Research course

Creative Writing

Lancaster University · English Literature and Creative Writing

Entry requirements

Masters degree or equivalent in English literature or literature in other languages, 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

Additional Requirements

As part of your application you also need to provide

  • A viable research proposal
  • 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 proposal is also available.

Months of entry


Course content

Why Lancaster?

  • Study online or join us on campus to be close to the Lake District, home of the Romantic poets, and inspiration for many writers since
  • Benefit from our supervisory strengths in contemporary poetry, fiction, creative-critical writing, creative non-fiction and script writing
  • Complete a significant creative writing project, whether you want to craft a novel or create an entire script
  • Be inspired by our rich programme of literary events on campus, online, and in the city’s historic Castle Quarter
  • Join a vibrant, supportive community of PhD students working across a range of literacy genres and research projects

We have a team of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights with the expertise and experience to bring your creative project to life. Our staff have a range of impressive accolades including the BBC National Short Story Award, Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize and Pigott Poetry Prize. Meet some of our team.

Your unique project

Wondering what a PhD in creative writing looks like? It depends what project you decide to work on. Typically, we would expect a critical writing piece around 20,000 words long and a creative writing piece of around 60-80,000 words. Your creative work can be an extract or a complete piece or collection of prose fiction/non-fiction, a collection of poetry, or a completed script for stage, screen or audio. These are examples; we’re happy to discuss other forms and unique projects with you.

Finding the right supervisor is key to your success as they’ll act as a critical friend. We expect you to already have one in mind while completing your application and to contact them before submitting your application. Most students have one or two supervisors, but you might have more depending on the nature of your project.

Online or on campus?

Our pioneering virtual learning and research facilities mean you can study from anywhere in the world. Our campus students enjoy a lively programme of departmental events and both distance and campus students meet in termly Work in Progress sessions.

If you haven’t studied a Master’s in Creative Writing at Lancaster, you’ll need to complete the core Creative Writing module Research Methods and Professional Practice. You can take this module in person or online.

Information for international students

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

Fees and funding

Learn more at the fees and funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1524 593089