A postgraduate research qualification in Creative Writing consists of an original body of work - normally a novel, or a collection of poetry/short stories - with an accompanying critical element. The critical element will place the creative work in an informed and theorised analytical context.
The total assessed word count will be 25,000 words for the MPhil and 80,000 words for the PhD (or equivalent for poetry). The proportion of the creative to the critical work will be agreed by the supervisory team, but in total will usually consist of around 65-70% of creative text and 30-35% of critical text.
All postgraduate research students are supervised by two academics, one of whom will normally be a creative writing academic and the other from English Literature or a related discipline relevant to the creative and critical work. As with the traditional research degrees, the final submission will be expected to make ‘a substantial and original contribution to knowledge’. For Creative Writing, this means a body of work that contributes in individual, significant and demonstrable ways to current discourses in literature.
The relation to such discourses will be articulated in the creative work and conceptualised and explored in the critical element; both are intended to address the same research questions, generating dynamic interplay between creative and critical practice.
MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research or creative project, concluding with the submission of a 25,000-word dissertation/project (normally 17,000-18,000 words of creative writing and 7,000-8,000 of critical writing). Students may have the option to audit units from our taught master's programmes if they are relevant to their research.
PhD: a research project undertaken across four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000-word thesis/project (normally 50,000 words of creative work – often an extract from a longer project – and 30,000 words of a critical investigation). As well as having the option to audit taught units where appropriate, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.
The MPhil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.
MPhil: An upper second-class degree or international equivalent. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree and previous study or achievement in Creative Writing.
PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study. Acceptance will also depend on previous study or achievement in Creative Writing.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level A.
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £4,665 per year
- UK: part-time
- £2,332 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £20,100 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.
Funding for 2023/24
The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2023.
For information on other funding opportunities, including University-funded studentships, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.
Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.
People who are awarded a Creative Writing PhD go on to a variety of careers. Many are published writers who also teach, either in the academy or in community settings. The intensive training in examining texts is transferable to roles in publishing, broadcasting and media. Others organise literary and other cultural events or work in research. Like many creative people, graduates of this type of degree often have portfolio careers, where they work between several roles and their writing is one of several simultaneous ways in which they are employed.
Meet our supervisors
The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.
- Faculty of Arts Creative Writing Research Cluster
- Brigstow Institute
- Centre for Material Texts
Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions
- +44 (0) 117 428 2296