Master in Creative Writing (MLitt)

University of Stirling

Program Description

Master in Creative Writing (MLitt)

University of Stirling

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.

Course objectives

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.

What makes us different?

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

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 eight 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 have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

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.

Scholarships & funding

University of Stirling Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

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 Master's course or £1,000 for part-time study.

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.

Full-time students

In the Autumn Semester, all full-time students take two consecutive core modules, the Writer’s Workshops. In these core modules, students and tutors read and discuss each other’s work and present their own creative work for discussion.

Also in Autumn, full-time students will take a specialist option module, either Prose Fiction or Poetry.

In Spring, full-time students will take a third core module the Writer’s Workshop and also a Research Skills module which entails visits to class by literary agents, editors etc.

Also in Spring, we offer an option called ‘The Writing Life’ which covers non-fiction writing, memoir, and script-writing.

The Summer is spent preparing and writing the Dissertation.

Part-time students

Part-time students take the MLitt over two years:

Year 1:

  • In the Autumn Semester of Year 1, part-time students take one core module, 'The Writer’s Workshop'. In these core modules, students and tutors read and discuss each other’s work and present their own creative work for discussion.
  • Also in Autumn, part-time students will take a specialist option module, either Prose Fiction or Poetry.
  • In Spring, part-time students take the option ‘The Writing Life’, plus the Research Skills module.

Year 2:

In the Autumn of Year 2, part-time students take two consecutive Writer’s Workshop modules.

For part-time students, Dissertation preparation begins in Spring of Year 2.

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 creative project.

The most significant piece of work in the course is the creative dissertation, due at the end of the summer. This will be circa 15,000 words of prose or a collection of circa 15 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.

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.


From September 2013 this course will be taught by Stirling’s Creative Writing team: poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie and fiction writer 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.

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. His latest novel 'The Busker' is a Scottish Book Trust 'Pick' for 2014.

Both 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.

Career opportunities

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 research centres

Where are our graduates now?

As well as becoming professional writers our students find employment in many sectors. Some students have gone on to further study, in particular, the creative writing PhD. Others are teachers, editors, librarians, some work in publishing.

Our course is particularly attractive to students are already well established in careers, or even retired and who take our MLitt later in life to enhance their skills and develop new creative prospects.

Cost & Fees


  • Overseas £14,600
  • Home/EU £4,600

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 26, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
12 - 27 months
Part time
Full time
4,600 GBP
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
United Kingdom - Stirling, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Home/EU: £4,600 - Overseas: £14,600