Creative Writing courses at West Dean

Creative Writing and Publishing

Graduate Diploma Creative Writing

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Applications open for 2025 entry
Duration: Two years, part-time
School: School of Arts
Location: West Dean or London
Scholarships and bursaries: See available funding

The Graduate Diploma is a new programme equivalent to the level of the third year of a BA (Hons). It is designed for aspiring writers who want to develop their skills and explore different creative forms. You will study fiction, creative non-fiction (with particular emphasis on essay, memoir, journaling) and poetics. There will also be opportunities to explore long form journalism and scriptwriting as well as an introduction to the mechanics and processes of modern publishing. You will be encouraged to experiment with form and style in order to develop your own voice. There will be a primary focus on the development of craft over and above literary theory.

The programme is part-time and delivered at either:

  • West Dean (West Sussex) Campus
    Delivered during the week, through nine 3-day residential blocks per year
  • London Bloomsbury Campus
    Delivered through 10 weekend courses at Bloomsbury and one week-long writers retreat at West Dean per year (in spring) 

West Dean prides itself on providing an inclusive and student focused experience with regular one to one tutorials and feedback on your work during and after each study block.

At the heart of this programme is the opportunity for you to invest time and attention in your writing, hone your abilities and develop your craft through supported practice with teaching delivered by a committed team of successful, published writers.

Learning environment

  • Attend either nine six 3-day intensive blocks of workshops, lectures and tutorials per academic year, at West Dean or 10 2-day weekend study blocks and one week-long writing retreat, per academic year at our Bloomsbury Campus.
  • Excellent staff: student ratio
  • One-to-one tutorials with your personal tutor as part of every study block
  • Intensive practical workshops in creative fiction and non-fiction to support the development of your work
  • Receive professional input from publishers and agents
  • Creative interdisciplinary environment
  • Be part of an active writing community with regular high-profile writers-in-residence
  • A supportive and individualised approach to your learning and the development of your craft

What to expect

  • Varied teaching styles
  • Develop your writing, editing and critical skills
  • Develop a clearer idea of genre and form
  • Work toward publication
  • Practical introduction to the mechanics of publishing
  • Gain and articulate a critical insight into your own writing process, challenges, strengths and direction.
  • Learn from a range of published writers and industry experts in a way that enhances your development as an emerging writer.
  • Enhance your practice by learning from and alongside other artistic and creative practitioners.

If you complete the Graduate Diploma with a grade B or above you will automatically be offered a place on the MA Creative Writing and Publishing. If you complete the GD with a lower grade you will be offered an interview for the MA Creative Writing and Publishing.

Course structure

Learn more about the course structure for each semester and year. 

Course units

Year 1 
  Christmas vacation   Mid-year review     Summer assessment

GDCW1 – The Act of Writing
40 credits

GDCW2 - Reading as a Writer
10 credits
GDCW 3 – Writing Well
10 credits
Year 2
  Easter vacation   Mid-year review   Summer assessment
GDCW 4 – The Practice of Writing
40 credits
GDCW 5 - Thinking Critically
10 credits
GDCW 6 - Transformational Nature of Writing
10 credits


Contact hours


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and supervised practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.

On the Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing you typically have around 17-18 contact hours per study block, typically consisting of:

  • 5-6 hours of lectures
  • 4 hours of seminars
  • 8 hours of supervised practicals
  • 30 mins of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and workshop or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • reading journal articles and books
  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Overall workload

Over the two years of the course approximately 30% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity Scheduled teaching and learning: 380 hours Independent learning: 1200 hours

Fees and funding

Course fees are the same for UK and international students

  • £1,916.6 per term (£5,750 per academic year)

Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more

A £250 course fee and £200 accommodation deposit (if residential) is required to secure your place. Details will be provided to you in your offer. Fees are billed termly in advance. Please see the Terms and Conditions for further information.

We may routinely increase our course fees from year to year for one-year courses and may review and change such course fees without notice.


Scholarships and bursaries are available, based on individual need.

If you are a UK/EU student you may be eligible to apply for a Student Loan (tuition fees and/or maintenance loans) from the Student Loans Company.

Find our more about funding

Entry requirements

  • A qualification equivalent to a second year of successful undergraduate study e.g. HND, DipHE
  • A sample of creative writing completed within the last two years (approx two x A4 sheets of paper)
  • English language: CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS 6.5

How to create a writing portfolio

Do you need help creating a portfolio to apply for one of our Creative Writing courses? Read our portfolio advice to learn about the general requirements, what we look for in a good portfolio, and what it should reflect.

How to apply

Applications for this course can be made by submitting a completed application form and emailing it to: [email protected].

Any questions?
Email [email protected]; call us on: (01243) 818 300 and select option 1, or read more about our Admissions processes.

School of Art Credit Thom Atkinson.jpg

School of Arts

Explore and expand your work in a uniquely immersive environment with its own connections to art history. Our School of Arts students enjoy specialist studio spaces dedicated to painting and drawing, sculpture and tapestry and textile-based work as well as exceptional exhibition space.

School of Arts


Mark Radcliffe Creative Writing Tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Mark Radcliffe

Subject Leader - MA Creative Writing and Publishing 

Mark Radcliffe is the author of three novels; Gabriel's Angel (2010), Stranger Than Kindness (2013), and most recently, Three Gifts (2023). He has a PhD in Creative Writing and Philosophy (University of Sussex) and an MA in Creative Writing (UEA).

Domenica de Rosa (Elly Griffths) tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Domenica De Rosa

Associate Tutor - MA Creative Writing and Publishing
Tutor - Certificate in Crime Writing

Domenica de Rosa is the author of sixteen published novels, twelve of them written under the name Elly Griffiths. As Elly Griffiths, she is best known for the highly successful Ruth Galloway crime novels. In 2016, she won the Crime Writer's Association Dagger in Library Award for her body of work.

Lesley Thomson, tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation
Laura Wilkinson Tutor on the MA Creative Writing course at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Beth Miller

Beth Miller is the author of six novels, including the bestselling The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright (2020). Her most recent novel, The Woman Who Came Back to Life (2022), will be published in seven languages. She has also published two non-fiction books. She has a PhD in Psychology and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Brighton University. She teaches regularly for Arvon, and is a book coach for writers at all stages. 

Mick Jackson

Mick Jackson's first novel, The Underground Man, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and won the Royal Society of Authors' First Novel Award. His novels, collections of stories and an e-book are published by Faber and Faber. Mick was an RLF Writing Fellow at the University of Sussex and has been writer in-residence at the Science Museum, London and the Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton. He has an MA in creative writing.