MPhil in Writing

The Masters in Writing at the University of South Wales is tutored by publishing writers; our graduates have published more than fifty books since 2010.

This unique, flexible learning scheme offers the chance to develop your book-length manuscript under the expert guidance of University tutors and prize-winning writers.

Notable achievements of our MPhil in Writing graduates and current students include major literary awards – first prize in the Manchester Poetry Prize and the Troubadour International Poetry Prize (both 2015) and the Dundee International Book Prize (2014) as well as bursaries in England, Wales and the Irish Republic.

Novels and poetry have been published by leading publishers including Bloomsbury, Bloodaxe, Canongate, Carcanet, Faber, Harper Collins and Heinemann.


Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 4 Years October Treforest A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Part-time 4 Years October Treforest A

The MPhil in Writing course involves two elements – a writing project and a related critical-reflective study. You will receive detailed feedback from tutors and peers, advice, and professional guidance during the weekend residencies.

The weekend residencies are the heart of the programme. A different kind of feedback from your regular one-to-one relationship with your supervisor, these intensive workshops give you the detailed practical responses of the other members of your cohort to your work as well as the available tutors.

You will receive a printed booklet of everyone’s work in advance. Each workshop is hosted by the supervisor of the person being workshopped, to ensure that acute and useful feedback is given in an atmosphere of trust, and in practical writerly terms.

Expect to learn as much about your own work from thoughts you find yourself offering to others as from what you hear said about your own.

Some residencies includes a session with an editor, publisher or writer with insights into the publication business. When appropriate the guest will give a public reading from their work.

For most research students on the MPhil in Writing, these residencies, which run from Friday afternoons through to the end of Saturday, are the landmarks of the working year, with a deadline and an audience of thinking writers waiting for the next instalment of your work.


There will be a cohort of three to six students in each year. You will need to spend about eighteen hours studying and writing per week and will be assigned a personal supervisor who will guide and direct your progress by distance learning, using e-mail, phone or post as appropriate.

Previous students have been based in the UK, the USA and continental Europe. Each year, you need to attend three one-day writing residencies at the University. These take place on Saturdays in October, December and March, and include intensive workshops and personal tutorials.

Between your first and second year of study, you will also take part in a three or four-day retreat at Ty Newydd in North Wales. Ty Newydd – the last home of Lloyd George – is situated on the beautiful Llyn Peninsula at the edge of Snowdonia National Park.

Additional costs

The course fees include all tuition at and in between the residencies.

Students are responsible for arranging and covering their own transport and accommodation costs for residencies; both near the University for the three weekend residencies, and for the summer residency at Ty Newydd. Full board and lodging for the summer residency is offered by Ty Newydd at highly favourable rates.


Your writing project will be a book-length manuscript and may be a novel, short stories or poetry. It will be accompanied by a 10,000-word critical study on a topic related to your creative work.

As is usual for research degrees, the final assessment will be by oral examination of your written submission by two impartial examiners, one from inside the University, and one from outside (i.e. no one who has taught you on the course), hosted by an independent Chair. Your final submission can be submitted up to four years from your enrolment date.


Please see our Graduate School pages for details of support for research students.


Individual supervisions are decided in the application and interview process. After acceptance onto the course you will know who your main supervisor is.

You will be assigned a second supervisor for input on particular aspects of the writing or the research. In workshops you will also have responses from other tutors and, of course, your fellow students.

The MPhil in Writing course team consists of permanent members of staff, all publishing writers:

Prominent writers on our panel of associate tutors include:

  • Tom Anderson (novelist, surf and travel writer)
  • Stephen Knight (poet and novelist)
  • Katherine Stansfield (poet and novelist)

Guest writers at Masters residencies have included established names like Helen Dunmore, Andrew Davies, Jasper Fforde, Gwyneth Lewis and Michael Morpurgo, as well as new emerging talents and industry professionals.

A minimum 2:1 Honours degree in an arts subject is the standard requirement, but we consider it more important that you can demonstrate the practical and imaginative potential to complete a book with a portfolio of work, backed up by a clear scheme of research.

All applications must include two references on headed paper from your referees which should be uploaded as a supporting document. Please note, we can not accept applications without these two references. At least one referee should be able to comment on your academic/professional ability. References provided by relatives are not acceptable.

Entry to this programme is strictly limited, due to matching individuals with supervisors, so early application is advisable. Applications are considered between January and Easter each year, though in rare cases a place may still be available after that date.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to have an IELTS score of 8.0.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU:  £3700

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Accommodation during Treforest residencies (3 times per year) - local students will not need accommodation. £0 - £300
Central to the programme are the three cohort residencies at intervals through each of Year 1 and Year 2. Though students may on occasion miss a residency for unavoidable reasons, the standard course fee includes the cost of staff supervision, workshops and tutorials through these events. Students not living within daily reach of the campus need to make arrangements for accommodation over one night per weekend residency. Rates given here - between £49 - £100 represent advertised rates at Cardiff hotels (2016).
Bed and Board during five day Ty Newydd residency (only one occurrence during course) - all students will require accommodation. £355
At the end of the first year only, students attend a five day residency at Ty Newydd Writing Centre in North Wales. Again, this is not mandatory, but is an integral part of the course experience. Students who miss it unavoidable sometimes take up the chance to attend it on their second year instead. The rates quoted here are for full bed and board provided by the writing centre.
Other : Text books
No required reading on the MPhil in Writing.

Apply directly to the University. Please read our information for applicants before you start.

Admissions statement 

Along with the online application form and your references, you’ll need to submit:

  • A sample of your creative writing of up to 3,500 words

  • A proposal for the creative project you would like to complete (up to 500 words)
    This should include a working title; an indication of what kind of writing you would want to produce (novel / collection of short stories / collection of poems etc.); if fiction, then in what genre (literary fiction / crime fiction / fantasy / YA / historical fiction / children’s etc.); a broad outline of the work suggesting plot, themes, setting (for fiction); or themes, forms, style (for poetry). Some indication of who, or what works, have influenced your writing would also be helpful.

  • A proposal for an accompanying critical study (up to 300 words)
    This should include a working title; an outline of what you want to study; an indicative bibliography of works you think likely to be useful to your research. The critical study is an integral part of the degree, and should be closely related to the creative project. For example, if you wish to write a fantasy novel, you might want to write about the work of a fantasy writer whose work you admire, or who you have found significant to your own development.

Graduates can become published writers in their chosen medium or find work as critics, journalists or writing educators. The MPhil also offers a valuable qualification for those wishing to enhance their career prospects in publishing, editing and teaching. You can also progress on to an English PhD.


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