright Deposit Collection contains approximately 40,000 volumes, covering the whole subject area from 1709 to 1837, and approximately 5,000 volumes of periodicals which ceased publication before 1841. Some of this material is not held in the National Library of Scotland. The print collection therefore offers an impressive range of opportunities for research in eighteenth-century literature, the Scottish Enlightenment and Romanticism.

The University Library also subscribes to a wide variety of online databases, including JISC Historic Books for access to almost all printed books to 1800, and Defining Gender 1450- 1910 for material supporting the School’s work in gender and sexuality studies. Manuscript collections extend from mediaeval archives through some of the world’s most detailed records of eighteenth and nineteenth-century reading to the papers of the contemporary poet Douglas Dunn. Postgraduates have the opportunity to work with expert Library staff in areas ranging from palaeography to digital humanities.

Additional application information

All MLitt applicants should submit a sample of written work of around 2,000 words. This must be a critical academic essay (or extract) related to the proposed field of study. Applicants for the MLitt programme in Creative Writing should also include a typed portfolio of original verse, prose or play/ screenwriting (around 10 poems or 10-15 pages of prose or play/screenwriting). In addition, all applicants should submit a Supplementary Application Form in place of a personal statement. The form may be downloaded from the website at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/english/postgraduate/applying/documents/

Funding: investing in your future

The School of English normally offers a small number of its own awards for suitably qualified applicants who have been accepted for an MLitt. These are open to both home/EU and overseas students. Up-to-date information can be found at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/english/postgraduate/funding/

Recent School of English taught postgraduate students have also succeeded in obtaining funding from a variety of external sources in order to study here, including the Marshall Scholarship, the Ransome Trust and Scotland’s Saltire Scholarship fund.

Details of these and other scholarship opportunities and initiatives can be found on the University’s scholarships webpages: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/fees-and-funding/scholarships/taught/


Following a taught postgraduate course in English at the University, students go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, marketing, publishing and teaching. Others continue in academia, moving on to a PhD. The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

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These degrees are designed to allow students the maximum choice of specific modules. The History of Photography module choices are slightly more constrained than Art History. Read more
These degrees are designed to allow students the maximum choice of specific modules. The History of Photography module choices are slightly more constrained than Art History. The majority of these modules are offered each year according to staff availability and sufficient student demand. We recommend that you confirm with the School that the courses of interest will be available during the period in which you plan to attend St Andrews as not all modules are available every year.

Teaching methods

Students take four modules during the two semesters of coursework. We recommend you take the module focused upon methodology and resources. The modules are taught as smallgroup discussion seminars, with an average size of 4-8 students in each group. There is a minimum of 12 hours’ contact time for each 30-credit module. Additionally, there may be class trips where relevant to the taught modules and there is a research seminar with guest lecturers for all staff and students every two weeks. Across the two semesters, students also participate in a series of skills workshops designed to help prepare for the dissertation element.


The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework. Students complete a sequence of research-driven tasks designed to consolidate and extend their knowledge and to develop analysis and writing skills. Assessment components include book reviews, annotated bibliographies, visual analysis and object analysis essays, reading journals and research papers.

The dissertation module provides the opportunity to undertake an independent research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff. The dissertation is researched and written over the summer semester. It is a substantial piece of academic research, 15,000 words in length.


A postgraduate degree in Art History, History of Photography or Museum and Gallery Studies provides an excellent foundation for a career in the art or museum world.

The Museum and Gallery Studies course provides a theoretical foundation combined with hands-on, practical and transferable experience. Recent graduates have gone on to work for a range of institutions, from the Scottish Light House Museum to the National Museums of Scotland, the Victoria and Albert Museum to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the McManus Galleries in Dundee to Zhejiang University Museum of Art & Archaeology, and auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, and Bonham’s, among many others. Two year-long traineeships within University Collections are open uniquely to Museum and Gallery Studies graduates, as is the four to five month David Nicholls Curatorial Internship at the South Georgia Museum in Antarctica.

Recent postgraduates in Art History and History of Photography are employed in universities and archives, museums and galleries, auction houses, radio stations, publishing houses and magazines and are also working in journalism, teaching, and retail.

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The opportunity to study Film Studies at an advanced level. An emphasis on international and transnational cinemas. Both core and specialist modules are assessed by essay. Read more

MLitt in Film Studies

• The opportunity to study Film Studies at an advanced level.
• An emphasis on international and transnational cinemas.
• Both core and specialist modules are assessed by essay.
• Two specialist modules provide you with the opportunity to transfer and apply the theoretical knowledge and research skills acquired in the core module to a more concrete level of intellectual investigation, focusing on the creation of meaning and aesthetic value in the context of global dynamics of cultural production and distribution.
• The specialist modules vary annually and reflect current staff research interests. Emphasis throughout the year is placed on individual research.


* Film Studies was ranked first in Scotland for world leading and internationally excellent research in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014.

* Senior expertise of high profile scholars, such as Professor Robert Burgoyne, Professor Richard Dyer, Mr Jean Michel Frodon and Professor Dina Iordanova, all internationally known and respected leaders in the field .

* Regular visits from high-profile film critics, film. The most recent have been celebrated Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán, who in April 2015 visited the Department and attended a screening of two of his films, followed by a Q&A session.

* The new programme in Global Cinema: Managing and Cultural Curation, is offered out of the Institute for Global Cinema and Creative Cultures (IGCCC: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/globalcinema ) which capitalise on achievements, global connections and on our reputational advantages as leaders in the study of global culture, film circulation and film festivals.

In learning and teaching, St Andrews sets the highest of standards and attracts students from all over the world with understandably high expectations. In its first five-yearly review in 2009, the Department’s teaching provision achieved the highest possible commendation. Teaching and research are closely co-related, and postgraduate teaching is informed by the staff’s research activity.

At St Andrews, we investigate cinema as a key form of cultural output and as the dominant type of creative expression. Focusing on the global dimension, our programmes cover key aspects of Film Studies through the lens of transnational cultural studies.

Film Studies at St Andrews is committed to questioning the traditional view of what is ‘normal’ cinema. We attempt to uncover the agendas (be they national, ‘western’, cultural, commercial, industrial, and so on) that define how we think about cinema, both in terms of the kinds of films we watch for pleasure, and those we study at university. There is much to be learned by studying what is produced at the margins of dominant societies, in addition to the canonical films of Hollywood and the European art house. We are interested in exploring the ways in which racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual subcultures conceptualise their identities. Similarly, we are keen to look at films produced at the periphery of established nations, co-productions between smaller players struggling to survive in the global marketplace and popular genre films often deemed unworthy of high-brow critical attention. Similarly, we
look at films that focus on transnational communities or appeal to international markets that deal with lesser-known histories and are made in foreign languages but are nonetheless worthy of critical examination and intellectual engagement.

Studying film at St Andrews will help you master a range of advanced research skills and acquire knowledge related to the construction and analysis of the moving image, the past and present day realities of various national and regional film traditions, the dynamics of the global film industry, and the theoretical approaches related to film.

Facilities and collections

The Department is housed in its own buildings, in North Street. They are within easy walking distance of the University Library, local cinema and town centre. The Department is well resourced with a dedicated teaching room. Recently the Department has started to use the wonderful facilities at the nearby Byre Theatre for most of our seminars, and for other film-related activities. MLitt classes are usually held at the Byre. A Film Studies Postgraduate Study Centre houses a DVD collection, postgraduate workspaces, viewing stations and off-air recording facilities.

At St Andrews you will be exposed to a rich and diverse film programme. Regular course-related film showings take place in a custom-built theatre. In addition, a range of screenings takes place across the University during term time, featuring films related to anthropology, international relations, and history.

St Andrews has excellent library provision, with book, journal and other information resources in Film Studies at a level consistent with an international centre of excellence. The Main Library hosts one of the best collections of international cinema on DVD and video (over 9,000 titles). The Library also holds over 1,000,000 print monographs, over 32,000 electronic books, and substantial journal title holdings in print and over 33,900 full-text electronic titles. Well over 2,000 monographs are classified under Film Studies and related subjects. There are holdings of approximately 100 film, television and media-related journals, of which about 65 are available electronically; there is also networked access to various databases, including Box of Broadcasts, Film Indexes Online and Film & Television Literature Index Full-Text.


In our media saturated culture, the opportunities for Film Studies graduates are remarkably diverse. Directly related are careers in academia, creative industries, development, distribution, film festival/cinema programming, and arts administration.

A Film Studies degree opens doors to many other spheres, including media management, film and TV research, journalism, publishing, advertising, cultural entrepreneurship, nongovernmental organisations, marketing, public relations and education. Recent destinations include: Junior Assistant Producer, European Tour Productions (IMG Media); Adjunct Instructor, SUNY (State University of New York) at Oswego; Consultant for Propel London Media.

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