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MSt in Creative Writing

Key facts

Sorry, this course is now closed to new applicants. Please use the course enquiry form to be kept informed of future runs of this course.

TypeOxford Qualification - Part-time
Start dateSep 2016
Subject area(s)Creative Writing
Application statusClosed to new applications
Application deadlineFri 22 April 2016
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email rebecca.rue@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 280145.


Click here for frequently asked questions PDF document.

About the M.St in Creative Writing

Oxford University's Master of Studies in Creative Writing is a two-year, part-time master's degree course offering a unique combination of high contact hours, genre specialization, and critical and creative breadth. The emphasis of this postgraduate creative writing course is cross-cultural and cross-genre, pointing up the needs and challenges of the contemporary writer who produces his or her creative work in the context of a global writerly and critical community. The master's degree in creative writing offers a clustered learning format of five Residences, two Guided Retreats and one Placement over two years. A distinguishing feature of the course is the Research Placement, during which students gain one to two weeks' experience of writing in the real world. Students have undertaken their placements in a wide range of settings including literary agencies, publishing houses, literary periodicals, theatre companies, screen and TV production companies, and literary and film festivals. Placement organisations to date have included the BBC, Penguin Random House, Carcanet, the Literary Review, the Paris Review, AM Heath Agency, Felicity Bryan Agency, Pegasus Theatre, Bankside Films, and the Jaipur Literary Festival.


The virtual open event for this programme is available to watch at www.conted.ox.ac.uk/cwopenday. The open event features acting Course Director Jane Draycott and course administrator Rebecca Rue, who discuss the programme, its requirements and the student experience. Participants' questions were texted in and answered during the event. A FAQ of all the questions and their answers is available at the top of this section.

The MSt has a blog, a resource for Oxford events, calls for submission, competitions, news, interviews and more, which is available at http://blogs.conted.ox.ac.uk/mstcw/.



"The Oxford MSt enables you to fast-track your career in writing."
- Fortuna Burke

"… the freedom to explore and experiment… has been fundamental to my development as a writer."
- Clare Tetley

"The range and variety of the group … offers truly exciting opportunities for the kind of exchanges that really accelerate your development as a writer."
- Michael Schuller

"What does the course offer? Self-discipline, professionalism and confidence."
- Abigail Green-Dove

"I doubt there’s a more suitable MSt in the United Kingdom for work which challenges boundaries and takes risks."
- Jennifer Thorp



Student support PDF document.

Click here for the course brochure PDF document.

Ts and alumni have won a wide range of prizes. These successes include winning the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize, the Writers’ Village International Short Fiction Award 2014, the Parallel Universe Poetry Competition, the Martin Starkie Prize, the International Jane Martin Poetry Prize, the Heritage Arts Radio play competition, the Cascade Pictures Writer’s Couch pitching competition, first prize in the Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Competition, the Miracle Poetry Competition, Best Photography Book Award from POYi (Pictures of the Year international), and the Yeovil Literary Prize for Poetry. Two alumni have won the Oxford University’s DL Chapman Memorial Prize, another was a finalist in the 2013 Writers at Work Fellowship Competition, and another won the London Fringe Festival’s Short Fiction Award. Alumni have been awarded a Toshiba Studentship, a Hawthornden Fellowship, and funded residencies at the Banff Centre, Canada, and at the Expansionists Project, Whitstable.

Students and alumni have had their work shortlisted across the genres for, among others, the Asham Award, the Bridport Prize, the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction, the Fish Flash Fiction prize, the Yeoville Literary Prize, the Oxonian poetry prize, the Fish Short Story Prize 2013, the Big Issue in the North’s New Writing Award, the Oxonian review, and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition. A 2010 graduate was short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award 2011. Two alumni were longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and one was shortlisted. An alumnus’ debut novel also made the longlist for the Not the Booker Prize.

Many of our graduate students have signed with agents, and each year a number go on to undertake doctoral study in creative writing or English Literature. Our graduates have obtained positions in publishing, media and the creative arts industries, as well as teaching positions in tertiary education.

The MSt has enjoyed a very strong application field since its inception, attracting record interest in recent years from a global constituency of writers. The course`s emphasis on critical analysis as well as on writerly and creative excellence attracts students of commensurately strong academic potential as well as of significant creative promise. This combination of academic rigour and creativity is a central distinctive feature of the course. The resulting emphasis on exploration and the development of an individual writerly voice serve to attract particularly talented students from around the world as well as a strongly diverse group of UK students of varied backgrounds and ethnicity.

Continuing education and life-long learning in Oxford have been formally linked to the collegiate system of the University since 1990, when Kellogg College, the University’s 36th college, was established. Please consult www.kellogg.ox.ac.uk/ For details of this year's Oxford Literary Festival please see www.sundaytimes-oxfordliteraryfestival.co.uk.


OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA.

Programme details

How is the course structured?

Provisional Course Dates Year 1, 2016-2017

Residence 1: Friday 23 September 2016 – Monday 26 September 2016
Residence 2: Friday 20 January 2017 – Monday 23 January 2017
Residence 3: Tuesday 2nd May – Friday 5 May 2017
Guided Retreat: Sunday 2 July 2017 – Tuesday 4 July 2017
2017-18 course dates to be confirmed.

How is the course assessed?

The M.St is by course work assessment. In year 1, four Assignments (two creative, two critical), one Creative Writing Portfolio and one Critical Essay are submitted. Work is set during each Residence and handed in for assessment before the next meeting. Feedback on work submitted is given during tutorials within the Residence or Retreat. In year 2, submissions comprise one research Placement Report, one Extended Critical Essay, and a Final Project – a substantial body of creative work in the genre of choice. You will be allocated a Supervisor to guide and advise you on your creative and critical work throughout the second year.

Course submission requirements

Students are set specific creative and critical work to be completed between Residences and handed in to set deadlines (see How is the Course Structured? Above). Year 1 creative submissions must be in more than one genre. In Year 2, submitted work focuses around genre of choice (see What Does the Course Cover? Above).
During Year 1:
4 x 2500-word assignments, 2 creative writing and 2 critical analysis
1 x 7000-word portfolio of creative writing
1 x 4000-word extended critical essay
During Year 2:
1 x 2500-word report of Research Placement
1 x final creative writing project amounting to:
approximately 25,000 words of prose fiction
or approximately 25,000 words of narrative non-fiction
or a piece or pieces of radio drama totalling approximately 90 minutes’ duration or up to 18,000 words)
or stage play of 90 minute’s duration (23,000 – 25,000 words)
or TV play of 90 minute’s duration (approx 18,000 words)
or screenplay (entire, c. 110 to 120pp; approx 25,000 words)
or a collection of poetry of between 40 and 60 pages AND between 600 and 1200 lines

1 x 5000-word extended essay on a genre-related critical approach of own choice

Who should apply?

We are looking for writers with a proven record of commitment to their craft. You should be a keen reader, and bring an open-minded, questioning approach to both reading and writing. You will not necessarily have yet achieved publication, but you will have written regularly and read widely over a sustained period. You will be keen to dedicate time and energy and staying-power to harnessing your talent, enlarging your skills, and aiming your writerly production at consistently professional standards. It is likely you will have a first degree, or equivalent, although in some cases other evidence of suitability may be acceptable.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA we normally seek is 3.6 out of 4.0. We do not seek a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT score. Although a GRE or GMAT score is not a formal requirement, if one is available it should be supplied.

The high number of contact hours are concentrated into Residences and Retreats. Students should be at a stage in their writing where, with appropriate guidance, they can undertake agreed assignments, projects and essays between meetings. There is a dedicated Course Website for provision of up-to-date information; contact and exchange between students; and contact between students and tutors. The course, however, is not a ‘distance-learning’ course, and tutors, while being happy to help with questions or problems, do not offer regular weekly ‘office hours’.

The M.St is unlikely to be suitable for those who are just starting out on their writerly and critical development.

If you have any doubts about whether the M.St is right for your stage of development, please consult the website for information on our Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing www.conted.ox.ac.uk/dipcw



Dr Clare Morgan

Role: Director

Clare Morgan is a fiction writer and literary critic. Her novel, A Book for All and None was published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in 2011. She has...more

Mr Amal Chatterjee

Role: Assistant Director

Amal Chatterjee was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Kolkata/Calcutta, India. The author of a novel, Across the Lakes, and a historical study,...more

Ms Jane Draycott

Role: Assistant Director

Jane Draycott is a ‘Next Generation’ poet (Arts Council/Poetry Book Society 2004), and has a particular interest in combined arts and...more

Ms Rebecca Abrams

Role: Tutor

Rebecca Abrams is the author of five works of fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent novel, Touching Distance (Macmillan, 2008) was shortlisted for...more

Ms Sarah Bakewell

Role: Tutor

Sarah Bakewell, is a non-fiction writer whose works include How to Live: A Life of Montaigne (London: Chatto & Windus, 2010; New York: Other Press,...more

Dr Anna R Beer

Role: Tutor

Anna Beer is a biographer and literary critic. She was University Lecturer in Literature at the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford, between...more

Miss Caroline Bird

Role: Tutor

Caroline has had four collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she...more

Ms Wendy Brandmark

Role: Tutor

Wendy Brandmark is a fiction writer, reviewer and lecturer. Her latest novel, The Stray American, was published by Holland Park Press in 2014. Her...more

Mr Ben Brown

Role: Tutor

Ben Brown is a playwright who read Law at Worcester College and has taught at Brasenose and Balliol. His last play, Three Days in May (national tour...more

Mr Patrick Collins

Role: Tutor

Patrick Collins is an award-winning writer of thirty stage plays. He is founder and artistic director of the Broken Lace Theatre Company, which...more

Dr Nicoletta Demetriou

Role: Tutor

Nicoletta Demetriou is a research fellow in Ethnomusicology and Life Writing at Wolfson College, Oxford. She studied music in Cyprus, Greece, and...more

Mr Francis Egerton

Role: Tutor

Frank Egerton studied English at Keble College, Oxford, and from 1995 to 2008 reviewed fiction for publications that included The Times, TLS and...more

Mr Jonathan Evans

Role: Tutor

Jonathan Evans has written over seventy commissioned scripts for a number of popular TV dramas. He also writes for children, most recently the...more

Ms Roopa Farooki

Role: Tutor

Roopa Farooki is the author of six critically acclaimed novels (The Good Children, The Flying Man, Half Life, The Way Things Look to Me, Corner Shop,...more

Dr James Hawes

Role: Tutor

James Hawes studied German at Hertford College, Oxford, before taking a postgraduate certificate in Practical Theatre and a PhD on Kafka and...more

Ms Eileen Horne

Role: Tutor

Eileen Horne is a writer and editor with long experience in radio and television; MacLehose press will publish her first narrative non-fiction book,...more

Prof Belinda Jack

Role: Tutor

Belinda Jack is Fellow and Tutor at Christ Church, University of Oxford. Her highly successful publications include The Woman Reader, George Sand: A...more

Ms Alison Jolly

Role: Tutor

Alice Jolly graduated from Oxford University with an MA in Modern History in 1989. She has published two novels (What the Eye Doesn’t See and If...more

Dr Emma Jones

Role: Tutor

Emma Jones is from Sydney, and studied at the universities of Sydney and Cambridge. Her first book, The Striped World, was published by Faber & Faber...more

Ms Marti Leimbach

Role: Tutor

Marti Leimbach is the author of several novels including the international bestseller Dying Young, which was translated into over fifteen languages...more

Ms Jenny Lewis

Role: Tutor

Jenny Lewis is a poet, playwright and songwriter. Her recent work includes After Gilgamesh (Mulfran Press, 2011) a verse drama for Pegasus Theatre,...more

Dr Helen Marshall

Role: Tutor

Helen Marshall is an award-winning author, editor, and bibliophile. Her poetry and fiction have been published in The Chiaroscuro, Abyss & Apex, Lady...more

Mr Jamie McKendrick

Role: Tutor

Jamie McKendrick was born in Liverpool in 1955, lives in Oxford and has published six books of poetry including The Marble Fly (1997), which won the...more

Mr Jamie Nuttgens

Role: Tutor

Jamie worked as a Director, Actor and Stage and Lighting Designer in Experimental Touring Theatre and as a Commercial Producer/Writer in Independent...more

Ms Tina Pepler

Role: Tutor

Tina Pepler is a dramatist who works in radio and television. She has written extensively for BBC radio – original plays, dramatisations, and...more

Mr John Retallack

Role: Tutor

The author of twelve plays, his work has been translated several languages and performed all around the UK as well as in Germany, Austria, Sweden,...more

Dr George Szirtes

Role: Tutor

George Szirtes is a poet and translator. His fifteen books of poetry include The Slant Door, (Secker 1979) which was awarded the Faber...more

Dr (PETER) Sam Thompson

Role: Tutor

Sam Thompson is a fiction writer and tutor. His novel, Communion Town (Fourth Estate, 2012), was longlisted for the Man Booker prize. He has written...more

Course aims

What does the course cover?

The first year concentrates equally on prose (fiction and narrative non-fiction), poetry and drama. There is a significant critical reading and analysis component, which is linked to the writerly considerations explored in each of the three genres. Students are expected to engage fully with all three genres, in a spirit of exploration and with the aim of discovering what impact and relevance unaccustomed genres have for the development of their individual writerly voice. This necessarily involves undertaking assignments and exercises in areas that are new to students, and do not relate directly to any work they may have in progress. Students may be able to continue with their own longer term pieces-in-progress but the concentration of year 1 teaching is on producing new work, and the exercises and assignments, which should take priority, reflect this emphasis.

The second year offers specialisation in a single genre, again accompanied by a significant critical element focused around issues of interest to the individual student and related to the genre of choice.

Your specialisation choices are as follows:

• The novel
• Short fiction
• Radio drama
• TV drama
• Screenwriting
• Stage drama
• Poetry
• Narrative non-fiction

In year 2, the specialisation in the genre of students’ choice provides an opportunity for significant concentration on either new work, or, subject to consultation with supervisor, on existing work-in-progress.

IT requirements

This course uses the Department’s online assignment submission system. In order to prepare and submit your course assignments you will need access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification. Students of this course may use the student computing facilities provided in Departmental buildings.


The level of tuition fees you pay (home-EU or non-EU) depends on your residential category. For a detailed classification of home-EU/non-EU status, please refer to the fees and funding website. As a postgraduate student studying on this course at OUDCE you may be able to gain assistance through Career Development Loans or Educational Trusts and Charities.

The Clarendon Fund
The aim of the Clarendon Fund is to assist the very best students who obtain places to study for postgraduate degrees in the University. The main criterion for the awards is academic ability. Central information about the Clarendon Scholarships is provided at www.clarendon.ox.ac.uk

Apply for this course

Application Form and supporting materials

The University requires online applications. Paper applications are only acceptable in exceptional cases where it is not possible for you to apply online.

The application form is obtained by going to the Application and Admissions procedure section of the online prospectus, at Graduate Admissions Office, www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/. For a full explanation of application methods, see www.graduate.ox.ac.uk/apply.

Paper applications
If it is not possible for you to apply online, a paper application form can be requested from the Graduate Admissions Office. Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at:

Graduate Admissions
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD
Tel: 01865 270059

Please note that in order to submit a paper application you must be able to pay the application fee by credit or debit card using our online store. If this is not possible, you may pay by cheque or bankers draft drawn on a UK bank account.

You will need to submit the application form and all supporting materials:

• Three references
Note: If you anticipate having difficulty providing 3 referees who have an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for this Programme of Study, please contact the Programme Administrator for advice.
• Transcripts of previous higher education results.
• Current CV/resume
• A statement (see application form) of your reasons for applying to the course. This should include what you feel the course would offer you and your writing, and what you feel you could bring to the course.
• A portfolio of creative writing for assessment. This can be in any of the three genres, or in more than one, and should consist of approximately 2000 words of prose (fiction, or narrative non-fiction) or 10 short poems or fifteen minutes equivalent of drama.

Please note that supporting materials cannot be returned. Please also note that no correspondence can be entered into, should your application be unsuccessful.



English Language ability

Prospective students whose first language is not English should note that English language certification at the higher level is required, and any offer of a place will be conditional on the receipt of an original certificate (see the ‘Notes of Guidance’).






Non-EU students must get an appropriate visa to cover their time in England before coming to the UK. As the MSt is a two-year, part-time course, it does not have the number of teaching hours per week required for a Tier 4 student visa. An alternative may be a student visitor visa to enable you to come to England for the periods required over the duration of the programme. For visa information, refer to www.ukvisas.gov.uk.The UKCISA website at www.ukcisa.org.uk/index.htm also contains useful information for both EU and non-EU students new to the UK. Forr more information see student visa information





Application Deadlines

Applications for September 2016 entry opened in September 2015. There are three application deadlines, 22 January, 11 March, and 22 April 2016 (the University will accept applications on deadline days until 12 noon UK time).
If you have any questions about the progress of your application, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office (tel: 01865 270059; Query facility); or the Course Administrator, Rebecca Rue (tel: +44 (0)1865 280145; email: rebecca.rue@conted.ox.ac.uk ).

Fees for 2016-17 will be approximately £5,925 (EU students); £9,305 (non-EU students). This comprises the following: University composition fee: £4,660 (EU); £8,140 (non-EU) and the College fee: approximately £1,500 (EU and non-EU). Exact fees will be confirmed in September. There may be a small fee increase for the second year of the course, 2017-2018.

Residency category
The level of tuition fees you pay (home-EU or non-EU) depends on your residential category.

If you are a non-European national with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you may qualify for the home student fee, so long as you (or your spouse or parent) have been resident in the UK for the last three years for purposes other than full-time education.

Please note that UK/EU citizenship is not sufficient to be granted Home status, without also fulfilling the residence requirement. Students who have not been resident in the UK/EU for the last three years may be liable for the non-EU student fee. For a detailed classification of home-EU/non-EU status, please contact the OUDCE Student Adviser on 01865 280355 if you have any queries.

An offer of a place on the course will be conditional upon your demonstrating that you are able to meet the course fees.

For information on student funding, please visit our website: www.conted.ox.ac.uk and follow links to `students'and `sources of funding’. You will find information on student loans, bursaries and Professional and Career Development Loans as well as details of external sources of funding. For further information on funding, see the Oxford Funding Search www.ox.ac.uk/feesandfunding/search.







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