Higher Degree Research PhD and MRes

Higher Degree Research PhD and MRes

Academic research in English Literature and Creative Writing is exciting and up-to-date, contributing to knowledge needed to address important social and communication issues in creative arts, literary studies and culture.

Whether pure research, combined research and creative work, or discovery incorporating various disciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches, research is critical to cultural and social development, understanding, and cohesion. Academic research provides a rich source of ideas and processes, for scholarship, creative arts, communications and media, or educational development.

You may be a full-time employee looking to explore a particular area of research associated with your employment field through part-time study, or a full-time student looking to develop a career in education, industry, government, the arts, or academia. Either way, academics in the Department of English have the required supervisory experience and discipline knowledge to ensure you are best placed to both undertake and complete your research project. We are committed to our supervision and mentoring of your project, and encourage HDR students to participate in our research seminar programs and to network with other scholars and HDR students in the Department and Faculty.


Our courses

Our courses

Our HDR program consists of 2 degrees, both of which attract financial support (stipends and scholarships). The 2-year Master of Research (MRes), consisting of a combined research based coursework (first year) and thesis (second year), is both an established stand-alone research degree and also the usual pathway program for students who wish to undertake doctoral (PhD) studies after the MRes. The MRes program is suitable for students who have already completed a Bachelor or Masters coursework degree (MRes unit exemptions may be granted). Students may exit the first year of the MRes with a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil).

Successful MRes students may transition directly to the 3-year PhD thesis upon completion of the MRes (or equivalent research training degree at the Masters level elsewhere). Further details are below:

PhD Theses Completed in Department

English Language requirements

The specific English Requirements for Higher Degree Research in English and Creative Writing IELTS is a 7.0 overall (with minimum 6.5 in Reading, 7.0 in Writing, 6.5 in Listening, 6.5 in Speaking) or equivalent.

We offer supervision for theses in English Literature and in Creative Writing

A thesis in English Literature allows you to conduct research in literary studies and other related areas. These areas might include transdisciplinary studies appropriate to your project, for example, in cognitive research and literary studies, or history or philosophy and literary studies. The combinations will depend on the interests of your project and your consultation with a supervisor. A thesis in English Literature is a work of supervised research of a maximum 100,000 words.

A thesis in Creative Writing consist of a complete work of creative writing and a research component that would address areas of research similarly to those of English Literature and other transdisciplinary areas, depending on the interests of the project and your consultation with a supervisor. The research component is weighted at half the word count of a pure research PhD which is up to 50,000 words for a PhD thesis or 10,000 words for the MRes thesis. Both parts of the Creative Writing thesis, the research component and the creative work, are conceptually integrated as one project. For further information see the Guidelines for Creative Writing Theses pdf guide.

Areas of supervision:

  • Cognitive literary and creative studies
  • Creative writing and theory
  • Creative non-fiction
  • Environmental humanities and ecocriticism
  • Feminism in writing and literature
  • Fiction writing including young adult and historical
  • History and fiction
  • Literature, television and film
  • Medievalism and medieval studies
  • Modernism and contemporary literature
  • Early modern literature
  • World literatures and transnationalism

Benefits for HDR students

  • Highly experienced supervisors - Receive advice, thesis guidance and networking opportunities from PhD qualified and research active supervisors, who are nationally and internationally recognised in their fields of expertise.
  • Research training – Focused research and thesis training, and skills development, from academic specialists and other relevant experts.
  • Support funding – Opportunities for PhD students to apply for Faculty and University Postgraduate funding schemes to attend conferences where presenting a paper, or to do activities and research to provide a value-add to your thesis project.
  • Contemporary facilities - Macquarie University is home to a state-of-the-art library, and to the new Arts Precinct from 2020.
  • A vibrant, flexible, inspiring environment - Macquarie has a diverse mix of local and international students.


To find out more about the entry requirement to our HDR programs, please see the entry criteria.


View the list of Macquarie University scholarships available.

More information

If you're interested in enrolling in one of our Higher Degree Research programs, please contact marcelle.freiman@mq.edu.au to discuss research areas, the application process, and the entry criteria.

Content owner: Department of English Last updated: 15 May 2018 9:54am

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