PhD Creative Writing

About the course

We welcome applications from postgraduate students interested in pursuing innovative research in Creative Writing. A Creative Writing thesis takes the form of an original full-length creative work and a critical work on a subject or subjects integral to the creative component. The critical work might take the form of a critical investigation of a related author or authors’ work or an investigation of the PhD’s candidate’s own creative practice and the practical or theoretical underpinnings of the creative work. The exact content of the critical element will be devised by the candidate with the support of their supervisory team.

The creative work should be a fully realised work of literature, whether in prose, poetry or drama. The creative work thus is research into creative practice and therefore makes an original contribution to knowledge. The two elements must be written side by side, as the research undertaken across the project will be crucial to both written documents.

A Creative Writing PhD often draws on other disciplines, so a PhD candidate may have a second supervisor from History, Media, Life Sciences, or any other discipline. Please contact staff to discuss the requirements of your particular thesis.

Our members of staff can offer supervision on a wide range of potential research projects.

Find out more about our staff and their areas of expertise.

A PhD in Creative Writing can be taken full-time (up to 4 years) or part-time (up to 7 years).  

It is based on the research and completion of a research project in any field within these subject areas for which expert supervision can be provided. 

Teaching methods

Research degrees are not taught programmes, but you are supported by a range of skills-based training.

You will meet with your supervisory team regularly to discuss your research and give you feedback on your writing. You are given the opportunity to attend the University's Generic Skills Training sessions as well as Creative Writing events.

The word count for the creative work will usually not exceed 80,000 words for a prose dissertation, although an exception may be made if the limit of 80,000 words would leave the creative work with clear gaps that would prevent the work being a publishable document. A poetry dissertation would be between 50 to 100 pages. A dramatic dissertation would be a minimum of 80 pages, which would be the length of a multi-act play. The critical work should be a minimum of 20,000 words, which might go up to 50,000 words (particularly for a shorter creative work). The word count will be negotiated between the candidate and the supervisory team.

 This thesis is defended in a viva voce (oral examination) led by an external examiner.  

What’s next for my career?

  • You will be able to develop a substantial, original and creative research project with the help and support of academics who are active researchers and writers themselves. 
  • You will acquire extensive subject expertise and independent research skills, honed over an extended period. 
  • You will join a thriving School of Creative Arts and become part of a burgeoning research culture. As a postgraduate student, you are invited to attend and participate in regular reading series, seminars and international conferences hosted by the Creative Writing group. 
  • All our students are encouraged to present work at national and international conferences and to submit their research for publication. 



Start DateEnd DateLink
01/02/202431/07/2024Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202431/07/2024Apply online (Part Time)


Start DateEnd DateLink
01/10/202431/07/2025Apply online (Full Time)
01/02/202531/07/2025Apply online (Full Time)
01/10/202431/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)
01/02/202531/07/2025Apply online (Part Time)

Course fees

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