- Study online or join us on campus to be close to the Lake District, home of the Romantic poets, and inspiration for many writers since
- Benefit from our supervisory strengths in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative-critical writing, creative non-fiction and script writing
- Complete a significant creative writing project, whether you want to craft a novel or create an entire script
- Be inspired by our rich programme of literary events on campus, online, and in the city’s historic Castle Quarter
- Join a vibrant, supportive community of PhD students working across a range of literacy genres and research projects
We have a team of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights with the expertise and experience to bring your creative project to life. Our staff have a range of impressive accolades including the BBC National Short Story Award, Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize and Pigott Poetry Prize. Meet some of our team.
Your unique project
Wondering what a PhD in creative writing looks like? It depends what project you decide to work on. Typically, we would expect a critical writing piece around 20,000 words long and a creative writing piece of around 60-80,000 words. Your creative work can be an extract or a complete piece or collection of prose fiction/non-fiction, a collection of poetry, or a completed script for stage, screen or audio. These are examples; we’re happy to discuss other forms and unique projects with you.
Finding the right supervisor is key to your success as they’ll act as a critical friend. We expect you to already have one in mind while completing your application and to contact them before submitting your application. Most students have one or two supervisors, but you might have more depending on the nature of your project.
Online or on campus?
Our pioneering virtual learning and research facilities mean you can study from anywhere in the world. Our campus students enjoy a lively programme of departmental events and both distance and campus students meet in termly Work in Progress sessions.
If you haven’t studied a Master’s in Creative Writing at Lancaster, you’ll need to complete the core Creative Writing module Research Methods and Professional Practice. You can take this module in person or online.
Meet the team
Our staff have won or been listed for:
- The Betty Trask Award, Portico Prize
- BBC National Short Story Award
- Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize
- Tir na n-Og Award
- Carnegie Medal
- Somerset Maugham Award
- Whitbread Poetry Prize
- TS Eliot Prize
- Costa Book Award
- Edge Hill Prize
- Papatango Prize
- Eric Gregory Award
- Crashaw Prize
- Bridport Prize
- Pigott Poetry Prize, Desmond Elliott Prize
- Polari First Book Prize
A PhD is a sign of prestige and gives you structured time to work on a specific project. You might complete yours to progress in your academic career or to support your wider creative role in an area like literacy management or publishing. Either way, you’ll be committed to completing a substantial project and dedicating yourself to becoming an expert in your area of writing.
Our PhD students have published a range of work including:
- 'The Mountains Sing' – Nguyen Phan Que Mai (finalist of the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Best Debut Award, winner of the Blogger's Book Prize 2021, winner of the 2021 International Book Awards, winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship)
- 'Alligator and other stories' by Dima Alzayat (James Tait Black Memorial Prize, finalist; PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award, finalist; Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize; Short Story Prize, longlist)
- 'Remembered' by Yvonne Battle-Felton (longlisted for the Women’s Prize for fiction, shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize)
- 'Abundance: Nature in Recovery' by Karen Lloyd
- 'Fruit Knife Autopsy' by Warren Mortimer
Many of our PhD students are interested in teaching the next generation of writers. We’ll let you know about opportunities to gain teaching experience while you study with us.
Master's degree or equivalent in English literature or literature in other languages, usually with an average of at least 65% for UK MAs.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in English Literature or related subject, for example literature in other languages
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
As part of your application, you also need to provide:
- A viable research proposal
- A portfolio of original writing (no more than 15 poems or 30 pages of prose) showing potential for publication
Details of the research areas can be found on the Department’s website. If you are interested in applying for one of our PhD programmes, you may wish to informally contact a potential supervisor for guidance on the proposal prior to submitting your application. Guidance on the structure of the proposal is also available.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 7.0, and a minimum of 6.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Research Training and Professional Practice in Creative Writing
This module prepares you for your dissertation project and supports the development of the research, scholarly and critical skills that it will require. You will be introduced to the idea of ethical practice and any students working on memoirs or verbatim work will be offered specific guidance. You’ll also explore the ideas, concepts and issues around reflective practice and the vital role of research within creative writing.
We’ll study in a cohesive group, bringing students on combined courses and those following different pathways together to create a wider forum; our discussions will focus on professional practice and research issues.
This module aims to enhance your knowledge of library, archival and online research and develop your understanding of the creative process - taking you from first draft to final submission, including problem-solving strategies for creative blocks or obstacles. The module also places your creative work in the context of a professional literary world.
Indicative study themes:
- Understanding the Research Context
- Library, Online and Archival Research
- Scholarly Conventions
- Creative and Professional Presentation
- Research and Reflective Practice
- The Ethical Researcher
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
The tuition fee for students with UK fee status is set in line with the standard fee stipend provided by the UK Research Councils. The fee stipend for 2024/25 has not yet been set. For reference, the fee stipend for 2023/24 was full-time £4,712 and part-time £2,356.
The international fee for new entrants in 2024/25 is full-time £21,082 and part-time £10,541.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities. Students on some distance-learning courses are not liable to pay a college fee.
For students starting in 2023 and 2024, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2025 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
Fees in subsequent years
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
English Literature and Creative Writing
- Creative Writing (Distance Learning) MA
- Creative Writing (modular) MA
- Creative Writing with English Literary Studies MA
- English Literary Research MA
- English Literary Studies MA
- English Literary Studies with Creative Writing MA
- English Literature PhD
- English Literature and Creative Writing PhD
- Gender Studies and English MA
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.