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  • Refine your writing across a range of styles and genres
  • Understand where your work fits in the diverse world of publishing
  • Be inspired and encouraged by guest writers, editors and literary agents 

Creative and Critical Writing at Winchester offers you the opportunity to evaluate and improve your creative writing in a dynamic, supportive environment. The programme is taught by professional writers: novelists, scriptwriters, poets and writers of creative nonfiction, as well as cultural critics and playwrights. There are opportunities to meet agents, editors and published writers, and as your knowledge of the publishing industry expands, find out where your work fits within the market. 

You study twentieth century and contemporary literature, which allows you to explore different styles and genres and gain a critical foundation for your own writing while increasing your knowledge of the publishing world. The structure of the programme enables you to focus on one or more genres (for example, fiction, creative non-fiction, scriptwriting or poetry) during the year. 

Throughout the course, you create and workshop your work in an encouraging group of peers, starting in the first semester with a module that focuses on contemporary fiction alongside a module about research and what this means for you as a writer. In the second semester you choose from options including Contemporary Non-Fiction, Contemporary Scriptwriting for Film and Television, Creativity Writing and Teaching and Advanced Contemporary Poetry. Through the Publishing Project you engage with writers, agents and editors through readings and workshops, exploring publishing opportunities for your own work. You can also volunteer at the Winchester Writers’ Festival on campus. 

The Independent Study Preparation module is designed to help you prepare for your Creative Writing dissertation – an independent project of your choice of up to 30,000 words which constitutes nearly half of the MA. This could be the first part of a novel, a collection of short stories, a portfolio of poetry or a script, completed with full tutor support. 

Graduates of the course frequently obtain publishing contracts, while others work in other aspects of publishing, or in teaching, media, the arts and business.


Graduates are increasingly obtaining publishing contracts, while some go into other occupations which may include publishing, teaching, media, the arts and business.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.


Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Work placements

Students have the opportunity to volunteer at the Winchester Literary Festival on campus, working with a range of writers, publishers and agents and industry professionals.

Learning and teaching

Start date: September

Teaching takes place: Evenings

The academic staff are professional novelists, scriptwriters, poets and writers of creative non-fiction, as well as cultural critics and playwrights. They are supported by guest writers, editors and literary agents. This course has long enjoyed a vibrant programme of visiting speakers. 

Students have the opportunity to develop their creative work, give and receive feedback in weekly workshops, and work with lecturers who are all practitioners. 


Taught elements of the course take place at King Alfred or West Downs, Winchester.


Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

Each module typically comes with a creative writing assignment, or an assignment plus rationale (reflective piece) of approximately 4,000 words in total.

Students undertake a Dissertation between 20,000-30,000 words as part of their independent study with full tutorial support.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures


Normally a first or higher second-class Honours degree in a related subject or professional experience in the area of study. Applicants are required to submit a sample of their creative writing.

If English is not your first language: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent. 

Course enquiries and applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
Send us a message 

International students

International students seeking additional information about this programme can email or call +44 (0) 1962 827023 

Applications need to be submitted before the 31 May 2018. Late applications can be accepted throughout the remainder of the application year, for more information see our How to Apply section. 

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by coming to one of our Open Evenings.

Year 1 (Level 7)

Modules Credits

Independent Study 80

The Independent Study is the culmination of the MA Creative & Critical Writing.  Students will write, re-write and edit an extended creative piece, 20,000 to 30,000 words of a novel, or a script or poetry collection or work of creative non-fiction to be agreed by the Programme Leader and supervising tutor.  They will realise ideas first developed in the Independent Study Preparation module and work under the expert guidance of a supervisor but with an emphasis on self-directed research and writing. The overall outcome will be a demonstration of the student’s creative integrity, confidence and accomplishment in authorship.

Independent Study Preparation 20

This module is designed to prepare students for the rigour of writing a longer-form creative piece or pieces for a specific child readership.  Issues of structure, sub-plotting, narrative drive, character development and ‘voice’ are considered within the context of the student’s own ideas for their Independent Study and similarly targeted works of contemporary children’s fiction.  The relationship between experimentation/originality and commercial imperatives/’what has gone before’ will be considered to enable students to locate their own work more fully within current socio-cultural contexts, while workshops and group discussion deepen each student’s interrogation of their own processes and challenge habitual modes of working.

Publishing Project 20

This module prepares students for their life as a writer beyond the MA programme by exploring the fast-evolving world of publishing and requiring them to develop their own publishing project with a view to either publication or submission. The project may be nonfictional, prose, poetry or script. It is a strongly vocational module, relying on each student exploring a variety of forms of dissemination and contemporary published works in order to become better informed as to the variety of potential outlets for their work and the ways in which such outlets relate to each other. The learning is supported by writing/editing workshops and a variety of authors and industry specialists, as well as a non-assessed group project whereby students edit and publish an anthology of their work to send out to agents and editors.


The Writer As Researcher 20

The focus of this module is on being creatively critical and critically creative. How do writers draw inspiration from the world around them, and seek to reconcile imagination with reality?  How do they ‘get it right’?  For the reader, making it real, making it contemporary, making it informative, authentic or simply ‘believable’ is of paramount importance and this module is designed to deepen students’ own writing by encouraging them to test preconceptions and assumptions against the evidence as revealed by their own research into a named, individual research topic in an area such as language, place, objects and ideas and the wider cultural and social context. It also challenges them to engage with the critical and apply that to their creative processes.

Contemporary Fiction 20

This module aims to help students develop their own practice as writers of fiction, through a consideration of the form and techniques used by published writers. It will consider plotting and the structuring of texts, as well as the subtleties of characterisation, dialogue and place in short and longer fiction. The module will analyse a selection of works, paying particular attention to more recent work and considering texts that range from Booker and Pulitzer prize winners to mass-market fictions; experimental odysseys to more sentimental journeys. Students will be encouraged to consider how these fictions work as texts, how they develop character, plot story, position the reader etc., and how they relate to audiences.

Students will work individually and in groups to create/develop stories and structures, characters and scenes for or from their own fictions. This module will be the beginning of their journey towards their Independent Study.


Optional Credits

Optional modules

Contemporary Non-Fiction – 20 Credits

Contemporary Scriptwriting for TV and Film – 20 Credits

Contemporary Metafiction – 20 Credits

Contemporary Historical Fiction – 20 Credits

Creativity Writing and Teaching – 20 Credits

Writing for Display – 20 Credits

Advanced Contemporary Poetry – 20 Credits

Diploma of Postgraduate Studies - Summative Paper – 20 Credits

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Course Tuition Fees

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Full-time entry | £6,500
Part-time entry | £3,250 p/a

Total Cost | £6,500

International Students

Full-time entry | £12,950
Part-time entry | £6,475 p/a

Total Cost | £12,950


As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.


We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

Key course details

Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years
Typical offer
Normally a first or higher second-class Honours degree
King Alfred or West Downs, Winchester