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Diploma in Creative Writing [delivered online]

Pursue your passion for writing from home. Extend the range of your skills through writing fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, non-fiction and writing for children. Develop the versatility of the freelance writer. Available part-time or full-time.  LEVEL 5



Learn about the craft of writing through exercises, online workshops, course reading, regular feedback from your tutor and other students, but most of all through writing itself. In the introductory week you’ll get to know your fellow students, be assigned to a small group, and practise using the online programme.

Your tutor is available for contact throughout the course and offers feedback on material presented at workshops at various intervals.

You can enrol for the online Diploma in Creative Writing
* as a one year, full-time Diploma
* as the first year of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Creative Writing) you need to complete two extra classroom modules (Contextual Studies I and Research & Presentation I) to do this
* as a part-time student.

The modules are designed to build on one another, starting with Short Fiction I. One full-time pathway through the Diploma is:

Semester 1:  Short Fiction I, Writing for Children, Poetry I.
Semester 2: Short Fiction II, Scriptwriting, Non-Fiction, Poetry II.

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.


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.
Tutor: Anna Taylor​
Credits: 20
Start date 2017: Monday 20 February and Monday 3 July 

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.
Tutor: Johanna Knox
Credits: 20
Length: 17 weeks
Start date 2017: Monday 20 February

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.
Tutor: Samiha Radcliffe
Credits: 20
Length: 17 weeks
Start date 2017: Monday 20 February and Monday 3 July

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.
Tutor: Anna Taylor
Credits: 20
Length: 17 weeks
Start date 2017: Monday 3 July

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 Pip Byrne, journalist and editor, and Adrienne Jansen, with a special section on writing by novelist and playwright, Renee.
Tutor: Donna Banicevich-Gera
Credits: 20
Length: 17 weeks
Start date 2017: Monday 3 July

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.
Tutor: Donna Banicevich-Gera
Credits: 20
Length: 17 weeks
Start date 2017: Monday 3 July

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. Poetry I is a pre-requisite for this course.
Tutor:  Lynn Davidson​
Credits: 20
Length: 17 weeks
Start date 2017: Monday 3 July

Entry Requirements

Entry to the course is based on an interview and samples of your writing.  These may be a technical report, a collection of poems, a short story, a feature article or the chapter of a novel. Or anything else that shows your writing experience and/or represents you as a writer. You will also need to send in a CV and covering letter.​​

If you are applying to do the Diploma as the first year of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Creative Writing) you will also need to meet the Whitireia Degree Entry Requirements.

Overseas students must meet the above criteria plus have IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

Online Access
To find out about the technical requirements needed to do this online Diploma, go to the Online Learning section.

Online students studying with Whitireia New Zealand use the Moodle Learning Management System (L.M.S).  At Whitireia Moodle is named ‘Whitireia Online’. It can be accessed:
• anywhere in the world
• anytime, 24 hours a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?
To apply go to the Information and Enrolment page, and download an application form. For more information click on the ‘ask a question’ button (top right hand column) or phone 0800 944 847.

What if I am only interested in learning about writing, but not interested in a qualification?

The Creative Writing Programme allows you to both follow your passion, and gain a qualification. All the teaching is focussed on learning about writing and all students are enrolled in a qualification.
Do I need academic qualifications to do the course?
No. There have been students with post-graduate degrees, and students with a minimum of formal education. Good writers come from all kinds of backgrounds and educational experience.
If I do one genre/module, can it count towards a diploma or degree?
Yes. If you complete the assessment requirements for that module you’re eligible for the credits listed. To obtain a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Creative Writing) you need 360 credits.
If I study part-time, can I get a student loan?
The short answer is sometimes – it depends on the number of weeks the module goes for and its ‘EFTS’ (Equivalent Full Time Student). You need to contact Studylink to get a definitive answer. It’s a good idea to apply for a student loan at the same time as you apply for the module/s.
Who are the tutors?
All tutors are experienced, practising writers. See the Staff tab on our home page.
What are the fees?
Domestic fees for 2017: $5,663 full-time
International fees for 2017: $19,950 NZD full-time
Are there extra course costs on top of fees?
Where do I get information on Student Allowance and Student Loans?
These are administered through Studylink at the Ministry of Social Development.
Do I need my own computer?
Where will a Diploma in Creative Writing take me?
Graduates from the Whitireia Writing Programme appear in almost every aspect of New Zealand writing life. Graduates have published and produced over 223 books and scripts. Visit the ‘Career’ tab and ‘News’ tab on our home page for more examples.
Where does the Diploma in Creative Writing fit with other Writing Programme qualifications?
The Diploma is a great starting point. You learn about writing through trying out different genres and workshopping your own, and other students’ writing. It is also the first year of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Creative Writing).
What are your writing hopes and dreams?  
What is your previous writing experience?
See which course will suit you on the Creative Writing Programme at Whitireia New Zealand:

Is there a difference in course content between the Diploma in Creative Writing [delivered on-campus] and the Diploma in Creative Writing [delivered online]?
Yes. The on-campus Diploma in Creative Writing includes three core modules (Origins, Introduction to Publishing and Editing) which aren’t in the online course, and the online course includes two extra genre modules – Writing for Children and Short Fiction II. Apart from that, both Diplomas contain similar teaching material and will extend your writing and help develop your versatility as a writer. They contain the same number of credits.
What do Level 5, Level 6, and Level 7 mean?
They indicate the level of study. Students in their last year at secondary school (year 13) are usually studying at Level 3. The first year of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Creative Writing) is Level 5, the second year is Level 6, and the last year is Level 7. Post-graduate study is Level 8.

Student experience

The online Diploma at Whitireia is a brilliant course – it really increased the depth of my writing. Because the course was distance-learning, I could work at my own pace which was great. The tutors were really supportive and I got to know them and the other online students well.  Studying full-time rather than part-time was intense and made me commit to writing. It wasn’t difficult to make that commitment – I found I either had to be in completely or not do it at all. Rachel Sawaya, who went on to study for her Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria University, Wellington

I originally wanted to write for younger children but after sampling different genres on the online Writing for Children course, I realized I wanted to write novels for children. The course helped me discover where my talents really lay. It was a great starting place. Ragne Maxwell, shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award

Read work by current and former students in the 4th Floor Literary Journal.

Further Information

Diploma in Creative Writing (on-campus)

Diploma in Creative Writing (Advanced)

Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing

Bachelor of Applied Arts (Creative Writing)

Overview of Creative Writing Programme 

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Campus Starts on Duration
Online 2017: 27 February, 17 July One year, full-time or part-time

Domestic Fees: $5,663

International Fees: $19,950 NZD


Entry Requirements

Domestic students

Whitireia degree entry requirements; evidence of suitability based on interview and portfolio.

International students

Proven equivalence to domestic entry requirements and IELTS 6.0 (no band lower than 5.5)

Career Opportunities:

Students study for satisfaction, publication, diploma or degree. Many graduates will publish their work in a range of publishing outlets. They may work as Freelance writers, or be employed as communications and technical writers.


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