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PhD Creative Writing University of Hertfordshire



COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

Course info


About the programme

We welcome applications from postgraduate students interested in pursuing innovative research in Creative Writing. A Creative Writing thesis takes the form of an original full-length creative work and a critical work on a subject or subjects integral to the creative component. The critical work might take the form of a critical investigation of a related author or authors’ work or an investigation of the PhD’s candidate’s own creative practice and the practical or theoretical underpinnings of the creative work. The exact content of the critical element will be devised by the candidate with the support of their supervisory team.

The creative work should be a fully realised work of literature, whether in prose, poetry or drama. The creative work thus is research into creative practice and therefore makes an original contribution to knowledge. The two elements must be written side by side, as the research undertaken across the project will be crucial to both written documents.

A Creative Writing PhD often draws on other disciplines, so a PhD candidate may have a second supervisor from History, Media, Life Sciences, or any other discipline. Please contact staff to discuss the requirements of your particular thesis.

Our members of staff can offer supervision on a wide range of potential research projects. Please consult our Research Pages to learn more about particular areas of research strength and expertise within the Creative Writing group.

A PhD in Creative Writing can be taken full-time (up to 4 years) or part-time (up to 7 years).

It is based on the research and completion of a research project in any field within these subject areas for which expert supervision can be provided.

Teaching methods

Research degrees are not taught programmes, but you are supported by a range of skills-based training.

You will meet with your supervisory team regularly to discuss your research and give you feedback on your writing. You are given the opportunity to attend the University's Generic Skills Training sessions as well as Creative Writing events.

The word count for the creative work will usually not exceed 80,000 words for a prose dissertation, although an exception may be made if the limit of 80,000 words would leave the creative work with clear gaps that would prevent the work being a publishable document. A poetry dissertation would be between 50 to 100 pages. A dramatic dissertation would be a minimum of 80 pages, which would be the length of a multi-act play. The critical work should be a minimum of 20,000 words, which might go up to 50,000 words (particularly for a shorter creative work). The word count will be negotiated between the candidate and the supervisory team.

This thesis is defended in a viva voce (oral examination) led by an external examiner.

Course options

Here are the different ways in which you can study PhD Creative Writing.

Full Time (4 years)

Tuition fees

£13,650.00 (14,09,277) per year

The 2020/21 fees would be £13,650 and subject to increase for 2021/22 entry. £500 full payment discount. Research students can enrol at the beginning of each month and fees are charged for the year from their enrolment date. Fees are charged annually until the student formally submits to Academic Services for final examination.


01-Oct-21, 01-Feb-22, 01-Oct-22


University of Hertfordshire

College Lane,



AL10 9AB, England

Entry requirement for international students

Before making your formal application, please acquaint yourself with the research expertise of our staff to establish whether there may be an appropriate supervisor for the research project you would like to undertake. Students should normally hold a first or upper second class Honours degree in the proposed study area in order to register for any form of research degree. Students would normally need an IELTS score of 6.5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) a score of 79 with band scores of reading 18, writing 17, listening 17, speaking 20.

* Please check with your chosen school for the exact entry requirements for your programme.

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