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PhD in Creative Writing

Director of Postgraduate Studies: Professor Richard Gwyn

Guidance for PhD Creative Writing applicants

The Colour of a Dog Running Away by Dr Richard Gwyn

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. In recent years our graduates have acquired publishing contracts with major publishers and have taken up teaching posts in British universities and overseas.

The PhD programme involves the preparation of an original piece of creative work – a novel, collection of poems or short stories, or play/film script - and a critical commentary.  Candidates for the PhD Creative Writing will submit one of the following:-:

i. Prose (novel, short story, work of creative non-fiction or play/film script) - the creative portion and critical commentary will not normally exceed 100,000 words with the critical commentary comprising not less than 20,000 words;
ii. Poetry, a collection of poetry, prose poetry or micro-fiction amounting to around 60 pages, with an accompanying critical commentary of not less than 20,000 words;
iii. An integrated Creative/Critical submission of no more than 100,000 words.

Click here to see a list of current and recent PhD topics in the School.

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. Full-time PhD students are allocated study space, which provides computing facilities, networked information and access to email and the internet.

PhD students are encouraged to participate in the Open Mic session organised for the MA in Creative Writing (see below), and to attend workshops and readings given by visiting writers.

Admissions Information

Applications are welcome from graduates with at least a 2.1 in English Literature (and/or a relevant discipline) and an MA in Creative Writing, English Literature or a relevant discipline.

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. Essays take account of the material taught in the course, but may also constitute draft sections of the doctoral project.

The School welcomes applications from students from outside the United Kingdom. More information is provided on our International Students page.


Funding opportunities will be listed on:


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For further details please contact:
Postgraduate Office

Phone: +44 (0)29 208 74722

Cardiff School of English, Communication
and Philosophy
Cardiff University
John Percival Building
Colum Drive
CF10 3EU

Student Views

"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.

Please click here to visit Holly's web site

See Also

Guidance for PhD Creative Writing applicants

PhD and MPhil Research Student Handbook