Programme list > Master of Creative Writing

Master of Creative Writing


Ignite your imagination and intellect

Use your passion for writing to transform yourself and the world through an intense exploration of language.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Credits

  • 180
  • Duration

  • 1.5 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
  • Other

  • Selected entry programme

Advance straight from your bachelor’s degree

The Master of Creative Writing (MCW) is a 180-credit programme that can follow on immediately from your bachelor’s degree in any subject.

Develop your creative process

Produce your own creative writing to challenge your innovative energies. Discover new ways to unlock ideas and connect with readers.

Gain writing experience

Work alongside award-winning authors to write your own novels, poems, short stories, plays, scripts, creative non-fiction and more.

Careers and further study


A Master of Creative Writing is one of the most creative and enriching degrees you can do. Employers seek out arts students for their lateral and analytical thinking, communication skills and creative ability.

There are various possibilities for creative writing graduates, including:

  • non-profit or corporate freelance writing
  • creative arts project coordination
  • writing for television, magazines, blogs or the book-publishing industry
  • inter-arts collaboration for arts festivals
  • writing for public relations
  • creative writing in advertising
  • teaching
  • performance-related writing and production
  • writing and advising on government policy
  • writing for social media.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


This programme is a selected entry programme. This means there are a number of extra requirements you must meet.

To enter the Master of Creative Writing you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a bachelor’s degree with at least a B grade average across the 200 and 300-level specialisation courses, or
  • have a bachelor’s with honours degree or a postgraduate diploma in arts in Creative Writing,  Expressive Arts or English, with at least a B grade average for the qualification.

You will be selected into the programme on the basis of a process which includes providing:

  • a summary of your research interests: a brief (one to two paragraphs) outline of your proposed MCW thesis, summarising your proposed creative project (about 70% of the thesis) and proposed critical project (about 30% of the thesis). Please indicate the genre in which you would like to write your creative thesis in this outline. Critical projects usually take the form of a literary essay, a craft essay, or an exegesis
  • a portfolio of your creative writing (please refer below)
  • confirmation that your creative writing portfolio is your own personal work.

If you have a bachelor’s with honours degree or postgraduate diploma in arts in Creative Writing, Expressive Arts or English as outlined above, you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification in accordance with the limits specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations.

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

Application closing date

Applications for this programme close on 31 October 2021 for all students.

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Other requirements

Portfolio of creative writing requirements

Your creative writing sample should be in the genre you wish to pursue in your thesis and limited to 4,000 words maximum for fiction, creative non-fiction, a theatre or film script, or a hybrid writing sample. For poetry, please submit a sample of up to ten poems (about 10-15 pages). If you are unable to upload your portfolio, please upload confirmation that you are sending your portfolio in hard copy to:

Academic Support
Massey University
Private Bag 11-222
Palmerston North

Please enquire for any other questions on required supporting documents.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and qualifications that may help.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

180 credits

  • Part One List A course(s) – At least 30 credits
  • Part One List B course(s) – Up to 30 credits
  • Part Two thesis – 120 credits


  • A compulsory workshop

Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements and have been granted credit for it, may be able to complete this degree in 60 - 120 credits.

This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.

Courses for this programme

Part One (60 credits)

List A

At least 30 credits from
139703 Critical and Creative Research 30
139765 New Directions in Creative Writing 30

List B

No more than 30 credits from
139710 Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of Writing 30
139724 Literary Revolutions: Romantic and Victorian Literature 30
139750 Contemporary New Zealand Writers in an International Context 30
139758 Postcolonial Theory and Writing 30
139763 Community Theatre 30
139799 Research Report (30) 30
154708 Modern Fiction, Popular Culture and the Media 30
154747 Media Practice and Global Culture 30

Part Two

120 credits
139860 Thesis 120
139861 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60
139862 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

The Master of Creative Writing is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.

Part One

Part One is composed of two online distance courses that may be taken full-time in a single semester or part-time over two consecutive semesters.

It is recommended that you take both of the List A courses to fulfil the requirements of Part One, but you may choose to take only one of the courses.

If you choose to take only 30 credits from List A, you must take 30 credits from List B.

A grade average of at least B+ is required in Part One in order to progress to Part Two.

Part Two

Part Two (120 credits) is a thesis.

Part Two includes a compulsory one to three-day residential course, held on one of the Massey University campuses. The course venue and dates vary from year to year. Online workshops as well as optional face-to-face meetings may supplement this compulsory residential course.

Advanced entry

If you have a bachelor’s with honours degree or a postgraduate diploma in arts in Creative Writing, Expressive Arts or English, with at least a B grade average you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.

The maximum time-frame for completion of this qualification is five years.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Meet our students

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships