The MLitt in Creative Writing allows you to develop your creativity and literary skills in a constructive environment, and one that will steer you towards the publication of your work.

Programme Overview

The MLitt Creative Writing is a taught programme designed to offer you a constructive learning environment in which to develop your writing and general creativity. You will be introduced to the process and challenges involved in publishing creative work, whether it is poetry or prose. You are taught by a team of widely published creative writers including poets and fiction-writers Professor Patrick Crotty, Dr David Wheatley, Dr Helen Lynch and Dr Wayne Price.

You can take this degree as a stand-alone one-year or two-year part-time Masters degree or as a first step towards an MPhil or PhD (subject to admission to a further degree programme either at Aberdeen or elsewhere). It is likely to appeal to you if you wish to develop your knowledge and practical skill in imaginative writing, and if you wish to create a solid foundation on which to build a PhD research proposal in Creative Writing.

The programme also benefits enormously from the presence at the University of Aberdeen of The Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies (RIISS), the Word Festival and regular readings and workshops by internationally renowned visiting authors (in 2014-15 these included Paul Muldoon, Don Paterson and Simon Armitage). Industry professionals are also invited to help students take the first steps in achieving publication. In addition to the creative writing courses offered in principles of style and effect, poetry and prose, students may choose supplementary courses from a broad range of options offered by the School of Language & Literature relevant to their own creative interests.

Why this Programme

  • The MLitt Creative Writing is ideal if you have an undergraduate degree in the Humanities and wish to explore and develop your creative potential in writing.
  • Creative writing is something which attracts students of all ages, nationalities and experiences. Core courses will provide you with the necessary grounding for personal creative development and self-reflective skills for successful preparation of a portfolio of work.
  • Creative Writing is offered as a Diploma without the dissertation folio or a stand alone one or two year (part time) MLitt.

Why (Subject) in Aberdeen

  • MLitt Creative Writing is taught by The School of Language and Literature within the College of Arts and Social Science at University of Aberdeen
  • All lecturers are published authors in their own right with interests in Creative Writing, American Literature, Irish and Scottish Literature, Enlightenment and Romanticism, contemporary and Victorian literature and more.
  • The School of Language and Literature is situated on in our historic campus which is an eclectic mix of ancient historical heritage ('Old Aberdeen') and contemporary features such as the state-of-the-art Sir Duncan Rice Library. Outside, the library describes      our situation beautifully as it suggests blue tones and waves of the beach and the transparency of sky. Inside, the library has elements of New York’s Guggenheim with atrium, exhibition spaces, study areas, a café and exceptional views of Aberdeen City and beach.
  • The campus itself is full of history and heritage with guided tourism tours on most days. Aberdeen City provides a wealth of visual stimulation from its own history and architecture to a range of retail and interests to suit everyone. Aberdeen is a cosmopolitan city due to being the European centre of the energy industry with many multinational companies in the city. It also benefits from being close to the Cairngorm National Park.

Programme facts 

  • MSc 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time
  • PGDip 9 months full-time or 21 months part-time
  • Duration: 12 months - over 3 semesters. Courses are taught on a 12 week basis per semester and on a 3 week basis for more intensive courses. Students will typically attend six hours of lectures/seminars per week.
  • Intakes: January and September
  • Prospective students requiring a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early as possible to secure a place. Applications      received after 30 June (September intake) or 2 November (January intake) from students who need to apply for a visa will not be processed in time for entry, but will be considered for entry into the next intake as appropriate.
  • The semester order below is for September entrants. January entrants will study these semesters in a different order but the same courses will be studied.
  • The programme consists of 180 credit points taken over the duration of one year.
  • A weekly timetable consists of an average of 6 teaching hours per week with some courses running over 3 week periods. Teaching includes a range of interactive methods and approaches to learning in order to enhance students’ critical thinking, presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Courses are assessed through essays, presentations, group and project work. The variety of assessment in the programme ensures that students apply theory to practice and become expert communicators and team players.
  • The programme is designed for full-time or part-time students with an interest in communication in professional contexts, or      professionals wishing to further their understanding of communication strategies. (Note: immigration regulations prevent part-time study by students from outside the European Union.) 

Course Structure

In the first half-session students will be required to take a core course, Creative Writing I: Prose. Also on offer alongside this will be the creative-writing elective course Non-Fiction Prose, and a choice of one or two elective course(s) from the School of Language and Literature, chosen in consultation with the programme coordinator.

The second half-session hosts Creative Writing II: Poetry and two shorter core courses. As in the first half-session, elective options will also be available from the School of Language & Literature.

MLitt students are required to write a folio dissertation over the course of the summer.

First Half-Session Core

  • Creative Writing I (either Prose Fiction or Poetry)

First Half-Session Optional:

  • Non-Fiction Prose
  • 1-2 elective course(s) within the School of Language and Literature

Second Half-Session Core

  • Creative Writing II (either Prose Fiction or Poetry)

Second Half-Session Optional

  • Creative Writing: Narrative, Medicine, Psychology
  • 1-2 elective course(s) within the School of Language and Literature


  • Portfolio Dissertation in Creative Writing either in poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction.

What If I Do Not Want To Write A Folio Dissertation?

Students who attend and satisfactorily complete all compulsory and optional courses, but who do not write a folio dissertation, will be awarded a diploma in Creative Writing.

Entry Requirements

The standard entrance requirement is a good first degree in any Humanities discipline. Applicants should submit a sample of their own work (no more than one short story or five poems) with their application. UK applicants should normally have a 2.1 or above, though applicants with non-standard qualifications are also invited to apply.

References are not required in order for applicants to submit an application. They are not usually required in order for a decision to be made but in certain cases applicants may be asked to provide a single academic reference at the request of the academic selector.

The English Language Requirement for all College of Arts and Social Sciences Masters programmes is an IELTS of 6.5 with 6.0 in the writing and reading (or equivalent TOEFL iBT or PTE). For more information see

Fees / Funding 

Tuition fee rates for the academic year can be found at

Grants And Scholarships For Study At Aberdeen

  • The College of Arts and Social Sciences has a number of generous Postgraduate Studentships offered competitively to outstanding students. Details are available via the website:
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) offer Studentships which provide fees and maintenance for UK students and fees only for European Union students:

Employability / careers     

Graduates in Creative Writing are well-fitted for work in the creative industries, including publishing, journalism, advertising, broadcasting and literary agency. Many graduates go on to support their writing through education, too, and there is a growing demand for English teachers with a track record in creative writing skills and the ability to reflect on and communicate those accomplishments.

Academics involved     

Professor Patrick Crotty’s main research interests are the traditions of poetry in Ireland and Scotland. He has worked mainly on eighteenth- and twentieth-century poetry in English, Scots and Gaelic but has also published essays and reviews on fifteenth-century Scots poetry, on American poetry, on Welsh writing, on contemporary fiction and on the songs of Bob Dylan. His verse translations from Irish, Latin and other languages have appeared in many books and journals. Recent publications include essays on Seamus Heaney, Hugh MacDiarmid and W.B. Yeats, and in-depth review articles on Edwin Morgan and Sorley MacLean, in addition to 300 entries for The Oxford Companion to English Literature (2009), on which he worked as Associate Editor for Irish, Scottish and Welsh writing. Patrick is also an amateur poet and spoken word performer, who appeared in the national finals of the Scottish Poetry Slam in 2013.

Patrick's Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, featuring seven sections covering the historical development of Irish poetry from earliest times to the present, in addition to two sections of songs and ballads, was published to wide critical acclaim by Penguin Classics in 2010. Along with a wealth of poems in English and some in Scots, the book features verse translations from Old, Middle, Classical and Modern Irish, Latin, Old Norse, Old French and Middle English,  and includes more than sixty verse translations by the editor, as well as new translations by Seamus Heaney, Kathleen Jamie and other leading poets.

Dr David Wheatley is a Senior Lecturer in English and Creative Writing. His research interests are in modernism and contemporary poetry. He is the author of Contemporary British Poetry (Palgrave, 2015), and has edited the poetry of James Clarence Mangan and Samuel Beckett. He has published four collections of poetry with Gallery Press, Thirst, Misery Hill, Mocker and A Nest on the Waves, as well as a host of other small-press publications including Dark and True and Tender (CB Editions), Flowering Skullcap (Wurm Press) and The Reed Bunting Unseen: A Camouflage Garden for Ian Hamilton Finlay (Wild Honey Press). He features in The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry (Harvard University Press), Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets (Bloodaxe), and The New Irish Poets (Bloodaxe). His poetry has been awarded various prizes, including The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Vincent Buckley Prize. His own anthology, The Irish Poetry Series, IV is forthcoming from Wake Forest University Press. He writes regularly for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement and other papers, and is a judge of the 2015 National Poetry Competition.

Dr Wayne Price is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing. His teaching and scholarship specialisms are in 20th century American poetry and fiction, and he publishes short stories, poetry and novels. He has won numerous national and international awards for fiction and poetry and has twice been a finalist in the Manchester International Poetry Prize (2013 and 2014), one of the UK's richest poetry awards. His short story collection Furnace (Freight Books, 2012) was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor Prize and nominated for the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year. His poetry pamphlet, Fossil Record (Smith|Doorstop), was one of only four selected by Carol Ann Duffy as a ‘Laureate’s Choice’ in 2015. His novel Mercy Seat (Freight Books) was also published in 2015 and has been included on the Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker Prize’ longlist.

Dr Helen Lynch is a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature and Creative Writing. Her first collection of short stories, The Elephant and the Polish Question (Bluechrome, 2009) was set in Poland during the collapse of Communism. Her continued interest in matters Polish is marked by her involvement in the ‘Linking Northern Communities: East European Immigration in Scotland’ project, The Elphinstone Institute’s Polish-Scottish Song and Story Project and her collaboration with Alan Spence to produce two parallel text volumes of Twentieth-Century and Contemporary Polish Poetry (in association with Professor Jerzy Jarniewicz, Universities of Lodz and Warsaw, and Professor David Malcolm, University of Gdansk). She is also an Early Modern scholar, and her recent monograph, Milton and the Politics of Public Speech (Ashgate, 2015) testifies to a fascination with the trans-historical association between rhetoric (persuasive utterance) and writing fiction.

In Creative Writing, her primary interests are: short fiction, life writing, travel writing, and fictional autobiography. As well as the literature and politics of the early modern period (especially Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare and the connections between them), Helen is interested in polemic, rhetoric, genre and gender in the seventeenth century. Her teaching/research interests beyond this period include medieval literature (especially Chaucer), the genre of romance from the twelfth century to the present, and the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first-century short story. She is currently completing a second collection of stories, Tea for the Rent Boy, with the help of a Writer’s Bursary from Creative Scotland, and has begun work on a historical novel, Ariadne’s Blanket, set, unsurprisingly, in the seventeenth century.


Assessment methods vary by individual course and include written exercises, oral presentations and folios of poetry or prose. The MLitt also requires a 12-15,000 word folio dissertation, while the diploma consists of coursework alone.

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Students' Union Building
King's College
AB24 3TU

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576

Dr. Wayne Price 
School of Language & Literature
King's College
Aberdeen AB24 3UB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 272555
Fax: +44 (0) 1224 272624

Dr David Wheatley
Programme Co-ordinator
MLitt in Creative Writing
School of Language & Literature
King's College
Aberdeen AB24 3UB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272461