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  1. Creative Writing (Novels)
  2. 2017

MA Creative Writing (Novels)

The only Creative Writing MA in the UK which is dedicated solely to the novel and ensures you finish yours.

Key Information

Start date

September 2017


Full time: 2 years


Full-time: £6,000 per year


Full-time: £7,750 per year

Application period

From January 2017

Until We take rolling applications but usually all the places (maximum 14) are allocated by the end of May.

Who is it for?

We take students of any age and from anywhere in the world. All you need is a desire to write exciting words and spend two years working on a novel.

All our group teaching is conducted in the evening – so if you have a job or a family, you can still take this course. We actively seek to attract people who, with other life commitments, are still committed above all to writing great fiction.

David Young, Crime Thriller MA

The chance to have a novel-length manuscript read and challenged by leading published crime writers is what attracted me to the MA course. The focus is on writing your own novel and giving you the tools to do that, rather than getting bogged down in literary criticism. I'd thoroughly recommend it.


At the end of the Novels MA course, you will be very different; you will have written a novel.

This course is designed to provide a supportive and thought-provoking, yet challenging, environment for novelists to develop their skills, experiment with approaches to writing, learn about the industry and, most importantly, complete a polished novel ready to send to publishers and agents.

This MA allows you to focus on one of two areas: Literary Novels or Crime Thriller Novels. As a focused, high-intensity course, we only have a maximum cohort of 14 students each year for each genre, therefore you must apply and be awarded a place for Literary Novels or Crime Novels at the outset.

At the core of the Novels course is the experience of established writers. Everyone who teaches on this MA course is a working, published novelist. Their experience underpins all the teaching.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

The only thing that really matters in your application is your writing sample.

The writing sample should be 5,000 words at most, but it doesn't have to be that long as it is quality not quantity that is important. Ideally it would be a section – probably the opening – of a novel, but it is equally acceptable if it is a short story. Shorter length pieces may also be submitted but as this is a course which focuses on writing a full-length novel of 60,000 to 120,000 words, the more sustained the writing sample, the better.

In the sample we are looking for writers who are interested in the power of words, writing which revels in the joy of prose and everything that can be done through the written word.

Previous qualifications are not important. Knowledge of the publishing industry is not important. Love for the written word is essential.

English requirements

We want you to produce a novel which can be submitted to English-language publishers. They will not even consider any manuscript with any language faults and so your English language skills needs to be perfect and this will be made apparent by your writing sample.

Visa requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Applications are now open.

If your writing sample excites us, we will ask you for an interview either in person or by Skype.

We will then ask you to talk about your writing and your reading so we can understand your commitment to a major piece of work.

1 in 6
alumni now a published author
a polished novel ready to send to agents
10,000 words
of your novel discussed at each tutorial

More about fees


Explore up-to-date information about funding options, available financial support and typical living costs.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.


At the end of the course, a prize is awarded by Peters Fraser and Dunlop, a leading London literary agency. There is one prize for the Crime Thriller students and one for the Literary of £1500 plus the possibility of representation for each.

Course insight

Jonathan Myerson

Jonathan Myerson talks about City’s Creative Writing (Novels) MA

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply

Teaching and learning

Workshops, seminars and lectures are 6pm to 9pm every Tuesday and Wednesday of the first two terms. Thereafter tutorials are fixed at mutually convenient times – we are happy to work around other life commitments.

Everyone who teaches on this course is a published and working novelist – we strongly believe that only published writers understand everything it takes to write a novel.

The core of the teaching comes in one-to-one tutorials which are used to discuss a minimum of 10,000 words of your novel in progress. Thus, across the two-year programme we read and discuss more than 200,000 words of creative writing by each student.

In the first two terms, we aim to provide you with your toolbox for when you start the novel. This covers every way in which you might approach constructing and writing and polishing your novel: we look at the word, the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter and the entire plotting and structuring of a full-length novel. During these terms, we encourage you to experiment with your writing, to find skills and aptitudes you didn’t know you possessed. We also examine published novels, taking them apart like clockmakers, to see how the constituent parts make them tick. That said, there is no literary criticism on this course – we are not theorists, we are a craft-based course, teaching you the techniques and devices (and pitfalls) required when writing your first novel.

In addition to the tutors and lecturers, there are Q and A sessions with visiting guest authors in each term.


For this course you are required to write 2,000 words a week for 100 weeks. 2,000 in order to generate 1,000 polished, edited words. During the first two terms, the exercises require 1,000 words each week. For the remaining 80 weeks of the course, you need to write a novel and the average length is 80,000 words. This is a serious course for serious writers who want to work hard and write better.

In addition, during the first two terms there are two other modules requiring an analysis and an outline.

Term 1

Fundamentals of fiction: for this you will submit up to 1000 words for workshopping each week.

Storytelling (Part 1): a lecture series designed to stimulate and help your invent the story for your novel.

Reading as a Writer: we take apart recent novels to see how they tick and examine everything it takes to construct a novel.

Term 2

Experiments in style: for this you will submit longer pieces of up to 2000 words for workshopping each fortnight

Storytelling (Part 2): a lecture series designed to stimulate and help your invent the story for your novel

Term 3-6

Complete your novel: completing your novel is taught almost entirely through one-to-one tutorials, daytime or evening. each tutorial requires the presentation of 10,000 words which is line-read by the tutor and then discussed at length. For the last of these tutorials (during the second summer term), you are required to present a complete first draft of your novel.

Career prospects

The focus is for you to finish a novel and use City’s unparalleled industry links to help start our literary career as a published novelist.

According to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey, previous graduates in employment six months after completing the course earn an average salary of £31,000.

Graduates have gone on to work as Editor for BBC, Novelists, Writers, and Authors.

At the end of this course, you will have the manuscript of your novel and we will do everything we can to assist you to find an agent to represent you who will then work to find a publisher for it.

Our recently published alumni include:

Rod Reynolds

Hannah Kohler

Jem Lester

David Young

91.6% of graduates in employment or further study six months after completing the course

Application Deadline

We take rolling applications but usually all the places (maximum 14) are allocated by the end of May.

Applications are now open.

If your writing sample excites us, we will ask you for an interview either in person or by Skype.

We will then ask you to talk about your writing and your reading so we can understand your commitment to a major piece of work.

Contact details

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