Creative and Critical Writing (PhD/MPhil)
3 years (PhD), 1 year (MPhil) (Full-time) / opportunities available (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)
Cardiff was one of the first universities in the UK to offer a PhD in Creative Writing, and over two decades we have prepared graduates for careers as writers and in the publishing industry.
- A dynamic interdisciplinary research culture with a variety of seminar
- A wide selection of research training opportunities, including a thesis workshop and reading groups and financial support for giving papers at conferences. In their second year, PhD students have the opportunity to undertake some paid seminar teaching and to enrol on the School’s HEA-accredited M-level “Learning to Teach” module.
- PhD students are encouraged to publish.
- Full-time PhD students are allocated study spaces with computing facilities, networked information and access to email and the Internet.
- The School makes funding available each year for PGR students who wish to attend conferences/undertake library or archive visits in order to assist with their PhD studies.
- PhD students are encouraged to participate in the Open Mic session organised for the MA in Creative Writing, and to attend workshops and readings given by visiting writers.
The PhD programme involves the preparation of an original piece of creative work – a novel, collection of poems or short stories – and an accompanying critical text which may serve either as a critical commentary on the creative component or else a critical essay on a theme related to, if not necessarily the core subject material of, the creative work.
As from their second year, students have the opportunity for teaching on the undergraduate English Literature degree and receive mentoring sessions from a full-time member of staff.
Recent examples include novels, collections of short stories, microfictions and poetry, with critical components titled:
- Taking the index back: what the internet has to offer print fiction
- The question of genre, meanings and incompleteness in the novella and microfiction
- Crossed tongues: the crisis of speech in the prose poems of Francis Ponge
Our own MA in Creative Writing provides an ideal basis for students wishing to undertake a PhD. Alternatively, in certain cases PhD students attend the first two terms of the MA course, and submit the assessed essays, before proceeding to full-time work on the thesis.
A list of current and recent PhD topics undertaken within the School is also available.
The PhD in Creative and Critical Writing has prepared graduates for careers as writers and in the publishing industry. In recent years our graduates have acquired publishing contracts with major publishers and have taken up teaching posts in British universities and overseas.
"My undergraduate degree was in English Literature, and I studied Creative Writing at Master's level, so studying for a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing seemed like a natural progression. My thesis contained a strong critical backbone, but it also allowed me to explore creative writing (both my own, and the work of others) whilst receiving supportive and encouraging supervision from both Dr Richard Gwyn and Prof. Martin Coyle. Studying at Cardiff University gave me the opportunity to develop my own academic and creative expertise, and to receive expert guidance when I needed it."
Holly Howitt completed her PhD in 2008. Holly is the author of The Schoolboy, Exposure and Dinner Time and Other Stories.
While studying for my PhD at Cardiff the assistance and help that I was given by my tutor was utterly invaluable, always salient and always beneficial to both the creative and critical aspects of my work. The feedback and help shaped (or, maybe, beat) the novel into publishable shape - and that novel was published, at the end of 2009. The skills that I learned pushed me towards becoming a better writer, and directly led towards the novels that form my publishing deal with HarperCollins. As a result of my PhD, I also undertook teaching work in a few different institutions, got a contract working on the script for a major computer game, and have had critical/non-fictional articles about writing and the publishing industry published. Last - but by no means least - was the peer contact I had during the PhD, which was perhaps most important of all. Having a feedback and support system offered by other students on the course was wonderful, and really helped push me towards my goal of completion.
James Smythe completed his PhD in 2008. He is the author of Hereditation (2010), and he has a two book deal with HarperCollins consisting of The Testimony (2012) and The Explorer (2013).
Applications are welcome from graduates with at least a 2.1 in English Literature (and/or relevant discipline) and an MA in Creative Writing, English Literature (and/or a relevant discipline).
You are recommended to email the postgraduate administrator at email@example.com with your research proposal and a sample of creative work prior to making a formal application.
In addition to the application form, research proposal and supporting documents we also require copies of recent creative work, the word count of which will depend very much on the genre of work produced but we would expect approximately 20,000 words of prose.
The School welcomes applications from students outside the United Kingdom. For those applicants whose first language is not English we require a minimum IELTS overall score of 7.0.
Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.
How to Apply
Applications can be made for this course via our Online Application Service. Applicants should include a research proposal (approx 1000 words), 2 academic references, a sample of creative writing (approx 25 pages, depending on the genre), copies of BA and MA degree certificates and a transcript of the marks.
For the full range of funding possibilities on offer, see our Postgraduate Funding Opportunities page.
UK & EU Full Time for 2013/14
UK & EU Part Time for 2013/14
International Full Time for 2013/14
International Part Time for 2013/14
Next intake: The University has four entry points for research degrees; 1st October, 1st January, 1st April or 1st July
Name: ENCAP Postgraduate Admissions
Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 0322