MLitt Creative Writing

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration: Full-time: 12 months
    Part-time: 24 months
  • Ranked: Top 10 in UK for Communication & Media Studies, Complete University Guide 2021

Study with us

  • work closely with experienced, published writers who know the industry to develop your writing practice
  • benefit from workshops with peers and tutors while developing your ideas
  • work on an extended creative project developed on a one-on-one basis with your tutor
  • prepare for the practical side of literary development
  • experiment with new and hybrid forms
  • work in a dynamic, artistic city full of history and possibility

The Convener of the MLitt in Creative Writing is the award-winning novelist, short story writer, editor and biographer Rodge Glass, author of Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, Stories for the EasyJet Generation and Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography.

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Why this course?

This course is designed across three semesters, with each class intended to develop not just the skills aspiring writers need, but the right skills at the right stage in their development. The structure of the MLitt gives writers the freedom to pursue their chosen forms and genres in terms of their creative work, while providing guidance and support in an academic context too. The staff team aim for a collegiate, supportive atmosphere – we aren’t just a writing course, we’re a writing community.

Strathclyde staff can offer specialist tuition in a wide range of genres including:

  • contemporary fiction & non-fiction
  • historical fiction & fiction for young adults
  • screenwriting
  • poetry

Creative Writing MLitt 600x600

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Interested in postgraduate study?

Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all of the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde.

Join one of our upcoming online drop-in sessions on:

  • Wednesday 2 December - 3pm to 4:30pm
Register for drop-in sessions
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Course content

Semester 1 contains three modules of equal weight. All three are scheduled on the same day of the week. This Semester has a heavy emphasis on teaching core principles, providing students with opportunities to develop essential writing skills. We also encourage students to explore potential exciting directions for developing their work over the year to come.

Core classes

The Shape of Stories 1 (20 credits)

The Shape of Stories 1 works with the bones of good stories across genre and form, resembling a seminar in format. This class introduces students to classic and contemporary writers and writing approaches that will be useful in future work. It also includes workshop time for students to share work with their peers and benefit from editorial feedback from tutors who are also published writers. We are mindful from day one that you are working towards the Major Project of your final Semester. The first semester is the time for planning and experimentation that will later be useful when tackling that Major Project.

The Writing Life (20 credits)

The Writing Life is all about the contemporary literary landscape. It introduces students to the practicalities of a life in the creative industries – how writers make a living, and how that living is changing in the 21st Century. Through a series of talks and seminars from visiting speakers from across the writing worlds, students will have direct access to those who have been there and done it. In assignments, students will choose a target, for example, a publisher, a journal, an online magazine – then write a new piece of creative work to submit to that target, as well as an essay profiling the target they have chosen. This ensures students increase their knowledge of the publishing industry they wish to enter while also having a practical challenge, writing to a brief they have chosen themselves.

Research Skills in the Humanities (20 credits)

Finally, Semester 1 also includes a Research Skills class which prepares students for how to work critically at an advanced level in the humanities, both in academia and the professional creative industries, providing an introduction to a crucial range of interdisciplinary research methods.

These three introductory modules – one creative workshop, one industry-facing seminar series and one interdisciplinary research skills class – give our students the grounding they need to prosper. It also prepares them for what comes next.

In Semester 2, the MLitt starts encouraging students to engaging in more towards independent work. The modules become more student-led, with both core modules providing greater freedom in contrasting ways. There is also the freedom for students to choose an optional module alongside their core modules, as detailed here.

Core classes

The Shape of Stories 2 (20 credits)

The Shape of Stories 2 is a partner to The Shape of Stories 1, the Semester 1 workshop focused on the bones of good stories across genre and form. This module takes that a step further, exploring hybrid writing across fiction, script, screenwriting, poetry and creative non-fiction, closely studying innovative contemporary works that blur the boundaries between different kinds of writing. Students will broaden their reading and experience, and will be encouraged to experiment with hybrid forms in their own creative work. From short stories containing to poetry, from ekphrastic responses to art and photographs to autobiographical, illustrated vignettes, The Shape of Stories 2 is an opportunity to explore new possibilities, in exciting ways.

The Made Project (20 credits)

The Made Project consists of two assignments. The first is a short oral piece of creative work, which requires students to write to a time-limited brief then present that work to the group as a reading. The second is a more substantial creative piece chosen and developed in discussion with a course tutor over a number of weeks. Whether students intend to produce an adaptation of a piece of underlying material; or a response to an artwork in another form; or produce a work made in collaboration with another artist; or create and produce a podcast; or prepare and perform a piece for performance; students will—independently and in consultation with their nominated tutor—produce a piece of work with practical ‘made’ element. Students will be encouraged to produce work that adds diversity to their writing portfolio.

Optional class

Choose one of the following:

Advanced Topics in Creative Writing (Supervisions)

Advanced Topics in Creative Writing seeks to build upon research and writing skills developed in Semester 1 while providing significant freedom for students to pursue any genre, form or approach to creative work that excites them. It enables students to work with a staff member on a mutually agreed topic within the broad field of Creative Writing, in fiction, poetry, script, non-fiction or hybrid forms.

The student will be assigned a supervisor, after discussion with the convener, for the Advanced Topics module based on areas of interest, and will meet with that supervisor at least 5 times over Semester 2. The supervisor will identify a short initial reading list within a broad topic area and will meet with the student to discuss their reading of this literature and to assist in their development of a comprehensive reading list on a more tightly defined topic or debate identified by the student.

Future meetings will be focused around key texts and questions identified by the student. The assignments consist of one major piece of creative work in any form or genre, influenced by the student’s reading list, and a shorter critical review of the initial reading list provided.

Narrative Processing across Languages, Culture and Media

Narrative processing is a field which has seen significant advances in recent years in psychology and neuroscience and narratology. These bodies of research converge on the many ways in which narratives across cultures and media can be seen to share universal features. However, there is an even older body of work, deriving ultimately from memory studies and developing through folklore and anthropology, which illustrates how narratives meaning and interpretation changes as it moves between social settings as well as media and cultures. This class invites students to engage with these three approaches, to form views on their implications for the use of narratives between cultural groups, and to consider potential practical applications for their findings.

OR A module from a selection offered from across the School of Humanities

Students who prefer not to take Advanced Topics in Creative Writing will be able to choose from a series of elective modules in the School of Humanities, based on availability and demand in any given academic session. Some of these may offer the opportunity to do creative assignments.

Below are examples of optional modules that our MLitt students have produced creative assignments for:

Contemporary Scottish Cultural Studies

This class allows students to engage with materials from Scottish, cultural, historical and literary studies. Students will read a range of primary literary and cultural materials in a historical and theoretical context, and will develop skills in textual analysis and critical engagement. In doing so, the class will provide students with a knowledge of some of the main developments in Scottish literary and cultural studies throughout the 20th Century. Students will gain an understanding of the relationships between literature, culture and theories of nationalism, also developing an awareness of a range of major issues in contemporary Scottish culture.

Fleshy Histories: Meat Eating & Meat Avoidance, 1500 to the Present

This class will engage students with literary and historical materials, and with theoretical work from animal studies and ecofeminism. This will inform discussions about the place, meaning and function of meat eating and meat avoidance, and debates about human-animal relations, from the early modern to the modern world.

As well as philosophical and religious work you'll read a range of primary materials, including literary works from A String of Pearls (aka Sweeney Todd) to Roald Dahl’s Pig; from Swift’s Modest Proposal to Coetzee’s Lives of Animals, via Dracula, and develop skills in textual analysis and critical and theoretical engagement.

Semester 3 starts after the Easter break in each academic year, and runs until students submit their final piece of work in mid-August. Whereas Semesters 1 and 2 are built around classes, seminars and group work, Semester 3 is all about one-on-one supervision and independent writing.

The Major Project (60 Credits)

The only module in Semester 3 is the triple module we call The Major Project. This is an extended piece of creative work in students’ chosen field, that they will develop with a supervisor who will get to know them and their work closely.

The process starts with students sending an outline of their planned project for discussion with staff, before a supervisor is assigned to work with students regularly over the summer. This is the time for more focussed work on the page, and closer editing.

Using the skills acquired in Semesters 1 and 2, students will now be fully independent researchers, ready to pursue their signature work which is intended to be a potential submission to an agent or publisher. Whatever form it takes, when students leave us, their work will be ready to present to the world at large. Novelists will make serious headway into their manuscript; poets and essayists and short story writers will amass the beginnings of a collection; screenwriters will have a full draft of a feature film or series pilot.

Assessment

You'll submit creative work for formal assessment in each of the core workshops. This will take the form of short fiction, poetry or playwriting, depending on the student's chosen area of specialisation.

The creative writing skills project will involve students selecting a topic covered during the skills workshop and developing a project in discussion with tutors on a one-to-one basis. The form of assessment for this component will be dictated by the nature of the skills project.

The final dissertation will take the form of an extended piece of creative writing (fiction, poetry or playwriting) and build on work developed in one of the two creative writing workshops. It will be developed in discussion with tutors on a one-to-one basis.

 

Ranked Top 10 in the UK for Communication & Media Studies by Complete University Guide 2021.

Alex Wasalinko, MRes Creative Writing
I can see Strathclyde shaping me into the professional academic researcher that I aspire to become in the future.
Alex Wasalinko
MRes Creative Writing
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

An upper second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in any subject, plus a portfolio of creative writing.

The submission of a satisfactory entry portfolio of creative writing. This should consist of one of the following:

  • 2,000 words of prose (fiction or creative non-fiction)
  • up to 10 poems (no more than 40 lines in length)
  • the page equivalent of a short, fifteen-minute play
  • an outline of creative work you might develop in the course of the degree, possibly in the context of the dissertation (no more than two A4 pages)
English language requirements

Please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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Scotland

£7,100

Rest of UK

£7,100

International

£16,000

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Strathclyde Alumni

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Alumni Discount

Alumni from undergraduate programmes who graduated between 2014-2019 can receive 10% off the fee for full-time programmes.

Find out more about our alumni discount
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Careers

Graduates from creative writing subjects at the University of Strathclyde have gone into writing, publishing, teaching, journalism and may other professions. Some graduates have also gone on to further their skills by undertaking a PhD. Other have chosen to become self-employed as tutors.

Writers who have taken masters and/or doctoral qualifications in creative writing at Strathclyde include Louise Welsh, Rachel Sieffert, Beatrice Colin and Colette Paul.

Rodge Glass, Convener of the MLitt in Creative Writing
Read widely, think deeply, research thoroughly and revise closely, and you'll have a great time. Writing is a way of engaging with the world while trying to make sense of it. And the skills you learn will be useful whether you go on to work in the writing or publishing industries or not.
Dr Rodge Glass
Convener of the MLitt in Creative Writing

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

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Creative Writing

Qualification: MLitt
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Attendance: full-time

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Contact us

Register your interest and find out more about the programme

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.

Have you considered?

We've a range of postgraduate taught and Masters courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.