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  1. Creative Writing (Novels)
    1. 2018

MA Creative Writing (Novels)

Entry Year:
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 2018

Academic year dates


Full time: 2 years


Full-time: £6,000 per year


Full-time: £8,500 per year

Application period

From January 2018

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


Northampton Square

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. This is the only Creative Writing MA in the UK or USA which takes you through to writing a complete, full-length novel. And it works: one in six of our students currently goes on to sell their novel and The Guardian named this programme as one of the top three in the country.

All our group teaching is conducted in the evening – so if you have a job or a family, you can still take this course. In fact, we actively seek to attract people who, with other life commitments, are still 100% committed above all to writing great fiction. This is a one-hundred week course which turns you into a novelist.

Find out more about out students who are now published.

David Young, graduated 2014, author of the Stasi Child trilogy

The chance to have a novel-length manuscript read and challenged by leading published writers is what attracted me to this 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 this Novels MA, you will be very different; you will have written a novel - polished and ready to send to publishers and agents.

This unique MA allows you to focus on one of two areas: Literary Novels or Crime Thriller Novels. This is a focused, high-intensity course, so we never take more than 14 students each year (14 for Literary and 14 for Crime Thriller), therefore you must apply for a place for Literary Novels or for Crime Thriller Novels at the outset.

At the core of City's unique Novels programme is the experience of established writers. Everyone who teaches on this MA course is a working, published novelist. Find out more about the prize-winning writers who are currently teaching on this course. Their experience underpins all the teaching. They understand the industry and they know what it takes to get published.

We also host regular Q and A sessions with major, established authors. Find out who has visited our students recently. We value range of opinions and approaches on this course. We don't believe in rules, we believe in what works.

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 a manuscript with any language faults and so your English language skills need 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.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

2018 applications are now open.

You can apply online and it is essential to (1) provide a writing sample (upload it with your personal statement) and (2) state whether you are applying for our Literary or Crime Thriller pathway.

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
During your course

More about fees

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).


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 a leading London literary agency. There is one prize for the Crime Thriller graduates and one for the Literary graduates including the possibility of representation for each.

Course insight

Jonathan Myerson

Jonathan Myerson talks about what makes City’s Novels MA unique: no other MA programme helps you complete a novel.


We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.


Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Course content and assessment

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 always happy to work around your 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 from each student. Tutoring is adapted and flexible to the needs of the novel you are writing.

In the first two terms, we aim to provide you with the toolbox for when you start the novel. This covers every way in which you might approach constructing and writing and steering your novel: we look at the word, the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter and the overall plotting and structure 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. 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 termly Q and A sessions with visiting guest authors each term.


To get the most out of this course you will write 2,000 words a week for 100 weeks. 2,000 in order to generate 1,000 proper, edited words. During the first two terms, the exercises requires you to submit 1,000 words each week. For the remaining 80 weeks of the course, you will be writing your novel and the average length is 80,000 words. This is a serious course for serious writers who want to work hard and push themselves to write better.

In addition, during the first two terms there are two other modules which will help you analyse and plan.

Term 1

The Fundamentals of Fiction: for this you will submit up to a 1000 words for workshopping and review each week. This module looks at the building blocks of creative prose.

Storytelling (Part 1): a lecture series designed to flex your plotting muscles and so help you 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 for weekly workshopping and review. This module looks at wider, thematic techniques.

Storytelling (Part 2): the second half of the lecture series to prepare you for the outline of the novel which you will write by April.

Terms 3 to 6

Complete Novel: this is the spine of the course, the major novel-writing module. It is taught almost entirely through one-to-one tutorials (daytime or early evening). Each tutorial requires the presentation of 10,000 words which is both line-edited in advance by the tutor and then discussed at length (for as long as it takes). For the last of these tutorials (during the second Summer Term), you are required to present a complete First Draft of your novel.

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

After you graduate

Career prospects

The single-minded focus of this programme is that you to finish a novel and use City’s well-established industry links to kick-start your career as a published novelist.

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. As a Central London university, close to Bloomsbury and the heart of London's publishing industry, we are uniquely placed.

Our recently published alumni include:

Chris McGeorge represented by DHH, published by Orion

Eli Goldstone represented by United Agents, published by Granta

Laura Shepherd-Robinson represented by Greene & Heaton, published by Mantle at Pan Macmillan

David Young represented by PFD, published by Bonnier

Hannah Kohler represented by DGA, published by Picador and St Martin's Press USA

Rod Reynolds represented by Gregory and Company, published by Faber

Jem Lester represented by PFD, published by Orion

David John represented by Greene & Heaton, published by Harper Collins USA and Harvill Secker

Find out more about many other graduates from this course.

Application Deadline

2018 applications are now open.

You can apply online and it is essential to (1) provide a writing sample (upload it with your personal statement) and (2) state whether you are applying for our Literary or Crime Thriller pathway.

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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