A strong application should include:
- A detailed description of the creative project (about two pages, with references, where possible, to other supporting texts)
- A description of the likely critical enquiry (which outlines the links between your creative project and the critical enquiry which will inform the development of the creative project).
- Examples of creative work (please include examples which are within your discipline, so if you want to write poetry, please include poems, if you want to write a novel, then a section of a novel, etc.,.)
- A brief statement explaining why you are interested in undertaking research with us at Birmingham. Many projects are achievable without needing a PhD, so it is helpful to see why you are interested in working within academia. It is also useful to see how this new project develops from previous projects, or relates to other creative and critical enquiries. This can be speculative.
- A decision on whether the period of study is to be full- or part-time (it is possible to adjust this once you are undertaking the research degree). If you are interested in Distance Learning, and if your application is successful, you will be asked to complete a form in which you provide details about your access to other resources and online support. Your supervisor will help you complete this prior to your being officially accepted.
Please note: The PhD is a demanding and rewarding period of advanced creative and academic independent study. It is also a terminal degree, and we require that applicants have either successfully completed a Creative Writing MA, or can demonstrate experience within their discipline. Unlike the MA, the PhD does not typically include group workshops and seminars. A strong application will demonstrate your current ability and experience within your creative discipline (so if you wish to write a film script, but have written novels, you would need some evidence of ability and knowledge in writing for film).
This is a popular course and there is a limited supervisor capacity to support doctoral research students. Our ability to support your research proposal may be dependent on the availability of a supervisor in your area of interest.
Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September 2023, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 3 July 2023.
If the programme has a Distance learning option then students will usually attend a residential visit in September or January, and those students wishing to attend the September residential are also encouraged to apply by 3 July 2023. The visit will take place at the end of September/beginning of October and you will receive further details once you have accepted your offer.
Six steps to apply for our Postgraduate Research courses
Do you have an idea for an interesting research project? You can follow our six easy steps to apply to study for our postgraduate research courses. These include guidance on identifying funding opportunities and writing your research proposal.
Please also see our additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.
Please note: While our PhD programmes are normally studied in three years full-time or six years part-time, and Masters-level research programmes one year full-time or two years part-time, many programmes have a longer length listed in course or funding applications. This is because the course length is defined as the maximum period of registration, which includes a period of supervised study plus a thesis awaited period. The maximum period of registration for a full-time PhD is four years (three years supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For a full-time Masters-level research programme, it is two years (one year supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For part-time programmes, the periods are double the full-time equivalent.
Making your application
How to apply
To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.