The inter-relationship between theory, scholarship and the creative process is key to the Goldsmiths MPhil/PhD Creative Writing.
You'll be expected to combine your own creative writing – whether poetry, fiction or life writing – with research into the genre or area of literature in which you are working, to gain insight into its history and development, and to engage with relevant contemporary debates.
This might be genre in the more traditional sense, for example satire, fictional autobiography, verse drama, or particular traditions to which you feel your work relates, for example projective verse, postmodernist fiction, or Caribbean poetics.
This element of the PhD – the critical commentary – will constitute around 30% of the final work; the major part – 70% – will be a creative work of publishable standard: a novel, memoir, book of poems or collection of stories, for example.
Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.
North American applicants especially should note that the British system does not include preparatory taught classes or examinations as part of the MPhil/PhD programme, except for an initial course in research methods.
Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths.
Goldsmiths creative writing students and alumni
Former and current PhD students include the following published writers and poets:
- 2019 Booker Prize-winning Bernardine Evaristo, whose Jerwood Fiction Uncovered-winning book Mr Loverman was written, in part, at Goldsmiths
- Season Butler
- Tom Lee
- Benjamin Woolley
- Linda Buckley-Archer
- Wendy Jones
- Justin Hill
- Sophie Ward
- Francis Gilbert
- Emma Darwin
- Virginia Peters
- Thomas Sykes
- Aoife Mannix
- Katrina Naomi
- Kate Miller (winner of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize)
- Kathryn Maris
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of English.
What our students say
You should normally hold a first or upper second class BA Honours degree and have either a good MA in Creative Writing or a track record of relevant publications with a reputable company.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £4500
- Home - part-time: £2250
- International - full-time: £15360
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
If you are interested in applying to the PhD Creative Writing programme, please send your academic CV, along with a sample of your writing (approx 3,000 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org. These will then be seen by the programme convenor, who will be able to advise on supervisor availability in the department, and whether you should submit a formal application via the 'Apply Now' link at the top of this page.
Before submitting your application you'll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- Contact details of a second referee
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
- Details of your research proposal
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.
Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body.
If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.
Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application.
This should be in the form of a statement of the proposed area of research and should include:
- delineation of the research topic
- why it has been chosen
- an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
- a brief list of major secondary sources
How detailed a research proposal are we looking for on the application form?
Obviously what you put on the form and exactly what you end up researching may be rather different, but in order to judge whether or not to offer you a place, the Department needs to know whether you have the broad outlines of a viable project. This means:
- a project that is both worthwhile and interesting, but not over-ambitious
- a project that can realistically be achieved within the confines of PhD on a full-time (4 years typically) or part-time (6 years maximum) basis
- we need to be sure that you have thought about it carefully and are fully committed to the research
- we need to be sure that you understand what is involved in doing a PhD
- your research proposal should give us enough information to be able to interview you (if you are in the UK) or reach a decision as to whether to admit you if you are not based in the UK
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified.
If your degree is in an unrelated field, you may be considered subject to a qualifying interview and/or submission of sample essays.
Find out more about applying.
You'll develop transferable skills, including:
- enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts
- the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials
- the ability to organise information
- the ability to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments
- Public relations
- The civil service
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Research training programme
Training in research methods and skills is provided both by the department and Goldsmiths' Graduate School. This begins with an intensive week-long induction in the first week of enrolment and continues later in the first term with a series of seminars focussing on the specific challenges of literary and linguistic research projects. The department will also inform you about any research training seminars or study-days offered elsewhere in the University of London (for exmaple, by the Institute of English Studies or the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study) or beyond, such as at the British Library. The specific training requirements of your project will be assessed, and guidance provided on specialist seminars and conferences to attend, which can be supported where possible by assistance from departmental funds.