Type of qualification
Level of study
Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.
Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.
Time to complete
Where you can study
International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.
Study a Master of Creative Writing – MCW
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.
Admission to Massey
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
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.
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:
Private Bag 11-222
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:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Get advice button on this page.
English language skills
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.
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.
- Look for information under ‘Student Progression’ in the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.
- Contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.
To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.
You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.
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 qualification 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 Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.
Structure of the Master of Creative Writing
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 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 (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.
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.
Courses and specialisations
- Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
- Course code
- Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
- Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
- Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.
- 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.
Course planning key
- Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
- Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
- Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.
Part One (Choose 60 credits from)
List A (Choose at least 30 credits from)
Course code: 139703 Critical and Creative Research credits 30
An introduction to practices of research with creative texts. Students will learn practical techniques for planning and producing research in critical and/or creative modes. Fostering a critical voice and debating the cultural and social value of aesthetic communication will be integral to the course.View full course details
Course code: 139765 New Directions in Creative Writing credits 30
An advanced study and practice of creative writing in its myriad contemporary forms.View full course details
List B (Choose no more than 30 credits from)
Course code: 139710 Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of Writing credits 30
An advanced introduction to rhetoric and composition as a framework for writing research and writing instruction.View full course details
Course code: 139724 Literary Revolutions: Romantic and Victorian Literature credits 30
A study of literary culture in Britain and the Pacific during the Romantic and Victorian periods. This course explores relationships between poetry, novels, travel writing and political treatises in the period, focusing on the distinctive nature of literary engagements with contemporary social and political upheavals.View full course details
Course code: 139750 Contemporary New Zealand Writers in an International Context credits 30
An advanced exploration of contemporary New Zealand fiction and poetry and its relationship to international aesthetic practices, in the context of globalisation and postcoloniality.View full course details
Course code: 139758 Postcolonial Theory and Writing credits 30
An advanced introduction to theories of postcolonial ethics and identity, and their relationship to selected works of literature from a range of postcolonial contexts.View full course details
Course code: 139763 Community Theatre credits 30
What role does theatre have in the community? Is there a valid place for community theatre in a secular society? If so, what stories need to be told through theatre? How might we tell them? The exploration of these questions will involve, initially, the examination of a range of historical and contemporary models of community theatre. Students will then engage in exploratory workshops, in community research, writing, rehearsals and theatrical performance.View full course details
Course code: 139799 Research Report (30) credits 30
A supervised and guided independent study.View full course details
Course code: 154708 Modern Fiction, Popular Culture and the Media credits 30
An examination of major developments in approaches to fiction in the twentieth century, focusing on modern and postmodern trends, and on how these have impacted on the rise and alleged decline of distinctions between elite art and popular culture. Texts for analysis are selected from both literature and film and include examples of canonical as well as popular fiction.View full course details
Course code: 154747 Media Practice and Global Culture credits 30
This course examines the critical context of contemporary media practice, exploring how media texts, technologies, and institutions respond to and produce processes of globalisation. Students will focus on the use of digital and mobile media technologies, and consciously negotiate decisions regarding the cultural, social, political, economic, ethical and environmental implications of their own media production, distribution and consumption.View full course details
Part Two (Choose 120 credits from)
Course code: 139860 Thesis credits 120
Course code: 139861 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 credits 60
Course code: 139862 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 credits 60
Fees and scholarships
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.
- Get an estimate of the tuition fees for your qualification
- View a list of non-tuition fees that may be payable
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.
This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.
Careers and job opportunities
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
- performance-related writing and production
- writing and advising on government policy
- writing for social media.