PhD in Creative Writing

Pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Leicester means becoming part of an exciting and dynamic research and creative environment.

The PhD programme helps give structure to your creative project, and invites you to ask searching questions about your practice, to reflect on the process of producing creative work, and so to write a long critical-reflective essay (usually 15-20,000 words) to accompany the creative work. The creative body of work normally makes up 70% of the PhD, and the reflective thesis 30%.

At its broadest, the emphasis is on trying to comprehend the practice of creation itself - surely one of the most fascinating subjects imaginable.

Creative Writing doctorates lead to a variety of potential career paths. These include novelist, poet, playwright or screenwriter, of course, but there are many related industries that Creative Writing research degree graduates nationally have gone on to work in, including (but not limited to):

  • TV storyline writing
  • Video game creation
  • Journalism
  • TV and film production
  • Publishing
  • Working as a literary agent
  • Teaching or lecturing
  • Working as a professional stand-up comedian
  • Post-doctoral academic research
  • Public relations
  • Advertising & marketing
  • Political research & speech writing
  • Arts management
  • Content provision
  • Tweet writing
  • Web editing
  • Blogging
  • Franchise creation
  • Branding consultancy
  • Literary and other arts events management
  • Intellectual property advising

Application information

It is a good idea to make informal enquiries to the lecturer you believe might be interested in supervising your PhD, prior to making a formal application.

You should have a strong creative and academic track record - entry requirements are an MA or similar in Creative Writing and some prior publication history.

Otherwise, you should have compelling evidence of advanced writing experience, and an awareness of the technical and reflective elements of creative writing practice in an academic environment.

Your application should consist of a persuasive outline for a creative project: a body of poetry, a novel, a work of creative non-fiction, a graphic novel or a substantial film script. This should be accompanied by a theoretical and canonical series of questions that you believe will prove relevant as the creative work progresses.

You should be conscious of the fact that the critical element of a creative PhD is not separate literary critical study - although it may involve such. It is involved in the deeper comprehension of the creative process itself through an articulation of creative practice. As such it may involve historical, ethnographic, practice-based philosophical, social scientific and other theoretical models.

Places on the PhD are awarded on the basis of the quality of the creative sample submitted and the originality of the proposal.

Audio clip: Gwynne Harries discusses his Creative PhD

Listen to PhD student Gwynne Harries discuss his Creative PhD in Welsh Poetic Forms in English Verse.

Hear from Gwynne (4:44, MP3, 4.33mb)