The PhD in Creative Writing falls within the category of ‘Creative and Performing Arts’, which permits the thesis to take the form of a portfolio of original works, to be accompanied by a commentary, placing the portfolio in its intellectual context. The PhD in this area is understood to constitute research into a subject, research into a form, and research into the relation between them. This research discipline constitutes a practical, experimental and empirical mode of research, in which the creative work-in-progress is the central site of research, while the essay represents an analysis and elucidation of and commentary on the choices made in that research.
The requirement is in two parts: a book-length creative work, and a critical essay.
The creative work may take the form of:
- a novel, or
- a collection of short fiction (which may be designed as a composite novel or may include or comprise work in the novella form), or
- an anthology of poetry, or
- a long poem, or
- a play for stage or radio (or both), or
- a work of creative non-fiction.
- A work of prose fiction or creative non-fiction should be approximately 80,000-100,000 words in length.
- The critical essay should be around 20,000 words in length.
- An anthology of poems or a long poem should be up to 10,000 words in length (i.e. roughly equivalent to a 50-poem collection).
- A work of drama should take the form of a fully-realised two-act play, suitable for production, each act designed to last about one hour.
- A feature length film script of 1 1/2 to 2 hours duration ( 90 - 120 pages), properly formatted.
While the creative work is considered as the scholarly heart of the PhD, the critical essay should engage with the choices made in the creative work, addressing, for example: concept and process; drafts and revisions; questions of style (lexis, diction, voice or voices, setting, plot or fable, perspective or perspectives); theme; characterisation; the research undertaken for the book; historical and cultural context; where the work stands in relation to other works in the chosen genre and tradition; any other relevant issues.
The individual is not required to address all these issues in an equivalent way but to shape the essay in a fashion appropriate to the specific creative work. The essay demonstrates the candidate’s capacity to think critically about and comment on the processes involved in its conception, development and revision.
Submission of the thesis is followed by an oral examination of the thesis (viva) by two examiners who are not your supervisors, one of whom is external to the University.