The MLitt Creative Writing offers the opportunity to produce a body of work – poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction – over the course of a creative and stimulating year. The degree combines intensive writers’ workshops, technique-focused option modules, and one-to-one tuition by the distinguished writers on staff, along with stimulating visits from authors, agents and publishers.
The course is designed to develop the talents of creative individuals, allowing them to focus in-depth on a project while offering them creative encounters with a range of genres and working practices, drawing on Stirling’s rich expertise in contemporary literature, publishing, film, media, and journalism.
Students learn skills in listening and diplomacy, advocacy, and in producing fine, nuanced writing.
A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must supply a sample of their creative work: For the prose strand - up to ten pages of prose (fiction or creative nonfiction) or a portfolio of eight poems. A half-and-half mix is also acceptable.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
Our range of pre-sessional courses.
Modes of study
Workshops and seminars and guest lectures are taught on campus. We also encourage students to embrace the wider literary life by attending –even organising – events and readings, festivals, libraries and the like.
Course start date
Use the online enquiry service to find out more or to request a prospectus.
If you are ready to apply you can fill out an online application form now.
For more information, contact Professor Kathleen Jamie in English Studies. For general enquiries and information on application deadlines, contact Alison Scott.
Structure and content
The teaching year at Stirling is divided into two semesters, which run from mid-September to late December, and from January to the end of May.
In both the Autumn and Spring Semesters, all full-time students take the core module, the Writer’s Workshop. In this core module, students and tutors read and discuss each other’s work and present their own creative work for discussion. Part-time students will take the Writer’s Workshop in the Spring Semester of year 1 and Autumn Semester of year 2.
Students will also take two option modules, drawn from a changing list. Options may be genre-based (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction); explore approaches – for example, environmental writing, or writing for young adults; or investigate practical skills like editing fiction and scripts. Details of the modules for the next academic year will be posted on the Creative Writing website.
In addition, all students will take a module on Research Methods. This is offered to all postgraduate students in the School of Arts and Humanities, and will include seminars – in for example publishing, archival research, and writing in the community, among others – specifically tailored to creative writing students.
Delivery and assessment
Assessment for the workshops will depend on the literary form chosen (prose or poetry) but will be based on reading journals and/or working notebooks, book reviews and in some cases completed pieces of creative work. Assessment for each option module will likewise vary but may include a critical essay, a journal, a revised collection of writing exercises, presentations, or a short project.
The most significant piece of work in the course is the creative dissertation, due at the end of the summer. This will be 20,000 words of prose or a collection of 15-20 poems. A dissertation may be a portfolio of shorter texts – stories, personal essays, poems – or part of a novel. It is expected to be revised and polished original work, written and presented to professional standards.
Those who do not embark on the dissertation may be awarded a Diploma. The work of the best students completing the course may be deemed worthy of an MLitt with Distinction.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
There are generally two, two-hour seminars per week. Because our students are often holding down jobs, we try to help by scheduling classes late in the afternoon.
Why study Creative Writing (MLitt) at Stirling?
Professor Kathleen Jamie
Over half of our submissions in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) were found to be ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘World-leading’.
From September 2013 this course will be taught by Stirling’s Creative Writing team: poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie, and fiction writers Meaghan Delahunt and Liam Murray Bell.
Kathleen Jamie is an internationally recognised poet, and winner of, amongst other awards, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, a Forward Prize, and the Costa Poetry Prize.
Meaghan Delahunt has published three novels, with Granta. Originally from Melbourne, her work has won The Commonwealth Prize for First Book, and been shortlisted for the Scottish Fiction Book of the Year.
Liam Murray Bell’s first novel ‘So It Is’ attracted Arts Council funding. Set in Belfast, it was hailed as ‘a beautifully written debut novel’ concerning the Troubles in.
All three tutors also write non-fiction, reviews, essays etc and are popular figures at festivals, literary events, and residencies. We offer a dynamic mix of youth and experience, and encourage students in an atmosphere which is both rigorous and creative. Regular visits from other established writers, publishers, editors etc. offer a wide view of the literary life.
The MLitt fostered a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in which all the students were given the freedom to develop distinctive voices. The course was structured to keep the seminars and workshops lively and varied, and the assignments honed every aspect of the students' writing. A year of sustained encouragement and feedback on my own writing has made me surer in my aesthetic, and I go forward with a renewed confidence in my work and my vocation.
Recent MLitt in Creative Writing student Chris Emslie
Professor Kathleen Jamie
Our Creative Writing students find a place for their creativity in many fields: teaching, broadcasting, publishing, community work. Many chose to become self-employed as writers and tutors. Some develop their interest further by studying for a PhD. Some actually publish books!
Skills you can develop through this course
Graduates in Creative Writing will be highly literate self-managers capable of realising sustained projects using their own initiative and creativity. They will be emotionally intelligent and diplomatic and have skills in:
- Communication and presentation - being able to articulate complex ideas and information in imaginative, comprehensible and entertaining forms. They will be able to present ideas in verbal and written forms to audiences in a range of situations; and to encourage, evaluate and assist with the work of others.
- Self-management – students will have the ability to work independently, set goals and meet deadlines. They will be able to work with creativity and imagination to meet challenges, and to respond positively to change and uncertainty.
- Critical engagement – students will have the ability to formulate independent judgements, articulate arguments and research relevant material, presenting their findings in engaging and creative ways.
Chances to expand your horizons
In any given year a number of course-specific talks and literary events are arranged for and by the students. These include but are not limited to:
- visits from literary agents and or publishers
- public events by poets and novelists (with students’ input and assistance)
- visits to research centres
Where are our graduates now?
Though this is a new course at Stirling, graduates from this course have gone on to develop writing careers. Others will use the skills they have developed on the course in industries such as journalism, corporate communication and broadcasting.
Find out more about the sorts of careers available to English graduates at http://www.afterenglish.ac.uk/
You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.
information on possible sources of funding
The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Masters course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here.