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Creative Writing (MLitt)

Course Description

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.

Visit the Creative Writing (MLitt) page on the University of St Andrews website for more details!

Student Profiles

Urquhart Scholarship - Single Award

The funds from this scholarship will be directly set against the tuition fees of any Home/EU or OS student.

Value of Scholarship(s)



All students who have been accepted for an MLitt in English Literature are automatically considered for this award.

Application Procedure

No separate application required. Nominees will be chosen from the pool of candidates already accepted for study places within the School of English.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Our minimum academic requirement for entry to most programmes is a 2:1 degree classification from a recognised UK university or the equivalent in a subject-related area

Course Fees

2017/18: Home/EU £7,500; Overseas £17,090

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