Research ( full-time, part-time)
January, April, September
Distance-learning supervision available on this course.
This programme is located in the School of Creative Industries. Find out more about our research.
For application deadlines visit our how to apply page.
Our PhD research programmes will allow you to join one of our research projects or explore your own interests in Creative Writing, supported by the expertise of our staff.
You’ll be allocated two supervisors, with additional staff members available if necessary. Our supervisors are experienced in most areas of creative writing, with a focus on the short story; engagement with science and technology (all genres); experimental poetry; and screenwriting.
You’ll develop your writing in a collaborative research environment with strong links to local research and creative networks, including Cambridge Literary Festival, Menagerie Theatre, Writers' Centre Norwich, CB1 Poetry, Women's Word at Lucy Cavendish College, and University of Cambridge’s Faculty of English and Department of History and Philosophy of Science.
We host many informal workshops and discussions for staff and postgraduate students in creative writing, as well as regular research seminars, allowing you to present your creative practice as research in a safe and supportive setting. These events, along with our online environment, will help you connect with other research students from a range of creative disciplines.
You’ll have access to our Faculty’s PhD room, where all our doctoral students can meet up to work and take an active part in our postgraduate student community, as well as our campus library and IT facilities.
You could also benefit from financial support. We allocate a substantial sum every year towards postgraduate travel and conference expenses, as well as some bursaries.
All your subject-specific studies will be enhanced and supported by our University-wide training sessions, where you’ll gain important research expertise in areas like ethics, presentations, intellectual property and digital scholarship.
MPhil: full-time 1-3 years, part-time 2-4 years.
PhD via progression from MPhil, including that period: full-time 2.5-5 years, part-time 3.5-6 years.
PhD: full-time 2-4 years, part-time 3-6 years.
For further guidance on the duration of research degrees please refer to the Research Degrees Regulations.
Our permanent supervisory staff include published creative writers working in fiction, poetry, screenwriting and writing for performance, as well as colleagues from English Literature, Film Studies and Media Studies and Drama. Our expertise includes:
Dr Colette Paul, MA, MLitt, PhD (Senior Lecturer): short story theory and practice; contemporary fiction, particularly Canadian literature; narratology. Author of Whoever You Choose to Love (Weidenfeld & Nicolson/Phoenix, 2004), shortlisted for the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Writers Award.
Laura Dietz, BA, MA: science and literature; evolutionary and cognitive approaches to literature; reputation and legitimacy in post-print publishing environments; the novel, especially innovative forms. Author of In the Tenth House (Crown, Random House, 2007).
Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.
At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.
Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.
Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.
In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.
Some examples of these costs are (the list is not exhaustive): equipment hire, access costs to specialist equipment/workshops, volunteer expenses, specialist tissue/cell culture, specialist reagents or materials, specialist software, access to specialist databases, data collection costs, specialist media, recording or digital storage needs.
We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full- and part-time students.
If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview, and stated in your offer letter.
For 2021/22 the bench fee bands are:
Initial registration: £1,300
Full registration: £4,000
Part time: £1,000
Full time: £1,800
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us. Find out more about paying your fees.
For advice on the doctoral loan and other sources of funding, including ARU scholarships, visit our finance guide for postgraduate researchers.
You might also find The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding helpful.
ARU's academic excellence was recognised in 2021, as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an exercise which assesses the quality of academic research. Sixteen areas of our work were classed as generating world-leading research. The results showed that we're making a significant impact on the societies we live in.
We’ll provide you with many opportunities for career development and training, in areas like dealing with festivals, agents, and publishers; balancing creative and critical work; giving conference papers; research methods and literature searches; internet training; and editing skills. You might also be able to take on teaching responsibilities in the department, or organise research events like seminars and conferences.
In conjunction with the University’s research support, you can request specific support for writing-up, conference papers, general research methods and other research skills if you need it.
If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities in this area, please email [email protected]
MPhil or PhD with progression from MPhil: You’ll need a Bachelors degree or equivalent with first or upper second class honours, in a related subject area.
PhD: You’ll need a Masters degree or equivalent in a related subject area.
Please note we consider candidates for PhD with progression from MPhil in the first instance. If you want to be considered for direct entry to the PhD route then this can be discussed at interview if you are shortlisted. Please note you’ll also need to provide academic justification for this request.
If English is not your first language, you'll require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (or equivalent test). If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the programme as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Contact our postgraduate research degree team for more information about studying a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate at ARU.
You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your research programme. Before starting, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
Studying during COVID-19
Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face access to research resources in limited circumstances where access can be justified under movement restrictions. Visit our restrictions page for details. All assessments and supervision are currently conducted online.
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and related Government guidance, your research programme will be framed, wherever possible, to be conducted away from campus and in line with movement restrictions. For some types of research attendance on campus will be essential for some activities, and these activities will need to be undertaken in a COVID-19 safe manner in line with our risk management procedures.
In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place within the UK due to the pandemic, we may need all of our researchers to work online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.
Full-time, part-time research ()
January, April, September
Full-time, part-time research ()
January, April, September
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