Offered by The School of Communication and Arts, the Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing enables students to undertake a creative writing project and a related critical essay in the genres of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, drama, or screenwriting. Students study the research, composition, and editorial skills necessary for a career in writing, as well developing their capacities for critical writing about creative writing practice. National and international students are encouraged to apply.

1. Course of study

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

  • ENGL9000 Advanced Research Methods (ARM): a compulsory course for all research higher degree students in the School of Communication and Arts
  • Milestones of Candidature: the Milestone Reviews are 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 40,000 words): a creative project and related critical essay that together examine an aspect of creative-writing practice and demonstrates specialised knowledge and skill in 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.

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2. 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 30,000 words; or (2) a poetry manuscript of approximately 48 pages; or (3) a screenplay for a short feature film; or another short creative writing project related to television, stage or radio production 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 critical writing. Appropriate approaches include, but are not limited to (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 another creative work of demonstrated relevance to the candidate’s creative project. The critical essay is typically about 10,000 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.

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3. Eligibility

Applicants to the Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing will preferably hold a good bachelor degree, or a bachelor degree with honours, plus an emerging record of publication appropriate to the proposed project. A cognate honours degree that includes a component of creative writing practice may form part of the record of publication.

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4. Application

Applicants should discuss their research proposals with Creative Writing staff prior to making an Expression of Interest. A completed Expression of Interest form should be accompanied by:

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

See the detailed information on application procedures. 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.

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5. Domestic and international scholarships

Applicants for the Masters in Creative Writing degree may be eligible for a scholarship if (1) they are accepted into the Masters program by the School; and (2) they have a strong academic and publishing record. Further information on domestic and international scholarships.

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6. Examination

The thesis (comprising the creative project and critical essay) will be assessed by two examiners external to University of Queensland, according to the standard methods and criteria for Masters theses in the creative arts. The thesis should be examined with respect to the creative project's demonstrated understanding of the discipline; and the critical essay’s analysis, interpretation and critical reflection on the thesis's chosen topic.

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