MA Creative Writing

Postgraduate, Part-time

Add expertise to your talent and ideas and learn in the company of industry experts on this innovative, inspiring course for aspiring writers.

  • Napier code:

    54719MM

  • Course type:

    Part-time

  • Duration:

    2 years

  • Award:

    MA

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

If you want to make a career in writing, this course is for you. You already have talent and ideas, we’ll add the expertise you need to approach your chosen market with confidence, originality and skill. No ambitions are out of bounds: we love commercial genre fiction and literary experiments equally.

We aim to ensure our graduates are equipped to succeed - and to change the culture they choose to enter.

This is a part-time course, starting in September, which can be tailored to suit your needs.


creative writing

We take an innovative approach to the training and support of aspiring writers, driven by intellectual ambition and practical industry experience. There are four strands to the programme:

  • developing narrative technique
  • practising vocational skills (including abridgement, adaptation and collaborative creation)
  • experimental, theoretical and personal development work
  • regular one-to-one editorial mentoring

Uniquely, the course offers a dynamic range of cross-disciplinary options. Writing for graphic fiction, screenwriting, interactive media and creative non-fiction are all offered as specialisms, while our pioneering module in genre fiction covers crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction with YA options in each.

We host an exciting programme of lectures and master classes from award-winning authors and high-profile industry experts. In addition, an internationally recognised author joins us for 12 months as Writer in Residence, to develop new work alongside students, share experience and offer one-to-one consultations.

Our approach to full-length narrative development trains you to deploy a range of unique and dynamic pre-writing techniques invented by our programme. This energetic combination of conceptual development and critical self-reflection will transform you into a technically adept, purposeful writer ready to make your mark.

This course is studied part-time for two years. With the support and guidance of our tutors you’ll develop an individualised programme of study that best suits you.

The course is taught by industry professionals Sam Kelly, a former literary agent and David Bishop, a successful working writer and former editor. In addition to campus facilities, our students have access to the Writers’ Room, a private workspace with Wi-Fi, available evenings and weekends. It houses an exclusive library of 2,000 hand-picked books, DVDs and graphic novels and is the venue for reading groups and social events.

The MA is piloting a Teaching Internship Scheme, offering selected graduates the opportunity to develop their teaching practice with the course for a further year.

Subjects include

  • Creating Narrative – Writer’s Toolkit
  • Innovation and Authorship
  • Creative and Editorial Development
  • Writing Practice – First Person Narrative
  • Writing Graphic Fiction
  • Writing Genre Fiction
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Interactive Media
  • Major Project

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Among our graduates’ achievements are:

  • book deals
  • representation by literary agents
  • international and national competition wins
  • publication in magazines and anthologies
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival appearances
  • paid editing and writing commissions
  • performances and teaching
  • working for national literary organisations


The entry requirements for this course are an Honours Degree at a 2:2 or above in any discipline with relevant writing experience.

Once your application is received, you may be contacted by the Programme Leader with an invitation to submit a sample of writing: this is the second stage in selection. Please do not send writing samples with your initial application, as a detailed brief and deadline will be provided. The final stage in the selection process is an interview: for international applicants, this is conducted by telephone.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 with no individual component score of less than 7.0.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact pgadmissions@napier.ac.uk

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2016/17 2017/18
Stage 1 n/a £1,700
Stage 2 n/a £1,700
Dissertation n/a £350
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Home EU - Total Fee n/a £3,750
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Stage 1 n/a £5,679
Stage 2 n/a £6,941
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Overseas - Total Fee n/a £12,620
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Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Modules that you will study as part of this course*

Beyond Narrative ( CLP11112 )

This module builds upon the lessons learned in Creating Narrative, taking you on the next stage of the writer's journey. The first few weeks tackle the rewriting process, exploring how to self-edit, when to stop writing and what lessons can be learned from each draft. Next you will explore abridgement and adaptation, two crucial areas of creative writing where you'll be making decisions about other peoples' stories. The module focus then moves back to your original work, examining the different paths to a commission - and the dead ends that can impede your progress. Guest speakers from the publishing industry (including agents and editors) will tell you what they look for. In the final weeks you'll learn about putting yourself and your work out there, coping with rejection and surviving publication.

Further information

Creating Narrative - Writer's Toolkit ( CLP11119 )

This module focuses on concepts, skills and techniques for the pre-writing development of a full-length narrative project. Each session examines a particular element of pre-writing, building into a complete process you can use to hone and shape a potential novel, graphic novel, screenplay or interactive project. The first few weeks interrogate the initial stages of your creative process, such as defining the purpose of your work, examining ways to develop ideas into stories, and using contextual reading and research to enhance the authenticity and originality of your project. Next you will explore thematic architecture and linguistic development to enrich your world-building and create a purposeful network of themes and ideas underpinning your narrative. The following weeks are devoted to characterisation and structure, helping you build unique characters and define the most appropriate choice of tone and narrative position(s) for your project. Plot and synopsis writing bring your learning journey to its conclusion, giving you the tools to shape a compelling journey for your project and its characters while embracing the challenges of perfect pacing and elegant exposition.

Further information

Creating Narratives ( CLP11113 )

This module delves into the nuts and bolts of creating narratives, with each session examining a particular element of the process. The first few weeks delve into the initial stages of the creative process, such as how to generate ideas and develop them into stories, and using research to give your work authenticity and originality. Next you will explore structure, plotting and planning - discovering the methods that work best for you as a writer. The middle of this module is devoted to character, learning about the importance of narrative viewpoint and empathy. Mastering theme and tone occupies the following sessions, as you engage with these powerful writing tools. You will consider genre - what it means for you as a writer, and its importance for your intended audience. The penultimate session considers dialogue, lies and narrators before the grand finale: assembling a trouble-shooting toolkit to help you overcome the temptations of procrastination and the tyranny of perfectionism. Throughout the module you'll also be reading and discussing short, recent works by leading authors in different genres, exposing you to current trends in your chosen field.

Further information

Dissertation ( JAC11106 )

The module comprises a taught programme in trimester 2, which covers advanced literature reviewing, framing and generating research questions, methodological issues (including reflexivity), qualitative research methods, critical analysis, scholarly writing and presentation. Students undertake independent study under supervision to produce a 15 000-word dissertation on a topic appropriate to the student's programme of study (Trimester 2).

Further information

Major Project ( CLP11110 )

Major Project is the culmination of all your learning on the MA. Depending on your chosen specialism it’s an opportunity to begin your novel in earnest and plan its path to publication, or to produce a high quality showcase of work in another medium, which can be used to approach agents, publishers, producers or developers. The module begins with a detailed induction session, to help you focus on the challenges ahead. After which, you’ll embark on intensive individual work, supported by three one-to-one supervision sessions of one hour and 20 minutes. A week before each session you’ll send up to 5,000 words of work-in-progress to your supervisor for feedback, problem-solving and discussion. You can also use supervision sessions to discuss your reading, research, critical reflection and personal development planning. Following Major Project marking, you’ll have a final one-to-one tutorial to discuss your Professional Development Plan, where the programme’s tutors will offer detailed advice on the next steps in your career.

Further information

Narrative Practice Vocational Skillset ( CLP11118 )

This module shifts the focus from your own writing to work with other creators’ stories and characters. The first few weeks tackle abridgement, learning how to cut stories sympathetically and efficiently. Next you will explore fiction editing, a key vocational skill that can also improve your own practice as a writer. The module looks at working with pre-created characters, and investigates ghost-writing. An entire session is devoted to collaborative working, a crucial ability that does not come naturally to all writers. In the final weeks you’ll learn best practice for introducing yourself and your work to a wider audience, tackling the challenges and professional skills necessary to build a portfolio career as a freelance writer in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Further information

Writing Practice First Person Narrative ( CLP11117 )

In this module you’ll focus on the practical application of a range of professional techniques, and on building the vital skills of pre-writing decision making, critical self-reflection and editorial dialogue. The module is a development journey, beginning with the foundational principles of first person writing: condition of narration, device and register. You’ll then begin to practise more complex techniques, such as subtext and counter narrative, the unreliable narrator and positioning an active reader. Through weekly writing challenges and masterclass discussions, you’ll learn how to make fast, purposeful decisions about a story before writing, how to craft short pieces to briefs and deadlines, and how to critically analyse and improve upon early drafts. As well as gaining a detailed understanding of the demands of first person prose, you will develop the core professional practices you’ll need for the Trimester 2 Writing Practice options, Major Project, and the rest of your writing career.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.