Postgraduate study

Creative Writing PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Creative Writing

The PhD in Creative Writing provides the capstone to the postgraduate Creative Writing suite, offering students graduating from the MSc an opportunity to undertake work at a higher level. You will aim towards the production of a substantial, publishable piece of creative writing, accompanied by a sustained exercise in critical study.

The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, including well-published and prize-winning writers of poetry, prose fiction and drama.

We encourage you to share your research and learn from the work of others through a programme of work-in-progress seminars, reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences.

Our postgraduate journal, Forum, is a valuable conduit for research findings and provides an opportunity to gain editorial experience.

Our location in the first UNESCO City of Literature places you at the heart of a major cultural centre, enriching your experience with opportunities for literary engagement through world-class facilities and events, such as the National Library of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The resources of the English Literature department at Edinburgh offer an attractive environment in which students can study for an advanced research degree.

A UK masters degree, or its international equivalent, in creative writing, normally with distinction.

We may also consider your application if you have equivalent qualifications or experience. For additional information please refer to the pre-application guidance in the 'How to apply' section.*

(*Revised 28 January 2021 to provide more comprehensive pre-application information.)

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

There are a number of scholarship schemes available to eligible candidates on this PhD programme, including awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Please be advised that many scholarships have more than one application stage, and early deadlines.

*(Revised 27 November 2020 to update featured funding information.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
10 January 2022 31 October 2021

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

*(Revised 11 November to remove contradictory deadline information.)

You must submit two references with your application.

Pre-application guidance

Before you formally apply for this PhD, you should look at the pre-application information and guidance on the programme website.

This will help you decide if this programme is right for you, and help us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve.

The guidance details the writing samples you should send us as part of your application (either fiction or poetry, along with a shorter sample of your academic writing).

It will also give you practical advice for writing your project summary – one of the most important parts of your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH