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Research degrees
Research areas
English and creative writing
19th century, 20th century and contemporary literatures

19th century, 20th century and contemporary literatures

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
October January
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
Application period

English and Creative Writing at The Open University supports research in a wide range of different aspects of  nineteenth-century, twentieth-century and contemporary writing. These include individual author studies, critical and cultural theory, biography, world literature and debates around globalisation, and range across genres. Several staff have specific interests in creative writing, supported by the Contemporary Cultures of Writing Research Group and involvement in the editorial board of Wasafiri, the Arts Council-funded magazine of international contemporary writing. Further subjects are covered by research strengths in the history of the book, material cultures, and colonial and postcolonial literatures.

We welcome applications that correspond with current staff research interests. We expect detailed and well-structured proposals which set out specific research questions and clearly outline their originality and critical approach. If you would like to discuss your ideas informally before submitting an application, please contact us.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

We welcome applications to study topics that complement our current research.

Current/recent research projects

  • Popular genre fiction in Indian writing in English: recent trends in the Indian literary marketplace
  • Margiad Evans: body and book. An analysis of the novels, journals and illness narratives
  • The last survivors of Hiroshima – a study in memory and trauma
  • Twentieth-century poets of the First War
  • Freethinkers, a novel and inventing history: how do research, imagination and memory fuse creatively in the writing of an historical novel?
  • Virginia Woolf: nineteenth-century legacies
  • Monomania: The Life and Death of a Psychiatric Idea in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 1836–1860
  • Pocketful of Words: A study of the ways in which the author’s literary hinterland is employed in the novels of Janet Frame
  • The Reception of Katherine Mansfield in Germany
  • Yellowback fiction and the history of reading on the railways in the late 19th century

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,500 per year Full time: £11,426 per year
Part time: £2,250 per year Part time: £5,715 per year

Some of our research students are funded via the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, and to see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, visit Fees and studentships.


Women in a bookshop

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Molly Ziegler
Email: FASS-EnglishCreativeWriting
Phone: +44 (0)1908 652092

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.