Students Staff

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies

Creative Writing

León Ferrari, Sin título (Caligrafía), 2000 © León Ferrari. Image © ESCALA

PhD study

AHRC funding

PhD student in library

Apply for a PhD studentship for your doctoral study funded by the Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

A research degree in creative writing involves an original writing project in combination with critical work. Whether your project involves poetry, fiction, theatre, screenwriting, or another form such as psychogeography, you will benefit from expert supervision by experienced writing practitioners and be part of an active and interdisciplinary research community that will challenge you intellectually and artistically.

We regularly invite writers to give talks and readings as part of our Writers at Essex series as well as to lead master classes with our students. Recent visitors have included Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott, our Essex Professor of Poetry from 2010 - 2013.

Our Department runs weekly research seminars with speakers invited from the UK and abroad and we often host major conferences and symposia. Our research students also organise and present at our annual PhD conference.

A variety of scholarships and funding for postgraduate study is available.

PhD routes

We offer a range of options for PhD study in creative writing.

  • PhD Creative Writing

    The minimum durations for our PhD Creative Writing are three years of full-time study or six years part time.

    Assessment is on the basis of either:

    • a novel or collection of short stories (30,000-100,000 words) plus critical commentary (35,000-40,000 words)
    • or a collection of poems (50-100 pages, the length of a standard collection of poetry, approximately 10,000-20,000 words) plus critical commentary (35,000-40,000 words)

    Your critical commentary typically addresses the originality and artistic relevance of your creative work, as well as areas such as genre mode and tradition, stylistic and theoretical contexts, research, and the process of composition, development and revision.

    We normally require a good BA honours degree and a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. You need to demonstrate a capacity to produce a creative project and conduct independent research, and are required to submit a detailed project proposal and creative writing sample. You attend regular supervisory board meetings throughout your doctoral study where the progress of your work is assessed.

    Read the full course description on our course finder:

  • PhD Theatre Studies (Playwriting)

    The minimum durations for our PhD Theatre Studies (Playwriting) are three years of full-time study or six years part-time.

    Assessment is on the basis of an original full-length play or equivalent short plays (70-100 pages or 70-150 minutes playing time, approximately 20,000-30,000 words) plus critical commentary (40,000 words).

    Your critical commentary typically addresses the originality and artistic relevance of your playwriting, as well as areas such as performance and staging, genre mode and tradition, stylistic and theoretical contexts, research, and the process of composition, development, and revision.

    We normally require a good BA honours degree and a Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. You need to demonstrate a capacity to produce an original playwriting project and conduct independent research, and are required to submit a detailed project proposal and playwriting sample. You attend regular supervisory board meetings throughout your doctoral study where the progress of your work is assessed.

    Read the full course description on our course finder:

We accept PhD students in all areas in which our academic staff are researching and working:

AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

The University of Essex is a member of CHASE: Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England, which has over 375 fully-funded PhD studentships to award over the next five years funded by the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) and the seven CHASE partner institutions. Applicants for doctoral study in creative writing at Essex can apply to CHASE for AHRC studentships through our department and we will work closely with you on your application.

Postgraduate modules

New PhD students often take our postgraduate Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis module as an introduction to both practical and theoretical aspects of research study in literature, film, theatre studies, and creative writing. You are also welcome to sit in on other MA modules relevant to your research with the approval of the seminar teacher.

Professional teaching experience

We employ many of our research students as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA). These paid positions are valuable opportunities for professional development and give you experience of teaching and marking essays at undergraduate level, a significant advantage when applying for academic positions.

Professional skills development

Our University’s Proficio scheme helps to develop your skills and knowledge and increase your employability potential for careers in academia and industry by providing specialist training across a range of areas including researching and managing your PhD, presenting your work, and getting published.

Languages for All

Reading texts in their original language can be a real advantage for postgraduate research. Our University’s Languages for All scheme allows you to study a language alongside your course at no extra cost.

Fees and scholarships

Fees and scholarships

Find about our fees and scholarships. If you would like any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

PG events

Book a place at a postgraduate event to find out about studying at a top 20 UK research university. Staff will be available to answer your questions and you can speak to students about life at Essex.

Our academic staff

Our academic staff

Our academic staff are internationally recognised for their expertise across literature, film, creative writing and drama. Find out more by reading their staff profiles.

Doctoral training

TBC

Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.