Thursday, November 23, 2023

We are now OPEN for Sept 2024 applications! Plus: how we select you, what makes us unique

The Creative Writing MA at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland is now OPEN for applications to join our September 2024 cohort. Full details about our selection process can be found below, but we are already interviewing applicants for our next student cohort!

We have a rolling selection process. If you successfully complete all three stages, we offer you a place within 24 hours of being interviewed by us. That means we usually start wait-listing people from May each year. Some places in the September 2024 cohort are already occupied by students who deferred starting for a year, and the remaining places will fill up fast. The sooner you apply, the better!

What makes our creative writing MA so popular? For a start, we put genre fiction front and centre in our course. If you love science fiction, fantasy, crime, horror, historical or stories for YA readers, many creative writing MFAs and MAs don't want to know - but we embrace great genre writing and people who want to write it.

Another unique focus at Edinburgh Napier is graphic novels and comics, which most programmes ignore. We love this medium so much we devote an entire module about it, Writing Graphic Fiction. [Good news: no talent for drawing required!]

There are no peer review workshops in Creative Writing MA classes at Edinburgh Napier. This boggles the minds of some, as such workshops are the dominant teaching approach for creative writing pretty much everywhere else. We encourage students to swap work and feedback - but outside the classroom.

Instead, you are encouraged to critically self-reflect on your work [with prompts from us], and to share that thinking. You get professional editorial feedback on your writing and your self-reflection skills, delivered masterclass-style in class. And you get six hours of one-to-one mentoring.

If that sounds enticing, here's how you apply for our course. Like so much of our programme, the admissions process we use to select students also seems to be unique...

First, you fill in and submit an application form [there are links to an online version top right of this page]. We welcome applicants who already have a degree - it doesn't have to be in English literature or some form of creative writing. We also recognise prior learning and writing experience in those who don't have a degree yet.

The crucial section of your form is the personal statement. This is where you tell us about your aspirations as a writer, and how our programme can help you achieve them. Here's a hint: don't just copy and paste a standard personal statement. We look to see if applicants have done their research on the course and have enthusiasm for our specialisms.

Do your homework and research our programme. If you want your application taken seriously, show us you've taken our course seriously. Remember, your personal statement is also a chance to showcase your ability as a writer. So blow our socks off!

All being well, we'll progress you to stage two of our selection process. We don't expect a writing sample with your application. Instead we'll invite you to undertake a writing challenge for which you'll have a week to create an original short story of up to 500 words. This matches the writing challenges students face many weeks on our MA.

We give you a choice of first sentences. You select one and use that as the opening for your story. We let you decide when to receive the brief, so you can choose a week to suit you. And we include the criteria used to assess your story, so the process is transparent.

Once you've sent in your story, we read and assess it. Some applicants get turned away at this stage - we take roughly one out of every five people who apply. But if your story shows promise, we invite you to an online interview.

The interview lasts up to an hour. During that time we use a teaching and learning activity from the MA to assess you. This also gives you insight into our programme and how we teach. Your interview should be an enjoyable experience, not an interrogation!

We let you know within a day if we're offering you a place - no waiting for months to find out [and no fee to apply, either!]. We use a rolling admissions process: once we're full, we're full. 
If you still have any questions, get in touch before you apply. Email programme leader David Bishop here: The sooner you apply, the better your chances...

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