Introduction

MLitt Creative Writing allows you to develop your creativity and literary skills in a constructive environment which guides you towards publication of your own work.

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 further degree programmes 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.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MLitt
Duration
1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MLitt programme which runs in September. You will find information about other ways to study this programme in the next section on this page.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Creative Writing i: Poetry (EL5072) - Credits: 30

The course engages students in a variety of activities designed to develop their creativity and originality, as well as in specific tasks to test and extend their skill in the writing of poetry. Students will attempt imitations of a variety of different poetic styles, will be provided with a number of specific 'stimulus' exercises and will develop and revise their poems both independently and in regular workshop sessions.

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Creative Writing Iii: Non - Fiction (EL5095) - Credits: 30

This course is devoted to the development of non-fiction creative prose. Among the themes and genres engaged with will be: travel writing, psychogeography, non-academic critical writing, prose poetry, diary, memoir, and the fragment. Students will study examples across the genre and build up a portfolio of work, discussion of which will form the basis of weekly workshops.

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Optional Courses

Approaching Literature (EL5092) - Credits: 30

This course examines some of the main critical approaches and theories that have shaped modern literary inquiry. An organising theme of the course is different notions of ‘text’, ranging from historicist definitions of the ‘material text’ to poststructuralist theories of intertextuality and the practice of modern textual editing. The relevance to literature of different types of context is also explored, as are the interpretative possibilities of various forms of ideological critique, including feminism and post-colonialism. Throughout the course students are exposed to a wide variety of primary and secondary texts from a range of historical periods and geographical locations.

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Critical Approaches to Literature, Science and Medicine (EL50A4) - Credits: 30

Interactions between literature and science, medicine and technology take place on many different levels. Poets allude to scientific theories; scientists use narrative to explain the natural world or the human body and mind; novelists experiment on their readers’ nerves; science writers present natural history as a poetic pursuit or earth history as a drama. Different scholarly approaches, both literary and historical, are required to understand these diverse forms of engagement. This course will introduce students to a wide range of scholarly approaches to these interactions, within literary studies, medical humanities and the history of science.

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M.litt Special Study in Language and Literature 1 (EL50A9) - Credits: 30

This course option is designed to allow the creation of a programme of individual study where other appropriate course options at masters level are not available. It will run at the discretion of the programme co-ordinator. In discussion with a designated supervisor students will be able to identify and design a programme of research and study, which may include the completion of an undergraduate course, with assessments appropriate to masters-level work, or which may be consist of a short programme of research conducted over one semester.

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Novel Ideas: Reading Prose Fiction (EL5089) - Credits: 30

Novel Ideas: Reading Prose Fiction explores the many different voices of the novel from the eighteenth century to the present day, and considers how these voices are assimilated by readers and reading communities. It looks at how this literary form, sometimes regarded as trivial entertainment, has developed into a powerful and highly theorised literary genre, capable of handling complex cultural and psychological material, and of effecting profound social impact.

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Introduction to Visual Culture and Theory (FS5017) - Credits: 30

This course will begin by taking a historical perspective to discuss some of the key interventions which have helped define visual culture as a field of enquiry, including work by Benjamin, Barthes, Burgin, Mitchell and Rosler among others. It will move on to explore some key theoretical concepts and paradigms, such as authorship, spectatorship, materiality, semiotics, digital culture and the archive.

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Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Creative Writing II: Prose Fiction (EL5567) - Credits: 30

Taught by experienced, award-winning writers, this course will engage students in a variety of activities designed to develop their creativity and originality, as well as in specific tasks to test and extend their technical skill in the writing of prose fiction. Students will be encouraged to develop an awareness of the centrality of narrative voice, to experiment with a variety of different narrative styles and to develop and revise their work in the context of workshop discussion and individually targeted feedback from course tutors.

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Creative Writing: Narrative, Medicine, Psychology (EL55B6) - Credits: 30

This course offers students the opportunity to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction. This skills-based course is structured around six wide-ranging and overlapping discussion areas: character; setting and the senses; point of view (voice, perspective and degrees of knowing); showing/telling; plot and structure; fact and fiction (life-writing, memory, and the use of scientific/medical/psychological detail).

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Optional Courses

Locations and Dislocations: the Role of Place in Literature (EL5590) - Credits: 30

This course examines the social, political and cultural construction of place in literary texts. The imaginative co-ordinates of places such as ‘Scotland’, or ‘England’ exist in a constant state of flux, refusing to yield an essential, authentic image. Using core texts from the early modern period paired with more recent literary responses we explore the idea of place in its various forms. Key themes and issues to be discussed will include the rural and urban divide; literature and nationhood; the nature of community; the significance of emigration, and displacement; walking texts, metropolitan literature, and ideas of the “new world”

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Contemporary Irish and Scottish Women’s Fiction (EL55A3) - Credits: 30

This course will look at a wide range of recent women’s writing to consider interconnected questions of national, individual, and gendered identity. It will examine how contemporary authors renegotiate ideas of self and nation, and even challenge any concept of stable identity. Authors to be studied may include A.L. Kennedy, Emma Donoghue, Ali Smith, Deirdre Madden, and Eimear McBride.

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Irish and Scottish Science Fiction (EL55A6) - Credits: 30

This course will look at a wide range of science fiction writing, beginning from the ‘fantasy science’ of Tait and Balfour’s The Unseen Universe, through early science fiction in the works of Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle to the science fiction of major modern Scottish writers such as Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Naomi Mitchison. On the Irish side, the course will explore how the fantasy science of the Celtic Twilight (W.B.Yeats’s ‘experiments’ in occultism) lead on the modernist science fantasies of Flann O’Brien and Francis Stuart.

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M.litt Special Study in Language and Literature 1 (EL55A9) - Credits: 30

This course option is designed to allow the creation of a programme of individual study where other appropriate course options at masters level are not available. It will run at the discretion of the programme co-ordinator. In discussion with a designated supervisor students will be able to identify and design a programme of research and study, which may include the completion of an undergraduate course, with assessments appropriate to masters-level work, or which may be consist of a short programme of research conducted over one semester.

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Scott in Context: Walter Scott and His World (EL55B2) - Credits: 30

Walter Scott’s first novel Waverley (1814) sold more copies than all other novels published in that year put together. As a result he has become Scotland’s most significant writer of fiction and has played a pivotal role in the development of the novel both in English and internationally. This course will consider Scott in all his contexts; as editor, poet, collector and writer of fiction and within the wider sphere of literature in the Romantic period. While Scott will be the main focus, his work will be considered alongside authors such as James Hogg, John Galt, Jane Austen and Byron.

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Critical Analysis of Visual Culture (FS5517) - Credits: 30

Students will be introduced to the critical analysis of visual culture through discussion of classic studies from secondary literature across film, photography and visual culture. Students will identify and define a corpus of primary visual material in consultation with the course leader, to serve as the basis for student-led workshops and subsequent assessed coursework. Workshops will involve close analysis and discussion of specific examples, by way of preparation for the assessed essay and blog post. The latter will focus on a single image and will train students in writing for a non-academic audience.

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Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Creative Writing Portfolio (Dissertation) (EL5906) - Credits: 60

This course will provide students with the opportunity to write an extended folio of creative work in either poetry or prose. It will provide students with the opportunity to explore and extend their creative ambitions in writing and, through the reflective commentary element, enable them to contextualise their own creative achievements in relation to works by established writers. Throughout the evolution of the folio, the student will develop a thorough practical awareness of some of the key stylistic, formal and expressive possibilities available to the skilled creative writer.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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.

Why Study Creative Writing?

  • The MLitt Creative Writing is ideal if you have an undergraduate degree in the Humanities and if you wish to explore and develop your creative potential in writing.
  • Creative writing is something which attracts students of all ages, nationalities and experiences and you are welcome to apply as no prior knowledge or experience in creative writing or publishing is assumed. 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.

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.

Qualifications

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. In addition to the above, a creative writing sample is required as part of your application.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £4,500
Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year
International Students £13,800
Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
International Students £14,300
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programe. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

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.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr David Wheatley
Dr Wayne Price
Dr Helen Lynch
Professor Patrick Crotty
Dr Alexandra Lewis

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Contact Us

Address
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
King's College

Aberdeen
AB24 3UB