Creative Writing MA (Distance Learning)

Why choose this course?

The Creative Writing MA (Distance Learning) offers you the chance to study with a range of well-established and award-winning writers in a dynamic writing environment, but without having to relocate or give up current commitments.

You will learn in workshops, one-to-one or in small groups, with support from practising and published writers, and fellow students. Our award-winning former creative writing students include Booker-shortlisted Oyinkan Braithwaite, Joe Pierson, who won the Bridport Prize, Stefan Mohammed, awarded the Dylan Thomas Prize, Bafta-winner, Sarah Woolner, the acclaimed poet Dom Bury and celebrated novelist Faiqa Mansab. Taught in our virtual forums and classrooms, modules can be accessed at a time of the week to suit your schedule.

The non-compulsory campus days give you a chance to visit the campus and attend a relevant lecture, as well as to meet fellow workshop students. Those travelling longer distances who wish to stay longer and explore the cultural opportunities that London offers, or simply to write, are also welcome to attend events taking place on campus for the rest of the week, featuring staff, writers in residences, students and guests.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year Full-time students can attend two campus days, scheduled annually in mid-October and early January. September 2023
Part time 2 years Part-time students normally attend the October campus day in the first year and the January campus day in the second year. September 2023
Location Penrhyn Road (residency modules only)

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Delivered by Distance Learning, this Creative Writing MA helps you to develop the craft of creative writing, either on a general level or through specialising in your chosen genre. Taught in virtual forums and classrooms, your studies can suit your schedule, and you will not have to relocate or give up your job.
  • The creative dissertation and critical essay give you the chance to further specialise. You also explore writing in a range of forms and styles and take a module exploring critical theory and experimental/avant-garde writing.
  • You will become part of Kingston's thriving community, with events such as readings, lectures from published authors, editors and agents, masterclasses and enriching discussions.
  • You will have the opportunity to contribute to Kingston University's publication, Ripple, which includes fiction, poetry, reviews and creative non- fiction and is edited by students on the course.
  • You'll study in workshops, learning one-on-one or in small groups with experts in your chosen area. The course is taught by a combination of:
  • appointed staff - many are published authors or active researchers, which keeps your learning dynamic.
  • peer review - giving you the chance to discuss your own and other students' work in a mutually-supportive environment.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

Two students collaborate on a design project.

What our students say

In this video, one of our creative writing alumna and a current student discuss why they chose the course, what they enjoyed about it and why they'd recommend it to future applicants.

What you will study

The Creative Writing MA (Distance Learning) follows the same course structure as the successful and popular Creative Writing MA. You'll be taught through individual tutorials, streamed lectures and readings held at or sponsored by the University.

The Writers' Workshop module will encourage you to develop your writing 'voice' through engagement with fellow students across a range of genres (in fiction or creative non-fiction), while the Special Study module enables you to specialise in one genre, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama.

You will learn the elements of fiction, poetry and drama as well as studying relevant critical theory and trying out your own fictional experiments in the Critical Challenges module. You'll take part in online masterclasses and put all you have learned into practice in the dissertation module. It is possible to use both workshop modules and the dissertation together to work towards a substantial part of a longer piece such as a novel.

This Creative Writing MA will give you the knowledge and confidence to enter the cultural debate and to begin to identify outlets for your own writing.

Timetables

Full-time students can attend two campus days, scheduled annually, usually in November and February.

Part-time students normally attend the November campus day in the first year and the February campus day in the second year.

Core modules

Full-time students take two 30-credit modules each semester, including a Special Study workshop on a particular genre e.g. poetry, drama or fiction, in the second semester. You'll participate in general workshops, reading sessions and tutorials with your assigned dissertation supervisor throughout the course.

You may then choose to complete a 15,000-word 60-credit dissertation accompanied by a 3,000-word critical review, for which you'll receive one-to-one supervision as you work towards a September completion.

Core modules

Creative Writing Dissertation

60 credits

This module focuses on your own creative writing and research into your chosen form or genre, developed in consultation with your supervisor. You learn via one-to-one tutorials with your personal supervisor. You produce two pieces of writing:

  • a creative dissertation – a portion of a novel, a body of poetry, a play screenplay or other creative form of no more than 15,000 words; and
  • a critical essay of approximately 3,000 words – considering the relationships between your own writing and the literary contexts/theoretical concerns that inform published writing in your chosen genre or form.

Your supervisor must agree in advance the final structure, approximate word length and for presentation conventions of these pieces.

Special Study: Workshops in Popular Genre Writing

30 credits

This online workshop module will be devoted to the creative writing of students all working in the same form and genre of their choice.  It will enable students to develop drafts in their chosen form and genre, and to master its specific codes and conventions. Draft work to be reviewed may include, for example, poetry, prose fiction, non-fiction, writing for the stage, or screenwriting, perhaps in a choice of genres such as crime writing, fantasy fiction, writing for children, historical fiction, science fiction, romance and autobiography. Students will be advised how best to strengthen their knowledge of that form or genre in order to reflect critically and constructively on their own writing.  Attention will then be given to the production of a substantial piece or a collection of pieces of creative writing that reflects their knowledge of and engagement with their chosen form or genre.

Writing the Contemporary

30 credits

This module provides the opportunity to examine ways in which reading is essential to writing practice and teaches you to apply literary techniques and strategies from contemporary fiction, life writing and poetry texts to your own work. You will develop the concept of ‘reading as a writer' in order to explore how contemporary concerns are brought to the fore by artistic strategies, and examine how an understanding of these can provide models for your own creative practice. You will submit work including a reflective reading journal as well as a creative piece in a genre of your choice.

Writers' Workshop

30 credits

This is a workshop-based online module in which students will present and discuss their own work and that of their peers within a group of students writing in a variety of genres and forms. The draft work presented in the module will normally include forms such as poetry, prose fiction, non-fiction, writing for the stage or screenwriting, in a variety of genres, but it may also include genres such as science fiction, romance, crime fiction, writing for children, historical fictional, and autobiography. Students will develop a strong knowledge of the writing workshop ethos, its requirements and etiquette as mutual practical criticism of peer writing will be accompanied by discussion of the scope or constraints of the various genres as well as the implications of working in various forms. Attention will be paid to the relevant components of good writing: appropriate use of language, narrative pace, dialogue, expression, characterisation and mood.

Critical Challenges for Creative Writers

30 credits

The module is designed to introduce students to some issues of critical and literary theory. The module is also designed to make students more aware of how their work impacts upon wider literary, cultural, political and philosophical issues. Awareness of these theories and of some of the issues surrounding the production and reception of literary texts will stimulate them, encouraging creative and conceptual thinking. The module will explore debates about literature and the practice of creative writing through readings of essays and texts that are relevant to criticism and theory. The academic component of the assessment will support the creative work with the objective that students will also have to demonstrate critical, academic, analytical skills.

Please note

Optional modules only run if there is enough demand. If we have an insufficient number of students interested in an optional module, that module will not be offered for this course.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

We normally expect applicants to have:

  • a second class degree or above,or equivalent, in creative writing, English literature, literature and language, drama or theatre studies or a similar subject; and/or
  • a demonstrable interest in creative writing.

You must also submit a 3,000-word sample of creative writing, a personal statement (1,000 words).

Additional requirements

Interviews

We normally invite applicants for an interview with the admissions director or another senior member of the teaching team. We will ask you to submit a creative writing sample of up to 3,000 words with your application.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with 7.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all other elements. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.

Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

Continuous assessments in individual accredited modules plus assessment of final dissertation.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 5% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.

Scheduled learning and teaching: 93 hours

Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1,707 hours

For part time students

Year 1

  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 44 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 556 hours

Year 2

  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 49 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1,151 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Full time - Year 1

Part time - Year 1

Part time - Year 2

Full time - Year 1
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 93 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1707 hours
Part time - Year 1
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 44 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 556 hours
Part time - Year 2
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 49 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1151 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises portfolios and a dissertation.

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course in each full time or part time year:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

Class sizes are kept small for this course and usually limited to 10. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is delivered by Kingston School of Art. As a student on this course, you will benefit from a lively study environment, thanks to the wide range of postgraduate courses on offer. The combination of academics and practitioners makes it a unique environment in which to further your studies and your career.

The University provides a vibrant and forward-thinking environment for study with:

  • courses designed in collaboration with industry professionals  enabling you to keep right up to date with the latest developments in the creative and professional writing environment;
  • established connections with the London arts and media scene  with a range of guest speakers, professors and lecturers visiting the University; and
  • committed and enthusiastic staff  many of whom are expert practitioners as well as leading academics and researchers.
  • opportunity to contribute to Kingston University's publications, such as Ripple. They include fiction, poetry, reviews and creative non-fiction and are edited by postgraduate creative writing students.

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Fees for this course

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • full time £9,860
  • part time £5,423

International 2023/24

  • full time £16,200
  • part time £8,910

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £9,620
  • MA part time £5,291

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £15,800
  • MA part time £8,690

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Funding and bursaries

Bursaries are available from the School of Arts, Culture and Communications for students working on the Kingston University Press (KUP), Ripple magazine or other related activities (find out more and apply after you have enrolled).

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

After you graduate

Some of our departmental graduates have achieved notable successes, having published short stories and novels which were started as part of their degree, and attracted good literary agents, for example:

  • Oyinkan Braithwaite's novel, My Sister the Serial Killer, reviewed by The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4's Open Book and Front Row, has won the Crime and Thriller book of the year at the British Book Awards; Oyinkan is the first black woman to do so.  
  • Grainne Murphy has recently signed a two-book deal with Legend Press. Her debut novel, Where the Edge Is, was published in September 2020, with The Ghostlights to be published in 2021. 
  • Ben Halls' debut The Quarry was book of the day in The Guardian in March 2020. 
  • Amy Clarke has signed a two-book deal. Like Clockwork is a psychological suspense novel about a true crime podcast host who's obsessively trying to solve the decades-old cold case of a notorious Minnesotan serial killer whose victims were each one year younger than the last. It is due to be published in March/April 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with a second book to follow. 
  • A story Seraphina Madsen wrote for the MA Critical Challenges module was published in the UK's pre-eminent literary journal, The White Review, and secured her an agent and a book deal. 
  • Stevan Alcock is another MA student whose debut novel – workshopped on our MA – was published by 4th Estate.  
  • Hannah Vincent is a former MFA student with novels out with Myriad Editions and Salt. 
  • Myriad Editions also run a writing competition each year aimed at finding new writers, with MFA student Karly Stilling winning in 2015. This year the award was won by another current Kingston student, Sylvia Carr. Former MA (now PhD student) Joseph Pierson was a recent runner up. 
  • Julia Lewis is a former MFA student and experimental poet who has gone on to publish a wide range of work. She also rewrote MA tutor James Miller's novel Lost Boys as a collection of experimental poetry. 
  • Stefan Mohamed won the Dylan Thomas Prize and has gone to have a successful career as a writer of YA fiction. 
  • MA student Vicky Newham signed a two book deal for her crime series. Vicky is on the Daggers longlist for the best crime novel by a first-time author. 
  • Faiqa Mansab published her debut novel This House of Clay and Water in Pakistan and India to great acclaim and it  has been optioned by the talented Sheherzade Sheikh for screen adaptation. 
  • Other successes include Susie Lynes and Lauren Forry
  • Other former students have gone on to work in editorial posts in the publishing industry.

Why I chose Kingston

What our students and graduates say

Initially it was a bit daunting returning to university as a mature student (in my early 50s) but as there were quite a number of us older students we soon formed a little group and in fact became quite good friends. The thing I possibly enjoyed most about Kingston was the number of workshops on offer pretty much throughout my time there. I found myself signing up for everything, from fiction to thriller to life writing courses. I just loved the vibe of being in that academic and literary environment. It was a huge privilege being able to attend workshops, free of charge, presented by some of the most esteemed literary personalities. In addition, there were publishing events that put us in direct contact with editors, agents and publishers. Weekly events hosted by Kingston Writing School were also hugely inspiring. Listening to authors relating their journeys about the long road from writing to being published was hugely encouraging and something I rarely missed.

The actual MA course and the various modules we had to complete pushed me beyond my comfort zone, in particular poetry which is something I'd never had a penchant for. But thanks to my accomplished lecturers I ended up enjoying every single one of them.

However, it was one of the extra-curricular workshops that inspired my book, Secrets of a Stewardess. The memoir/life writing workshop was hosted by John Man, author of more than thirteen books. I was convinced that I was in the wrong class as I felt that I had absolutely no story to tell, but he somehow managed to coax out of me my years as an airline stewardess in the ‘80s. I also wrote a children's book (which was signed up by an agent) while I was at Kingston University, but used the memoir as part of my dissertation.

I can honestly say that completing my MA in Creative Writing at Kingston University and then being published is one of the most rewarding things I have done. It taught me that you are never too old to achieve your goals - you just need to set them and then work towards them. Studying creative writing gave me the confidence to believe that I actually could write and the whole support system offered at Kingston University, finally helped me to get published.

Secrets of a Stewardess has been published by The History Press who have done an outstanding job of marketing it. WHS Smith Travel bought 2 500 copies upfront; I have been interviewed on BBC Radio 4; I have featured on BBC World Services', The Conversation; I have been interviewed live on Talk Radio Europe; I have had a feature in The Daily Mail newspaper; I have been interviewed and photographed by The Sun newspaper and I featured in Prima magazine's August edition.

Gretchen Ryan

Links with business and industry

A range of additional events and lectures will enhance your studies and add an extra perspective to your learning. Activities for this course include:

Masterclasses

Live online masterclasses in each teaching block with distinguished professors and researchers such as Hanif Kureishi and Paul Bailey.

Distance Learning students who attend Campus Days are able to attend events and readings with publishing specialists and professionals that take place on these days. These have included agents such as Briony Woods, Jemima Hunt and others.

Overseas student visiting for Campus Days who wish to stay for a few days longer will find other lectures and events of interest to attend.

Students within reach of London are also welcome to attend events on campus such as talks from writer and film director Shelag McLeod, Influx Press editor Sanya Semakula and writers Michael Hughes, Catherine McNamara and Susan Lynes.

 

Guest lectures

Weekly guest lectures by leading journalists including:

  • Samira Ahmed, an award-winning journalist with 20 years' experience in print and broadcast;
  • David Jenkins, editor of Little White Lies, a bi-monthly movie magazine powered by illustration;
  • Richard Moynihan, Head of digital journalism, The Telegraph and
  • Alex Stedman, fashion blogger at The Frugality and former style editor at Red magazine.

Readings

Regular readings through Writers' Centre Kingston, which offers an annual programme of events from talks to workshops and festivals, hosted and curated in partnership with institutions local to Kingston University and in London, from The Rose Theatre to the Rich Mix Cultural Foundation, from the Museum of Futures to Kingston First.

Lunchtime lectures

Frequent philosophy lunchtime lectures which focus on a major figure in the history of Western philosophy, introducing students to that thinker's work, usually through the discussion of one of her or his emblematic works. There are also weekly Journalism lunchtime lectures with a range of industry experts.

Ripple magazine

The literary magazine Ripple is edited by MA students, providing a platform for the publication of creative work; and a chance to get hands-on experience of the publishing process.

Research areas

Research in English literature and creative writing at Kingston University covers the following areas:

  • 19th and 20th century British and American fiction;
  • fictions of globalisation;
  • modernism;
  • gothic writing;
  • travel writing;
  • women's writing from the 18th century to the present;
  • New Woman and fin de siècle fictions;
  • Shakespeare;
  • literature of the English Reformation period;
  • postcolonial studies;
  • theories of gender;
  • life writing and trauma;

It focuses around the following research initiatives:

  • Iris Murdoch Studies - research on the Iris Murdoch archives acquired by Kingston University in 2003/04).
  • Life Narratives Research Group - bringing together best practice from all genres of life narrative work.
  • Cultural Histories at Kingston - centred around the concept of the 'cultural text', the group includes scholars from the fields of literature, film, media, history, music, dance, performance, and journalism.
  • Writers' Centre Kingston - a literary cultural centre dedicated to creative writing in all its forms, with an annual programme of events, talks, workshops and festivals.
  • Race/Gender Matters - captures and concentrates research on theoretical, critical and creative engagements with the materiality of race, gender and language.

We also hold regular seminars and host presentations by visiting speakers.

Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.