The MPhil Masters in Writing course at the University of South Wales is tutored by significant 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 Bloodaxe, Canongate, Carcanet, Faber, Harper Collins and Heinemann. Guest writers at Masters residencies have included established names like Helen Dunmore, Andrew Davies and Michael Morpurgo, as well as new emerging talents and industry professionals.
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
The MPhil in Writing course involves two elements – a writing project and a critical study based on research into published writers’ work. You will get academic guidance during the weekend residencies.
Assessment is by thesis with a creative writing element.
There will be a cohort of eight or nine students in each year. You will need to spend about 18 hours studying and writing per week and will be assigned a personal supervisor who will guide and direct your progress by distance learning means, 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 two-day writing residencies at the University (Friday and Saturday). These sessions include intensive workshops, personal tutorials, and visits by writers and professionals offering practical insights into the publishing world. Between your first and second year of study, you will also take part in a five-day writers’ week at Ty Newydd in North Wales, the last home of Lloyd George, situated on the Llyn Peninsula on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. The two elements of your work are linked in a final submission that can be submitted up to four years from your enrolment date.
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 (one night each) and for the summer residency at Ty Newydd. Full board lodging for the summer residency is offered by Ty Newydd at very reasonable rates.
Your writing project will be a book-length manuscript and may be a novel, short stories or poetry. The critical study, of around 10,000 words, may be on any writer, movement, genre or theme relevant to your creative project, as agreed with the Director of Studies. 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, one outside (i.e. no one who has taught you on the course), hosted by an independent Chair.
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 creative writers, poet and critics, and novelists - all published writers and active researchers.
Barrie Llewelyn is a prose writer, and teaches fiction, poetry and non-fiction with a special interest in writing for the media and the essay form. She is also interested in the often fluid line between fiction and non-fiction. Recent research interests have taken Barrie’s focus to the link between creativity and well-being. The Speak to Me project partners resettled refugees with local English speakers in a series of creative writing workshops.
Dr David Towsey is a novelist and short-story writer, who specialises in genre fiction. He is particularly interested in crossover texts that complicate genre boundaries. His Walkin' Trilogy of novels blends numerous tropes from zombie horror, post-apocalyptic science fiction, and the western. He also co-writes fantasy-crime under the pseudonym D.K. Fields, whose Tales of Fenest trilogy considers the impact of storytelling in the democratic process.
Professor Kevin Mills is a literary critic and poet. He has published work on theoretical and philosophical issues in interpretation, Victorian literature, and individual authors such as HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Roald Dahl. His scholarly writing often blends creative and critical modes, exploiting the resources and confronting the limits of both. His poetry typically interweaves ancient texts and stories with contemporary experience, and explores relationships between language, the self, place, and time.
Prominent writers on our panel of associate tutors include:
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.
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
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.
As part of your application you will also need to write a research proposal. Your research proposal should provide a clear understanding of the research that is to be undertaken and the context in which it sits.
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.
More information is available on our Graduate School website.
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.
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.