Creative Writing PhD

Why choose this course?

We perform fresh, innovative, world-leading research across literature, writing and linguistics, and have been ranked as one of the top ten English departments for undergraduate degrees in the UK by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and the Guardian University Guide 2018.

We’re at the forefront of new knowledge in fields including literature, translation, language, linguistics, creative writing, and film studies. With a strong focus on research and writing in international contexts, we can provide you with a network of research links and support for your professional or academic career. 

Our research in modern and contemporary writing is diverse, and includes both literary-critical and creative work. Our approach to contemporary writing encourages the connection between creative artists and literary critics and theorists. In particular, we explore: the work of living writers; the tradition and future of innovative writing; the environment and climate change; the nature of publishing as an innovative and radical political enterprise; medical humanities; literature and the body; questions of literary and political freedom; and distinctions between ‘genre’ and ‘literary’ fiction. 

Our diverse mix of subject specialities means we’re a vibrant and imaginative community with lots of opportunity for intellectual exchange.

What you will study

Our PhD in English will train you in critical and analytical skills, research methods, and knowledge that will equip you for your professional or academic career. It normally takes around three or four years to complete our full-time PhD. 

You’ll be assigned a primary and secondary supervisor, who will meet with you regularly to read and discuss your work and make sure that you’re on track. For us, writing is essential for understanding and developing new perspectives, so you’ll be submitting written work right from the start of your course. 

In your first year, you’ll refine your research proposal and plan the structure of your work with the guidance and support of your supervisors. As you go into your second and third year, you’ll gradually learn to work more independently, and your supervisors will guide you on how to present at conferences and get your work published. 

After 12-15 months, you’ll submit a substantial piece of work for a confirmation examination. The examination will be conducted by two internal members of staff not on your supervisory team, and will give you the opportunity to gain additional guidance on your research-to-date. Following submission of your completed thesis, a viva will be conducted by a panel of one or more external examiners as well as an internal examiner. 

You’ll also be able to take advantage of a wide range of services to support and develop your writing and research skills, including the University’s Researcher Development programme. In addition to a number of excellent training opportunities offered by the University, our PhD students can take additional subject-specific training and take part in the School’s ‘Cultures in Contact’ seminar series, which provides a valuable opportunity to meet visiting scholars whose work connects with our own research strengths across literature, theory, and creative writing.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 48 months January
PhD Full-time 48 months April
PhD Full-time 48 months July
PhD Full-time 48 months October
PhD Part-time 96 months January
PhD Part-time 96 months April
PhD Part-time 96 months July
PhD Part-time 96 months October
Stag Hill

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our students

  • Jonathon Crewe, PhD Creative Writing

    The best part of the experience has been the relationship with my supervisor who has consistently shaped and guided my research.

    Read more

  • Lamia Hamini, PhD English Literature

    "My supervisors push me further to refine and sharpen my ideas, and encourage me to think ahead and to view my PhD as not only as a degree, but as an opportunity to become part of a larger group of world-leading researchers."

    Read more

  • Emily Fisher, PhD English Literature

    "The relationships I have developed across the department and with my peers have opened many doors in terms of research collaboration and peer support."

    Read more

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Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a good first degree (a minimum 2.1 or equivalent) and an MA in a relevant topic. In exceptional cases, students with a good first degree will be considered for Creative Writing where there is a substantial or promising creative portfolio.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category and at least 7.0 in the writing component.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, are subsequently confirmed as having PhD.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time January £3,146 £12,000
Full-time April £2,100 £8,000
Full-time July £1,050 £4,000
Full-time October To be confirmed £16,000
Part-time January £1,575 £6,000
Part-time April £1,050 £4,000
Part-time July £525 £2,000
Part-time October To be confirmed £8,000

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Funding and studentships

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Studentship

Supervisor(s) To be confirmed
Application deadline 18 March 2018

TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership

Supervisor(s) To be confirmed
Funding Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Application deadline 28 January 2018
Opportunities across all subjects

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222

admissions@surrey.ac.uk

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