Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

Have you got a story to tell? Or poems that you want to shape into a collection? This Masters degree will help you develop your creative writing practice. You’ll experiment with a wide variety of forms to help you discover your preferred mode of writing.

Why study MA Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths

  • You may be writing regularly; you may be returning to it after concentrating on your career. Whatever your background, if you're serious about your writing, this postgraduate course can help you to develop your practice.
  • Our students bring with them a lively range of interests, cultures and experiences. We welcome students of any age who share the drive to take their writing seriously.
  • You’ll have the chance to experiment with different forms – poetry, the novel, short story and life writing - as well as to specialise in one of those areas -  and you will receive expert guidance in each field. Read work by our students.
  • Some seminars will be taken by visiting writers who will talk about their work, introduce you to different theories of creative writing and engage you in discussion about their writing. Recent visitors have included Ali Smith, Caryl Phillips, Claire Keegan, and Daljit Nagra.
  • We host weekly readings and discussions organised by our Writers Centre, together with occasional visits from editors, literary agents and organisers of literary projects.
  • The Pat Kavanagh Prize is presented annually to an outstanding graduate from the programme. The £500 prize, created in memory of the much-admired literary agent, is awarded by a team of her colleagues at United Agents. This has been the catalyst for publication by several previous winners.

Student success

Since an MA creative writing course was established at Goldsmiths, later followed by a PhD programme and the introduction of creative writing at undergraduate level, over 100 of our students have gone on to bring out books with mainstream publishers.

Notable successes include:

  • Bernardine Evaristo was joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.
  • Two of our MA graduates, Ross Raisin and Evie Wyld, were named on Granta’s list of ‘best of young British novelists’.
  • Sophie Collins, Jack Underwood, Emily Berry, Richard Scott, Malika Booker, Anthony Joseph, Abigail Parry, Nick Makoha,Charlotte Shevchenko Knight, Rachel Long and Rachael Allen are among the prize-winning poets who have come through Goldsmiths.
  • In 2018, the Royal Society of Literature elected 40 new fellows under the age of 40 – in effect selecting the leading young British writers today. Six of them – Ross Raisin, Evie Wyld, Lucy Caldwell, Sophie Collins, Amy Sackville, and Emily Berry – are Goldsmiths alumni. No other university creative writing programme comes close to matching that.
  • Since 2016, ten of our creative writing graduates have been winners of the Eric Gregory award for poets under thirty: Sam Buchan-Watts, Alex MacDonald, Rachael Allen. Ali Lewis. Sophie Collins, Phoebe Stuckes, Susannah Dickey. Amina Jama, Kandace Siobhan-Walker, and Daniella Fearon.
  • Other awards won by alumni include the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Betty Trask Prize, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award, the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, the T S Eliot Prize and the George Devine Award, as well as wins and shortlisting for the Costa Prize (in the poetry, novel and short story categories), the Encore prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Orange Award for New Writers, the Dublin International IMPAC Prize, The Miles Franklin Award, the Ruth Rendell Award, The Young People’s Laureate for London, the Michael Marks Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the TS Eliot Prize, the Bridport short story award, the Guardian short story award for BAME writers, and the Forward Prize for Poetry.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Stephen Knight.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

You will take three compulsory modules over the course of the programme. You will also participate in twelve one-on-one tutorials throughout the year.

Module title Credits
Workshop in Creative and Life Writing 30 credits
Contemporary Contexts for Creative and Life Writing 30 credits
Creative and Life Writing Portfolio 60 credits


You also choose one option module. Full-time students take the module in the second term, while part-time students take it in the second term of their second year.

You can choose from a specialist workshop in fiction, poetry, or life writing, or an option module from the list of MA options offered by the Department of English and Creative Writing including topics such as European Avant-Garde, Postmodernist Fiction, or Re-writing Sexualities.

Module title Credits
Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Fiction Option) 30 credits
Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Life Writing Option) 30 credits
Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Poetry) 30 credits
Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Writing for Children/Young Adults Option) 30 credits


Assessment is by the submission of four pieces of writing of 5,000 words each – either an essay, or, for workshops, a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing – plus a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. You will also be assessed on a portfolio (maximum of 20,000 words) containing a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing together with a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. In all cases, the number of words applies to prose. 

Programme structure

The programme is taught in person, via workshops and seminars which are usually taught on one day each week. However, we cannot confirm this will be the case for the next academic year, as timetables are not published till just before the start of term.

This programme can also be studied either full-time or part-time.

Full-time students will take 2 modules each autumn and spring term (4 in total), and each module is taught via 2.5hr sessions.

Part-time students take the same modules, but one per term, over the course of 2 years. There are also tutorials, the timing of which is flexible, as they are scheduled with the tutor directly.


Download the programme specification.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

We consider applications from candidates without literary backgrounds. In this case, we would focus on the applicant's relevant experience, the quality of their portfolio and evidence of wider reading. Applicants from a non-literary background often bolster their CV with short creative writing courses, to demonstrate written skills and the ability to work in a team.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9630
  • Home - part-time: £4815
  • International - full-time: £17690

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.


This programme is eligible for one of the department's fee waivers. Find out more about how to apply.

How to apply


There is no fixed deadline for submitting your online application. 

However, please note that due to the popularity of the programme and the large number of applications, places fill up quickly. We aim to process applications within three months of receipt of receiving your full application, including references. This may take longer during busier periods and holidays.

Please apply early to avoid disappointment.

For more information about the programme please contact the Department of English.

Making an application

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement
  • You must also submit a portfolio of your creative or life writing with your application. Your portfolio should include two or three short stories, 12-20 poems or several extracts from a novel

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.


You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. This can include two or three short stories, 12-20 poems, or several extracts from a novel. You can include a combination of genres in your portfolio to reflect your writing practice, with a mixture of short stories, poems, extracts from a novel or larger piece, and life writing.

There's no set word limit, but we'd recommend no more than 3,000 words of prose or 12-20 poems.

Please make sure portfolios are in 12pt font with double-line spacing.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline. 

Selection process

As part of the selection process, you may be invited to an online or in-person interview. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.


Staff who contribute to the programme include:

Stephen Knight – poet, novelist

Stephen's recent poetry collection is 'Drizzle Mizzle Downpour Deluge' (2020). Other publications include 'Flowering Limbs’, ‘The Prince of Wails’, ‘The Sandfields Baudelaire’, ‘Dream City Cinema’, and, for children, ‘Sardines and Other Poems’.

He has published a novel, ‘Mr Schnitzel’, which was the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year in 2001, and co-edited with Mimi Khalvati the anthology, ‘I Am Twenty People’. He has worked as a theatre director and his fiction and poetry reviews have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, the Independent on Sunday and The Literary Review. He won the National Poetry Competition in 1992, the TLS/Blackwells Poetry Competition in 2003 and has twice been shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

Amy Sackville

Amy writes novels and occasionally short stories and personal essays. Her most recent book was ‘Painter to the King’ (2018). Her first, ‘The Still Point’ (2010), started life when she was a student on the Goldsmiths MA and won a John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; her second, ‘Orkney’ (2013), won a Somerset Maugham Award. She is currently researching a new historical novel.

Francis Spufford – novelist

Francis is a writer of creative non-fiction, essays and more recently, fiction. His most recent novel, 'Light Perpetual' (2021) won the Encore prize. His novel ‘Golden Hill’ (2016) won the Ondaatje Prize. His anthology of literature about the poles is, ‘The Ends of the Earth’ (with Elizabeth Kolbert), and he is the author of ‘The Child That Books Built’, ‘The Backroom Boys’, ‘Unapologetic’ and ‘Red Plenty’. 

Ardashir Vakil – novelist

Ardu’s first novel, ‘Beach Boy’, won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and has been translated into 10 languages. His second novel, ‘One Day’, was shortlisted for the Encore Award. Ardu is currently working on a new novel and a collection of shorter fiction.

Tom Lee

Tom Lee is the author of a novel, The Alarming Palsy of James Orr (2017), a collection of short stories, Greenfly (2008), and a memoir, The Bullet (2024).

Richard Scott - poet

Richard's first book Soho (Faber & Faber, 2018) was a Gay’s the Word book of the year and shortlisted for five other awards including the T. S. Eliot prize. His chapbook Wound' won the Michael Marks Award. Recent works include ‘Still Life with Rose’ and ‘love version of’ in 100 Queer Poems (Vintage). Richard’s poetry has been translated into German and French.

Other tutors include:

  • Karen McCarthy Woolf
  • Declan Ryan
  • Claire Adam
  • Evie Wyld
  • Jack Underwood

Find out more about staff in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.




Graduates of this programme include writers Tom Lee, Lucy Caldwell, Ross Raisin, Amy Sackville, Rohan Kriwaczek, Evie WyldSara GrantNaomi Foyle, Bronia Kita, Claire Adam, Lijia Zhang, Luiza SaumaAshley Dartnell and Suzanne Joinson and the poets Emily Berry, Andy Spragg, Kate Potts, Jack Underwood, Abigail Parry, Anthony Joseph, Katrina Naomi and Matthew Gregory.

Among them they've won or been shortlisted for awards including:

  • Desmond Elliott Prize 2019
  • The Sunday Times/EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012
  • Rooney Prize for Literature 2011
  • Dylan Thomas Prize 2008 and 2011
  • The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2009
  • John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2009 and 2010
  • Several Eric Gregory Awards
  • Guardian First Book Award
  • New Writing Ventures Prize
  • Several Betty Trask Awards

Other graduates have gone on to work in publishing (for example, as senior commissioning editors), journalism, public relations, teaching, advertising, the civil service, business, industry, and the media.


The MA will enable you to develop transferable skills, including: enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts; the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials; the ability to organise information, and to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

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