PhD Creative Writing

Year of entry: 2022

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Overview

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy
Duration
3 years [full-time], 6 years [part-time]
Entry requirements
  • A Bachelors (Honours) degree at 2:1 level or above (or its international equivalent) in a related subject; and
  • A UK Master's degree with an overall Distinction classification (or its international equivalent) in a related subject
  • Any strong relevant professional experience will be considered on a case by case basis.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PhD Y Y N N

Programme description

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Watch Alicia talk about studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at The University of Manchester
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David Hartley, a PhD research student in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester presents his research as an 'elevator pitch'.

Our PhD Creative Writing programme gives you the opportunity to work on a significant piece of creative writing while developing your research skills.

You will benefit from creative supervision by an experienced poet or fiction writer and draw on the range of expertise within the University to find a supervisor for your critical element. 

There are two elements to the programme. The first is a creative element that can be a novel or a collection of short stories of up to 100,000 words, or a book-length collection of poetry of up to 60 poems.

The PhD also has a critical element, which is a piece of literary or cultural criticism of 30,000 to 50,000 words maximum.

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our  open days .

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2022, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,596
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £20,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): TBA

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your project.

Read more about  postgraduate fees .

Scholarships/sponsorships

We offer a limited number of bursaries and studentships on a competitive basis, details of which can be found via the links below.

Please note that while we do not have closing dates for programme applications, all funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting the funding application form and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below.

You may also be eligible for a postgraduate loan from the government. Find out more about this and other sources of funding on the funding opportunities page.

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
Rachel Corbishley
Email
Website
http://www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/english/research/postgraduate-research/
School/Faculty

See: About us

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

  • A Bachelors (Honours) degree at 2:1 level or above (or its international equivalent) in a related subject; and
  • A UK Master's degree with an overall Distinction classification (or its international equivalent) in a related subject
  • Any strong relevant professional experience will be considered on a case by case basis.

English language

Students whose first language is not English require one of the following:

  • an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component, or
  • a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based test or 100 internet-based test, or
  • a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 76 overall with 76 in the writing component, or
  • an overall Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III grade of Merit with Merit in the writing component.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Other entry requirements

The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School. Should you be unable to do this at any point during your programme, a formal case must be made to the Faculty office, together with the full support of your supervisor(s). The University reserves the right to reject such a request where it is considered that your residency could have a detrimental impact on the progression and engagement of your studies.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

We recommend all research applicants attempt to find a suitable supervisor here at Manchester by browsing the subject website for English Literature and Creative Writing and looking at the staff list .

Before applying you must contact a prospective supervisor potentially interested in your work. If you are in doubt, contact the PGR Director ( Professor Daniela Caselli in Semester 1 and Dr Fred Shurink in Semester 2). Applications received without a named supervisor who has agreed in principle to look at the proposed project have a lesser chance of being accepted.

Find out more on the how to apply page.

Please note that we do not teach evening classes or offer distance learning courses.

Interview requirements

The University requires an interview for all applicants to whom we consider making an offer.

Interviews will be conducted by two academics, usually the proposed main supervisor and the subject PGR Director (or an assigned representative).

The interview can be either face-to-face or via Skype, conference call or email.

The interview serves several purposes, allowing us to:

  • get a better picture of your ability to carry out the proposed doctoral project than the research proposal on its own;
  • tell you what the proposed supervisor(s) can bring to the project;
  • discuss with you directly any potential problems with the practical aspects of your studies and explore solutions together.

Deferrals

Applicants may defer entry provided they have discussed it with their supervisor. Deferred applicants are subject to the fees of the year of entry onto the course.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Programme details

Programme description

Our PhD Creative Writing programme gives you the opportunity to work on a significant piece of creative writing while developing your research skills.

You will benefit from creative supervision by an experienced poet or fiction writer and draw on the range of expertise within the University to find a supervisor for your critical element. 

There are two elements to the programme. The first is a creative element that can be a novel or a collection of short stories of up to 100,000 words, or a book-length collection of poetry of up to 60 poems.

The PhD also has a critical element, which is a piece of literary or cultural criticism of 30,000 to 50,000 words maximum.

Special features

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Find out more about the Graduate School

Centre for New Writing

Undertake our PhD Creative Writing programme and you will become part of the University's Centre for New Writing , which has been championing contemporary fiction, poetry and creative writing since 2007 and is home to writers including Jeanette Winterson, Kamila Shamsie, Ian McGuire, Kaye Mitchell, Honor Gavin, Frances Leviston, Horatio Clare and John McAuliffe.

Graduate School

All of our postgraduate students become members of the Graduate School when you start at Manchester. It has dedicated facilities for students and offers opportunities to collaborate with other postgraduates.

Teaching and learning

The PhD will require you to develop your research skills and, to this end, you will be able to undertake a research skills audit and attend seminars and workshops on research methods in the first year.

In this way, you will participate in training seminars across the field of arts, languages and cultures, which will develop useful research, teaching and IT skills.

You will also attend seminars in relation to publication, authors' rights etc, which will be particularly useful to students of creative writing.

Specialised research training, and a wider postgraduate research culture within which your work will develop, is given through a programme of writing workshop masterclasses in which students take it in turns to have their writing workshopped by the other Creative Writing PhD students, supervisors and visiting writers from outside the institution.

Coursework and assessment

The PhD will normally consist of an extended and original piece of creative work and a shorter piece of literary or cultural criticism on a related subject.

The creative element could be a novel, a collection of poems, or collection of short stories. For fiction writers, the word length of this section will normally be around 80,000 words (there is a maximum word length of 100,000 words).

The critical component will involve a critical study of a subject related to the creative work, usually 30,000 to 50,000 words in length. This may involve any of the currently debated topics in English and American Studies as they relate to your creative work. For example, you might explore particular thematic or generic preoccupations in the work of other writers, or investigate some of the wider literary, theoretical, or poetic contexts into which your writing fits. Please note that the critical element is not a commentary on your own work or a self-reflective essay on your own creative processes; it is a piece of literary or cultural criticism of the type you would undertake if you were working towards a PhD in English Literature.

See what our current PhD students are working on.

Facilities

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Alan Gilbert Learning Commons Fly Through

Manchester is home to one of the UK's five National Research Libraries - one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK and widely recognised as one of the world's greatest research libraries.

Find out more about libraries and study spaces for postgraduate research students at Manchester.

We also have one of the largest academic IT services in Europe - supporting world-class teaching and research. There are extensive computing facilities across campus, with access to standard office software as well as specialist programmes, all connected to the campus network and internet.

Every student is registered for email, file storage and internet access. If more demanding computer access is required, our specialist computing division can provide high-end and specialist computing services.

The Graduate School offers dedicated state of the art facilities to research students, including common rooms and workstations.

Find out more about facilities for our English Literature and Creative Writing students.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

Completing a doctoral programme in the Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester opens up a number of different career paths:

  • Former doctoral students have secured academic positions, both nationally and internationally, teaching and researching at Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Bangor, Liverpool Hope University, Instabul Sehir University, Salford University, Birmingham City University, Cardiff University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Leeds, the University of Sheffield, the University of Kent, and the University of Amsterdam.
  • Others have been offered post-doctoral fellowships enabling them to complete specific projects or giving them support to develop new research after their doctorate. The most recent ones include: Liberal Arts Early Career Development Fellowship at King's College, London; British Research Council Fellowship at the Library of Congress; Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cork; Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Northumbria University; AHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Manchester; Lord Baltimore Fellowship at the Maryland Historical Society; Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Manchester; Visiting Fellowship at the Huntington Library; Visiting Fellowship at the Harry Ransom Foundation, Texas; Jacob M. Price Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of Michigan; Fulbright Fellowship; Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Warwick.
  • A doctoral degree in EAC puts you in a strong position to develop a career in teaching, education, and the creative economy. Upper and Sixth Form tutor; Assistant Rector of the University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway; John Rylands Research Institute Manager; Research and Policy Analyst with the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO); and Inclusion Manager for The Growth Company are some of the positions that our graduate students have recently taken up.

If you are interested in pursuing doctoral study with us, contact the PGR office or the Post Graduate Research Director in English and American Studies (currently Prof. Daniela Caselli daniela.caselli@manchester.ac.uk )

Find out about alumni from the Centre for New Writing .

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help support you with your goals for the future.