Creative and Critical Writing (Postgraduate Certificate / Postgraduate Diploma / MA)

Creative and Critical Writing

Postgraduate Certificate / Postgraduate Diploma / MA

Creative. Critical. Combined.

Work with practising and published writers on this course that enables you to focus on creative writing, literary critical writing, or a combination of both.

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Become a Writer in the World

Unique opportunities in the classroom, and beyond.

A woman giving a talk at Cheltenham Poetry Festival

Get involved in Cheltenham's many festivals, including the Poetry Festival and the world-famous Literature Festival.

A person talking to an audience at Francis CLose Hall chapel.

Enjoy a varied teaching programme, including guest speakers and genre-specific critique workshops. This was a guest lecture by poet Roy McFarlane.

A person reading a copy of Show Don't Tell.

Use our industry links to find your best route to publication and get involved in publishing our own anthology, Show Don't Tell.

Where ideas can be found everywhere

A stunning and atmospheric backdrop for studying.

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Learn from published writers

Michael D. D. Johnstone

Michael D. D. Johnstone

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

"I'm the author of three novels and I'm now writing a non-fiction book about European history. I teach prose fundamentals, short story writing, and theory for writers. My first novel, Peace, Love, & Petrol Bombs, was a Sunday Herald Book of the Year for 2011 and it has been recorded as an audio book. My experimental second novel, The Deconstruction of Professor Thrub made the judges' longlist for the Goldsmith's Prize. I also write short fiction, and my story The Invitation was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.

I was a postgraduate student at the University of Gloucestershire myself, and it transformed my life. I knew I wanted to write a book but the MA gave me the time to work, the discipline to work and the technical know-how to transform my life experiences and stories into publishable fiction. I also now run a writing advice website."

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A flash of inspiration

Join Claire as she enters - and wins - a flash fiction event at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Course details

A selection of book covers.

Course outline

The MA in Creative and Critical Writing has been designed so that students can choose a path through the degree which focuses either on creative or literary critical writing, or a combination of both.

You will work with practising authors, poets, and playwrights, as well as leaders in the field of literary criticism, to develop your own distinctive voice. You will develop as a writer in the world, not only in the classroom, and will be advised on routes to publication. Modules with a more academic focus allow you to engage with literary theory and academic studies of influential writers’ work.

This highly successful MA in Creative and Critical Writing was one of the first in the UK to offer modules dedicated to the theory and practice of teaching creative writing, and the theoretical and practical analysis of the creative process. These options complement the creative and critical strands of the degree and offer you the chance to become a writer prepared for the modern professional arenas in which you may find yourself.

There are opportunities to attend The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Cheltenham Poetry Festival where our students volunteer as event managers and stewards and there is usually a student showcase event, and Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts. There are monthly public open readings, and there is a vibrant cultural life in Cheltenham and the surrounding county.


  • Creative Projects - Identify and begin the first draft of an independent creative project
  • Teaching Creative Writing - Gain a wide variety of practical techniques for teaching creative writing at school and university levels
  • Independent Project - Design your own critical or creative project and complete it with guidance from specialists in your chosen area
  • Critical History - An overview of the history of Literary Criticism, designed to provide a solid grounding in the discipline for a critical pathway through the MA
  • Creativity - Develop your understanding of the creative process as described by practising writers and theorists
  • Creative Industries - Be introduced to the writer’s relationship with the creative industriesand examine routes to publication

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Get Creative and Critical Writing course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Study style

Assessment is through coursework and presentations.

Course modules

Take a look at the course content for full details of all the modules you'll study on this course.


  • Writer - many of our students have gone on to successfully publish in journal and book form
  • Editor  - a number of our graduates now work in publishing and on journals in an editorial role
  • Teacher of creative writing - several of our students have gone on to teach, or have enhanced their own practice.
  • Community Arts Management – some of our students have gone on to run community arts organisations

Study mode

Full-Time or Part-Time


Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Meet the Lecturer

Discover more about your course by visiting the university to speak with one of our lecturers. Learn about the modules, teaching style and the modes of assessment by speaking to our experts, and get a feel for the facilities you'll be using. Visit our Meet the Lecturer page to find out more and book your place.

Entry requirements

  • At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject
  • Applicants will be considered on an individual basis
  • You’ll be required to submit a portfolio to evidence your writing. The portfolio should be 3,000 words of creative prose (eg a short story or novel extract) or 12 poems or 30 minutes of dramatic writing in standard format
  • EU and international students need IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each component) or equivalent

Applications from mature students can be considered on the basis of a portfolio and reference.


Fees - 2020/21 Academic Year
Home and EU Students
Full-Time Fees
Masters £6700
Postgraduate Diploma £4500
Postgraduate Certificate £2200
International Students
Full-Time Fees
Masters £14700
Postgraduate Diploma £9800
Postgraduate Certificate £4900

The fee displayed is the total course fee for full-time or part-time study; see also the details of potential extra costs. Please refer to the Tuition Fee and Bursary Policy for payment methods and timescales.

School of Education and Humanities

Our School of Education and Humanities will help you graduate as a well-rounded, innovative and passionate individual. You will work with experienced practitioners, engage with active researchers and be inspired by published authors.

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