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Creative Writing: First Novel - MA/PGDip/PGCert

Course Description

You want to write a novel. We have an Master's degree that will help you write it. And we think what we do is unique.

Why? Because the St Mary's Creative Writing MA works with a very small cohort. This means you will receive one-to-one tuition on a far more regular basis compared to 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. No short stories, no poetry, no screenplay. Just your novel.

Your novel deserves a tutor that understands all, and 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?

St Mary's tutors have published novels and are publishing now. Drawing on our connections with the industry we have, in the first year alone, brought in the winner of The Costa Novel award (2014), the fiction director of Bloomsbury, and The Bookseller's Agent of the Year (2014).

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. It is why our first PhD student in Creative Writing struck a two-book deal with Canongate and sales in multiple foreign territories.

Not convinced? Pick up the phone or email Programme Director and author Christie Watson today – she wants to hear about your novel – the one you know you have to write.

Course Content

You will study individually and as part of a group. At the beginning of the course, you will be allocated a personal supervisor who will oversee the development of your draft through tutorials.

Group work seeks to cultivate the collaborative atmosphere and productivity of an artist’s colony, through peer led workshops, meetings with experienced authors and encounter with readers. The supportive and comitted nature of our cohort is important to us, and we seek to put together the best possible people, for the best possible learning experience.

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

In addition to the modules and workshops, your cohort will be visited by working authors and industry figures, who will talk about their working practice and experiences in publishing.


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.

We are excited about starting this course at St Mary’s, where teaching was ranked first among our 20 competitor institutions and second for overall satisfaction in The National Student Satisfaction Survey (NSS). St Mary’s Creative Writing tutors score very highly in the quality of this provision and outside of our immediate competitors the university is ranked 15th in the country.

Your tutorial time will be scheduled but as with our undergraduate courses, we like to think the door is always open.

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.

Visit the Creative Writing: First Novel - MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the St Mary’s University, Twickenham website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Jennifer Small

I selected the Creative Writing First Novel MA as it's specifically designed for those who are attempting to write their first novel. It is a very small cohort of writers, which not only allows us all to get to know each other's work, but also allows for close contact with the tutors.

I gained an insight into the inner workings of the novel, a greater understanding of the writing process, along with the confidence to write.

It's a valuable opportunity to hone your writing skills and gain support and feedback from experienced, established authors and tutors, as well as sharing the writing experience with your peers on the course.


Entry Requirements

Writers should begin the degree with an idea they are burning to realise. 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. A good first degree and strong sample submission are the only requirements for entry. However, the individual journey that you want to take is important and so that we can meet expectations candidates will be selected by interview and on the strength of their work.

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Recipient: St Mary’s University, Twickenham

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