Creative Writing MA

"A radical departure in creative writing"
The Times


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. We will add expertise to your talent and ideas, while you learn in the company of industry experts on this innovative, inspiring course for emerging writers.

Our unique combination of genres and specialisms encourages and enables you to professionalise your practice as a writer. We put genres like science fiction, fantasy, crime and horror at the heart of our learning journey. Writing for young adult readers and graphic novels are just some of the options available to you as a student on our programme.

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:

  • pre-writing skills, concepts and technique for full-length narratives
  • writing practice for first person stories and a range of options
  • experimental, theoretical and personal development work
  • regular one-to-one editorial mentoring

Typical entry point to this course is in September. Please enquire for more information.

To ensure there is sufficient time to process your application, we encourage you to submit your application by 30th of June.

Students chatting at a table from the MA Creative Writing course with lecturer Laura Lam

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as Full-time)


2 years

Start date:


Meet your tutors

Introducing our Creative Writing tutors - David Bishop, Elizabeth Dearnley, Nicholas Binge and Noelle Harrison. Learn more about their backgrounds and their impressive careers in writing so far.

Course details

Uniquely, the course offers a dynamic range of cross-disciplinary options. Writing for graphic fiction, young adult audiences, screenwriting and interactive media are all available as specialisms, while our pioneering module in genre fiction covers crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction.

We host an exciting array of guest speakers every year, ranging from award-winning authors to high-profile industry experts. Recent visiting speakers have included authors Victoria (V.E.) Schwab, Dhonielle Clayton and James Oswald, comics creators Emma Beeby and Will Morris, Nasty Women anthology editors Laura Jones and Heather McDaid from 404 Ink, agent Jenny Brown, and editor Simon Spanton.

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 aims to transform you into a technically adept, purposeful writer ready to make your mark.

Professional development

The MA is a professionalising course that emphasises the publishing industry as a business, and includes sessions on approaching agents, marketing yourself and your work, and understanding publishing contracts. We also offer professional development strands in teaching and learning, community engagement, and publishing on digital platforms.

For students eager to continue working on their major project in a supportive academic environment, we have an articulation agreement with the low residency MFA in Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. This enables graduates of our programme to join the Seton Hill cohort in year two, attain a MFA qualification and complete a market-ready commercial novel.

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    How you’ll be taught

    The course is taught by a team of award-winning industry professionals: David Bishop, a successful crime writer and former editor; internationally best-selling science fiction and horror author Nicholas Binge; acclaimed folklorist and weird fiction author Elizabeth Dearnley; and best-selling historical fiction author Noelle Harrison. You can read more about their established academic and professional careers by viewing our tutors page.

  • note and pen


    Assessments focus on practical creative challenges and achieving professional levels of critical reflection, enabling students to become more self-sufficient as writers and collaborative practitioners.

    Tasks includes crafting original short stories; creating pre-writing materials for full-length narratives; critical self-reflection on your work; keeping a learning journal of progress through one-to-one mentoring; plus developing strategies and content for teaching, public engagement events, and digital self-publishing.

  • library


    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.


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 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 )

This module allows students to undertake independent research into a specialised area of interest about the Publishing industry. Students may choose an appropriate topic with guidance from the module leader or supervisor and all students are assigned individual supervisors. During Trimester 2 and 3 there will be a series of taught seminars to prepare students for their independent study, covering research ethics and methods, literature reviews, framing and generating research questions, critical analysis, scholarly writing and presentation. This 60 credit module is the culmination of the MSc Publishing programme and is an opportunity for students to evidence their in-depth knowledge of key themes, issues and principles related to Publishing. The final assessment for this module is a 15,000 word dissertation which is submitted in Trimester 3.

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

* 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.


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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Creative Writing?

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.

The University does not sponsor students to study on part-time programmes in the UK under the Student Visa route. International Applicants must therefore have other valid immigration leave to study on this programme.

Can I get admission into Creative Writing based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

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

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.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2024/25 2025/26
Stage 1 £3,315 £tba
Stage 2 £3,965 £tba
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Total - Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £7,280 £tba
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Stage 1 £8,450 £tba
Stage 2 £10,350 £tba
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Overseas and EU-Total Fee £18,800 £tba
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Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


  • Book deals
  • Representation by literary agents
  • International and national competition wins
  • Collaborations with comic artists
  • Publication in magazines and anthologies
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival appearances
  • Paid editing and writing commissions
  • Performances and teaching
  • Working for national literary organisations
Woman laughing at a table with a book in one hand and a cup in the other hand in The Writers Room at Merchiston.