Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing

Below is School-specific information for a PhD in Creative Writing, general UQ information can be found here.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing, enables students to undertake a major creative writing project and a related critical essay. Students can work in the genres of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, drama, or screen writing. Students study the research, composition, and editorial skills necessary for a career in writing.  Students at a PhD level also develop their capacities for critical writing about creative writing practice. National and international students are encouraged to apply.

Course of Study

The Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing requires a minimum of three years of full-time study or six-years of part-time study. In order to have the degree conferred, the students must complete:

  • ENGL9000 Advanced Research Methods (ARM): a highly recommended course  for all research higher degree students in the School of Communication and Arts

  • HDR Progress Review: designed to help students and advisors monitor progress of the thesis

  • WRIT9510 Creative Writing Workshop: an online workshop offered to creative writing students in the first semester of the second year of candidature

  • The Thesis (maximum 80,000 words): a creative project and related critical essay that together examine an aspect of creative-writing practice and generates original knowledge to make a significant contribution to the creative writing discipline.

It is expected that during the candidature students will disseminate their creative and/or critical research to peers and research communities in the School, University and at conferences. Students are also encouraged to endeavour to publish work in high-quality outlets.

The Thesis

The thesis is composed of an interrelated creative project and critical essay that together present and examine an element of practice. The creative project should display originality, a critical understanding of genre, and make a significant contribution to the practice. It typically takes the form of (1) a work of prose of approximately 60,000 words; or (2) a poetry manuscript of approximately 96 pages; or (3) a screenplay for a feature film; a script for a number of episodes of a television series or full-length theatre production; or a script for radio production or any other medium as approved by the advisory team.

The critical essay may employ a wide variety of approaches and rhetorical strategies. It should demonstrate expert understanding of the discipline, reflect critically on practice, and locate the work in relation to current theory and criticism. Appropriate approaches include (1) a reflection on an issue germane to creative writing practice, such as the processes or techniques of creative writing within a genre or within the creative project; or (2) an examination of the contexts and conditions of the candidate’s creative writing or the critical, industrial, or historical issues relevant to the candidate’s creative project; or (3) an exploration of a scholarly issue of genre, theory, representation, or themes in other creative works of demonstrated relevance to the candidate’s creative project. The critical essay is typically between 20,000 and 30,000 words in length, including footnotes and appendices but excluding a list of cited works.

Where the creative project is substantially shorter than is typical for this degree (see above), a longer critical essay may be required. Likewise, where the creative work contains substantial scholarship and research (such as in a biography, history, or research-based creative non-fiction), the requirements for the critical essay may be modified. Students in the program will usually have two advisors (a principal and an associate) drawn from the creative writing staff and/or members of the School with a PhD who have a strong involvement in producing or assessing creative writing.


Students in the program will have two advisors (a principal and an associate) drawn from the creative writing staff and/or members of the School with a PhD who have a strong involvement in producing or assessing creative writing.


Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing preferably will hold a good bachelor degree, or a bachelor degree with honours, plus a substantial record of publication appropriate to the proposed project. A cognate masters degree with a substantial research-practice component (such as a Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing) may form part of the record of publication.

Domestic and International Scholarships

Applicants for the Doctorate in Creative Writing may be eligible for a scholarship if (1) they are accepted into the doctoral program by the School; and (2) they have a strong academic and publishing record. Further information on domestic and international scholarships can be accessed from the UQ Graduate School website.


Applicants can discuss the degree program with Creative Writing staff prior to making an Expression of Interest.   But formal discussions will follow the submission of completed Expression of Interest form to Dr Veny Armanno ( and cc A completed Expression of Interest form should be accompanied by:

1. A one page description of project: this should provide 200 to 250 words on the proposed creative project and 100 to 150 words on the proposed accompanying critical work

2. A one-page Resume: a chronology of relevant publications and experience.

3. A Writing Sample: a sample of twenty pages of creative work that demonstrates proficiency in the chosen genre and a sample (of up to 10 pages) of academic or essay writing.

Detailed information on application procedures can be found at the UQ Graduate School website. The number of places in the program are limited and entry is highly competitive. Applicants will be assessed on the quality of their publishing and academic record, the qualities of the work samples, and the suitability and strength of their research proposal.