Creative Writing MLitt

Creative Writing

We also offer a distance learning Masters and research programmes in Creative Writing: please see the Creative Writing subject page for more information.

This celebrated creative writing programme is perfect for 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

Why this programme

  • 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 publishers, and an impressive list of published alumni.

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 programme structure covers:

Semester 1

  • Creative workshops and guest speakers
  • Reading as a writer (CX1)
  • Copyright, publishing and the culture of reception

Semester 2

  • Creative workshops and guest speakers 
  • Experimentation (CX2)
  • Editing the twenty-first century: editorial project

These courses have been developed 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.
  • help you develop a critical understanding of diverse creative, theoretic and critical texts.
  • provide a space to undertake extended portfolios of creative and editorial work.
  • 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.

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.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of Creative Writing at Glasgow and some of our famous alumni and teaching staff, please visit our Creative Writing subject page.

Guest speakers and events

An important addition to the "creative" element of the course is our guest speaker programme. Events in the Creative Writing Visiting Speaker programme are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.  Events usually take place on Tuesdays at 5.30-6.30pm in the Adam Smith Building, Lecture Theatre T415.

We invite a range of people who can offer inspiration and advice, including authors, poets, journalists, publishers, editors, literary judges and playwrights. You can find information on previous guest speakers by visiting our Creative Writing subject page.

Staff and Contact Information

Creative Writing Conveners:
Elizabeth Reeder, 5 Lilybank Gardens, Room 314, tel. 330 6449; e-mail:
Zoë Strachan, 5 Lilybank Gardens, Room 307, tel. 330 6848; e-mail:
Carolyn Jess-Cooke, 5 Lilybank Gardens, Room 308, tel. 330 8052; e-mail:

Core staff

Many other members of the school contribute to the Creative Writing programme, among them:

  • John Coyle who contributes a Modernist and OuLiPean dimension
  • Jane Goldman bringing Bloomsbury and Gertrude Stein in her train
  • Rob Maslen who is a Peake specialist and a writer of fantasy and genre fiction
  • Andrew Radford with his extensive knowledge of the Harlem renaissance and much else
  • Jeffery Robinson and Mary Ellis Gibson known for their original approaches to poetic form and prosody
  • Professor Alan Riach, poet and editor of Hugh MacDiarmid, strengthens the Scottish dimension.

Core and optional courses


Workshops are led by a writer teacher and are conducted on a strict rota with two/three samples of work considered every week, each student work-shopped three times in a term.  Students and workshop leaders analyse that week's samples providing corrections, suggestions, queries and commentary, relating to diction, pace, tone, point of view, structure, form etc.

Tutorials: For the duration of the programme, every student is assigned to one of several experienced writer-tutors with whom regular meetings are scheduled and who will help bring together the workshop and seminar elements in relation to your writing and development.

Visiting speakers in the Creative area of the MLitt will invariably be writers, and we will endeavour to represent a variety of modes and approaches. These events are open to the School and College at large and public attendance is encouraged. Not all events will necessarily take place at the University, and the Programme will work with organisers in the city, civic and academic, to develop and diversify the programme.

Assessment is via a portfolio of work developed from your workshop work. Normally this will be no more than 25,000 words of prose, 600 lines of poetry, or the equivalent in other genres or forms (as agreed with your tutor). The portfolio represents a space in which you showcase your best work.  Itcan take a variety of forms and include a range of contents: poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction, and experimental work.

Craft and Experimentation

Reading as a Writer (CX1): weekly lectures and discussions (2 hours total) on elements of craft, reading like a writer, and experimentation in your creative practice: the purpose being to reach a shared creative vocabulary and knowledge (in part, for workshop discussions) and to explore precedents and techniques for creating character, point of view, place, time and structure, and to consider related themes to give depth to your own writing and critical skills. 

Assessment is by a portfolio of creative work as per guidelines given at the start of the year.

Experimentation (CX2): weekly seminars (2 hours total) continuing the close reading practice of the first semester and exploring experimentation in form. 

Assessment will be by a portfolio of creative work as per guidelines given at the start of the year.

Editing and Publication

Copyright, Publishing and the Culture of Reception: weekly discussions and seminars that consider the legal, material, mechanical and wider cultural (media) contexts for creative work and the issues that arise from them. Book reviewing, the literary magazine, the role of the agent, the publishing contract, models of publishing including PoD and the Web, will be considered.

Editing the Twenty-First Century: Editorial Project. This is a supervised creative or research project, either individual or collaborative, in which the student selects an activity particularly relevant to his or her creative work and produces a project in relation to it. The projects are bespoke, undertaken with the agreement of the course convenor, and can consist of: editorial work on the Course web-zine, the creation of a new web magazine or a creative site; the creation of a paper magazine or chap-book; an adaptation from one medium to another (e.g. dramatisation for radio or screen); development of Resource Centre, creation and/or maintenance of Moodle resources, outreach activities, etc.

What our students say

My time on the Mlitt was exciting, challenging, and enriching. I was very much aware, week on week, of how the components of the course coalesced to improve the craft and rigour of my writing practice, providing me with the questions, critiques and challenges required to develop as a creative practitioner and to produce work which felt better honed and more fully evolved than anything I had produced before. The course is thoughtfully and sensitively delivered, providing a safe space for risk-taking and experimentation. Rose Ruane, MLitt, 2014

The MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow introduced me to an extremely talented group of writers with whom I am still collaborating and exchanging drafts and support.  The course provided a gateway to opportunities that have helped me reach the next level in my writing career, including the publication of my first poetry collection, and the professors shared inspirational and mind-opening ideas that continue to influence my work.  I can thoroughly recommend the programme.  JL Williams (USA), 2007-09

The course has been a revelation to me. The progress I have made in my two years would simply not have been feasible without the support provided by the department's staff and my fellow students. This mentoring and sense of community have been vital. Opportunities such as editing the online journal From Glasgow to Saturn, and my writers' residency at Cove Park, have been a delight to receive. I urge anyone who wants to be a writer to consider applying for the course. Alan Gillespie (Scotland), 2009-11

The Creative Writing M.Litt was rigorous and exciting, and extremely useful in terms of balancing focus on individual work with supportive and stimulating seminar and workshop settings. It continues to profoundly influence and shape my academic and creative work. Micaela Maftei (Canada), 2007-08

Intellectually and creatively, the Mlitt is a superb course and had a transformative effect on my prose and my writing career; from a mediocre short story writer (with unleashed potential) I became a novelist, was short-listed for an award and rung up out of the blue by a publisher keen to read my work. The pastoral care is a crucial element in the success of the course and the writing community has had a lasting value, beyond words. Elinor Brown (Scotland), 2007-09

The creative writing course does not teach students to write. Rather, it stimulates them to better their writing. Apart from the tasks set in tutorial groups – presenting a piece of work regularly, critically analysing others’ work – the course provides the right atmosphere for a writer to experiment and grow.
I entered the course with one personal stipulation: that I would only hand in work that was new, fresh, and different to anything I had previously written. One of the first experiments was the interweaving of cultural icons and real life events with fictional characters and incidents.  Inspired by the New Journalism of Mailer, Capote and Tom Woolfe that bit further I worked on this idea for several stories, one of which was later anthologised.  I then experimented with the use of shapes – and later colour – within a prose piece (published in Textualities literary magazine). The course gave me complete freedom to do this; and it gave me the pus h to try writing in such ways.
The Creative Writing course made us see books as more than just stories; we looked at how design can reflect and enhance narratives ranging from Sterne to Wyndham Lewis to Alasdair Gray.  I found equally invaluable the insights given to the role of the publisher and the agent as well as the writer and the creative process.
The University of Glasgow MLitt in Creative Writing changed how I write and what I write.   The degree I gained tells the world I’m a qualified creative writer; the writing I’ve done as a result  of the course tells me I am.  Roy McGregor (Scotland), 2006-08

The Creative Writing MLitt at Glasgow Uni has a fantastic reputation, but it far surpassed my expectations. I particularly valued developing my creative and editorial skills within a dynamic group of peers, under the guidance of esteemed writers and academics. The course gave me a richer understanding of craft, whilst nurturing my experimental streak and own areas of interest. The visiting speakers programme was excellent, as were opportunities to attend additional training programmes and innovative workshops. I enjoyed the MLitt so much I returned to study for a PhD, which is also proving a unique, inspiring, and broadening experience.      Deborah Andrews (Scotland), 2006-08

Initially I saw the MLitt as a declaration of intent, not least to myself, that writing was something I was serious about. However, the course proved immensely fruitful in ways that have become more and more apparent in hindsight. It has given me a solid grounding from which I continue to benefit and maybe most importantly in my development as a writer, it made me a better reader. Ulrich Hansen (Denmark), 2007-09

For more on what our students said, please see the Creative Writing subject page.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2016

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.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 22 with Speaking no less than 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 185; no sub-test less than 185
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 185; no sub-test less than 185
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 68; minimum 60 in writing
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEIII at Pass with Pass in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Part time 20 credits£772
Full time fee£15250

Distance learning fees:

Home/EU -  £6950 (£772 per 20 credits)

International - £15250

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MLitt. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

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

Many of our students have had their work published. You can find a list on our Creative Writing subject pages.  Other students have been published on-line, in magazines and journals, or have had their work produced and broadcast. Some have been shortlisted for major short fiction prizes, including the Canongate and Fish Awards; Rachel Seiffert was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and two – Dorothy Alexander and Anne Donovan – have won the Macallan. Freda Churches’ short story ‘Spoonface’ won the Fish Short Story Award judged by Roddy Doyle, and in 2004 Eunice Buchanan won the McCash Scots Poetry competition. 

Positions held by recent graduates include Managing Director, Freelance Writer, Programme Manager, Author, Copywriter, Author and Community Arts Worker.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Application deadlines

  • 23 November 2015: Please apply by this date to receive a decision on your application by 18 December 2015 
    (if applying for funding from the University of Glasgow, this deadline must be met)
  • 22 February 2016:  Please apply by this date to receive a decision on your application  by 20 March 2016
  • 23 May 2016: Please apply by this date to receive a decision on your application  by 12 June 2016

We cannot guarantee that applications received after 23 May 2016 will be considered for 2016 entry. Please contact if you have any queries regarding this.

As we receive a great many applications, prospective students are only allowed to apply once per year.

Apply now