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MA Creative Writing
School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
One year full-time or two years part-time.

Entry requirements

We offer places on the course on the basis of your portfolio of creative writing and an interview, which for overseas applicants may be by telephone or Skype.

We're looking for writers of prose fiction (any genre), poetry or literary non-fiction whom we consider to have the potential to publish their work in the near future.

Our MA Creative Writing course is designed to help you write a novel, collection of poems, collection of stories or work of non-fiction.

  • Excellent record of helping students achieve publication.
  • Widely regarded as one of the best courses of its kind.
  • Taught by an extremely strong team of published writers.

Our MA in Creative Writing, available full-time and part-time, will help you to bring a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction as near to publishable quality as possible. Full-time students take the course in one year; part-time students in two.

Working with tutors and other writers on the course, you’ll develop your writing and build up a substantial body of work. Weekly workshops are taught by a strong team of published writers, and there are regular visits by literary agents, publishers, magazine editors and broadcasters, as well as other writers.

“This course is demanding and rewarding. We're adamant about getting you to do what it takes to finish something you can be proud of.”

Samantha Harvey, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Our Creative Writing community

Due to the reputation of our MA in Creative Writing, we're able to recruit excellent students who form an exciting and mutually supportive community of writers every year.

Find out more about:

What do writers do after completing an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa?

Watch our recorded online event, Novel Nights, to hear from six former MA Creative Writing students on their paths to publication.

"Two weeks after winning [the Bridport Prize] I had an agent."

Fiona Williams, MA Creative Writing
Graduate delivering part of an online talk

MA Creative Writing alumni

What you'll learn


You’ll learn to:

  • Plan a manuscript (a novel, collection of short stories, collection of poems or book of literary non-fiction) and complete it, or a substantial part of it, brought to publishable quality or as near as possible.
  • Understand literary form, style and genre, as relevant to your chosen form of writing.
  • Acquire a variety of relevant writing techniques, and research techniques to support writing, and adapt them to your particular creative project.
  • Understand and respond creatively to questions arising from the subject-matter, themes, genres, traditions and other literary contexts with which your chosen manuscript is engaged.
  • Receive and give precise and sensitive critical feedback in workshop groups and one-to-one tutorials.
  • Respond creatively to feedback provided by tutors and other students, adapting that feedback to your particular vision of your book.
  • Understand choices and opportunities relevant to your chosen manuscript, including questions of how to place your work, and the role of agents, publishers and editors.
Course structure

The first workshop module, Professional Skills, provides intensive group discussion and some plenary lectures. You’ll bring short pieces of writing to small workshop classes led by a tutor. There are separate groups for prose and poetry. You’ll submit a manuscript proposal halfway through the module. All students take this module in their first trimester. The second workshop module, either in prose or poetry, taken later in the course, continues the work in the same way. By this time, students have chosen their manuscript project.

Context modules
Each context module explores connections between your creative writing and the wider world as represented by a theme or genre. Seminars are divided between considering set texts and workshopping your creative writing. The set texts are examined from the point of view of practical lessons that the writer can learn. Full-time students take a context module in trimester one and another in trimester two. Part-time students take one in trimester two and one in trimester four.

Manuscript module
This is the culmination of the course – the book, or substantial part of a book. It is taught by means of one-to-one tutorials. Full-time students take it in trimester three; part-time students in trimester six.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document for more information on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Professional Skills
  • Prose Workshop 2
  • Poetry Workshop 2
  • Writing and Gender
  • Writing and the Environment
  • Writing with a Poet’s Eye
  • The Writer and Place
  • The Short Story
  • Modernism and Postmodernism
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • The Love Story
  • Historical Fiction
  • Writing Now
  • The Manuscript
How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed entirely by coursework: mainly creative writing, plus two short essays, a manuscript proposal and a short commentary on the manuscript in progress.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught in group workshops and seminars, one-to-one tutorials and plenary lectures.

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement.


Join our successful community

Past students have:

  • Been awarded excellent contracts for novels
  • Been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Orange Prize, Costa Prize and the Guardian First Book Award
  • Received the Betty Trask Prize, Manchester Book Award, a WH Smith New Talent Award, and the Janklow and Nesbit Prize. 
  • Reached the bestseller lists.
  • Had their poetry accepted for publication in numerous literary journals, including Ambit, Magma, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, PN Review and The Reader, among others.
  • Been placed in such competitions as the Bridport, the Frogmore, Mslexia, and Writers Inc. Janklow and Nesbit Ltd

In addition, a leading literary agency awards an annual prize for the best novel or novel in progress by a student on the course.

Industry links

Throughout the year there are visits by writers, literary agents, publishers, editors, broadcasters and other professionals concerned with creative writing, who will give presentations and answer questions at evening events and in plenary lectures.

Adobe Creative Campus

Develop a wealth of indispensable digital skills that you can take into your future career. One of only three Adobe Creative Campuses in the UK, we provide all Bath Spa students with access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, giving you the tools to communicate creatively, whatever your course or chosen professional field.   

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Weekly teaching is at our Newton Park campus.

Experienced, award-winning staff

Our faculty includes:


  • Professor Philip Hensher
  • Professor Maggie Gee
  • Professor Kate Pullinger
  • Nathan Filer
  • Aminatta Forna
  • Samantha Harvey
  • Claire Kendal
  • Celia Brayfield
  • Gavin Bower
  • Gerard Woodward
  • Natasha Pulley
  • Anna-Marie Crowhurst
  • Jane Borodale
  • Melanie Golding


  • Tim Liardet
  • Gerard Woodward
  • Lucy English
  • Emma Jones

Nature writers and memoirists:

  • Richard Kerridge
  • Stephen Moss


  • Lily Dunn


Teaching staff have won major prizes, written bestsellers and contributed to the discussion of books in the national media. They have an unrivalled experience of publishing and writing.


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK full time £9,055
UK part time £4,528
International full time £17,645

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We offer places on the course on the basis of your portfolio of creative writing and an interview, which for overseas applicants may be virtual or by telephone. We are looking for writers of prose fiction (any genre), poetry or literary non-fiction whom we consider to have the potential to publish their work in the near future.

The portfolio you provide should consist of no more than twenty pages of prose fiction, poetry or literary non-fiction, or a combination of these. It is most helpful if the portfolio includes the kind of writing you wish to develop on the course.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Please send approximately 20 pages of your creative writing, representing what you consider to be your best work. If you send excerpts from a longer work, please provide a synopsis. The portfolio should accompany the application form and personal statement.

Guidance for international students

We assess international students on the same basis as domestic students. We welcome the richness of experience that having students from many countries and backgrounds brings to the course.

In terms of English proficiency, it's important in creative writing to have sufficient grasp of nuance and connotations for meaningful discussions of, for instance, exact word choices; however, it's not a problem to need minor assistance – for example, with the odd bit of rephrasing or problems with prepositions.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants:

This course requires an IELTS test (or equivalent) with an overall grade of 7.0 and with no less than 6.0 in each component.

When to apply

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

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