International Institute of Modern Letters

Master of Arts (MA) in Creative Writing

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Introduction to the MA

The Master of Arts (MA) in Creative Writing (CREW) is offered in two streams:

For general information or advice about the Master of Arts programme at Victoria University, please see the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences MA page.

The information on this page applies to both streams of the MA in Creative Writing. You can also visit our Advice to Scriptwriting Applicants page for additional information and advice from Scriptwriting Director Ken Duncum.

About the MA in Creative Writing

The  MA in Creative Writing is one year full-time graduate research degree, which gives recognition to work in creative writing. The programme does not teach a specific set of predetermined skills; rather, it encourages writers to identify and articulate, as appropriate, their own distinctive voices in their chosen medium. It is built around a strong workshop culture, reflecting our belief in the importance of nurturing individual voices within a lively community of writers.

Entry to the programme is competitive, with 30 places available each year: 20 in the Writing for the Page stream and 10 in the Scriptwriting stream.

Writing for the Page and Scriptwriting streams

Writing for the Page (CREW 591 Creative Writing Portfolio): this stream aims to develop the literary skills and imaginative capacity of talented new writers of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction through a programme of workshops, portfolio supervision, and complementary reading. This stream offers 20 places in two separate groups. The two workshop groups will meet jointly for special events, including guest writer visits and masterclasses. By the end of the year each student will submit, as a final portfolio, a book-length work of literature, of publishable standard.

Scriptwriting (CREW 592 Creative Writing Portfolio): this stream aims to develop the craft skills and imaginative capacties of talented new scriptwriters through a programme of workshops, industry placements and collaborations, portfolio supervision, and complementary reading and viewing. It is not restricted to a single performance medium (film and television screenwriters will work alongside others who are writing primarily for stage and radio). By the end of the year each student will submit, as a final portfolio, a full-length script to third-draft standard.

Writing for the Page (CREW 591) is jointly directed by Emily Perkins and Chris Price; however Emily Perkins will be on Research and Study Leave during the first half of 2016 and Pip Adam will convene the MA programme alongside Chris Price.

The Scriptwriting programme is directed by Ken Duncum.

Entry requirements

To be considered for either stream of the programme you will normally need to have a university degree, in any subject. You must also submit a 10-20 page writing sample, and other support material, with your application. This sample should demonstrate your ability to write in the genre or medium in which you intend to specialise. The quality of your writing sample in particular will be central to the selection process.

Visit our How to apply page for full details of our entry requirements and the application process.

Fees, prizes and scholarships

Current tuition fees for the MA in Creative Writing are detailed on the individual course pages for CREW 591 and CREW 592. Domestic and international applicants can also calculate the total fees or find a full breakdown on the Unversity's Fees page.

Read more about scholarships and prizes relevant to the MA in Creative Writing.

Elements of the MA Programme

Workshop groups meet twice each week from late February / early March until October. Full attendance is expected, except in exceptional circumstances. The specific timetable for each stream is confirmed early in the year but there are no meetings during university breaks or study / exam periods. View the current trimester dates.


Each week you will attend a three-hour workshop. At workshops a range of exercise work is presented and discussed; and you present for discussion your own portfolio work-in-progress.

Reading Programme

You are required to read and/or view extensively in an area related to your writing project, usually following an individually tailored programme. You report either in two formal 3000-word essays or through an extensive Reading Journal which you keep throughout the year.

Reading Programme Meeting

This weekly meeting is an opportunity for the discussion of literary, craft or industry issues and of works and authors from individual reading lists. It provides a forum for guest visits by writers and industry professionals. During the year each member of the class leads a seminar relating to an aspect of their reading/viewing list or their portfolio project.


Although you will discuss your portfolio work at workshop meetings, you will also be assigned a supervisor, with whom you will meet regularly. As against the diversity of views you are likely to meet in workshops, your supervisor provides the response of a single, continuing reader. Your supervisor will respond to your work as you write it and will act as one of your final readers when the folio is submitted.

Industry Placements

Each student in the Scriptwriting stream of the MA will also complete about 40 hours of industry placement. Arrangements will be negotiated at the beginning of the academic year, but please note that placements will normally be organised for the June/July mid-year break.

Visiting Writers

Each year, leading international writers across a range of genres are invited to teach masterclasses for current MA in Creative Writing students.  See International Guest Writers for more.


Assessment for the MA in Creative Writing is based entirely on the final portfolio. Three examiners will provide written reports on your work. Before you graduate, a hardbound copy of your portfolio must be deposited in the Victoria University Library, thus becoming part of the University's record of its research archives. The hardbound copy must be accompanied by an identical electronic version. You can choose to make this version publicly available, or temporarily or permanently restricted.

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Hear from our Students

Find out more about our students - their projects and experiences of the course, and what they’re doing now - in their own words.

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How to Apply

Visit our How to Apply page for application deadlines, requirements and forms.