One of Australia's top-ranked research departments

Develop vital new knowledge and understanding for all of society, while advancing your own subject knowledge, independent thinking, problem solving and project management skills.

Research degrees

Our Higher Degree Research (HDR) program consists of two degrees, both of which attract financial support (stipends and scholarships).

This two-year program consists of a combined research-based coursework (first year) and thesis (second year).

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 three-year PhD thesis upon completion of the MRes (or equivalent research training degree at the Masters level elsewhere).

More information: contact Dr Stephanie Russo (

This three-year program allows you to research a literary or creative writing topic that you’re passionate about, and to produce a thesis of 75,000 to 100,000 words. You will work under the close supervision of one of our academics, and with the support of our staff.

More information: contact Dr Geoffrey Payne (


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

As a department, our research focuses on global written and visual cultures, English literary traditions and genres, and creative practice.

Our areas of supervision are:

  • Cognitive literary and creative studies.
  • Creative writing and theory.
  • Creative non-fiction.
  • Early modern literature.
  • 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.
  • Popular genre fiction, in creative writing and literature.
  • World literatures and transnationalism.

View past PhD theses completed in our department.

We are committed to our supervision and the mentoring of your project. Join the life of the department as you participate in our research seminar programs and network with other scholars and HDR students in the department and faculty.

Theses in English Literature

A thesis in English Literature is a work of supervised research up to 20,000 words in length for MRes, and between 75,000-100,000 for PhD. It allows you to conduct research in literary studies, and transdisciplinary research into related areas appropriate for your project — for example cognitive research, history, or philosophy. Possible combinations will depend on the interests of your project, and your consultation with a supervisor.

Theses in Creative Writing

A thesis in Creative Writing consists of a completed work of creative writing and a research component. This research component is weighted at half the word count of a pure research thesis: up to 50,000 for a PhD, or 10,000 for MRes. The creative and research components of the thesis are conceptually integrated as one project. For further information see the Guidelines for Creative Writing Theses pdf guide.


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.


Find out more about the entry requirement to our HDR programs.


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 ( to discuss research areas, the application process, and the entry criteria.

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Last updated: 17 Dec 2019