Master of Creative Writing (MCW)

Key facts

  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Not available for international students
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Ignite your imagination and intellect

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

What is it like?

Advance straight from your bachelor’s degree

The Master of Creative Writing (MCW) is a 180-credit course that can follow on immediately from your bachelor’s degree in creative writing, English, expressive arts or another approved subject or pathway.

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.

Jillian Sullivan
New Zealand author

“Studying creative writing via distance with Massey University was the most amazing fit to my lifestyle…”

I started university in 1977 and left six weeks later to live in a Kombi van and travel with my husband. When we eventually settled in a rural area with small children I was unable to return to university when I wanted to study. Massey’s distance service gave me the opportunity to finish my degree. I could fit study in between raising five children, working various jobs and writing.

I had such wonderful lecturers throughout my undergraduate and honours degree I wanted to continue on with them for my Master’s. Even when I had the option, by then, to attend another university, I wanted to keep studying through Massey and stay with those lecturers who had supported and inspired me.

When I started my first novel I realised I needed to know more about writing and literature, and that’s when my love of taking Massey papers started. Between my first writing paper at Massey, The theory and practice of writing, and finishing my Master’s, I’ve published novels, short stories, non-fiction and poetry.

During my Master’s research thesis, I learnt more about the English language than in any other time of my education. The level of carefulness in my writing and editing my supervisor Thom Conroy required of me was remarkable, and I am so appreciative of that. The knowledge I gained has been hugely beneficial not only when producing my own creative writing, but also when working with others on their writing. As an editor, manuscript assessor, and teacher at the Highlights Foundation in America, I’ve been able to bring my knowledge through into these roles and help other people develop their skills.

Since completing my degree, I’ve launched my first poetry collection, Parallel, which features a number of the poems written during my honours degree. 


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

Creative writing staff profiles

Bryan Walpert - Auckland

Bryan is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Native Bird, a collection of short stories, Ephraim’s Eyes, and a scholarly book, Resistance to Science in Contemporary American Poetry. He has received writing awards in New Zealand, Australia and the US, a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and a national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award.

Distance coordinator: 139.123 Creative Writing, 139.229 Advanced Poetry Writing, 139.760 Writing Lyric Poetry

Ingrid Horrocks - Wellington

Ingrid is the author of two poetry collections and a genre-bending travel book, Travelling with Augusta, 1835 and 1999. In 2016 she was awarded Massey’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Teaching Award for her innovative creative nonfiction courses. Ingrid is the co-editor of and a contributor to a forthcoming collection of essays, Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays on Place for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Distance coordinator: 139.280 Writing Creative Nonfiction.


Jack Ross - Auckland and distance

Jack’s books include three novels, three collections of short fiction, and five poetry books - most recently A Clearer View of the the Hinterland: Poems and Sequences 1981-2014. He has edited numerous anthologies and literary magazines, including Poetry NZ.

Distance coordinator: 139.326 Travel Writing, 139.329 Advanced Fiction Writing.


Thom Conroy - Manawatu and distance

Thom is the author of novels The Naturalist and The Salted Air. He is the editor of a collection of essays, Home, to be published by Massey University Press in 2017. His short fiction has been recognised by Best American Short Stories 2012 and has won other awards. In 2013, he received a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching.

Distance coordinator: 139.285 Fiction Writing, 139.761 Writing Contemporary Fiction.


Stuart Hoar - Auckland and distance

Stuart has been Playwright in Residence at the Mercury Theatre; Literary Fellow at Auckland University; Burns Fellow at the University of Otago; Writer in Residence at Canterbury University; and Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellow. He has won the Bruce Mason Award for Playwrights. His screenplay for Lovelock won the New Zealand Writers’ Guild Best Screenplay Award, and his screenplay for I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry was selected for the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. His first novel was The Hard Light.

Distance coordinator: 139.323 Script Writing.


Angie Farrow - Manawatu and distance

Angie’s work for stage includes Despatch, After Kafka, Amnesia, Memento, The Politician’s Wife, The Bowler Hat, Before the Birds and The River. Herradio plays include All Packed Up, New Zealand Lamb, Carrion, Speed of Light and The Beauty Business. She’s also written three anthologies of plays. Angie has received numerous international awards and was awarded Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Drama by the Playwrights’ Association of New Zealand in 2011. Angie has won five teaching awards.

Course coordinator: 139.133 Creative Communication, 139.223 Creative Processes, 139.224 Making Plays for Theatre.


Mary Paul (also Mary Edmond-Paul) - Auckland and distance

Mary has produced five authored and edited books. Her background is in theatre and literature. Her publications, including Your Unselfish Kindness, have mostly focused on the life and work of New Zealand writer Robin Hyde. Mary's interest in varieties of life writing relates closely to her undergraduate teaching and postgraduate supervision.

Distance coordinator: 139.386 Life Writing.

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