Taught course

Creative Writing

University of Glasgow · School of Critical Studies

Entry requirements

You will normally have a 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent), though this is not a pre-requisite. The primary basis for admission is the appraisal of a portfolio of your creative work. You submit a portfolio of original work (poetry, fiction, life-writing or other prose, drama, and in some instances a portfolio of work in or of translation). A maximum of 20 pages (one side only, double spaced throughout) per submission will be considered, and the portfolio can contain prose, verse, script, or a combination of these. We also require two letters of reference. Your referees should include an academic and a creative referee where possible. Where this is not possible, you can provide referees from other areas who can vouch that you are who you say you are and that your work and achievements are your own. It is particularly helpful if these referees are familiar with your writing and can provide references on that basis. Further information regarding academic entry requirements: student.recruitment@glasgow.ac.uk

Months of entry


Course content

As a celebrated creative writing programme, it is perfect for those talented and aspiring writers looking to gain adventurous and needed creative and critical skills. These skills, in turn, create opportunities as a writer and can build successes in literary and cultural fields such as editing, publishing and arts development.

Key facts

· MLitt: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time

· MLitt (distance learning): 12 months full-time;

· Contact: Zoë Strachan: critstudies-pgenquiries@glasgow.ac.uk

Why Glasgow

· You will be taught by a number of successful and well-regarded writers and many of our graduates have gone on to be published and acclaimed authors.

· We have strong links with literary agents and offer the annual Sceptre Prize for new writing, in association with Hodder.

Programme Structure

This programme is directed at those who are already engaged in writing and its clear three-part structure, focused on creative, critical and practical issues, distinguishes this programme from the others offered in the UK.

The aims of the programme are:

· to allow you to experiment with a range of voices, techniques and genres alongside a consideration of major creative and editorial engagements from the modern through the contemporary period;

· to develop a critical understanding of diverse creative, theoretic and critical texts;

· to provide a space to undertake extended portfolios of creative and editorial work;

· to familiarise you with the writing context (audience, publishing in all its forms, the legal framework, modes of transmission);

· and, most importantly, to subject you to the discipline of regular writing by providing a stimulating workshop and tutorial environment in which writing skills can be acquired, discussed and honed.

The distance learning programme is the same as the campus version, but with tutorials and workshops conducted online (or by telephone and email in the case of tutorials). You will have the opportunity to participate in sessions with campus-based students.

Your portfolio, consisting of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, or script-writing, is at the heart of the summative assessment.

Glasgow is a city known for its culture and our students are involved in festivals, events, radio and literary magazines.


Among its alumni the University of Glasgow includes some notable writers, from Robert Henryson in the fifteenth century, to James Boswell, Tobias Smollett and Adam Smith in the eighteenth. It was in the twentieth century that Glasgow’s place as a centre of creativity was established. It numbers among its many writer-graduates William Boyd, James Bridie, John Buchan, A.J. Cronin, Janice Galloway, Alasdair Gray, Janice Hally, James Herriot, James Kelman, Helen MacInnes, Alistair MacLean, William McIllvanney, Edwin Morgan and Alexander Trocchi.

The University of Glasgow’s commitment goes back a long way, but became defined when the Masters in Creative Writing was founded in 1995 by Professor Philip Hobsbaum and Professor Willy Maley. Today it provides a unique writing environment for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Our Masters, MFA and PhD provisions are among the most challenging and popular in Britain. The programme centres on the Edwin Morgan Writing Room with its book, periodical and audio-visual library. There is an ambitious programme of visiting speakers, masterclasses and public events. The University Library with its modern collections and archives is a crucial resource. We also collaborate with the Mitchell Library, one of the great civic libraries of Europe.

The Masters in Creative Writing is offered on a full-time or a part-time basis (one year or two years) and entails workshops, tutorials and reading and publishing courses. The Masters in Creative Writing by Distance Learning is offered full-time.

Students have access to the best of the new and also develop a sense of the origins and histories of the genres they practice. They enjoy the guidance of writers and critics including John Coyle, Jane Goldman, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Laura Marney, Rob Maslen, Elizabeth Reeder, Alan Riach, Michael Schmidt and Zoe Strachan.

They engage with visiting writers from around the globe, including in recent years Simon Armitage, Margaret Atwood, Edward Baugh, Sujata Bhatt, Eavan Boland, Stephen Burt, Gillian Clarke, Peter Davidson, Niall Ferguson, Janice Galloway, Lorna Goodison, Jorie Graham, Alasdair Gray, Kirsty Gunn, Jen Hadfield, Jackie Kay, A.L. Kennedy, Marina Lewycka, Toby Litt, Liz Lochhead, Bernard MacLaverty, Harry Mathews, Maggie O'Farrell, Andrew O'Hagan, Sharon Olds, Alice Quinn, Ian Rankin, Frederic Raphael, Christopher Ricks, James Robertson, Lionel Shriver, Rachel Sieffert, Graham Swift, Louise Welsh, Michael Wood and Zoe Wicomb, and many leading editors, critics and agents.

Career Prospects

Graduates have gone into writing, journalism, publishing, and many other professions.

Information for international students

IELTS 7.0 (with no subtest less than 7.0) iBT TOEFL 100 (with no subtest lower than 24) Cambridge ESOL Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) - A minimum or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
distance learning
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Critical Studies