Creative WritingFind a programme
|Run by||Faculty of Arts|
|Awards available||PhD, MPhil|
MPhil: one year full-time;
two years part-time
PhD: three years full-time;
six years part-time
|Location of programme||Clifton campus|
|Part-time study available||Yes|
The PhD can be studied via distance learning. The MPhil will be offered via distance learning from September 2021.
MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research or creative project, concluding in 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 three years (full-time, plus a writing up period), 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, there may be the potential for PhD students to teach units themselves from their second year of study onwards.
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 our 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 per cent of creative text and 30-35 per cent 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.
Fees for 2021/22
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:
- UK: full-time
- UK: part-time
- Overseas (including EU): full-time
- Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.
Funding for 2021/22
The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2021.
For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.
Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.
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.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
- Faculty of Arts Creative Writing Research Cluster
- Brigstow Institute
- Centre for Material Texts
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.
Billy Kahora BA, MA, (Lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing), creative non-fiction; creative writing; fiction; narrative voice
Professor Ralph Pite BA, MA, PhD, (Professor of English), Contemporary poetry; Romantic literature, especially Coleridge, Keats and contemporary responses to Dante; Thomas Hardy; Victorian fiction; writing and the environment
Dr Mimi Thebo BA, MA, PhD, (Reader in Creative Writing), Children' s Literature; Creative Writing; Creative writing and eco-criticism ; Creative writing and issues of representation, including postcolonial theory
Dr William Wootten BA, MA, PhD, (Lecturer in English), Bristol (modern and contemporary poetry); creative writing; history of Penguin publishing; poetry
January 2021 start: 2 December 2020
September 2021 start: 2 August 2021
January 2022 start: 1 December 2021
Open days and visits
Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.
Get in touch
Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2296 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.
REF 2014 results
- English Language and Literature:
- 11% of research is world-leading (4*)
- 57% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
- 25% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
- 7% of research is recognised nationally (1*)
Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.