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Postgraduate Course

Publishing and Creative Writing MA

Develop the skills and knowledge needed to work in the publishing industry, while also developing your own creative writing practice.

A student sat at a table writing in a notebook

Focus on the links between critical thinking, publication, contemporary literature and creative writing. We will embolden you to be creative and write with the contemporary publishing sector in mind. You will have the opportunity to submit work to the York Literary Review and to our annual Beyond the Walls anthology.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    Sample Writing sample of at least 1,000 words or 3 poems

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

On this course will build complementary creative, critical and professional skills which will put you in a strong position to embark on a career as a writer or in publishing. The creative writing team have expertise in:

  • Speculative and historical fiction
  • Scriptwriting, screenwriting and adaptation
  • Poetry
  • Horror fiction
  • Literary fiction
  • Creative non-fiction, including memoir and true crime

The focus of the publishing element of the course is on all aspects of the world of publishing, but there is a specific focus on contemporary independent publishing, small presses and emergent themes in writing. You will engage with a diverse and inclusive range of creative and critical texts in a variety of forms, enhancing your knowledge of the current publishing landscape.

York is a fantastic place to be if you love books and reading. There is a rich literary history in the city, and each year, the city celebrates its literary heritage with the York Literature Festival, for which our department organises several events. We are also instrumental in the annual York Big City Read with our partner institution, York Explore.

We encourage you to take a professional approach to your study and attend the variety of events provided by the York Centre for Writing. These includes visits from agents, publishers, editors and writers. You will also have opportunities to take part in field trips and a weekend residential writing retreat.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 6 compulsory modules

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and modules will be spread across both years.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will discover the different models of practice in publishing, from conception to distribution. Examining key roles involved in the publication of a book as practised by both large corporations and small presses. Using case studies, you will examine the variety of professional roles involved in publishing.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will examine the key concepts of creative writing in an academic environment. You will explore your writing practice and engage with ideas of creativity and authorship. You will develop drafting, group work and editing skills and discover how to reflect on your work and write critical commentaries.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Throughout this module you will learn about the challenges faced by publishers, including:

  • The economic issues surrounding commissioning
  • The relationship between publishers and agents
  • Intellectual property, sale of rights and copyright.
  • Challenges faced by smaller publishers such as funding.

Credits: 30

Optional module

On this module you will consider wider contexts for your writing, such as working with vulnerable groups, schools or hospitals. You will explore how to get published across different mediums, working with other practitioners and writing in various contexts. You will have the opportunity to meet industry professionals, from agents and publishers to facilitators and collaborators. This is an opportunity for you to explore possible career options.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on a live publishing project, such as the publication of the York Literary Review. In addition to selecting a theme and focus for the review, you will:

  • Commission work and call for submissions
  • Create copy and develop layout and typesetting
  • Print and distribute promotional materials
  • Develop a marketing campaign and launch event.

As part of this module, you will be expected to engage with ongoing events as part of the York Centre for Writing and the York Literature Festival. This will be part of your core research that you will undertake in the capacity of a small press.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module is your opportunity to develop a portfolio of creative writing in a sustained and professional manner, through supported independent researching. The portfolio may be multiple pieces of text, a continuous work or an extract from a larger piece. Through 1 to 1 supervision, you will develop your portfolio and reflect on its production, considering markets, genre, history and research. Your supervisor will support you in researching your chosen genre, guiding the reading and writing process. Supervisions are tailored to the needs of individual writing projects.

Credits: 30

Optional module

On this module you will analyse environmental concerns across multiple fiction and non-fiction genres. You will produce your original work in response to a variety of environments, thinking in both critical and creative terms. Areas for study include:

  • Climate change fiction
  • Literature of and approaches to space and place, in particular the North of England
  • Psychogeographies

You will will build upon the skills developed on Critical Approaches to Creative Writing, whilst developing your verbal presentation skills.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Class sizes are kept to small, so that you can share and workshop ideas. You will be taught in workshops to support collaborative practice in both creative writing and publishing. You will work alongside students studying on the Publishing MA and Publishing and Contemporary Literature MA courses. As part of our inclusive teaching practice, all reading materials will be available online 48 hours after your workshop.

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to engage with your tutors in 1 to 1 review and feedback sessions. All of your modules will be taught by industry experts who have a great deal of knowledge in the specific areas of study.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


Assessment balances the development of skills essential to the world of publishing. Modules have written and verbal components of assessment. You will be assessed on your understanding and acquired knowledge of the publishing industry and literary criticism. This will range from copyright and intellectual property laws, to in depth text analysis and the evolution of the creative writing industry.

Across the whole of your third semester, you will undertake a Project Portfolio module. This can take the form of:

  • Collaboration with a writer
  • A critical publishing project or
  • A work placement

As well as the final product, you will be assessed on your use of secondary sources, collaborative practice and your editorial skills. This project will be supervise with a tutor who you can engage with in 1 to 1 sessions.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    Sample Writing sample of at least 1,000 words or 3 poems

If your degree is in an unrelated subject, but you can provide evidence of relevant professional experience, your application may still be considered.

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Additional requirements

For entry onto this course, you will also need:

  • A sample of creative writing, either in prose, script or poetry of at least 1,000-2,000 words, or 3 poems.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 per year for part time study

This cost applies to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Publishing and Creative Writing take you?

This MA will prepare you for a career in publishing and writing. You will also leave with transferable skills in project management, copywriting, editing, communication, team work and promotion. Studying this course will give you an advantage in:

  • Literary review editing
  • Event promotion
  • Copy writing end editing
  • Marketing and communication
  • Direct book sales

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £7,000 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2020)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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