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MPhil/PhD in Literary Practice (2022 Entry)

About this research graduate course

Course overview

Creative writing is beginning to take its place in the academy across Europe as well as in the Anglophone world. Taking a doctorate in a creative practice is a way of qualifying for a teaching and/or research career in higher education in the UK or elsewhere. You might also be interested in this degree if you want not only to complete a novel, short story, poetry collection or work of creative non-fiction under the supervision of well-known writers and teachers, but also to situate your own writing practice in relation to literary traditions, theories and new developments.

PhD theses, albeit in creative form, will be founded on rigorous research, reflection and participation in academic life.

We offer our PhD students the attention of our best writers and scholars; a place in our real and virtual spaces where writers at all stages of their careers listen and speak to each other; and all the artistic and scholarly resources of a world-leading university located between several exciting cities.

Further information on the PhD in Literary Practice is available on the Warwick Writing Programme website.

Teaching and learning

The structure of the PhD

Over 3 or 4 years (full-time) or up to 7 years (part-time), you will write a thesis of between 80,000 and 100,000 words, consisting of two parts:

(i) an original creative work (a novel, a collection of stories, a collection of poetry, a work or collection of creative non-fiction) which must have been undertaken during the period of registration. Work undertaken prior to registration on the PhD course cannot be submitted as part of the thesis.

(ii) a critical essay demonstrating the cultural and intellectual context of the creative work. The ratio between the creative and the critical components will vary, but the creative part will in all cases be the longer; the standard ratio of creative to critical work will be 80:20. Variations on the 80:20 ratio may be negotiated, usually by writers of poetry, novellas or short story collections.

The essay is a work of non-fiction prose that will be evaluated for its literary form as well as for the research presented. In some cases it may be desirable for a student to write a scholarly essay in academic prose, but generally we prefer the essay to take other forms. In all circumstances the essay should be no less than 20,000 and no more than 40,000 words (excluding references, appendices, and bibliography), according to the appropriate ratio, and must be of doctoral standard.

Parts (i) and (ii) of the research project must be comprehensively and convincingly integrated and the complete submitted project must reach the required standard of a PhD as outlined in the School and the University’s standard regulations.

Teaching and supervisions

Each student will have one or two supervisors, at least one of whom will be among the teaching staff of the Warwick Writing Programme. You will meet with your supervisors, together or separately, at least once a month during the teaching year (if full-time) or twice a term (part-time). These meetings should normally be in person but may sometimes be conducted remotely when convenient to both parties.

You will also have a personal tutor, whose role is pastoral. There is no taught component of this degree, but each student is invited to a one-to-one meeting with our subject librarian to explore resources for his or her project. Students will participate in the online research skills modules, seminars, talks and events provided for and by research students in the School.

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

Applicants should normally hold a BA (classmark 2:i or First or the international equivalent thereof) and an MA/MFA/MPhil in a subject related to the proposed doctoral project with a grade of at least 65 or the international equivalent thereof.  

Evidence of publication would be preferred but is not essential. We require two references from people familiar with your work and, if English was not the medium of instruction for your previous degrees, an IELTS score of at least 7.5 or equivalent. 

In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to vary these conditions for applicants who are able to demonstrate compelling evidence of advanced writing experience and an awareness of the critical requirements of creative writing practice in an academic environment. This would require the submission of both creative and critical writing reaching at least the standards of MA-level work. 

Places on the PhD are awarded following a holistic assessment of the application, which includes consideration of the applicant’s academic qualifications, the strength and originality of the proposal (including the critical component), the quality of the writing sample(s) submitted, and the availability of suitable supervisors. 

English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirements. This course requires the following:

  • Band C
  • IELTS overall (Academic) score of 7.5 and component scores.

International qualifications

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

For more information, please visit the international entry requirements page.

Additional requirements

There are no additional entry requirements for this course.

Our research

The Warwick Writing Programme is able to offer supervision in the writing of novels, short stories, poetry, works of non-fiction, in the area of screenwriting, and in certain hybrid and interdisciplinary forms. We also have substantial expertise in the field of literary translation.

Find a supervisor

Find your supervisor using the link below and discuss with them the area you'd like to research.

It is recommended that you approach your preferred supervisor before submitting your application. Our supervisors include Tim Leach, Ian Sansom, Maureen Freely, David Morley, Gonzalo C. Garcia, Nell Stevens and Lucy Brydon. We welcome interdisciplinary projects and will try to arrange co-supervision beyond the Writing Programme where it is desirable and possible to do so.

You can also see our general University guidance about finding a supervisor.

Research proposal guidance

You should prepare a succinct 500-word proposal in the first instance, indicating:

  • What you intend to write (e.g. novel, screenplay, poetry collection)
  • Which research questions you intend to explore
  • What the relationship is between your work and current literary practice
  • How the critical component of your thesis will relate to the practice element

A sample of creative work (5,000 – 10,000 words of prose or 20 – 25 single-spaced pages of poetry) should accompany all applications and should be in the genre proposed for PhD study.

Places on the PhD will be awarded on the basis of the quality of the creative sample submitted, the strength and originality of the proposal (including the critical component), and the availability of suitable supervisors. Places will be offered in line with standard School and University practice that suitably qualified academics normally act as primary supervisors for no more than a certain number of projects at any time.

Read more about our research proposal guidance.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.

Taught course fees  Research course fees

Fee Status Guidance

The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.

If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information, however we are awaiting guidance from the UK government regarding fee status for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK for academic year 2021/22 onwards. We are not able to confirm the fee status for these students until the relevant eligibility criteria have been confirmed. Once we have received further information from the UK government, we will provide you with an update on your fee status and let you know if any additional information is required. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.

Additional course costs

Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

  • Core text books
  • Printer credits
  • Dissertation binding
  • Robe hire for your degree ceremony

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and financial support

Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.

Living costs

Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.

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Taught course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for taught postgraduate courses at Warwick.

Research course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for research postgraduate degrees at the University of Warwick.

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