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Creative Writing MSc The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh

Course options

Qualification.

MSc - Master of Science

The University of Edinburgh

  • TUITION FEES
  • ENTRY REQUIREMENT
  • UNIVERSITY INFO

Course summary

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, this one-year, full-time taught Masters programme is tailored towards your practice in either fiction or poetry

There is a strong practical element to the programme, helping you develop your creative skills through workshops, presenting your work for peer discussion, and hearing from guest writers and other professionals on the practicalities of life as a writer.

You’ll also sharpen your critical skills through seminars exploring the particulars of your chosen form and through option courses in literature, helping you move from theoretical considerations to practical applications.

The programme culminates with the publication of ‘From Arthur’s Seat’, an anthology of student work.

Over the course of this programme, you’ll complete a body of creative work that has been rigorously peer reviewed.

Our students go on to careers in a wide variety of fields, including publishing, marketing, arts administration, web and audio book editing, script and ghost writing, and gaming narrative design.

Modules (Year 1)

Tuition fees.

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University of Edinburgh, Student Recruitment and Admissions, 33 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, City Of, EH8 9JS, Scotland

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find your perfect postgrad program Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

The university of edinburgh: creative writing, doctor of philosophy - phd, full-time, 3 years starts sep 2024.

The PhD in Creative Writing offers committed and talented writers the opportunity to study Creative Writing at the highest level.

Supported by an expert supervisory team you will work independently towards the production of a substantial, publishable piece of creative writing, accompanied by a sustained exercise in critical study.

The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, including well-published and prize-winning writers of poetry, prose fiction and drama. They include:

- Dr Jane Alexander - Fiction

- Dr Lynda Clark - Fiction

- Dr Patrick Errington - Poetry

- Dr Miriam Gamble - Poetry

- Dr Alan Gillis - Poetry

- Nicola McCartney - Drama

- Dr Jane McKie - Poetry

- Dr Allyson Stack - Fiction

- Kim Sherwood - Fiction

- Alice Thompson - Fiction

Part-Time, 6 years starts Sep 2024

Full-time, 1 years starts sep 2024.

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, this one-year, full-time taught Masters programme is tailored towards your practice in either fiction or poetry.

There is a strong practical element to the programme, helping you develop your creative skills through:

- workshops

- presenting your work for peer discussion

- hearing from guest writers and other professionals on the practicalities of life as a writer

You will also sharpen your critical skills through:

- seminars exploring the particulars of your chosen form

- option courses in literature, helping you move from theoretical considerations to practical applications

The programme culminates with the publication of ‘From Arthur’s Seat,’ an anthology of student work.

**Why Edinburgh**

Literature has been taught here for over 250 years, and today Edinburgh thrives on its designation as the first UNESCO World City of Literature. The city is home to the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, and a number of celebrated publishing outlets, from Canongate and Polygon, to Luath Press, Birlinn and Mariscat. The University hosts the prestigious James Tait Black Awards, established in 1919 and one of the oldest literary prizes in Britain.

There are lots of opportunities to write and share your work, from ‘The Student,’ the UK’s oldest student newspaper (founded in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson), to The Selkie, which was founded by Creative Writing students in 2018 to showcase work by people who self-identify as underrepresented.

Around the city, you will find:

- library readings and bookshop launches

- spoken word gigs

- cabaret nights

- poetry slams

We team teach our programme so that you benefit from the input of a range of tutors, as well as your fellow students and our Writer in Residence, the poet and author Michael Pedersen, who also co-ordinates a range of student writing prizes and our annual industry and networking event.

- Dr Lynda Clark

- Dr Patrick Errington - Poetry/Fiction

- Professor Alan Gillis - Poetry

creative writing edinburgh university

Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The  University of Edinburgh  is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings. Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Our …

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Creative Writing PhD

The university of edinburgh, different course options.

  • Key information

Course Summary

Tuition fees, entry requirements, similar courses at different universities, key information data source : idp connect, qualification type.

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Creative Writing

Course type

The PhD in Creative Writing provides the capstone to the postgraduate Creative Writing suite, offering students graduating from the MSc an opportunity to undertake work at a higher level. You will aim towards the production of a substantial, publishable piece of creative writing, accompanied by a sustained exercise in critical study.

The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, including well-published and prize-winning writers of poetry, prose fiction and drama.

Training and support

We encourage you to share your research and learn from the work of others through a programme of work-in-progress seminars, reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences.

Our postgraduate journal, Forum, is a valuable conduit for research findings and provides an opportunity to gain editorial experience.

UK fees Course fees for UK students

To be confirmed

International fees Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)

A UK masters degree with distinction, or its international equivalent, in creative writing, normally with distinction.

MA Scriptwriting

Bournemouth university, ma creative writing and publishing, ma creative writing, manchester metropolitan university, mfa creative writing, phd in creative writing and english literature.

Creative Writing MSc The University of Edinburgh

Key course facts.

  • Admission advice for international students

Student Reviews

Below you can see course specific reviews for 30 graduates of Creative Writing MSc at The University of Edinburgh for each of the survey questions in comparison to the average for all UK degree courses in Finance, Banking, Corporate Finance, Fintech.

Salary of Graduates in Accounting

Important: Salary data below is not course specific, but contains data of all students of Finance, Banking, Corporate Finance, Fintech at the university. Due to data collection methodology, salary data is mainly based on data related to undergraduate students .

Salary of all UK Graduates of Accounting

Course description.

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, this one-year, full-time taught Masters programme is tailored towards your practice in either fiction or poetry.

There is a strong practical element to the programme, helping you develop your creative skills through workshops, presenting your work for peer discussion, and hearing from guest writers and other professionals on the practicalities of life as a writer.

You’ll also sharpen your critical skills through seminars exploring the particulars of your chosen form and through option courses in literature, helping you move from theoretical considerations to practical applications.

The programme culminates with the publication of ‘From Arthur’s Seat’, an anthology of student work.

Why Edinburgh

Literature has been taught here for over 250 years, and today Edinburgh thrives on its designation as the first UNESCO World City of Literature, home to the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library, and a number of celebrated publishing outlets, from Canongate and Polygon, to Luath Press, Birlinn and Mariscat. The University hosts the prestigious James Tait Black Awards, established in 1919 and the oldest literary prizes in Britain.

There are lots of opportunities to write and share your work, from ‘The Student’, the UK’s oldest student newspaper (founded in 1887 by Robert Louis Stevenson), to The Selkie, which was founded by Creative Writing students in 2018 to showcase work by people who self-identify as underrepresented.

Around the city, you’ll find library readings and bookshop launches, spoken word gigs, cabaret nights and poetry slams.

We team teach our programme so that you benefit from the input of a range of tutors, as well as your fellow students and our Writer in Residence, the poet Ryan Van Winkle, who also co-ordinates a range of student writing prizes and our annual industry event, The Business.

The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, including well-published and prize-winning writers of poetry, prose fiction and drama. They include:

Dr Jane Alexander - Fiction

Dr Miriam Gamble - Poetry

Dr Alan Gillis - Poetry

Dr Jane McKie - Poetry

Dr Allyson Stack - Fiction

Kim Sherwood - Fiction

Alice Thompson - Fiction

Accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for the purpose of exemptions from some professional examinations.

Accredited by the Association of International Accountants (AIA) for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) .

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations through the Accredited degree accelerated route.

Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.

Accredited by the EFMD Quality Improvement System.

Accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.

Accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland (ICAS) for the purpose of exemption from some professional examinations.

Jobs & Career Perspectives

15 months after graduation, graduates of this course were asked about what they do and, if they are working, about their current job and their perspectives.

What graduates are doing after 15 months

Current jobs, job in line with future plans, utilise skills from studies, work is meaningful, required skill level of job after 15 months, % skilled jobs, jobs of graduates of this course (15 months after graduation).

Example below based on all graduates of Creative Writing MSc at The University of Edinburgh

Grading & Study Time

Assessment methods, study time distribution, entry requirements / admissions, ucas tariff of accepted students for this course, average student cost of living in the uk.

London costs approx 34% more than average, mainly due to rent being 67% higher than average of other cities. For students staying in student halls, costs of water, gas, electricity, wifi are generally included in the rental. Students in smaller cities where accommodation is in walking/biking distance transport costs tend to be significantly smaller.

University Rankings

Positions of the university of edinburgh in top uk and global rankings., rankings of the university of edinburgh in related subject specific rankings., languages & literature, about the university of edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh is located in the Scottish city of the same name, and is one of the oldest universities in the entire United Kingdom, having opened in the year 1583. The university enjoys a strong reputation for its contributions to international research efforts, which is reflected in their inclusion in the Russell Group, Universitas 21, and Una Europa. Edinburgh offers its residents a historic yet modern city, with a lively nightlife scene, reliable public transport, and friendly locals.

List of 686 Bachelor and Master Courses from The University of Edinburgh - Course Catalogue

Where is this programme taught

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Similar courses

Ranking publishers, the university league tables, cug the complete university guide - by subject  (published: 08 june, 2023).

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MA Creative Writing

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If you want to make a career in writing, this course is for you. You already have talent and ideas, we'll add the expertise you need to approach your chosen market with confidence, originality and skill. No ambitions are out of bounds: we love commercial genre fiction and literary experiments equally.

We aim to ensure our graduates are equipped to succeed - and to change the culture they choose to enter. We will add expertise to your talent and ideas, while you learn in the company of industry experts on this innovative, inspiring course for emerging writers.

Our unique combination of genres and specialisms encourages and enables you to professionalise your practice as a writer. We put genres like science fiction, fantasy, crime and horror at the heart of our learning journey. Writing for young adult readers and graphic novels are just some of the options available to you as a student on our programme.

We take an innovative approach to the training and support of aspiring writers, driven by intellectual ambition and practical industry experience.

There are four strands to the programme:

  • pre-writing skills, concepts and technique for full-length narratives
  • writing practice for first person stories and a range of options
  • experimental, theoretical and personal development work
  • regular one-to-one editorial mentoring

Typical entry point to this course is in September. Please enquire for more information.

To ensure there is sufficient time to process your application, we encourage you to submit your application by 30 June.

Students chatting at a table from the MA Creative Writing course with lecturer Laura Lam

Mode of Study:

Full-time (available as Part-time )

Start date:

Katie Griffiths MA Creative Writing graduate

Introducing our Creative Writing tutors - David Bishop, Elizabeth Dearnley, Nicholas Binge and Noelle Harrison. Learn more about their backgrounds and their impressive careers in writing so far.

Course details

Uniquely, the course offers a dynamic range of cross-disciplinary options. Writing for graphic fiction, young adult audiences, screenwriting and interactive media are all available as specialisms, while our pioneering module in genre fiction covers crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction.

We host an exciting array of guest speakers every year, ranging from award-winning authors to high-profile industry experts. Recent visiting speakers have included authors Victoria (V.E.) Schwab, Dhonielle Clayton and James Oswald, comics creators Emma Beeby and Will Morris, Nasty Women anthology editors Laura Jones and Heather McDaid from 404 Ink, agent Jenny Brown, and editor Simon Spanton.

Our approach to full-length narrative development trains you to deploy a range of unique and dynamic pre-writing techniques invented by our programme. This energetic combination of conceptual development and critical self-reflection aims to transform you into a technically adept, purposeful writer ready to make your mark.

Professional development

The MA is a professionalising course that emphasises the publishing industry as a business, and includes sessions on approaching agents, marketing yourself and your work, and understanding publishing contracts. We also offer professional development strands in teaching and learning, community engagement, and publishing on digital platforms.

For students eager to continue working on their major project in a supportive academic environment, we have an articulation agreement with the low residency MFA in Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. This enables graduates of our programme to join the Seton Hill cohort in year two, attain a MFA qualification and complete a market-ready commercial novel.

calendar

How you’ll be taught

This is a one year full-time course starting in September, taught over three trimesters.

The course is taught by a team of award-winning industry professionals:  David Bishop , a successful crime writer and former editor; internationally best-selling science fiction and horror author Nicholas Binge; acclaimed folklorist and weird fiction author Elizabeth Dearnley; and best-selling historical fiction author Noelle Harrison. You can read more about their established academic and professional careers  by viewing our tutors page.

note and pen

Assessments

Tasks includes crafting original short stories; creating pre-writing materials for full-length narratives; critical self-reflection on your work; keeping a learning journal of progress through one-to-one mentoring; plus developing strategies and content for teaching, public engagement events, and digital self-publishing.

library

Our students have access to the Writers' Room, a private workspace with wi-fi, available evenings and weekends. It houses an exclusive library of 2,000 hand-picked books, DVDs and graphic novels, and is the venue for reading groups and social events.

Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Creating Narrative - Writer's Toolkit ( CLP11119 )

This module focuses on concepts, skills and techniques for the pre-writing development of a full-length narrative project. Each session examines a particular element of pre-writing, building into a complete process you can use to hone and shape a potential novel, graphic novel, screenplay or interactive project. The first few weeks interrogate the initial stages of your creative process, such as defining the purpose of your work, examining ways to develop ideas into stories, and using contextual reading and research to enhance the authenticity and originality of your project. Next you will explore thematic architecture and linguistic development to enrich your world-building and create a purposeful network of themes and ideas underpinning your narrative. The following weeks are devoted to characterisation and structure, helping you build unique characters and define the most appropriate choice of tone and narrative position(s) for your project. Plot and synopsis writing bring your learning journey to its conclusion, giving you the tools to shape a compelling journey for your project and its characters while embracing the challenges of perfect pacing and elegant exposition.

Further information

Major Project ( CLP11110 )

Major Project is the culmination of all your learning on the MA. Depending on your chosen specialism it’s an opportunity to begin your novel in earnest and plan its path to publication, or to produce a high quality showcase of work in another medium, which can be used to approach agents, publishers, producers or developers. The module begins with a detailed induction session, to help you focus on the challenges ahead. After which, you’ll embark on intensive individual work, supported by three one-to-one supervision sessions of one hour and 20 minutes. A week before each session you’ll send up to 5,000 words of work-in-progress to your supervisor for feedback, problem-solving and discussion. You can also use supervision sessions to discuss your reading, research, critical reflection and personal development planning. Following Major Project marking, you’ll have a final one-to-one tutorial to discuss your Professional Development Plan, where the programme’s tutors will offer detailed advice on the next steps in your career.

Narrative Practice Vocational Skillset ( CLP11118 )

This module shifts the focus from your own writing to work with other creators’ stories and characters. The first few weeks tackle abridgement, learning how to cut stories sympathetically and efficiently. Next you will explore fiction editing, a key vocational skill that can also improve your own practice as a writer. The module looks at working with pre-created characters, and investigates ghost-writing. An entire session is devoted to collaborative working, a crucial ability that does not come naturally to all writers. In the final weeks you’ll learn best practice for introducing yourself and your work to a wider audience, tackling the challenges and professional skills necessary to build a portfolio career as a freelance writer in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Writing Practice First Person Narrative ( CLP11117 )

In this module you’ll focus on the practical application of a range of professional techniques, and on building the vital skills of pre-writing decision making, critical self-reflection and editorial dialogue. The module is a development journey, beginning with the foundational principles of first person writing: condition of narration, device and register. You’ll then begin to practise more complex techniques, such as subtext and counter narrative, the unreliable narrator and positioning an active reader. Through weekly writing challenges and masterclass discussions, you’ll learn how to make fast, purposeful decisions about a story before writing, how to craft short pieces to briefs and deadlines, and how to critically analyse and improve upon early drafts. As well as gaining a detailed understanding of the demands of first person prose, you will develop the core professional practices you’ll need for the Trimester 2 Writing Practice options, Major Project, and the rest of your writing career.

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer .

Entry requirements

English language, international students, admissions policies.

What are the entry requirements for Creative Writing?

The entry requirements for this course are an Honours Degree at a 2:2 or above in any discipline with relevant writing experience.

Once your application is received, you may be contacted by the Programme Leader with an invitation to submit a sample of writing: this is the second stage in selection. Please do not send writing samples with your initial application, as a detailed brief and deadline will be provided. The final stage in the selection process is an interview: for international applicants, this is conducted by telephone.

Can I get admission into Creative Writing based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required. Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 7.0 with no individual component score of less than 7.0.  For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact  [email protected]

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our  country pages  to find out if this applies to you.

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  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply  for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of  bursaries and scholarships  available to our students.

  • Undergraduate student fees and funding information
  • Postgraduate student fees and funding information
  • International student fees and funding information

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here

  • Representation by literary agents
  • International and national competition wins
  • Collaborations with comic artists
  • Publication in magazines and anthologies
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival appearances
  • Paid editing and writing commissions
  • Performances and teaching
  • Working for national literary organisations

Woman laughing at a table with a book in one hand and a cup in the other hand in The Writers Room at Merchiston.

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English and Scottish Literature

Undergraduate study | English and Scottish Literature

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, we are the oldest department of English Literature in the UK; one of the longest established in the world. Study with us and develop your analytic, linguistic and creative skills by engaging with a broad range of texts and a variety of approaches to reading.

Why study literature in Edinburgh?

Studying literature prepares you to contribute to a society in which an understanding of texts of all kinds is crucially important. It shows an openness to ideas and perspectives other than your own, an essential attribute in many careers and a global marketplace.

Our programmes will enhance your unique literary and critical faculties. In Years 1 and 2, you will explore the cultural contexts of writing in English (and, where relevant, Scots) from around the world, from the late Middle Ages to the present. At honours level (Years 3 and 4), you will select courses on the basis of your own interests in specific topics, periods or genres.

Our large community has lots to offer, including reading and writers' groups, poetry slams, creative writing and publishing opportunities, and student theatre. As well as multiple student societies, we also have a thriving Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme (LitPALS),   a fantastic Writer-in-Residence, and annual writing prizes for prose and verse.

You’ll be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh in a world-leading festival city with an unrivalled range of libraries, collections and literary venues. These include the National Library of Scotland, Scottish Poetry Library, Writers’ Museum, and Scottish Storytelling Centre. We also have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city.

One of the best things about studying in Edinburgh is how the cultural history and contemporary social ethics interweave with literature's narrative to cultivate a great love in its study. With an extensive library and writing festivals, studying English Literature has been a thoroughly fulfilling experience. Carina Year 4, English Literature MA (Hons)

Your learning at a glance

  • You’ll complete a four-year Master of Arts (MA) honours degree. 
  • You can take a single honours programme in either English Literature or Scottish Literature, combine both in a joint honours programme, or take either with one of a wide range of other subjects, including English Language and a number of European languages. 

Years 1 & 2

In these pre-honours years, you will read works of literature written in English from around the world, and encounter a range of ideas about the nature and purpose of literary study.

We will introduce you to the essential skills needed for the critical close reading of the core literary genres of poetry, drama and prose.

You will study literature in its cultural and historical context, focusing on a selection of major periods. Your courses will explore the relationship between literary texts and the construction of national, international and imperial cultures.

  • Our programmes are very flexible. In these years, you'll likely get to choose option courses from a wide range of subjects alongside English or Scottish Literature and any partner subject. This may enable you to change the focus of your degree going into your final two (honours) years, which is when you start to specialise.

Years 3 & 4

  • If you’re doing single honours, or a joint honours degree with a subject other than a European language or Persian, you’ll typically spend your third year in Edinburgh. However, it’s possible to study elsewhere through the University’s Study Abroad programme.
  • If you’re doing a joint degree with a European language, you will spend your third year abroad. Where possible, our joint degree with Persian also involves a period of study abroad.
  • You will learn how to undertake your own research to the level of completing a dissertation or long essay in your final year. This is your chance to focus on a topic, period or genre that’s of particular interest to you. Our size and scale means that we have an extensive range of honours courses for you to choose from.
  • You’ll typically be based in Edinburgh’s historic centre, close to the Main University Library, the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Central Library and a fantastic range of publishing houses, bookshops, and theatres.

Teaching and learning

  • Our approach to learning and teaching is active, inclusive and question driven to help you gain skills for life after university.
  • Across your courses, you’ll typically be taught in a combination of lectures, tutorials (including language classes) and seminars. On some courses, you will have seminars instead of lectures, especially in your honours years.
  • You will also be expected to study independently and in small groups, and to read widely.

Assessment and support

  • You’ll be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams. 
  • Coursework may take a range of forms to give you the opportunity to practice different skills. 
  • Exams will include oral exams to test your spoken language skills.
  • If you're studying abroad in your third year, and depending on what you do and where you go, Year 3 may include being assessed, in part, by a host university
  • As well as the teaching and other staff you will meet day-to-day, there are lots of ways to get help with your learning, including through the University’s Institute for Academic Development and Edinburgh University Students' Association.

What you can study and when

In the 2024 to 2025 academic year, you can take English Literature and Scottish Literature separately - each as a single honours degree - or take a joint honours degree in English and Scottish Literature .   You can also take either English Literature or Scottish Literature jointly with the following subjects...

Applications for 2024 entry are now closed. If you have applied for one of our degrees or are holding an offer to start studying with us in September 2024, check out our applicant and offer holder website for English and Scottish Literature.

Visit the applicant and offer holder website for English and Scottish Literature

Keen to get a head start for 2025?

There’s lots of information about our undergraduate literature programmes on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder. For example, you can find out about:

  • the courses you will take each year
  • entrance requirements
  • English language requirements
  • fees and funding opportunities

Browse our literature programmes on Degree Finder

If you’d like to study on any of our undergraduate programmes, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Go to the University of Edinburgh web page on how to apply for undergraduate study

Where might literature take you?

Skills and experience.

Studying English Literature shows an openness to ideas and perspectives other than your own, an essential attribute in many careers and a global marketplace.

Beyond the literary, critical thinking and creative skills you will gain by engaging with a broad range of texts and a variety of approaches to reading in English Literature, graduating with a four-year honours degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility. This includes the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities across sectors

During your time with us, you will study a range of subjects (with the option to take courses in languages, business, and law, for example), while specialising in one or more literary topics, periods or genres.

This breadth gives you the foundations to excel in a range of career sectors, especially those that value transferable humanities skills.

Our alumni have gone on to careers in the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, sometimes through graduate training schemes where the ability to communicate well is essential in securing a competitive place.

Typical sectors include:

* Business, finance and commerce

* Communications, marketing, advertising and public relations

* Creative writing, publishing, culture, heritage, and the arts 

* Education, outreach, advocacy and training

* Journalism, broadcasting and media

* Leisure, tourism and travel

* Politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law

* Research, development and venture acceleration

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level. At the University of Edinburgh, for example, you can take a taught or research-led masters degree in English Literature, do an MSc in Playwriting or Creative Writing, or take an interdisciplinary taught Masters programme such as Comparative Literature, or Intermediality.

Careers advice

We have excellent links with the University's Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Studying at Edinburgh gave me a strong grasp of language, which is the foundation of my career. It also gave me a historical overview of artistic and linguistic styles, many of which have influenced my work. I studied English Literature during its 250th anniversary year, and it’s a time I will always value and treasure. It’s a very warm place to study and spend time. It takes all sorts to make a world, and some of the best I studied with. Mairi Wilson, copywriter at The Leith Agency Mairi graduated with an MA (Hons) in English Literature in 2015

Find out more about LLC alumni and futures

Read an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning graduate, Andrew Marshall 

QS World Rankings by Subject 2024

QS World Rankings graphic on orange background, text says #3 in the UK, World Top 10

The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for English Language and Literature.

Globally, we’re in the World Top 10 for English Language and Literature (9).

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings are based on research citations and the results of major global surveys of employers and academics.

They are International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) approved.

Get to know us better

Thinking of joining us this year or next? Explore what it's like to study and live in Edinburgh.

  • Take a Virtual Visit - English Literature and Scottish Literature
  • Look inside 50 George Square
  • Join us for an Open Day or Online Information Session

Talk to a current student

Chat to a student from literatures, languages and cultures

Are you a current student?

Access course information and other relevant academic advice covering most aspects of your studies

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