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. 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.

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 professional proposal for publishers / agents. You will receive detailed feedback from tutors and peers, advice, and professional guidance during the weekend residencies.


There will be a cohort of six to eight 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. This will be attended by a guest writer or representative of the publishing industry. 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 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. 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.


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:

  • Barrie Llewelyn (prose writer)
  • David Towsey (novelist)
  • Kevin Mills (poet and critic)

Prominent writers on our panel of associate tutors include:

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

A minimum 2:1 Honours degree in an arts subject. 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.

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 2019 – July 2020 Fees: USW will be offering a package of financial support for postgraduate study and this will be announced shortly.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU:  £3600

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

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 if you are applying for a part-time, professional or postgraduate course, an Erasmus/Exchange programme, the Legal Practice (part-time) course, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution.    

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Admissions statement 

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.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.

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