Creative Writing

PhD

  • Entry Year 2024
  • Duration Full time 36 Months, Part time 48 Months

Overview

Top reasons to study with us

  • Enjoy literary events in Lancaster's Castle Quarter

  • Partners with Wordsworth Grasmere in the English Lake District

  • World Top 40 QS World Subject Rankings 2023 (English Language & Literature)

Why Lancaster?

  • 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 literary 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

Meet some of our team.

Careers

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.

Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

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.

Additional Requirements

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 pgadmissions@lancaster.ac.uk

Course Structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

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.

Core

Fees and Funding

The tuition fee for students with Home 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.

Scholarships and Bursaries

You may be eligible for the following funding opportunities, depending on your fee status and course. You will be automatically considered for our main scholarships and bursaries when you apply, so there's nothing extra that you need to do.

Unfortunately no scholarships and bursaries match your selection, but there are more listed on scholarships and bursaries page.

If you're considering postgraduate research you should look at our funded PhD opportunities.

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We also have other, more specialised scholarships and bursaries - such as those for students from specific countries.

Browse Lancaster University's scholarships and bursaries.

Postgraduate open day: Saturday 10 February 2024

Join our on-campus open day this February to talk to students and lecturers and find out how and when to apply.

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Important Information

The information on this site relates primarily to 2024/2025 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.

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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.