Research Degrees in

Creative Writing and English Literature

in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in the areas of Creative Writing and English Literature you will:

  • Work with renowned experts in the field. We are a leading centre for creative and theoretical literary analysis. In the latest national evaluation of research, 78% of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF2014). We are ranked in the top 10 in the UK for our English research impact (Times Higher Education).
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer practice-led and theoretical research degrees which can be pursued full or part time. We offer a distance learning programme for students with professional or personal commitments that prevent campus-based study.
  • Be part of the Manchester Writing School. The Manchester Writing School is one of the most successful literary centres in the UK. We can supervise creative projects, and offer various PhD routes suitable for established or aspiring writers.
  • Join a thriving intellectual community. We are a metropolitan centre for literary research and practice, with a large number of postgraduate and early career researchers. Our Centre for Creative Writing, English Literature and Linguistics brings together a range of cultural approaches to deliver innovative and impactful research.
  • Engage in innovative public engagement programmes. RAH! (Research in Arts and Humanities) is a curated programme of public lectures, performances, film screenings, fairs, interventions, discussions, artist happenings and augmented reality.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre provides a comprehensive development programme for research students.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a wide range of Creative Writing and Literature projects. We can cover periods from the Renaissance through to the 21st century, and all genres. Particular thematic specialisms include:

  • Gothic studies
  • Place writing and literary geography
  • Medical humanities
  • Trauma and memory
  • Writing for Children and Young Adults
  • Contemporary critical theory and culture
  • Faith
  • Food
  • Film and Screen Studies
  • Queer/LGBTI cultures
  • Theatre studies
  • Women’s writing

Within creative writing, we can supervise projects on:

  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Place writing
  • Writing for Children and Young Adults
  • Script writing.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

We are a leading centre for the study of literature and culture. We host a large and vibrant community of renowned critics and writers.

More about our research culture

We are also home to:

We have exciting plans for the future, including a brand new building to house the Manchester Poetry Library.

Our postgraduate researchers are a key part of our social and intellectual environment. You will be a member of our Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC). PAHC is a dedicated forum for postgraduate students in the Arts and Humanities. It provides:

  • HARTS Online, an online community, news and events portal
  • A thorough research development programme
  • A space for cross-disciplinary discussion, support and experimentation
  • Hive, an academic e-journal, edited by current students
  • RAH!, an innovative programme of socially and culturally engaged public engagement events.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January and April.

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

A research degree equips you with advanced skills in research, critical thinking, communications, and project management. These skills, as well as your subject matter expertise, will open up senior careers in a wide range of sectors.

Our PhD by Publication pathways give established and emerging creatives the opportunity to deepen their professional practice and network with colleagues in the creative and cultural industries.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

Fees and funding

Find out more

2018/19 entry


  • Full time: £4,260
  • Part time: £2,130

Tuition fees are likely to increase each academic year in line with UK Research and Innovation guidelines.

International Students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Read more on our tuition fees

2019/20 entry


Fees for 2019/20 entry will be available here when they are confirmed.

International students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Additional project costs

For some research projects, we may need to charge you additional costs to cover, for example, access to specialist equipment, resources or materials. We will discuss these costs with you during your interview, and they will be clearly outlined in your offer letter before you accept a place here. Where we advertise specific research projects, the complete project costs will be included in the advert.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Creative Writing and English Literature are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

We are a member of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership which allows us to offer fully funded scholarships in the Arts and Humanities. The deadline for applications is midnight on 14 January 2019.

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Andrew Moor,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Creative Writing and English Literature.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 6673.

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Apply now
Postgraduate Study