Creative Writing

Creative Writing


Our Creative Writing PhD programme offers a dedicated, supportive and multi-award winning team of full-time supervisory staff specialising in poetry, fiction and non-fiction prose.

Study Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification

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Our writers include internationally renowned novelist Alan Warner (author of Morvern Callar, The Sopranos and The Stars in the Bright Sky as well as film and stage adaptations of his work); David Wheatley (author of Mocker, A Nest on the Waves and The President of Planet Earth, and a 2015 judge of the National Poetry Competition); Helen Lynch (author of The Elephant and the Polish Question and Tea for the Rent Boy);Alan Marcus (filmmaker of In Place of Death, The New Colossus and 216 Beach Walk, Waikiki) and Shane Strachan (author of DWAMS and Nevertheless: Sparkian Tales in Bulawayo).

The University of Aberdeen offers a rich and unique variety of inter-disciplinary creative opportunities based on the University’s centres of research excellence such as the WORD Centre for Creative Writing, The Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies (host of visiting writers such as Michael Longley and James Kelman), the Centre for the Novel (host of visiting writers such as Michele Roberts, Janice Galloway and Will Self), and the Sir Herbert Grierson Centre.

Our postgraduate programmes host masterclasses from world-class visiting writers (recent workshops have featured Claire Keegan, Don Paterson and Simon Armitage) and The WORD Centre organises a number of highly popular literary events each year as part of the University’s May Fest. The Centre also fosters many active and productive links with the wider writing community of the north east.

PGR students may opt to study part-time or full-time, and all successful applicants are considered for competitive bursary funding. We are open to discussing all potential projects with applicants, including the possibility of undertaking these via Distance Learning.

Approaches from applicants who wish to undertake their studies as Distance Learners will be considered, subject to discussion with an appropriate supervisor

Our Research

David Wheatley is a poet and critic with particular research interests in the field of twentieth-century and contemporary poetry, Irish literature and Samuel Beckett. As well as Creative Writing applications in poetry and translation, he welcomes applications from prospective PhD students in the above research areas.

In Creative Writing, Helen Lynch has research and practical expertise in short fiction, nature writing, life writing, travel writing, and fictional autobiography. She also has strong research interests in the literature and politics of the early modern period (especially Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare and the connections between them).

Alan Marcus engages with different methodological approaches to creative non-fiction filmmaking, with an interest in documentary, the essay film, experimental film and drama. His research incorporates cinematic storytelling involving post-traumatic sites and marginalized communities. Thematically, his work is often located in the visualisation of urban environments in conflict settings, in addition to research on differing perceptions of the landscape and notions of home and displacement.

Alan Warner is interested in Creative Writing research projects (generally in prose), across all genres, especially literary fiction, short stories, or thriller, crime, fantasy, science fiction, memoir and non-fiction.

Shane Strachan’s practice-based research interests include prose fiction (particularly short fiction), creative non-fiction (across forms), poetry (including spoken word) and multidisciplinary projects working with other artforms such as visual arts and design, theatre and music. He also has research interests in Scottish Literature, the Scots language (including translation), and writing in regional dialects.

Potential Supervisors

Entry Requirements

Our minimum requirement is a 2:1 Hons degree or better in a cognate discipline (such as Creative Writing, English Literature, or other literature-focused discipline). Strong performance at PGT level (folio dissertation at Merit or above) is strongly preferred but not essential if UG performance has been outstanding.

Where applicants possess relevant professional expertise (such as in Journalism or accredited authorship), the degree requirement may be waived, but this would only apply where applicants can clearly demonstrate an ability to work at an advanced level in both creative practice and academic research.

International Applicants

Fees and Funding

Please refer to our Tuition Fees page for fee information for this Research Area.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Graduates go into Public/Private Sector Accounting and Management, Fund Management, Stockbroking, Investment Analysis, Banking and Financial Services and Academia.

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Contact Details

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
King's College
AB24 3UB