Diploma in Creative Writing

Develop your skills in various kinds of writing, including short fiction, non-fiction, script-writing and poetry. On-campus and online options available.

Programme Overview

Learn about the craft of writing through exercises, workshops, discussion, speakers, but most of all through writing itself. Develop your strengths, your critical eye, your knowledge of how the writing business works, and discover where you fit in the vast landscape of writing. Become part of a vibrant writing community.

This programme is delivered online or on-campus. Students may write and submit work in English or te reo Māori.

You can enrol on the Diploma in Creative Writing

  • as a one year, full-time diploma
  • as a part-time student
  • as the first year of the Bachelor of Creativity (Writing)*

*online students choosing this option are required to complete two additional classroom modules: Culture and Contexts and Creative Collaboration I

Programme Outline

On-campus option

Each module is worth 15 credits.

Short Fiction I: develop an ear and eye for a good story, and learn the craft that can make a good story great. Exercise the imagination every day through writing exercises, learn to critique and edit your work, and hear how a range of writers talk about their work and the writing life.

Short Fiction II: be challenged in technical skill and imagination, in both what you write about, and how you write it. A strong emphasis is given to revising and crafting.

Poetry: develop skills for writing original poetry. Learn about poetic forms, the line break, the poem on and off the page, rewriting and editing. Find poems everywhere and hear some of New Zealand’s own poets share what it means to be a poet today. 

Scriptwriting (Stage and Screen): step into the world of dramatic and visual writing, and develop the craft skills for writing original scripts for stage and film. Workshop short drama scripts with acting students and have sessions with writers, directors and producers, giving you a practical understanding of the New Zealand film and theatre industry.

Non-Fiction: develop skills for writing factual prose for a specified audience and purpose. Write a short personal essay, feature articles, a proposal for a non-fiction book, and a short piece for the web. Learn about the non-fiction publishing industry from those in the business. Add a marketable edge to your writing skills.

If you are doing this programme to gain a formal qualification you will also need to complete the following modules:

Creative Collaboration I: you will be introduced to the collaborative processes of publishing and work in a team on a publishing project.

Culture and Contexts: explore what influences you as a writer and how context has affected other writers. Look at how you write in the light of your history. Develop your reflective and critical thinking. Develop skills for researching and presenting the information acquired. Learn how research fits with creative writing and how academic writing is structured.

Editing: being able to edit your own work well is an essential skill for writers. The editing module aims to improve writers’ general ability to edit their own work to a high standard. It deals with common problems with grammar and style, and includes regular copy-editing exercises.

Online option

Online modules are designed to build on one another, starting with Short Fiction I. One full-time pathway through the diploma is Short Fiction I, Writing for Children, Poetry I (Semester One), followed by Short Fiction II, Scriptwriting, Non-Fiction, Poetry II (Semester Two). You can also do the diploma at your own pace by completing a module at a time. Study and practice involves approximately 12 hours per week per module. Each module is worth 20 credits and lasts 17 weeks.

Short Fiction I: join this intensive, practical writing course, balancing imagination and craft. Each week you'll do writing exercises, and some will lead to completed short stories. Through online workshops you work closely with other writing students. This module is the foundation for the rest of the Diploma and is a prerequisite for Short Fiction II. It has been developed by Adrienne Jansen, writer and teacher.

Short Fiction II: for the fiction writer who wants to be challenged in technical skill and imagination, in both what you write about, and how you write it. Through online workshops you'll work closely with other writing students. A strong emphasis is given to revising and crafting your first draft. This course is also written by Adrienne Jansen. You must complete Short Fiction I before doing Short Fiction II.

Poetry I: written by Wellington poet, James Brown, this course will take you through the many and varied forms of writing poetry. At the end of the course you will have a portfolio of work and a good understanding of what makes good poetry and how to critique it.

Poetry II: expand and refine your poetry writing skills. Written by Wellington poets, Lynn Davidson and Mary-Jane Duffy, Poetry II offers you the chance to stretch your imagination some more, build on the craft skills you have developed in Poetry I, and learn new ones.

Scriptwriting (screen): if you’re a writer who wants to move into writing for the screen, this course provides an introduction to the craft of visual writing, and the requirements of a screenplay. By the end of the course you will have a short film script – an invaluable calling card for entering the film writing industry. The course is written by Suzi Pointon, a script consultant and teacher with many years’ experience in the industry both locally and overseas. 

Writing for Children: teaching material from internationally renowned children's author Joy Cowley forms the core of this module, which guides writers through the requirements of writing for a variety of age groups. You produce original pieces in a variety of genres – short fiction, plays, non-fiction and chapter books. This course draws on the expertise of a number of writers for children. Adrienne Jansen compiled the course material.

Non-Fiction: learn the skills to write a feature article for a magazine, a proposal for a non-fiction book, text for websites, and a personalised essay. This course is a collaboration between Adrienne Jansen and journalist and editor Pip Byrne, with a special section on writing by novelist and playwright Renee.


Entry Requirements

Whitireia degree academic entry requirements; evidence of suitability for on-campus based on interview and portfolio.

International students

Proven equivalence of entry requirements plus IELTS 6.0 (no band lower than 5.5)

Apply Now