English Literature and Creative Writing


  • Entry year 2024
  • Duration Full time 3 - 4 years, Part time 4 - 7 years


Top reasons to study with us

  • Enjoy literary events in Lancaster's Castle Quarter

  • World Top 40 QS World Subject Rankings 2024 (English Language & Literature)

  • Partners with Wordsworth Grasmere in the English Lake District

Why Lancaster?

  • Read, think, and write alongside tutors who are established authors of literature of all kinds, including creative-critical writing, the lyrical essay, and experimental criticism
  • Contribute to Errant, our student-led journal of post-criticism, and be inspired by Lune, our tutor-led journal of hybrid writing
  • Enjoy our rich programme of free literary events on campus, online, and in the city’s historic Castle Quarter
  • Study online or join us in Lancaster on the doorstep to the Lake District, home of the Romantic poets, and inspiration for many writers since
  • Make the most of our partnership with The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere and Lancaster’s LitFest

Our department houses one of the oldest and largest creative writing programmes in the UK. We bring together critical and creative modes of reading and writing in myriad ways – some involving life-writing, some involving philosophy, and others involving visual images or even music. Here you’ll find a supportive, creative team and a place to research and express your ideas.

Critical / Creative
This programme provides a rare opportunity to combine, juxtapose, or even fuse critical and creative writing. You will spend your time producing:

  • either a substantial creative text (such as a novel) alongside a critical text (such as a commentary on and around your novel)
  • or a single hybrid text (such as a substantial piece of creative-critical writing)

Either way, we’ll guide and support you from beginning to end.

Support and events
You will meet regularly on a one-to-one basis with your tutor to discuss your work, and this can be either online or in person.

Our literary connections are embedded in the city and nearby Lake District. Many of our special literary events, such as talks from visiting scholars and authors, take place in The Storey, Lancaster’s Victorian Art Centre or at Lancaster’s spectacular medieval Castle.

The archive-rich Wordsworth Museum at Grasmere is usually the venue for our annual study retreat day, and the Department’s May Gathering, a social event, is usually held at Lancaster’s ancient Priory, as is our annual Literature and Religion Lecture.

It is also entirely possible to complete this PhD programme online via distance learning.



With our close links to not only the academic world but also publishers, literary festivals, and museums, we can help you prepare for the future that best suits you.

Many of our students go on to publish their doctoral work and some go into academic posts at universities.

Alternatively, the combination of creative and critical thinking in this PhD has prepared former students for successful careers in:

  • Publishing
  • Arts management
  • Archival work
  • Media

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

Master’s Degree or equivalent in Literature or Creative Writing, 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, which should combine a creative and critical element in equal measure (50/50)

  • A sample of written work, eg an essay or dissertation chapter of approximately 3000-5000 words
  • 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 Creative Writing element 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.


Fees and funding

Location Full Time (per year) Part Time (per year)
Home £4,786 £2,393
International £21,082 £10,541

General fees and funding information

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.

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.

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.