• Enroll & Pay
  • Prospective Undergraduate Students
  • Prospective Graduate Students
  • Current Students

Aerial of Frasier and Jayhawk Boulevard

Ph.D. Creative Writing

Ph.d. in creative writing.

A rigorous program that combines creative writing and literary studies, the Ph.D. in Creative Writing prepares graduates for both scholarly and creative publication and teaching. With faculty guidance, students admitted to the Ph.D. program may tailor their programs to their goals and interests.

The creative writing faculty at KU has been widely published and anthologized, winning both critical and popular acclaim. Faculty awards include such distinctions as the Nebula Award, Hugo Award, Osborn Award, Shelley Memorial Award, Gertrude Stein Award, the Kenyon Review Prize, the Kentucky Center Gold Medallion, and the Pushcart Prize.

Regarding admission to both our doctoral and MFA creative writing programs, we will prioritize applicants who are interested in engaging with multiple faculty members to practice writing across genres and forms, from speculative fiction and realism to poetry and playwriting/screenwriting, etc.

The University of Kansas' Graduate Program in Creative Writing also offers an  M.F.A degree .

Opportunities

A GTA appointment includes a tuition waiver for ten semesters plus a competitive stipend. In the first year, GTA appointees teach English 101 (first year composition) and English 102 (a required reading and writing course). Creative Writing Ph.D. students may have the opportunity to teach an introductory course in creative writing after passing the doctoral examination, and opportunities are available for a limited number of advanced GTAs to teach in the summer.

Department Resources

  • Graduate Admissions
  • Graduate Contacts
  • Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Affiliated Programs

  • LandLocked Literary Magazine
  • The Project on the History of Black Writing
  • Center for the Study of Science Fiction
  • Ad-Hoc African/Americanists and Affiliates

Degree Requirements

  • At least 24 hours of credit in appropriate formal graduate courses beyond the M.A. or M.F.A. At least 15 hours (in addition to ENGL 800 if not taken for the M.A.) of this course work must be taken from among courses offered by the Department of English at the 700-level and above. English 997 and 999 credits cannot be included among the 24 hours. Students may petition to take up to 6 hours outside the Department.
  • ENGL 800: Methods, Theory, and Professionalism (counts toward the 24 required credit hours).
  • The ENGL 801/ENGL 802 pedagogy sequence (counts toward the 24 required credit hours).
  • Two seminars (courses numbered 900 or above) offered by the Department of English at the University of Kansas, beyond the M.A. or M.F.A. ENGL 998 does not fulfill this requirement.
  • ENGL 999, Dissertation (at least 12 hours).

If the M.A. or M.F.A. was completed in KU’s Department of English, a doctoral student may petition the DGS to have up to 12 hours of the coursework taken in the English Department reduced toward the Ph.D.

For Doctoral students,  the university requires completion of a course in responsible scholarship . For the English department, this would be ENGL 800, 780, or the equivalent). In addition, the Department requires reading knowledge of one approved foreign language: Old English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Greek, Latin, or Hebrew. Upon successful petition, a candidate may substitute reading knowledge of another language or research skill that is studied at the University or is demonstrably appropriate to the candidate’s program of study.

Doctoral students must fulfill the requirement  before  they take their doctoral examination, or be enrolled in a reading course the same semester as the exam. Students are permitted three attempts at passing each foreign language or research skill. Three methods of demonstrating reading knowledge for all approved languages except Old English are acceptable:

  • Presenting 16 hours, four semesters, or the equivalent of undergraduate credit, earned with an average of C or better.
  • Passing a graduate reading course at the University of Kansas or peer institution (e.g., French 100, German 100, etc.) with a grade of C or higher. In the past, some of these reading courses have been given by correspondence; check with the Division of Continuing Education for availability.
  • Passing a translation examination given by a designated member of the English Department faculty or by the appropriate foreign language department at KU. The exam is graded pass/fail and requires the student to translate as much as possible of a representative text in the foreign language in a one-hour period, using a bilingual dictionary.
  • Passing a translation examination given by the appropriate foreign language department at the M.A.-granting institution. Successful completion must be reflected either on the M.A. transcript or by a letter from the degree-granting department.

To fulfill the language requirement using Old English, students must successfully complete ENGL 710 (Introduction to Old English) and ENGL 712 (Beowulf).

Post-Coursework Ph.D. students must submit, with their committee chair(s), an annual review form to the DGS and Graduate Committee.

Doctoral students must take their doctoral examination within three semesters (excluding summers) of the end of the semester in which they took their final required course. If a student has an Incomplete, the timeline is not postponed until the Incomplete is resolved. For example, a student completing doctoral course work in Spring 2018 will need to schedule their doctoral exam no later than the end of Fall semester 2019. Delays may be granted by petition to the Graduate Director in highly unusual circumstances. Failure to take the exam within this time limit without an approved delay will result in the student’s falling out of good standing. For details on the consequences of falling out of good standing, see “Falling Out of Good Standing,” in General Department Policies and Best Practices.

A student may not take their doctoral exam until the university’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement is fulfilled (ENGL 800 or equivalent and reading knowledge of one foreign language or equivalent).

Requirements for Doctoral Exams

Reading Lists: 

All students are required to submit three reading lists, based on the requirements below, to their committee for approval. The doctoral exam will be held on a date at least twelve weeks after the approval from the whole committee is received. To facilitate quick committee approval, students may copy the graduate program coordinator on the email to the committee that contains the final version of the lists. Committee members may then respond to the email in lieu of signing a printed copy. Students should work with their committee chair and graduate program coordinator to schedule the exam at the same time as they finalize the lists.

During the two-hour oral examination (plus an additional 15-30 minutes for a break and committee deliberation), a student will be tested on their comprehension of a literary period or movement, including multiple genres and groups of authors within that period or movement. In addition, the student will be tested on two of the following six areas of study:

  • An adjacent or parallel literary period or movement,
  • An author or group of related authors,
  • Criticism and literary theory,
  • Composition theory, and
  • English language.

No title from any field list may appear on either of the other two lists. See Best Practices section for more details on these six areas. See below for a description of the Review of the Dissertation Proposal (RDP), which the candidate takes the semester after passing the doctoral exam. 

While many students confer with the DGS as they begin the process of developing their lists, they are also required to submit a copy of their final exam list to the DGS. Most lists will be left intact, but the DGS might request that overly long lists be condensed, or extremely short lists be expanded.

Review of Literature

The purpose of the Review of Literature is to develop and demonstrate an advanced awareness of the critical landscape for each list. The student will write an overview of the defining attributes of the field, identifying two or three broad questions that animate scholarly discussion, while using specific noteworthy texts from their list ( but not all texts on the list ) as examples.

The review also must accomplish the following:

  • consider the historical context of major issues, debates, and trends that factor into the emergence of the field
  • offer a historical overview of scholarship in the field that connects the present to the past
  • note recent trends and emergent lines of inquiry
  • propose questions about (develop critiques of, and/or identify gaps in) the field and how they might be pursued in future study (but not actually proposing or referencing a dissertation project)

For example, for a literary period, the student might include an overview of primary formal and thematic elements, of the relationship between literary and social/historical developments, of prominent movements, (etc.), as well as of recent critical debates and topics.

For a genre list, the Review of Literature might include major theories of its constitution and significance, while outlining the evolution of these theories over time.

For a Rhetoric and Composition list, the review would give an overview of major historical developments, research, theories, methods, debates, and trends of scholarship in the field.

For an English Language Studies (ELS) list, the review would give an overview of the subfields that make up ELS, the various methodological approaches to language study, the type of sources used, and major aims and goals of ELS. The review also usually involves a focus on one subfield of particular interest to the student (such as stylistics, sociolinguistics, or World/Postcolonial Englishes).

Students are encouraged to divide reviews into smaller sections that enhance clarity and organization. Students are not expected to interact with every text on their lists.

The review of literature might be used to prepare students for identifying the most important texts in the field, along with why those texts are important to the field, for the oral exam. It is recommended for students to have completed reading the bulk of (if not all) texts on their lists before writing the ROL.

The Reviews of Literature will not be produced in an exam context, but in the manner of papers that are researched and developed in consultation with all advisors/committee members,  with final drafts being distributed within a reasonable time for all members to review and approve in advance of the 3-week deadline . While the Review of Literature generally is not the focus of the oral examination, it is frequently used as a point of departure for questions and discussion during the oral examination.

Doctoral Exam Committee

Exam committees typically consist of 3 faculty members from the department—one of whom serves as the Committee Chair—plus a Graduate Studies Representative.  University policy dictates the composition of exam committees . Students may petition for an exception for several committee member situations, with the exception of  the Graduate Studies Representative .

If a student wants to have as a committee member a person outside the university, or a person who is not in a full-time tenure-track professorship at KU, the student must contact the Graduate Secretary as early as possible. Applications for special graduate faculty status must be reviewed by the College and Graduate Studies. Requests for exam/defense approval will not be approved unless all committee members currently hold either regular or special graduate faculty status

Remote participation of committee members via technology

Students with committee members who plan to attend the defense via remote technology must be aware of  college policy on teleconferencing/remote participation of committee members .

A majority of committee members must be physically present for an examination to commence; for doctoral oral examinations this requirement is 2 of the 4 members, for master’s oral examinations the requirement is 2 of the 3 members. In addition, it is required that the student being examined, the chair of the committee, and the Graduate Studies Representative all be physically present at the examination or defense. Mediated attendance by the student, chair and Grad Studies Rep is prohibited.

The recommended time between completion of coursework and the doctoral examination is two semesters.

Final exam lists need to be approved and signed by the committee at least 12 weeks prior to the prospective exam date. This includes summers/summer semesters. The lists should then be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Reviews of Literature need to be approved and signed by the committee at least 3 weeks prior to the exam date. Failure to meet this deadline will result in rescheduling the exam. No further changes to lists or Reviews of Literature will be allowed after official approval. The three-week deadline is the faculty deadline--the last date for them to confirm receipt of the ROLs and confer approval--not necessarily the student deadline for submitting the documents to the faculty. Please keep that timing in mind and allow your committee adequate time to review the materials and provide feedback.

Students taking the Doctoral Exam are allowed to bring their text lists, the approved Reviews of Literature, scratch paper, a writing utensil, and notes/writing for an approximately 5-minute introductory statement to the exam. (This statement does not need to lay out ideas or any aspect of the dissertation project.)

Each portion of the oral examination must be deemed passing before the student can proceed to the Review of the Dissertation Proposal. If a majority of the committee judges that the student has not answered adequately on one of the three areas of the exam, the student must repeat that portion in a separate oral exam of one hour, to be taken as expeditiously as possible.  Failure in two areas constitutes failure of the exam and requires a retake of the whole.  The doctoral examining committee will render a judgment of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory on the entire examination. A student who fails the exam twice may, upon successful petition to the Graduate Committee, take it a third and final time.

Students cannot bring snacks, drinks, treats, or gifts for committee members to the exam. Professors should avoid the appearance of favoritism that may occur if they bring treats to some student exams but not others.

The doctoral oral examination has the following purposes:

  • To establish goals, tone, and direction for the pursuit of the Ph.D. in English for the Department and for individual programs of study;
  • To make clear the kinds of knowledge and skills that, in the opinion of the Department, all well-prepared holders of the degree should have attained;
  • To provide a means for the Department to assess each candidate’s control of such knowledge and skills in order to certify that the candidate is prepared to write a significant dissertation and enter the profession; and
  • To enable the Department to recommend to the candidate areas of strength or weakness that should be addressed.

In consultation with the Graduate Director, a student will ask a member of the Department’s graduate faculty (preferably their advisor) to be the chairperson of the examining committee. The choice of examination committee chair is very important, for that person’s role is to assist the candidate in designing the examination structure, preparing the Review of Literature (see below), negotiating reading lists and clarifying their purposes, and generally following procedures here outlined. The other three English Department members of the committee will be chosen in consultation with the committee chair. (At some point an additional examiner from outside the Department, who serves as the Graduate School representative, will be invited to join the committee). Any unresolved problems in negotiation between a candidate and their committee should be brought to the attention of the Graduate Director, who may choose to involve the Graduate Committee. A student may request a substitution in, or a faculty member may ask to be dismissed from, the membership of the examining committee. Such requests must be approved, in writing, by the faculty member leaving the committee and by the Graduate Director.

Reading Lists

Copies of some approved reading lists and Reviews of Literature are available from the Graduate Secretary and can be found on the U: drive if you are using a computer on campus. Despite the goal of fairness and equity, some unavoidable unevenness and disparity will appear in the length of these lists. It remains, however, the responsibility of the examining committee, and especially the student’s chair, to aim toward consonance with the most rigorous standards and expectations and to insure that areas of study are not unduly narrow.

To facilitate quick committee approval, students may copy the graduate secretary on the email to the committee that contains the final version of the lists and reviews of literature. Committee members may then respond to the email in lieu of signing a printed copy.

Comprehension of a literary period (e.g., British literature of the 18th century; Romanticism; US literature of the 19th century; Modernism) entails sufficient intellectual grasp of both the important primary works of and secondary works on the period or movement to indicate a student’s ability to teach the period or movement and undertake respectable scholarship on it.

Comprehension of an author or group of related authors (e.g., Donne, the Brontës, the Bloomsbury Group, the Black Mountain Poets) entails knowledge, both primary and secondary, of a figure or figures whose writing has generated a significant body of interrelated biographical, historical, and critical scholarship.

Comprehension of one of several genres (the short story, the lyric poem, the epistolary novel). To demonstrate comprehension of a genre, a student should possess sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge, both primary and secondary, of the genre to explain its formal characteristics and account for its historical development.

Comprehension of criticism and literary theory entails a grasp of fundamental conceptual problems inherent in a major school of literary study (e.g., historicist, psychoanalytic, feminist, poststructuralist, etc.). To demonstrate comprehension of that school of criticism and literary theory, a student should be able to discuss changes in its conventions and standards of interpretation and evaluation of literature from its beginning to the present. Students will be expected to possess sufficient depth and breadth of theoretical knowledge to bring appropriate texts and issues to bear on questions of literary study.

Comprehension of composition theory entails an intellectual grasp of fundamental concepts, issues, and theories pertaining to the study of writing. To demonstrate comprehension of composition theory, students should be able to discuss traditional and current issues from a variety of perspectives, as well as the field’s historical development from classical rhetoric to the present.

Comprehension of the broad field of English language studies entails a grasp of the field’s theoretical concepts and current issues, as well as a familiarity with significant works within given subareas. Such subareas will normally involve formal structures (syntax, etc.) and history of the English language, along with other subareas such as social linguistics, discourse analysis, lexicography, etc. Areas of emphasis and specific sets of topics will be arranged through consultation with relevant faculty.

Ph.D. candidates must be continuously enrolled in Dissertation hours each Fall and Spring semester from the time they pass the doctoral examination until successful completion of the final oral examination (defense of dissertation).

  • Students enroll for a minimum of 6 hours each Fall and Spring semester until the total of post-doctoral exam Dissertation hours is 18. One hour each semester must be ENGL 999. In order to more quickly reach the 18-hour minimum, and to be sooner eligible for GRAships, it is highly recommended that students enroll in 9 hours of Dissertation in the Spring and Fall semesters. 
  • Once a student has accumulated 18 post-doctoral exam  hours, each subsequent enrollment will be for a number of hours agreed upon as appropriate between the student and their advisor, the minimal enrollment each semester being 1 hour of ENGL 999.
  • A student must be enrolled in at least one hour of credit at KU during the semester they graduate. Although doctoral students must be enrolled in ENGL 999 while working on their dissertations, per current CLAS regulations, there is no absolute minimum number of ENGL 999 hours required for graduation.
  • Students who live and work outside the Lawrence area may, under current University regulations, have their fees assessed at the Field Work rate, which is somewhat lower than the on-campus rate. Students must petition the College Office of Graduate Affairs before campus fees will be waived.

Please also refer to  the COGA policy on post-exam enrollment  or the  Graduate School’s policy .

As soon as possible following successful completion of the doctoral exam, the candidate should establish their three-person core dissertation committee, and then expeditiously proceed to the preparation of a dissertation proposal.  Within the semester following completion of the doctoral exam , the student will present to their core dissertation committee a written narrative of approximately  10-15 pages , not including bibliography, of the dissertation proposal. While the exam schedule is always contingent on student progress, in the first two weeks of the semester in which they intend to take the review , students will work with their committee chair and the graduate program coordinator to schedule the 90-minute RDP. Copies of this proposal must be submitted to the members of the dissertation committee and Graduate Program Coordinator no later than  three weeks prior  to the scheduled examination date.

In the proposal, students will be expected to define: the guiding question or set of questions; a basic thesis (or hypothesis); how the works to be studied or the creative writing produced relate to that (hypo)thesis; the theoretical/methodological model to be followed; the overall formal divisions of the dissertation; and how the study will be situated in the context of prior scholarship (i.e., its importance to the field). The narrative section should be followed by a bibliography demonstrating that the candidate is conversant with the basic theoretical and critical works pertinent to the study. For creative writing students, the proposal may serve as a draft of the critical introduction to the creative dissertation. Students are expected to consult with their projected dissertation committee concerning the preparation of the proposal.

The review will focus on the proposal, although it could also entail determining whether or not the candidate’s knowledge of the field is adequate to begin the composition process. The examination will be graded pass/fail. If it is failed, the committee will suggest areas of weakness to be addressed by the candidate, who will rewrite the proposal and retake the review  by the end of the following semester . If the candidate abandons the entire dissertation project for another, a new RDP will be taken. (For such a step to be taken, the change would need to be drastic, such as a move to a new field or topic. A change in thesis or the addition or subtraction of one or even several works to be examined would not necessitate a new proposal and defense.)  If the student fails to complete the Review of the Dissertation Proposal within a year of the completion of the doctoral exams, they will have fallen out of departmental good standing.  For details on the consequences of falling out of good standing, see “Falling Out of Good Standing,” in General Department Policies and Best Practices.

After passing the Review of the Dissertation Proposal, the student should forward one signed copy of the proposal to the Graduate Program Coordinator. The RDP may last no longer than 90 minutes.

Students cannot bring snacks, drinks, treats, or gifts for committee members to the review. Professors should avoid the appearance of favoritism that may occur if they bring treats to some student exams but not others.

The Graduate Catalog states that the doctoral candidate “must present a dissertation showing the planning, conduct and results of original research, and scholarly creativity.” While most Ph.D. candidates in the Department of English write dissertations of a traditional, research-oriented nature, a creative writing candidate may elect to do a creative-writing dissertation involving fiction, poetry, drama or nonfiction prose.  Such a dissertation must also contain a substantial section of scholarly research related to the creative writing.  The precise nature of the scholarly research component should be determined by the candidate in consultation with the dissertation committee and the Graduate Director. Candidates wishing to undertake such a dissertation must complete all Departmental requirements demanded for the research-oriented Ph.D. degree.

Scholarly Research Component (SRC)

The Scholarly Research Component (SRC) of the creative-writing dissertation is a separate section of the dissertation than the creative work. It involves substantial research and is written in the style of academic prose. It should be 15-20 pages and should cite at least 20 sources, some of which should be primary texts, and many of which should be from the peer-reviewed secondary literature. The topic must relate, in some way, to the topic, themes, ideas, or style of the creative portion of the dissertation; this relation should be stated in the Dissertation Proposal, which should include a section describing the student’s plans for the SRC. The SRC may be based on a seminar paper or other work the student has completed prior to the dissertation; but the research should be augmented, and the writing revised, per these guidelines. The SRC is a part of the dissertation, and as such will be included in the dissertation defense.

The SRC may take two general forms:

1.) An article, publishable in a peer-reviewed journal or collection, on a specific topic related to an author, movement, theoretical issue, taxonomic issue, etc. that has bearing on the creative portion. The quality of this article should be high enough that the manuscript could be submitted to a peer-reviewed publication, with a plausible chance of acceptance.

2.) A survey . This survey may take several different forms:

  • A survey of a particular aspect of the genre of the creative portion of the dissertation (stylistic, national, historical, etc.)
  • An introduction to the creative portion of the dissertation that explores the influences on, and the theoretical or philosophical foundations or implications of the creative work
  • An exploration of a particular technical problem or craft issue that is salient in the creative portion of the dissertation
  • If the creative portion of the dissertation includes the results of research (e.g., historical novel, documentary poetry, research-based creative nonfiction), a descriptive overview of the research undertaken already for the dissertation itself
  • A combination of the above, with the prior approval of the student’s dissertation director.

The dissertation committee will consist of at least four members—two “core” English faculty members, a third faculty member (usually from English), and one faculty member from a different department who serves as the Graduate Studies representative. The committee may include (with the Graduate Director’s approval) members from other departments and, with the approval of the University’s Graduate Council, members from outside the University. If a student wants to have a committee member from outside the university, or a person who is not in a full-time tenure-track professorship at KU, the student must contact the Graduate Secretary as early as possible. Applications for special graduate faculty status must be reviewed by the College and the Office of Graduate Studies. Requests for defense approval will not be approved unless all committee members currently hold either regular or special graduate faculty status.

The candidate’s preferences as to the membership of the dissertation committee will be carefully considered; the final decision, however, rests with the Department and with the Office of Graduate Studies. All dissertation committees must get approval from the Director of Graduate Studies before scheduling the final oral exam (defense). Furthermore, any changes in the make-up of the dissertation committee from the Review of the Dissertation Proposal committee must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Once the dissertation proposal has passed and the writing of the dissertation begins, membership of the dissertation committee should remain constant. However, under extraordinary circumstances, a student may request a substitution in, or a faculty member may ask to be dismissed from, the membership of the dissertation committee. Such requests must be approved, in writing, by the faculty member leaving the committee and by the Graduate Director.

If a student does not make progress during the dissertation-writing stage, and accumulates more than one “Limited Progress” and/or “No Progress” grade on their transcript, they will fall out of good standing in the department. For details on the consequences of falling out of good standing, see “Falling Out of Good Standing,” in General Department Policies and Best Practices

Final Oral Exam (Dissertation Defense)

When the dissertation has been tentatively accepted by the dissertation committee (not including the Graduate Studies Representative), the final oral examination will be held, on the recommendation of the Department. While the exam schedule is always contingent on student progress, in the first two weeks of the semester in which they intend to defend the dissertation, students should work with their committee chair and graduate program coordinator to schedule it.

Although the dissertation committee is responsible for certification of the candidate, any member of the graduate faculty may be present at the examination and participate in the questioning, and one examiner—the Graduate Studies Representative—must be from outside the Department. The Graduate Secretary can help students locate an appropriate Grad Studies Rep. The examination normally lasts no more than two hours. It is the obligation of the candidate to advise the Graduate Director that they plan to take the oral examination; this must be done at least one month before the date proposed for the examination.

At least three calendar weeks prior to the defense date, the student will submit the final draft of the dissertation to all the committee members (including the GSR) and inform the Graduate Program Coordinator. Failure to meet this deadline will necessitate rescheduling the defense.  The final oral examination for the Ph.D. in English is, essentially, a defense of the dissertation. When it is passed, the dissertation itself is graded by the dissertation director, in consultation with the student’s committee; the student’s performance in the final examination (defense) is graded by the entire five-person committee

Students cannot bring snacks, drinks, treats, or gifts for committee members to the defense. Professors should avoid the appearance of favoritism that may occur if they bring treats to some student defenses but not others

These sets of attributes are adapted from the Graduate Learner Outcomes that are a part of our Assessment portfolio. “Honors” should only be given to dissertations that are rated “Outstanding” in all or most of the following categories:

  • Significant and innovative plot/structure/idea/focus. The writer clearly places plot/structure/idea/focus in context.
  • Thorough knowledge of literary traditions. Clear/flexible vision of the creative work produced in relation to those literary traditions.
  • Introduction/Afterword is clear, concise, and insightful. A detailed discussion of the implications of the project and future writing projects exists.
  • The creative dissertation reveals the doctoral candidate’s comprehensive understanding of poetics and/or aesthetic approach. The application of the aesthetic approach is innovative and convincing.
  • The creative dissertation represents original and sophisticated creative work.
  • The creative dissertation demonstrates thematic and/or aesthetic unity.

After much discussion about whether the “honors” designation assigned after the dissertation defense should be for the written product only, for the defense/discussion only, for both together, weighted equally, or eradicated altogether, the department voted to accept the Graduate Committee recommendation that “honors” only apply to the written dissertation. "Honors" will be given to dissertations that are rated "Outstanding" in all or most of the categories on the dissertation rubric.

Normally, the dissertation will present the results of the writer’s own research, carried on under the direction of the dissertation committee. This means that the candidate should be in regular contact with all members of the committee during the dissertation research and writing process, providing multiple drafts of chapters, or sections of chapters, according to the arrangements made between the student and each faculty member. Though accepted primarily for its scholarly merit rather than for its rhetorical qualities, the dissertation must be stylistically competent. The Department has accepted the MLA Handbook as the authority in matters of style. The writer may wish to consult also  the Chicago Manual of Style  and Kate L. Turabian’s  A Manual for Writers of Dissertations, Theses, and Term Papers .

Naturally, both the student and the dissertation committee have responsibilities and obligations to each other concerning the submitting and returning of materials. The student should plan on working steadily on the dissertation; if they do so, they should expect from the dissertation committee a reasonably quick reading and assessment of material submitted.

Students preparing their dissertation should be showing chapters to their committee members as they go along, for feedback and revision suggestions. They should also meet periodically with committee members to assess their progress. Prior to scheduling a defense, the student is encouraged to ask committee members whether they feel that the student is ready to defend the dissertation. Ideally, the student should hold the defense only when they have consulted with committee members sufficiently to feel confident that they have revised the dissertation successfully to meet the expectations of all committee members.

Students should expect that they will need to revise each chapter at least once. This means that all chapters (including introduction and conclusion) are shown to committee members once, revised, then shown to committee members again in revised form to assess whether further revisions are needed, prior to the submitting of the final dissertation as a whole. It is not unusual for further revisions to be required and necessary after the second draft of a chapter; students should not therefore simply assume that a second draft is necessarily “final” and passing work.

If a substantial amount of work still needs to be completed or revised at the point that the dissertation defense is scheduled, such a defense date should be regarded as tentative, pending the successful completion, revision, and receipt of feedback on all work. Several weeks prior to the defense, students should consult closely with their dissertation director and committee members about whether the dissertation as a whole is in a final and defensible stage. A project is ready for defense when it is coherent, cohesive, well researched, engages in sophisticated analysis (in its entirety or in the critical introduction of creative dissertations), and makes a significant contribution to the field. In other words, it passes each of the categories laid out in the Dissertation Rubric.

If the dissertation has not clearly reached a final stage, the student and dissertation director are advised to reschedule the defense.

Prior Publication of the Doctoral Dissertation

Portions of the material written by the doctoral candidate may appear in article form before completion of the dissertation. Prior publication does not ensure the acceptance of the dissertation by the dissertation committee. Final acceptance of the dissertation is subject to the approval of the dissertation committee. Previously published material by other authors included in the dissertation must be properly documented.

Each student beyond the master’s degree should confer regularly with the Graduate Director regarding their progress toward the doctoral examination and the doctorate.

Doctoral students may take graduate courses outside the English Department if, in their opinion and that of the Graduate Director, acting on behalf of the Graduate Committee, those courses will be of value to them. Their taking such courses will not, of course, absolve them of the responsibility for meeting all the normal departmental and Graduate School requirements.

Doctoral students in creative writing are strongly encouraged to take formal literature classes in addition to forms classes. Formal literature classes, by providing training in literary analysis, theory, and/or literary history, will help to prepare students for doctoral exams (and future teaching at the college level).

FALL SEMESTER            

  • GTAs take 2 courses (801 + one), teach 2 courses; GRAs take 3 courses.
  • Visit assigned advisor once a month to update on progress & perceptions. 1st-year advisors can assist with selecting classes for the Spring semester, solidifying and articulating a field of specialization, advice about publishing, conferences, professionalization issues, etc.

SPRING SEMESTER

  • GTAs take 2 courses (780/800/880 + one), teach 2 courses. GTAs also take ENGL 802 for 1 credit hour. GRAs take 3 courses.
  • Visit assigned advisor or DGS once during the semester; discuss best advisor choices for Year 2.

SUMMER SEMESTER

  • Enroll in Summer Institute if topic and/or methodology matches interests.
  • Consider conferences suited to your field and schedule; choose a local one for attendance in Year 2 and draft an Abstract for a conference paper (preferably with ideas/materials/ writing drawn from a seminar paper).  Even if abstract is not accepted, you can attend the conference without the pressure of presenting.
  • Attend at least one conference to familiarize yourself with procedure, network with other grad students and scholars in your field, AND/OR present a paper.

FALL SEMESTER

  • Take 2 courses, teach 2 courses.
  • Visit advisor in person at least once during the semester.

WINTER BREAK

  • Begin revising one of your seminar papers/independent study projects/creative pieces for submission to a journal; research the journals most suited to placement of your piece.
  • Begin thinking about fields and texts for comprehensive examinations.
  • Choose an advisor to supervise you through the doctoral examination process.
  • Visit assigned 1st-year advisor in person at least once during the semester (at least to formally request doctoral exam supervision OR to notify that you are changing advisors).
  • Summer teaching, if eligible.
  • Continue revising paper/creative writing for submission to a journal.
  • Begin reading for comprehensive exams.
  • Attend one conference and present a paper. Apply for one-time funding for out-of-state travel  from Graduate Studies .
  • Teach 2 courses; take 997 (exam prep).
  • Finalize comps list by end of September; begin drafting rationales.
  • Circulate the draft of your article/creative piece to your advisor, other faculty in the field, and/or advanced grad students in the field for suggestions.
  • Revise article/creative piece with feedback from readers.
  • Teach 2 courses; take 997 or 999 (dissertation hours). Enroll in 999 if you plan to take your comps this semester, even if you don’t take them until the last day of classes.
  • Take comps sometime between January and May.
  • Summer teaching, if available.
  • Submit article/creative work for publication.
  • Continuous enrollment after completing doctoral exam (full policy on p. 20)
  • Research deadlines for grant applications—note deadlines come early in the year.
  • Attend one conference and present a paper.
  • Teach 2 courses, take 999.
  • Compose dissertation proposal by November.
  • Schedule Review of Dissertation Proposal (RDP—formerly DPR).
  • Apply for at least one grant or fellowship, such as a departmental-level GRAship or dissertation fellowship. (Winning a full-year, non-teaching fellowship can cut down your years-to-degree to 5 ½, or even 5 years.)
  • Conduct research for and draft at least 1 dissertation chapter.
  • Conduct research and complete a draft of at least 1 dissertation chapter.
  • Revise & resubmit journal article, if necessary.
  • Attend 1st round of job market meetings with Job Placement Advisor (JPA) to start drafting materials and thinking about the process.
  • Research and complete a draft of at least 1 dissertation chapter, if teaching (1-2 chapters if not).
  • Visit dissertation chair  and  committee members in person at least once during the semester.
  • Research and complete a draft of at least 1 dissertation chapter (1-2 chapters if not teaching).
  • Apply for a departmental grant or fellowship, or, if already held, try applying for one from outside the department, such as those offered by KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities or the Office of Graduate Studies. For  a monthly list of funding opportunities , visit the Graduate Studies website.
  • Research and complete a draft of at least 1 dissertation chapter.
  • Attend job market meetings with JPA in earnest.
  • Apply for external grants, research fellowships, postdoctoral positions with fall deadlines (previous fellowship applications, your dissertation proposal, and subsequent writing should provide a frame so that much of the application can be filled out with the “cut & paste” function).
  • Research and complete a draft of at least 1 dissertation chapter (1-2 if not teaching).
  • Visit dissertation chair and committee members in person at least once during the semester.
  • Polish dissertation chapters.
  • Apply for grants and fellowships with spring deadlines.
  • Defend dissertation.

Creative Writing Faculty

Darren Canady

  • Associate Professor

Megan Kaminski

  • Professor of English & Environmental Studies

Laura Moriarty

  • Assistant Professor

Graduate Student Handbook

College of Arts and Sciences » Academic Units » English » Creative Writing » Graduate Program » PhD in Creative Writing

PhD in Creative Writing

Program overview.

The PhD in Creative Writing and Literature is a four-year course of study. Following two years of course work that includes workshop, forms classes, pedagogical training, literature, and theory, students take exams in two areas, one that examines texts through the lens of craft and another that examines them through the lens of literary history and theory. Recent examples of the genre area include Comic Fiction, History of the Love Lyric, and Fantasy; recent examples of the scholarly area include History of the Novel, 20th Century American Poetry, and Modern & Contemporary British Fiction. In the first two years, students take three courses per semester; the teaching load throughout the program is one class per semester. Every PhD student has the opportunity to teach creative writing, with many also teaching literature classes. Most students are funded by teaching, with two or three at a time funded by editorial work at  The Cincinnati Review or Acre Books, and others funded in their dissertation year by college- or university-level fellowships. Fifth-year support, while not guaranteed, has generally been available to interested students in the form of student lecturerships, which carry a 2-2 load. The Creative Writing PhD at the University of Cincinnati has maintained over the last decade more than a 75% placement rate into full-time academic jobs for its doctoral graduates. Two-thirds of these positions are tenure-track.

Application Information

  • Exam Areas and Committee
  • Doctoral Candidacy Form
  • Foreign Language
  • Exam Procedures
  • Dissertations
  • Applying for Fifth-Year Funding
  • Working for The Cincinnati Review
  • Teaching Opportunities
  • All Creative Writing Graduate Courses
  • Archive of Technique & Form Courses

Jump to navigation Skip to content

Search form

  • P&W on Facebook
  • P&W on Twitter
  • P&W on Instagram

Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

Find a home for your poems, stories, essays, and reviews by researching the publications vetted by our editorial staff. In the Literary Magazines database you’ll find editorial policies, submission guidelines, contact information—everything you need to know before submitting your work to the publications that share your vision for your work.

Whether you’re pursuing the publication of your first book or your fifth, use the Small Presses database to research potential publishers, including submission guidelines, tips from the editors, contact information, and more.

Research more than one hundred agents who represent poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers, plus details about the kinds of books they’re interested in representing, their clients, and the best way to contact them.

Every week a new publishing professional shares advice, anecdotes, insights, and new ways of thinking about writing and the business of books.

Find publishers ready to read your work now with our Open Reading Periods page, a continually updated resource listing all the literary magazines and small presses currently open for submissions.

Since our founding in 1970, Poets & Writers has served as an information clearinghouse of all matters related to writing. While the range of inquiries has been broad, common themes have emerged over time. Our Top Topics for Writers addresses the most popular and pressing issues, including literary agents, copyright, MFA programs, and self-publishing.

Our series of subject-based handbooks (PDF format; $4.99 each) provide information and advice from authors, literary agents, editors, and publishers. Now available: The Poets & Writers Guide to Publicity and Promotion, The Poets & Writers Guide to the Book Deal, The Poets & Writers Guide to Literary Agents, The Poets & Writers Guide to MFA Programs, and The Poets & Writers Guide to Writing Contests.

Find a home for your work by consulting our searchable databases of writing contests, literary magazines, small presses, literary agents, and more.

Subscribe to Poets & Writers Magazine for as little as $1.67 per issue

Poets & Writers lists readings, workshops, and other literary events held in cities across the country. Whether you are an author on book tour or the curator of a reading series, the Literary Events Calendar can help you find your audience.

Get the Word Out is a new publicity incubator for debut fiction writers and poets.

Research newspapers, magazines, websites, and other publications that consistently publish book reviews using the Review Outlets database, which includes information about publishing schedules, submission guidelines, fees, and more.

Well over ten thousand poets and writers maintain listings in this essential resource for writers interested in connecting with their peers, as well as editors, agents, and reading series coordinators looking for authors. Apply today to join the growing community of writers who stay in touch and informed using the Poets & Writers Directory.

Let the world know about your work by posting your events on our literary events calendar, apply to be included in our directory of writers, and more.

Subscribe to Poets & Writers Magazine for as little as $1.67 per issue

Find a writers group to join or create your own with Poets & Writers Groups. Everything you need to connect, communicate, and collaborate with other poets and writers—all in one place.

Find information about more than two hundred full- and low-residency programs in creative writing in our MFA Programs database, which includes details about deadlines, funding, class size, core faculty, and more. Also included is information about more than fifty MA and PhD programs.

Whether you are looking to meet up with fellow writers, agents, and editors, or trying to find the perfect environment to fuel your writing practice, the Conferences & Residencies is the essential resource for information about well over three hundred writing conferences, writers residencies, and literary festivals around the world.

Discover historical sites, independent bookstores, literary archives, writing centers, and writers spaces in cities across the country using the Literary Places database—the best starting point for any literary journey, whether it’s for research or inspiration.

Search for jobs in education, publishing, the arts, and more within our free, frequently updated job listings for writers and poets.

Establish new connections and enjoy the company of your peers using our searchable databases of MFA programs and writers retreats, apply to be included in our directory of writers, and more.

Subscribe to Poets & Writers Magazine for as little as $1.67 per issue

  • Register for Classes

Each year the Readings & Workshops program provides support to hundreds of writers participating in literary readings and conducting writing workshops. Learn more about this program, our special events, projects, and supporters, and how to contact us.

The Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community, providing them with a network for professional advancement.

Find information about how Poets & Writers provides support to hundreds of writers participating in literary readings and conducting writing workshops.

Subscribe to Poets & Writers Magazine for as little as $1.67 per issue

Bring the literary world to your door—at half the newsstand price. Available in print and digital editions, Poets & Writers Magazine is a must-have for writers who are serious about their craft.

View the contents and read select essays, articles, interviews, and profiles from the current issue of the award-winning Poets & Writers Magazine .

Read essays, articles, interviews, profiles, and other select content from Poets & Writers Magazine as well as Online Exclusives.

View the covers and contents of every issue of Poets & Writers Magazine , from the current edition all the way back to the first black-and-white issue in 1987.

Every day the editors of Poets & Writers Magazine scan the headlines—publishing reports, literary dispatches, academic announcements, and more—for all the news that creative writers need to know.

In our weekly series of craft essays, some of the best and brightest minds in contemporary literature explore their craft in compact form, articulating their thoughts about creative obsessions and curiosities in a working notebook of lessons about the art of writing.

The Time Is Now offers weekly writing prompts in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction to help you stay committed to your writing practice throughout the year. Sign up to get The Time Is Now, as well as a weekly book recommendation for guidance and inspiration, delivered to your inbox.

Every week a new author shares books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired and shaped the creative process.

Listen to original audio recordings of authors featured in Poets & Writers Magazine . Browse the archive of more than 400 author readings.

Ads in Poets & Writers Magazine and on pw.org are the best ways to reach a readership of serious poets and literary prose writers. Our audience trusts our editorial content and looks to it, and to relevant advertising, for information and guidance.

Start, renew, or give a subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine ; change your address; check your account; pay your bill; report a missed issue; contact us.

Peruse paid listings of writing contests, conferences, workshops, editing services, calls for submissions, and more.

Poets & Writers is pleased to provide free subscriptions to Poets & Writers Magazine to award-winning young writers and to high school creative writing teachers for use in their classrooms.

Read select articles from the award-winning magazine and consult the most comprehensive listing of literary grants and awards, deadlines, and prizewinners available in print.

Subscribe to Poets & Writers Magazine for as little as $1.67 per issue

  • Subscribe Now

PhD Programs in Creative Writing

A listing of thirteen doctorate programs in creative writing or English with a creative writing concentration.

can you get a doctorate in creative writing

Application deadline: December 1

The program provides dual emphasis in literature and creative writing, culminating in the dissertation, which combines critical analysis with creative originality. Roughly half of the dissertation is based on original research, that is to say, research contributing to knowledge which enriches or changes the field. Doctoral candidates not only read and write texts as finished products of scholarship in researching their creative work’s literary and historical milieu, but also consider the text as writers create it, then compose texts as writers, a process that goes to the source of the study of literature and of literature itself. This integration of literature and creative writing is reflected in the structure of the dissertation, which introduces the creative work within a context of critical inquiry, bringing together the examination and embodiment of the literary act, a new model of scholarship and creative innovation.

PhD candidates in literature and creative writing must pass the same departmental screening examination taken by PhD candidates in Literature who are not working in the area of creative writing. The exam tests students in various areas of emphasis (British literature, American literature, poetry, prose, etc.) and literature and historical periods as a measure of their preparedness to undertake independent research.

The literature and creative writing student takes 64 units in all, 32 in literature, 24 in creative writing workshops and seminars and 8 units of dissertation studies credits.

Admission Requirements

Requirements for admission to study in the department of English include: scores satisfactory to the department in both the verbal and quantitative General Test and the literature Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examinations; evidence of experience and ability in creative writing, as demonstrated by a creative writing sample; evidence of competence in writing English and interpreting English literature, as demonstrated by a sample of written work by the applicant on literary subjects; a satisfactory written statement by the applicant of aims and interests in graduate work; letters of recommendation from at least three college instructors; and grades satisfactory to the department earned by the applicant at other institutions. This program will accept applicants with BA degrees or transfer students with an MA or MFA in creative writing.

Degree Requirements

These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Graduate School    section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Graduate Curriculum and Unit Requirements

The graduate curriculum is divided into 500-level foundation courses and 600-level advanced courses. The 500-level courses offer fundamental work in theory and in the history of British and American literatures and cultures. The 600-level courses feature advanced studies in theory, creative writing seminars and workshops and special topics. Although students will normally take 500-level courses leading up to the screening procedure (see Screening Procedure) and 600-level courses thereafter, students after consultation with their advisers may be permitted to take 600-level courses in the first semester of their graduate training.

The student’s course work must total at least 64 units. No more than eight units of 794 Doctoral Dissertation and no more than four units of 790 Research may count toward the 64 units. A maximum of 12 transfer units, approved by the graduate director, is allowed toward the 64 units minimum required by the PhD (See Transfer of Course Work .)

The student will be assigned a faculty mentor in his or her first semester in the graduate program and will be encouraged in subsequent semesters to begin putting together an informal qualifying exam committee. The makeup of the qualifying exam committee may change as the interests of the student change. The faculty mentor and informal qualifying exam committee will assist the student in planning a program of study appropriate to the student’s interests leading to the screening procedure.

Screening Procedure

At the end of the student’s fourth semester (second semester for students who enter with an MA or MFA degree or near equivalent), the student will sit for a departmental examination, which is part of a comprehensive screening procedure. Rarely, and only with the approval of the graduate director and the graduate committee, will a student be allowed to postpone the departmental examination and the screening procedure, and then only for one year. Prior to the screening procedure, the student will be allowed to take a maximum of four units of independent study ( ENGL 590   ), and that independent study will normally be used to prepare for the departmental examination; all other units must be in the 500- or 600-level seminar.

Qualifying Exam Committee

Immediately following successful completion of the screening procedure, the student will nominate formally a five-member qualifying exam committee, including a chair and three other members from the English Department who are in the student’s areas of interest and an outside member from another PhD-granting department. The committee must be in place and approved by the Graduate School at the time the student chooses a dissertation topic, writes the dissertation prospectus and schedules a qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

Following completion of course work, the student must sit for a qualifying examination, at a time mutually agreed upon by the student and the qualifying exam committee.

This is a field examination given in the subject of the student’s proposed dissertation research. No less than one month before the qualifying examination, the student will submit to the qualifying exam committee a dissertation prospectus. The prospectus, it is understood, will not be a polished dissertation proposal, but at a minimum it should display a strong knowledge of the subject, much of the relevant secondary material and other contexts crucial to the writing of the dissertation, and should present a workable plan of attack as well as a reasonably sophisticated understanding of the theoretical assumptions involved in the subject.

The qualifying examination will consist of both written and oral portions with special emphasis areas in creative writing. It will focus on the dissertation area and its contexts with the specific format and content of the examination being negotiated among the student and all members of the examination committee. Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination the student proceeds to the writing of the doctoral dissertation.

Dissertation

The final stage of the program is the submission of a creative dissertation that makes an original, substantial and publishable contribution to creative literature: a book of poems, a novel, a collection of short stories.

Foreign Language

PhD students are required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language. This may be demonstrated by completing a course in the literature of that language at the 400 or 500 level (with a grade of B [3.0] or better) or by passing a foreign language exam that tests proficiency in reading comprehension and translation. PhD students may also be required to demonstrate proficiency in additional languages, as determined by the qualifying exam committee in view of the student’s proposed field of research.

  • Creative Writing Program
  • College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • Department of English
  • Academic Programs
  • Graduate Studies

PhD in Creative Writing and Literature

Department of English College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences 3687 Cullen Boulevard, Room 229 Houston, TX 77204-5008 713.743.3015

Instagram / Youtube

instagram-red.png

Building on excellence in creative writing and a record of excellence in the student’s MA preparation in the broad range of English and American literature or MFA preparation in creative writing and literature, the PhD student in literature and creative writing should work toward increased sophistication as a writer/scholar.

The PhD in Creative Writing and Literature offers innovative, multidisciplinary curriculum; dedicated advising and mentorship from the English department’s dynamic faculty; and solid preparation for expert teaching in the university classroom. The Creative Writing and Literature PhD curriculum is comprised of professional development courses, courses in a curricular area stream, elective courses, and creative writing workshops. As part of their curricular plans, all English department PhD students must enroll in one of five curricular area streams:    

  • Critical Studies of the Americas  
  • Critical Poetics  
  • Empire Studies  
  • Translingual Studies  
  • Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy (For RCP students only; these students will be automatically enrolled in this area stream.)  

Each area stream balances training in foundational disciplinary knowledge with opportunities for specialization that engender creative research and independent thinking. Area stream selections also support PhD students by providing dedicated faculty advising and an intellectual community of faculty mentors and graduate student colleagues.  The degree offers preparation for creative and scholarly publication and for success in a variety of arts and humanities professions.  

Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • MA in English or MFA in Creative Writing
  • 3.5 GPA in graduate studies
  • One foreign language (may be completed while in residence for the degree)

Application Deadline: January 15

Degree Requirements

6 hours Professional Development  

  • 3 hours Intro to Doctoral Studies  
  •  3 hours Master Workshop  

 12 hours Area Stream  

  •  Empire Studies  
  •  Critical Studies of the Americas  
  •  Translingual Studies  

12 hours Creative Writing Workshops  

  •  3 hours History of Poetry and Poetics OR Narrative and Narrative Theory  
  •  3 hours Writers on Literature  
  •  6 hours Major Genre Workshop**  

1 5  hours Elective Courses, each contributing to the student’s area of expertise. Students should select each of these courses in consultation with his/her faculty mentors.  

  • 3 hours Early Literature  (pre-1900)  
  • 3 hours Later Literature  (post-1900)  

If students have taken a course or courses (up to 9 hours) that meet requirements in their MA, the requirements will be waived, allowing students to take additional elective courses (but not reducing the total required hours toward the degree).     

  • 2 written exams (one major field; one sub-field)  
  • 1 oral exam   
  • Foreign Language (reading knowledge of two foreign languages or intensive knowledge of one foreign language)
  • Dissertation Prospectus
  • Dissertation

Application Materials

Consult the   UH   Graduate School   for detailed instructions on how to submit your application electronically. The English Department requires the following materials:

  • Online application   and application fee.
  • Three letters of recommendation from people who know your creative or academic work well. Letters will be solicited by the   UH   Admissions Office and submitted electronically.
  • Official academic transcripts (sealed in the issuing envelope) from every university or colleges you have attended. Official transcripts should be sent directly to the   UH   Graduate Admissions Office (University of Houston, Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 3947, Houston, TX 77253-3947).
  • Copies of official transcripts with degrees posted, uploaded to online application.
  • Your Statement of Intent (1000 words, double-spaced). State why you wish to pursue graduate studies in creative writing; which writers in your genre you are reading and their importance to your work; and whether you have taught before and intend to pursue teaching as a career.
  • An original creative writing sample (10 pages for poetry, 20-25 pages for prose). Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts should be double-spaced, on numbered, single-sided pages; poetry may be single-spaced and formatted as desired. Note: submitting more than the recommended amount is strongly discouraged and could adversely affect the evaluation process.
  • A critical manuscript (no more than 20 pages), usually a scholarly paper written for a literature course.

General Policies and Procedures

Program Guidelines are   available here.   Additional university policies may be found in the Graduate Catalog.

A sample list of graduate courses is available  here . 

  • Online Doctoral Programs
  • Part Time Doctoral Programs
  • Executive Programs
  • Accounting Programs
  • Finance Programs
  • Marketing Programs
  • Management Programs
  • Software Engineering Programs

Education Programs

  • Counseling Programs
  • Neuroscience Programs
  • Nursing Programs
  • Physical Therapy Programs
  • Creative Writing
  • English Programs
  • Clinical Psychology Programs
  • Criminal Jusitce Programs
  • History Programs
  • Political Science Programs
  • Psychology Programs
  • Social Work Programs

Obtaining a doctorate degree in creative writing provides an education specializing in fiction writing techniques and literary analysis. Upon receiving a PhD in Creative Writing, graduates can use the degree to further develop their own creative writing career or teach others the skills and techniques used to write and analyze literature at the high school, college, or university level.

Requirements

Most PhD programs are very selective in choosing which few students will be admitted to study in their program. Candidates should have an excellent mastery of the written word, literary analysis, and familiarity with the liberal arts. Many schools require or prefer that a masterís degree in English or a related subject area be held by the applicant in order to be considered for their degree program.

Multiple letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and writing samples are required by most programs to help determine whether you are right for the rigorous demands of earning a doctorate degree. Academic writing samples are often required in addition to creative writing samples; this gives the office of admissions an idea of both your creative talent and your ability to analyze and critique literary works.

Expectations

Students accepted into a doctoral creative writing program can expect to study for approximately three to five years depending on the program. Students can also expect to have to write a variety of essays, teach classes on writing techniques and literature, complete a comprehensive examination, and compose a dissertation. Courses required often include a combination of literature, writing, and teaching classes.

Online Programs

Online programs exist for the bachelorís degree and masterís degree level of English, literature, and creative writing education. However, those wishing to pursue a PhD in Creative Writing must obtain their degree in person rather than online.

Offline Programs

If you want to obtain your doctorate degree in creative writing, there are numerous universities across the country with creative writing programs to consider. Some programs put a higher emphasis on teaching others how to write, while other programs focus more on your own writing abilities. Here are some of the programs available to those interested in creative writing.

University of Illinois Chicago

The University of Illinois Chicago offers a PhD in Creative Writing geared towards those students who wish to eventually pursue a career in teaching. The program teaches writing skills as well as teaching skills to prepare graduates for work in the academic world. Students will be required to write a creative dissertation, as well as teach creative writing to become educated and prepared for teaching after receiving their degree.

Department of English University of Illinois at Chicago 2027 University Hall 601 S. Morgan St. (M/C 162) Chicago, IL 60607-7120 Phone: 312-413-2200 www.uic.edu

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University offers a PhD in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Students are required to take two teaching courses and prove their competency in a foreign language, in addition to their literature classes. Students will also take workshops to prepare for their dissertation in their selected area of specialization.

Creative writing students must also participate in doctoral reading programs before taking their doctoral reading exam. Upon passing the doctoral reading examination, students will then be required to write a dissertation. For questions regarding admission to their graduate school, contact the university at the following address or website.

2240 Seibert Administration Building 1903 W Michigan Ave Western Michigan University Kalamazoo MI 49008-5211 Phone: 269-387-2000 www.wmich.edu

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers a PhD in English and Comparative Literature with a focus in creative writing. All doctoral students participate in the departmentís teaching training program which lasts approximately seven months. During the program students will have the opportunity to teach college writing courses. Students may also take courses that specialize in how to teach creative writing. Creative writing students will complete a creative dissertation and analytical essay in order to finish their degree. More information regarding the graduate program can be found by contacting the Department of English or visiting their website.

Department of English College of Arts & Sciences University of Cincinnati PO Box 210069 Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069 Phone: 513-556-3906 www.artsci.uc.edu

University of Utah

The University of Utah offers a PhD in Literature with a creative writing emphasis. Students will learn better creative writing techniques while also learning how to analyze literary works. The PhD is generally for those students wishing to teach at a college or university upon completion.

Students will graduate with the skills to teach not only creative writing, but literature courses as well. Students will learn literary history, attend writing workshops, and complete a prospectus and dissertation. Contact the English Department regarding admission and program requirements.

Department of English Languages & Communication Bldg 255 S Central Campus Drive, Room 3500 Salt Lake City, UT 84112 Phone: 801-581-6168 www.hum.utah.edu

University of Denver

A PhD in Creative Writing is offered by the University of Denver. Students better their writing through constant practice and by reading literary works. Four workshops will be completed over the course of the studentís program. Students will not only read works from their genre, but also works dealing with anthropology, philosophy, art history, and other subject areas. Contact the university with any questions regarding their program.

English Department 2000 E. Asbury Denver, CO 80208 Phone: 303-871-2266 www.du.edu

Georgia State University

The PhD in Creative Writing offered by Georgia State University allows students to practice and better their writing abilities while also critiquing and analyzing literature. Unless completed at the MA or MFA level, students must take courses in literary theory, form, and contemporary poetry or fiction craft. All students are also required to complete a dissertation. Questions regarding admission requirements or their program of study can be directed to the Department of English.

Department of English P.O. Box 3970 Atlanta, GA 30302-3970 Phone: 404-413-5800 workshop.gsu.edu

Employment Opportunities

Many graduates immediately begin teaching at the university level and start working towards a tenured position. Work at community colleges and high schools teaching English and creative writing is also a choice for many upon receiving their degree.

Teaching is not the only option for post-grads. Working for magazines, newspapers, and other print or online media is available for creative writers, especially after developing a strong creative writing portfolio. Choosing to be an author or writer can also be composed of freelance work and self-employment. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 70% of writers and authors were self-employed in 2008.

Salary Ranges

The salary range for those who obtain a PhD in creative writing varies greatly depending on the position obtained after graduation and the location of the school. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, teaching at the high school level on average earns $52,200 a year, with those having a doctoral degree potentially earning more. Post-secondary educators earn on average $108,749 as a professor, $76,147 as an associate professor, and $63,827 as an assistant professor.

Writers and Authors

Salaried writers and authors earned on average $57,070 in 2008. Freelance writers’ annual earnings vary greatly depending on the type of freelance work and number of projects completed each year. Many freelance writers have to find income from working another part-time or full-time job.

Employment Outlook

High school teachers.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, teaching at the high school level is expected to grow by 13% between 2008 and 2018. An even higher demand for teachers will be seen for high schools in poor and inner-city school districts, since many teachers leave to teach elsewhere after a short period of time in these areas.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects the demand of post-secondary educators to grow by 15% between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average growth rate for most positions. This is due to the increased number of students attending community colleges and universities around the country. Tenured positions are still expected to be quite competitive to earn, but part-time and non-tenured positions are expected to grow even faster.

The writing industry is very competitive, and many writers and authors will continue to stay self-employed. However, there is an expected increase of salaried writers and authors by 8% between 2008 and 2018. Companies online are seeing an increased need for writers as more material is needed for websites, so many writers are expected to start writing for online publications.

Top Ranked Doctoral Programs

Search for other great programs, 5 responses to “creative writing”.

Of course it is very interesting that one now can obtain a phd degree from one’s workplace without hampreing the job.But it could have been better if one had had the opportunity of doing an online phd degree.

Will it be possible in future to do an online degree in liberal arts specially in english?It would be very good if one got the chance to do a phd degree the same way.

I am interested in pursuing a ph.d in creative writing and literature—–looking for an accredited online program

I’m interested in pursuing a doctorate degree in Creative Writing. I’m searching for programs on the west coast of the United States.

I have been looking for an online PhD program in Creative Writing and have not found any accredited ones. I don’t understand why this is a area of study with such limited accessibility for online classes. The bulk of the work is reading and documenting and writing which seems to be a perfect fit for an online course. I did find one that sounded perfect AIU…however they are NOT accredited.

I currently have three Masters Degrees and two of them are MFA’s. One in Non-fiction and one in fiction. My fourth Masters degree will be completed in January 2022. It is an MFA in poetry. I have a memoir published and five esssys published. I have another book to be published this November 2021. Lipstick Lesbian.. book of poems (LGBTQ) Could I get any classes waived in a PhD. Creative Writing program?

Share Your Thoughts

Click here to cancel reply.

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published) (required)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Part Time & Online

Business programs, health programs, liberal arts, sociology programs.

  • US Department of Education

Doctoral Programs - © 2010 - 2024 Cudazi for ThemeForest.net -->

Department of English

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Department of english, college of liberal arts, search form.

  • News & Events
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Writers-in-Residence
  • Mission Statement
  • Beyond the Classroom
  • Alumni & Donors
  • Creative Writing
  • Linguistics
  • Professional Writing
  • Moving Image Arts
  • Transfer to UL
  • Careers for English Majors
  • Masters Programs
  • Doctoral Programs
  • Graduate Certificate Program
  • International Students
  • Assistantships & Fellowships
  • Course Distribution Sheets for Undergrads
  • Plans of Study for Graduates
  • Academic Catalog
  • Scholarships & Financial Aid
  • Writing Center
  • Study Abroad
  • Career & Internship Opportunities
  • Catalogs & Handbooks
  • PhD Exam Formats
  • Student Survival Guide

You are here

Doctoral concentration in creative writing, creative writing at ul.

[Audience at Vi Khi Nao reading at Beausoleil Books

The UL Lafayette Creative Writing Program invites you to join our close, energetic community of faculty and students.

Generalist Program

Our Ph.D. in English is unique in that it is a generalist program. That means you as a student gain broad expertise in a variety of creative writing genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and creative non-fiction. It also means that you’ll strengthen your understanding of literature, and develop solid pedagogical practice by instructing undergraduate courses in rhetoric and composition. There will also be opportunities to teach creative writing, literature, and design your own special topics courses.

The generalist program ensures graduates concentrating in Creative Writing who opt for academic positions are qualified to teach in several areas. Graduates who choose careers outside of the academy will have experience managing a classroom while teaching and designing their own courses.

Opportunities

Assistantships are available in the Ernest J. Gaines Center, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, and within the English Department. Graduate teaching assistantships give you the chance to teach first-year writing, sophomore literature survey courses, a creative writing workshop, and a literature course of your own design. Three-year university fellowships with lighter teaching loads are also available.

You will be able to gain professional development experience through working on the University-supported in-house print journal The Southwestern Review, and our online literary journal Rougarou. Students also read at our Thursday Night Reading Series (TNRS) , and often attend the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference where our graduate creative writers host an annual off-site reading. Creative writers also have the opportunity to present their work at the Global Souths conference we put on each year through a creative plenary and creative panels.

In addition to our great faculty, and writer-in-residence, the UL Lafayette Creative Writing Program is enhanced by the Deep South Reading Series . Recent guests include: Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Katie Jean Shinkle, Terese Svoboda, Rodrigo Toscano, Asiya Wadud, Matthew Salesses, Vi Khi Nao, Clemonce Heard, and Wandeka Gayle.

Apply to Write with Us

In addition to the PhD in English application requirements, the department requires a creative writing portfolio. You should submit a creative writing sample of 15-20 pages as part of their application directly to the Graduate Coordinator for Incoming Students, Dr. Leah Orr at [email protected] . PDFs are preferred. Please specify the genre: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Creative Nonfiction, or Hybrid work.

Read more info about applying.

Resources and Links

  • Apply today to write with us at UL!
  • Read about our current and past Writers-in-Residence.
  • Have questions about our program? Contact our graduate coordinator at [email protected].
  • See what jobs our students have landed.
  • View our comprehensive English Graduate Student Handbook .
  • Check out recent news and events for the UL Lafayette CWP.
  • View Creative Writing PhD Requirements and Courses .
  • Follow the UL Lafayette CWP on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram .

The English Department’s Thursday Night Reading Series (TNRS) features weekly readings of original poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, and experimental works from UL graduate students and faculty. Watch the video to see our graduate students share their work and  visit the TNRS Facebook page to learn more.

  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to main navigation

Creative Writing

  • News & Events
  • The Living Writers Series
  • About the Concentration
  • Current Students and Alumni
  • Student Spotlight
  • Creative Writing Concentration
  • Apply to Creative Writing
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Publications
  • Applying to MFA Programs
  • Writing Science Fiction

Home / About / About the PhD Creative/Critical Writing Concentration

  • About the PhD Creative/Critical Writing Concentration

UC Santa Cruz offers a concentration in Creative/Critical Writing for Literature Ph.D. students. This is an individualized course of study in which students can write a creative dissertation with a critical introduction or a cross-genre creative/critical project. Our students have completed speculative novels, collections of poems and personal essays, experimental memoirs, biographies, cross-genre work and translations of works of poetry and prose. Descriptions of previous qualifying exam and dissertation topics can be found with student bios here .  

In addition to taking critical literature courses, entering students take four graduate creative/critical writing classes (two “Creative Writing Studio” courses and two “Methods and Materials” courses taught by creative writing faculty ). The “Creative Writing Studio” is a mixed-genre class that moves beyond the classic workshop mode to give students time to focus on their creative work in a supportive community. The “Methods and Materials” class is a seminar that examines one form, topic, and/or theme. Students can respond creatively, critically or creative/critically. Past classes have focused on autobiographical experiments, race and the lyric essay, the artist’s statement, and James Baldwin’s sentences. 

The concentration works to create community while at the same time gives our students opportunities to join with creative and critical colleagues within and beyond the department and division. There are opportunities for internships, fellowships, and graduate students often introduce and meet with writers through the Living Writers Series . Graduate students can also pursue designated emphases in programs and departments such as Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Education, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, Latin American and Latino Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, and the History of Art and Visual Culture. (A full listing of programs and departments offering a Designated Emphasis can be found here .) 

The program also offers opportunities for pedagogical training. Graduate students in the Creative/Critical Writing Concentration have the opportunity to teach undergraduate introductory and intermediate creative writing courses annually. 

Although our program is fairly new, UCSC has a rich history of Creative/Critical writers and teachers, such as George Hitchcock, bell hooks, Harriet Mullen, Gloria Anzaldua, Nathaniel Mackey, Angela Davis, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Peter Gizzi. 

Graduate Students Describe the Program: 

  • "The Creative/Critical Program facilitates a deep exploration of the critical and intellectual apparatuses involved in the creative process. Prospective students should prepare to excavate their creative practice and process to see how their work speaks to broader critical conversations and how to deepen the questions their work asks and the questions they ask of their work and process. We interrogate connections between ourselves, our work, and the world around us.”
  • “ What I love about the C/C program, and the UCSC literature department more broadly, is the way it works to break down barriers between the creative and the critical--not just bringing the critical into the creative, but the creative into the critical. It has both helped me to bring a more personal approach--a personality--to my critical writing and more complex ideas to my creative writing.”
  • “ We practice thinking both creatively and critically and those are often two siloed modes of thinking that we bring together.”
  • “ In the Graduate Creative/Critical Writing Concentration I've gained mentors, colleagues, and friends who are committed to innovation and pushing the limits of critical and creative writing as we know it. The community has welcomed me with open arms and emboldened me to develop my craft beyond what I thought was possible in literature. Joining this program out of an M.F.A. was the best thing I could have done for my creative practice and my personal and professional development.”

See   Also

  • An Overview of the Creative/Critical Writing Concentration
  • Creative/Critical Ph.D. Students
  • Creative Writing Faculty Mentors
  • Literature Ph.D. Program
  • About the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program
  • Additional Ways to Support
  • Report an accessibility barrier
  • Land Acknowledgment
  • Accreditation

Last modified: May 13, 2021 128.114.113.82

What are you looking for?

Suggested search, frequently asked questions, “curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” – samuel johnson.

Below find the answers to some common questions regarding the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program. The dropdown menus below will help you skip to the topic in which you are interested.

What are the requirements for admission to the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature?

The university requires a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale in which A=4.0). Requirements for admission to study in the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program include the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any area of study
  • GPA, undergraduate and graduate (if applicable)
  • GRE General Test score
  • creative writing sample
  • critical writing sample
  • statement of purpose
  • statement of diversity, inclusion and access (optional)
  • unofficial & official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  • letters of recommendation from at least three academic referees; students may include additional letters from other sources

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in English or Creative Writing to be eligible to apply?

We welcome applications from students with all kinds of academic backgrounds.  Your undergraduate (or graduate) degree need not be in Creative Writing or English.

Regardless of educational background, we expect our applicants will be accomplished creative writers, who are actively practicing the craft, and apt scholars, who have a keen interest in literature. To meet the demands of the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing & Literature you should be writing creatively with consistency. You should also be able to conduct scholarly research and write critically about literature, a factor which your critical writing sample should exhibit in order for your application to be competitive, no matter your academic background.

Do I need a Master’s Degree in English or Creative Writing to be eligible to apply to the program?

No. The only educational requirement is that you have a Bachelor’s degree. If you have a Master’s in English, or an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, you may transfer the equivalent of 12 units to the coursework requirement for the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature.

How will I find out if I am admitted? / How long does it take to process my application? Applicants are notified of their admission status via email. Offers of admission usually go out in the month of March.

How many students are admitted each year? The program is small and, therefore, competitive. We usually accept 8-10 students each year, out of approximately 150 applicants.

May I be admitted in spring or summer? Unfortunately, we only offer one application cycle per year. All applications must be submitted by Dec 1.

Where do I send my materials? The application is entirely online.  The only items you need to send in hard copies are your transcripts and GRE scores–your transcripts will be sent directly from your previously attended institutions, and GRE scores will be sent from ETS. Please request that these items be sent to the USC Office of Graduate Admission:

USC Office of Graduate Admission 3601 South Flower Street Room 112 Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

Please note: this is a separate address from our office address. We cannot guarantee that any hard copy additional materials you send to our office will be included with your application materials. Therefore, make sure to upload all of the necessary documents for the application, such as your writing samples, statement of purpose and your recommendations.

Can I apply to the program in more than one genre?

You must apply to the program in one genre only: fiction, nonfiction or poetry. We recommend that applicants apply to their strongest genre, even if they are multi-genre writers.

Will there be opportunities to take coursework in other literary genres?

While the majority of your creative coursework will be in your primary genre, and your creative dissertation must be written in your genre as well, you will have opportunities to take creative writing classes outside of your primary genre, in addition to your normal coursework.

Is there a nonfiction degree track?

Yes! We welcome applications from writers of nonfiction.

How long does it take to earn a Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature?

The program is designed to be completed in five years.

Can I finish more quickly if I have a Master’s degree in Creative Writing or Literature?

You may transfer up to 12 units of similar coursework from a related degree, but this will not significantly reduce the number of years to earn the Ph.D. You should still plan to spend 5 years completing the program.

Does the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program offer an online or low-residency option?

No, the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program at USC is a full time, in-residence program. We do not offer a low-residency or online option.

When do the academic sessions begin?

The USC academic calendar is divided into two terms: fall and spring. The fall semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December. The spring semester begins in early January and ends in mid-May. There are also summer sessions with six-week classes, but not all courses are offered during the summer. The academic calendar can be found on USC’s website:  http://academics.usc.edu/calendar/ .

Can I transfer units from my Master’s to the course work requirement for the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature?

You may transfer up to 12 units from an M.F.A. or a Master’s in English to your coursework requirement in the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature, which would reduce the total units needed from 64 to 52.  Your academic advisors will help you decide the best transfer strategy for your individual needs.

What are the course work requirements for the Ph.D. program?

The program consists of 56 units of coursework: 32 in Literature, 24 in Creative Writing, and 8 units of dissertation work. Only one class is required: ENGL 501, History of Literary and Cultural Theory.  Beyond that, each student crafts an individualized course of study under the guidance of her or his academic advisors to meet the unit requirements.

Is the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program at USC associated with any magazine, literary journal or literary review?

The program is not associated with a magazine or literary journal, however, the students in our program run a small press, publishing chapbooks and full-length books:  http://goldlinepress.com/ .

Is there a language requirement?

Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature students are required to demonstrate translation proficiency in at least one foreign language. This may be demonstrated by completing a course in the literature of that language at the 400 or 500 level (with a grade of B [3.0] or better) or by passing a foreign language exam that tests proficiency in reading comprehension and translation. Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature students may also demonstrate proficiency by completing a creative translation project in their primary genre, under the guidance of a professor whose areas of expertise include that specific language.

Do you offer an M.F.A. in Creative Writing? Do I obtain a Master’s degree while earning the Ph.D.?

Our program is strictly a Ph.D. program—we do not offer a Master’s degree.

Is funding available to students admitted to the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program at USC?

All applicants who are offered admission into the program are also offered funding in the form of fellowships and assistantships, which offer tuition remission, year-round health insurance coverage and a modest stipend. Because all admitted students receive fellowship, they are expected to devote full-time study towards the Ph.D. and are not allowed to take on contemporaneous employment or equivalent external commitments during the academic year.

As of August 15, 2022, the GRE General Test is no longer required!

If my recommender does not want to upload a recommendation to the online system, is it possible for them to send a hard copy?

Our application is entirely online. Therefore, your letters of recommendation must be submitted online.  Hard copies of materials that are sent to our office will not be included in your application file.

Do all of my recommendations have to be from academic sources?

While we prefer to receive recommendations from academic sources, we will accept recommendations from people other than your previous professors. If writing mentors, publishers, editors or employers (especially if writing is a part of your job) can attest to your ability to write creatively, show your experience in the writing world, or can explain to the admissions committee that you have the critical thinking abilities necessary to be in a Ph.D. program, we would be happy to receive their letters.

Is it possible to submit my letters of recommendation through an online system like Interfolio?

It is possible to submit letters using Interfolio. However, please note that our application is completely electronic–during the application process online you will be prompted to enter the email addresses of your recommenders. If you are using Interfolio, please submit the email address the Interfolio service provides to send out electronic letters of recommendation, rather than the email addresses of your individual recommenders.

Do you conduct face-to-face interviews with applicants?

We do not require nor offer any face-to-face interviews with applicants as part of the admissions process.

Can I sit in on a class?

Unfortunately, creative writing classes are closed to visitors.

What does it mean that I am required to write a “critical” and “creative” component to my dissertation?

The dissertation consists of both critical and creative components. The creative component should be a book-length manuscript and the critical component will be a document of approximately 60 pages. While the creative and critical components often work in conversation with one another, the critical aspect is not a “foreword” to the manuscript.

Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature

3501 Trousdale Parkway

Taper Hall of Humanities 431

Los Angeles, CA  90089-0354

Office Hours

Monday — Friday

8:30 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.

Times may adjust in accordance with university holidays.

Stay Up-to-Date

Hand-Picked Top-Read Stories

Why you should or shouldn’t get a phd, what is self-plagiarism and how can you avoid it, what’s the difference between a dissertation and a thesis, trending tags, best online creative writing ph.d. programs, table of contents hide, what is a phd in creative writing, professor of creative writing, writer-in-residence, literary agent, freelance writer, poet laureate/poetry consultant, literary critic/reviewer, nonprofit work, content writer/strategist, screenwriter, advanced expertise, career advancement, personal growth, university of birmingham, university of nottingham, lancaster university, manchester metropolitan university.

A PhD in creative writing opens doors to a variety of career paths that may not be available to talented writers without this degree. If you want to enhance your writing skills and discover new employment opportunities, getting a PhD online can be an excellent solution.

An online Ph.D. in creative writing is a great option for students who aren’t ready to give up personal and professional commitments to pursue a degree. By attending classes online and watching recorded lectures, you can finish your studies without leaving the comfort of your own home.

The key to getting an online PhD is choosing the best option for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the selection process.

When considering an online Ph.D. you need to understand what this degree entails as well as the opportunities it offers. This terminal degree focuses on the advanced study of creative writing. It is designed for individuals with a passion for writing who aspire to become professionals in the writing industry.

A doctor in creative writing goes beyond the traditional creative writing workshops. It explores the theoretical and critical aspects of the craft. It combines creative writing with scholarly research. The studies allow students to develop their writing skills by engaging in in-depth analysis and reflection on the creative process.

One of the key components of this PhD is writing a creative dissertation. This work demonstrates the student’s mastery of the craft and often takes the form of a novel, a collection of short stories, poetry, or a screenplay. The creative dissertation involves a critical component that demonstrates the student’s understanding and analysis of their creative work. It’s done within the context of existing literary traditions and theories.

In addition to the creative dissertation, students pursuing a doctorate in creative writing engage in rigorous coursework that covers multiple topics. These may include:

  • Literary theory
  • Genre studies
  • Literary criticism
  • Research methods

The coursework provides a strong foundation in the theoretical and critical aspects of creative writing. It provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the field.

This PhD also offers opportunities for professional development and networking. Many courses provide teaching or editorial assistantships, allowing students to gain valuable experience in the classroom. These opportunities not only provide financial support but also enhance the student’s teaching and mentoring skills. Such an approach prepares them for careers in academia or writing-related fields.

A doctorate in creative writing opens doors for students who are interested in pursuing careers as writers, editors, or literary agents. The degree demonstrates a high level of expertise and dedication to the craft. This turns graduates into highly sought-after professionals in the publishing industry. It also provides opportunities for collaboration with established writers through conferences, workshops, and literary events.

Students who opt for an online doctorate enjoy the flexibility and convenience of the format. Online schedules provide access to quality education and resources, allowing students to engage in coursework and research from anywhere in the world. Online learning platforms facilitate interaction with faculty and foster a supportive and collaborative environment.

Career Opportunities with an Online PhD in Creative Writing

After completing an online PhD in Creative Writing, you can either pursue your current career or explore other opportunities. Positions that graduates of online PhD programs can consider include:

Many graduates go on to teach at the university level. They can become professors of creative writing to teach aspiring writers and share their expertise. These positions often involve mentoring students, leading workshops, and conducting research in the field.

Graduates may secure positions as writers-in-residence at universities, organizations, or cultural institutions. In this role, they have the opportunity to work on their own writing projects while also engaging with the community through public readings, workshops, and literary events.

With their deep understanding of the craft of writing, doctoral graduates can pursue careers in editing. You may choose to work as an editor for a publishing house, literary magazine, or online publication. Alternatively, you can start your own editing business and offer services to writers.

Graduates can also explore careers as literary agents. With your knowledge of the publishing industry and the ability to identify exceptional writing talent, you can help other authors navigate the publishing world and build successful writing careers.

Many doctoral graduates choose to pursue freelance writing careers. They may write for magazines, newspapers, websites, or other publications. By leveraging advanced writing skills and critical thinking abilities, you can produce high-quality content across various genres.

After finishing an online PhD program, some people go on to become poet laureates or poetry consultants. In these roles, they promote and celebrate poetry within the community, organize events, and engage in public speaking engagements.

Graduates with a doctor of philosophy in Creative Writing can pursue careers as literary critics or reviewers. They can write book reviews for newspapers, magazines, or online platforms. Their skills allow these professionals to conduct insightful analyses and provide valuable commentary on contemporary literature.

Some doctorate program graduates choose to work in nonprofit organizations related to the literary arts. They may become directors, coordinators, or administrators. Your responsibilities can include organizing writing workshops, author events, and literary festivals.

With their strong writing skills and ability to craft compelling narratives, creative writers with a Ph.D. can excel in content writing and strategy roles. They may work for marketing agencies, businesses, or organizations. In these roles, you may be responsible for creating engaging content for websites, social media, and other platforms.

Graduates can explore careers in screenwriting. They can write scripts for television shows, films, or web series. By leveraging your storytelling abilities and understanding of narrative structure, you can come up with high-quality entertainment content.

Is Getting an Online PhD in Creative Writing a Good Idea?

Obtaining an online doctor of philosophy in creative writing can be a highly rewarding process. It can offer numerous benefits for aspiring writers. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth considering:

A PhD allows you to deepen your understanding of the craft and take your writing skills to an advanced level. Through rigorous coursework, critical analysis, and the production of a creative dissertation, students gain a comprehensive knowledge of the field. They also learn how to develop a unique writing voice.

An online PhD in creative writing can open up many interesting career opportunities. It can qualify graduates for positions as:

  • Professors of creative writing
  • Writers-in-residence
  • Literary agents
  • And many more.

This degree demonstrates a high level of expertise and dedication and backs the writer’s talent. When interviewing for a dream job, writers with a PhD have the upper hand.

Pursuing a PhD in creative writing is not just about professional development. It is also a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. Engaging with advanced coursework and exploring new literary theories allows writers to push the boundaries of their creative abilities.

Overall, if you love your writing experience and want to continue your career as a writer, a creative writing doctorate is worth pursuing. It can help you achieve career goals, learn new writing tactics, and explore valuable collaborations.

Top Online PhD Programs in Creative Writing

When choosing the best courses, you need to pay attention to the school’s location (in case occasional visits to the campus are required), accreditation, and time of schedule completion.

This list contains the top online PhD programs in creative writing to help you make the most suitable choice for your needs.

Located in Birmingham, UK, the University of Birmingham offers a solid doctorate program in Creative Writing . The duration of the course is three years if you decide to study full-time. If you enroll in a part-time course, it will take six years to complete.

The creative writing program involves collaboration with published writers, the development of creative writing knowledge, honing critique skills, and discovering new forms of writing for yourself.

The admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or relevant experience
  • Description of creative project
  • Description of the likely critical inquiry
  • Examples of creative work
  • Personal statement

The school is accredited by the Accredited Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Located in Nottingham, UK, the University of Nottingham has a strong online creative writing PhD program . The full-time schedule takes four years while part-time studies will require eight years. You will be studying independently while getting assistance from faculty through online supervision meetings. By the end of the course, you will complete a 100,000-word written thesis.

Admissions requirements include:

  • English proficiency tests if you aren’t a native English speaker
  • A PhD proposal
  • Summary of research experience

The school is accredited by the Accredited Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Located in Lancaster, UK, Lancaster University offers an online PhD program . The full-time program only takes two years to complete while the part-time program is four years long. During the program, you will work with renowned published writers to hone your writing and creative skills. Lancaster University graduates have published multiple pieces of work and have exciting careers in the writing industry.

Admission requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent (for students from the US, a bachelor’s degree will be sufficient)
  • Research proposal
  • Portfolio of original writing

Located in Manchester, UK, Manchester Metropolitan University has a distance PhD program in Creative Writing . The program allows you to hone your writing skills together with research training. You can study online but may need to attend some offline workshops and seminars.

  • Two letters or recommendations
  • A research proposal
  • Master’s degree or bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Examples of your work

Requirements for international students may be different.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of pursuing an online PhD program in Creative Writing? An online PhD program offers flexibility by allowing students to study at their own pace regardless of their location. It also provides access to a diverse community of writer and industry professionals remotely. Are online PhD programs in Creative Writing as reputable as traditional on-campus programs? Yes, many online PhD programs in Creative Writing are offered by reputable universities and institutions. Accredited online programs often have the same rigorous curriculum and faculty as their on-campus counterparts. How does the online format impact the quality of education in a PhD program? Online PhD programs leverage various interactive technologies to deliver engaging learning experiences. Students have access to digital libraries, research databases, and other valuable information resources. Can I pursue an online doctorate in Creative Writing while working full-time? Yes, online programs offer flexibility that allows students to balance their studies with professional and personal commitments. You can usually access course materials and participate in discussions at your convenience. How long does the online PhD program in Creative Writing usually take to complete? The duration of online PhD programs in creative writing varies from school to school. For full-time format, it usually takes two to four years. If you choose to study part-time, the duration increases.

Yelena Skosyrskih

PHD in Economics, Associate Professor, Department of Business Process Management, Faculty of Market Technologies IOM

The University of Manchester

Alternatively, use our A–Z index

Attend an open day

Discover more about the Centre for New Writing

PhD Creative Writing / Overview

Year of entry: 2024

  • View full page
  • Bachelor's (Honours) degree at 2:1 or above (or overseas equivalent)
  • Master's degree in a relevant subject – with an overall average of 70% or above

Full entry requirements

Apply online

Please ensure you include all  required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered. 

Application Deadlines 

For consideration in internal funding competitions, you must submit your completed application by  12 January 2024. 

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self–funding, you must submit your application before the below deadlines to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these dates have passed. 

  • For September 2024 entry:  30 June 2024 
  • For January 2025 entry:  30 September 2024 

Programme options

Programme description.

Please enable JavaScript to watch this video.

Our PhD Creative Writing programme gives you the opportunity to work on a significant piece of creative writing while developing your research skills.

You will benefit from creative supervision by an experienced poet or fiction writer and draw on the range of expertise within the University to find a supervisor for your critical element. 

There are two elements to the programme. The first is a creative element that can be a novel or a collection of short stories of up to 100,000 words, or a book-length collection of poetry of up to 60 poems.

The PhD also has a critical element, which is a piece of literary or cultural criticism of 30,000 to 50,000 words maximum.

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our  open days.

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time) UK students (per annum): £4,786 International, including EU, students (per annum): £21,500
  • PhD (part-time) UK students (per annum): £2,393

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your project.

Read more about  postgraduate fees .

Scholarships/sponsorships

There are a range of scholarships, studentships and awards to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers, details of which can be found via the links below.

To apply University of Manchester funding, you must indicate in your application the competitions for which you wish to be considered. The deadline for most internal competitions, including AHRC NWCDTP and School of Arts, Languages and Cultures studentships is 12 January 2024. 

All external funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting the funding application form and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below.

For more information about funding, visit our funding page to browse for scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.  

  • AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP) PhD Studentships - Competition Closed for 2024 Entry
  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures PhD Studentships 2024 Entry - Competition Closed for 2024 Entry
  • China Scholarship Council - The University of Manchester (CSC-UoM) Joint Scholarship Programme - Competition Closed for 2024 Entry
  • Trudeau Doctoral Scholarships 2024 Entry
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (High Income Countries)
  • Humanities Doctoral Academy Humanitarian Scholarship 2024 Entry
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (Least Developed Countries and Fragile States)
  • School of Arts, Languages and Cultures New Generation PhD Studentships - Competition Closed for 2024 Entry
  • President's Doctoral Scholar (PDS) Awards - Competition Closed for 2024 Entry

Contact details

See: About us

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

  • English Literature, American Studies and Creative Writing

Regulated by the Office for Students

The University of Manchester is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS aims to help students succeed in Higher Education by ensuring they receive excellent information and guidance, get high quality education that prepares them for the future and by protecting their interests. More information can be found at the OfS website .

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Manchester, including our Degree Regulations and Complaints Procedure, on our regulations website .

can you get a doctorate in creative writing

Jane Friedman

3 Myths About the MFA in Creative Writing

writing classroom

Today’s guest post is an excerpt from DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira ( @DIYMFA ), just released from Writer’s Digest Books.

Most writers want an MFA for one of three reasons: They want to teach writing, they want to get published, or they want to make room in their life for writing. It turns out these reasons for doing an MFA are actually based on myths.

Myth 1: You Need an MFA to Teach Writing

Many writers get the MFA because they think it will allow them to teach writing at the college or graduate level. Once upon a time this might have been the case, but these days so many MFA graduates are looking for jobs and so few teaching positions exist, that it’s a challenge to get a teaching job with a PhD, much less with a terminal master’s degree. The writers who do manage to snag a coveted teaching position are often so overwhelmed with their responsibilities that they have to put their own writing on the back burner. While in the past an MFA may have served as a steppingstone to becoming a professor, it’s not the case anymore.

More important, many teachers in MFA programs do not have that degree themselves. Some professors are successful authors with prominent careers, while others are publishing professionals who bring the industry perspective to the courses they teach. This goes to show that the MFA has little impact on a writer’s ability to teach writing. Being a successful author or publishing professional is much more important.

Myth 2: The MFA Is a Shortcut to Getting Published

No agent will sign you and no editor will publish your book based on a credential alone. You have to write something beautiful. If you attend an MFA program and work hard, you will become a better writer. And if you become a better writer, you will eventually write a beautiful book. An MFA might help you on your quest for publication, but it’s certainly not required. After all, many writers perfect their craft and produce great books without ever getting a degree.

Ultimately getting published is a matter of putting your backside in the chair and writing the best book possible. For that, you don’t need an MFA.

Myth 3: An MFA Program Will Force You to Make Writing a Priority

If you can find time to write only by putting your life on hold and plunging into a graduate program, then your writing career isn’t going to last very long. Only a small percentage of writers can support themselves and their loved ones through writing alone. This means you must find a balance between your writing and the rest of your life.

Even within your writing career, you must become a master juggler. Forget that glamorous image of the secluded writer working at his typewriter. These days, writing is only a small piece of the writer’s job. In addition to writing, you must promote your books, manage your online presence, update your social media … and likely schedule these tasks around a day job, a family, and other responsibilities.

The danger with MFA programs is that they train you to write in isolation but don’t always teach you how to fit writing into your real life, or even how to juggle writing with all the other aspects of your writing career. Not only that, but external motivators like class assignments or thesis deadlines don’t teach you to pace yourself and build up the internal motivation you need to succeed in the long-term.

Genre Writing in MFA Programs

Most MFA programs focus on literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. While these are noble areas of literature, they cover only a tiny slice of the wide and diverse world of writing. Heaven forbid a writer in a traditional MFA program produces something commercial—or worse, genre fiction. While a handful of MFA programs allow writers to study genre fiction or children’s literature, the majority still focus on literary work alone. If you want to write genre fiction, commercial nonfiction, or children’s books, you likely will not learn much about them in your MFA courses.

Writers of genre and commercial fiction are among the most dedicated, driven writers I know. They take their craft seriously and work hard to understand the business side of the publishing industry. In addition, a vast number of associations, conferences, and guilds are dedicated to specific genres or commercial writing. Literary writers are not the only ones who crave knowledge and community. Commercial and genre writers want it, too.

This is why I created DIY MFA : to offer an alternative for writers who do not fit the strict literary mold of the traditional MFA system.

Should You Pursue an MFA?

MFA programs are not a bad thing. In fact, they are exceptional at serving a small and very specific group of writers. If you write literary fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry, and if you thrive in a formal academic environment, then the traditional MFA is a great option. If you can afford the tuition without taking out loans, and if you have the time to make the most of the experience, then you are one of those ideal candidates for graduate school.

One reason I am extremely grateful for my own MFA is that it gave me the opportunity to work with several phenomenal teachers. I studied YA and middle-grade literature with the brilliant David Levithan. The legendary Hettie Jones was my first workshop teacher. I worked closely with Abrams publisher Susan Van Metre, who served as my thesis advisor and mentor. These experiences were invaluable, and at the time I didn’t think I could make connections with such literary luminaries any other way. Now I know, however, that you can make connections and find great mentors without attending an MFA program.

The “Do It Yourself” MFA

As an MFA student, I discovered the magic equation that sums up just about every traditional MFA. The Master in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing is nothing more than a lot of writing, reading, and building community. In the workshops, you exchange critiques with other writers and work toward a manuscript that becomes your thesis project. Most programs also require you to take literature courses both in and outside your chosen area of literature. Finally, you are asked to attend readings or talks by other writers—to build your personal writing community. To create a personalized, do-it-yourself MFA, you have to find a way to combine these three elements.

Write with focus. You have to commit to a project and finish it. In traditional MFA terms, this project is your thesis, and it’s a crucial part of your development as a writer. But you don’t need to complete a thesis to get this experience; you just need to finish and polish a manuscript. While you can feel free to play and explore early on, you must eventually choose a project and see it through from beginning to end. When you write with focus, you write with a goal in mind.

Read with purpose.  This means reading with a writer’s eye. If you’re like me, you were a bookworm long before you could hold a pencil in your hand. Writers love books. In fact, many of us become writers so we can create the very books we love to read.

Reading for pleasure is wonderful, and it certainly has its place. Reading with purpose is different: It is reading in a way that serves our writing. It’s not just about finding out what happens in the story; it’s about learning how the author pulls it off. Reading this way isn’t just an intellectual exercise. When we read with purpose, we examine how an author crafts a story so we can emulate those techniques in our own work.

Build your community.  In the traditional MFA, building a community happens organically. You meet fellow writers in your workshops and literature courses. You go to readings and conferences to connect with authors. You attend a publishing panel and learn about the industry. The community element is baked into the MFA experience.

DIY MFA

To learn more about crafting your own customized MFA experience, sign up for the DIY MFA newsletter , and check out the new book, DIY MFA .

Gabriela Pereira

Gabriela Pereira is the Creative Director at DIY MFA , the do-it-yourself alternative to a master’s degree in writing. She develops tools and techniques for the serious writer, to help you get the knowledge without the college. With an MFA in creative writing, Gabriela is also a freelance writing teacher, and has led workshops throughout New York City via writing programs like: 826NYC, East Harlem Tutorial Program and Everybody Wins. When she’s not working on DIY MFA, she loves writing middle grade and teen fiction, with a few short stories for “grown-ups” thrown in for good measure.

guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

trackback

[…] Today’s guest post is an excerpt from DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA), just released from Writer’s Digest Books. Most writers want an MFA for one of three reasons: They want to teach writing, they want to get published, or they want to make room in their life for writing. It turns out these reasons …  […]

Here

I find screenwriting programs to be more honest with respect to story telling.

Shux

So true, I did a screen writing module in my degree. It was easy, fun and clear to write a script. So weird!

Jodie

THANK YOU! I needed this. I occasionally doubt myself and my future success possibilities because of my lack of an MFA. I’ve been gradually letting that notion go, and this helps!

Also, I’m not interested in social media with exception of using Twitter as a news aggregator. From my perspective it’s an unwanted hassle. I write fiction and have neither the time nor inclination for blog posts or podcasts, but I do understand the nature of the disadvantage this might impose. And I think reality reliably informs us a social media presence is not necessarily mandatory to find success.

[…] view post at https://janefriedman.com/mfa-creative-writing-3-myths/ […]

[…] 3 Myths About the MFA in Creative Writing (Jane Friedman) Most writers want an MFA for one of three reasons: They want to teach writing, they want to get published, or they want to make room in their life for writing. It turns out these reasons for doing an MFA are actually based on myths. […]

[…] to the rest at Jane Friedman and thanks to Matthew for the […]

[…] the program could help build contacts, at the very least. Here is an article by Jane Friedman with 3 Myths About the MFA in Creative Writing to help answer some of the […]

[…] Jane Friedman […]

[…] Honoree Corder’s Website Removed by S.J. Pajonas How Do You Like Them Apples! MFA: Myths for Authors Write, Camera, Action! DRM Drama Audio on the Go Singles’ Night (1) Singles’ Night (2) Swan […]

wpdiscuz

  • HOW TO AND TIPS
  • AGENTS’ CORNER
  • SUBMISSIONS
  • LIBRARY 2018
  • AUTHOR WEBSITES MADE EASY
  • RECOMMENDED READS

Doing a PhD in Creative Writing: Is it for Everyone?

It’s weird, having a PhD in Creative Writing. It’s both real—I have Dr on every piece of identification possible—and make believe: how many people even know that creative writing is an academic discipline? and how can you be a “professor of making things up”?

PhD in Creative Writing programs are becoming more popular, but the question remains whether they are necessary for a writer. The easy answer: no. The harder answer: not really but maybe there’s some benefit.

Doing a PhD is a four- to seven-year commitment, depending on the country and whether you study full or part time. I did mine in the UK, because I researched 400 years of English gardening history and how gardens function in fantasy fiction, and this is where those gardens live. I was incredibly lucky in my supervisors, and after almost five years sat my viva. The dissertation consisted of a 100,000-word historical fantasy novel about a “haunted” garden and a 40,000-word critical commentary in which I analysed my process and project though the lens of various theories about space and time that I applied to gardens (both real and fictional). I started my research having a solid idea of what it was I wanted to do, with a novel partially planned out (though it changed—that’s not unexpected). I did the PhD not because I wanted to write the novel, but because I was interested about the context of the novel and its place in the genre with other novels that use gardens fantastically, and because I have always felt comfortable in academia.

When I interview PhD applicants, I always ask “Why do you want to do a PhD?” I get numerous responses, from “I want to be a university lecturer” to “I want to learn how to write a best-seller”. The only right answer, however, is “Because I want to” because those other goals cannot be guaranteed. First, getting a full-time permanent lecturing position is rare, as most academics will tell you. Yes, I have one, but I had a career before I ever did my PhD (which I started at 40!), and that career was a distinct benefit when I applied for my current position. And second, no one can ever guarantee that you will be a best-selling novelist. Doing a PhD like mine can help you better understand your own writing process and, in turn, make you a more conscientious writer, but it isn’t necessarily going to make you a better commercial writer.

If you have a love of spending hours and days and weeks alone, reading and thinking and analysing a topic, then doing a PhD in Creative Writing might be for you. It was for me when I realised I hadn’t left my room in two days while reading The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction and trying desperately to understand it; when I sat in the British Library holding back a coughing fit while ill but desperate to get through the pile of books I had ordered; when I had no choice but to work on my dissertation after a devastating breakup and subsequent house move in the dead of a very cold and snowy winter; and when, after graduating at 45 with a degree but no permanent home or work visa, I had to figure out what I was going to do when I grew up. The work led to physical and mental-health issues. It’s not for the light-hearted.

My best advice:

Choose a topic that you love. You will spend years and years on it, and it will get boring. And you will get sick to death explaining it to well-meaning people who ask you what you’re researching.

Choose a topic that can be studied academically. If you want to write a novel you’ve plotted out, then go write it. But if you have an idea for a novel (or short story collection) and are almost more interested in the different angles of the genre or the world or the context than the story itself, then you might have something worth PhD study. Do some digging and academic reading before you start filling out applications.

Choose your university wisely. Mine was open to SFF writers, but many aren’t. You don’t necessarily want to stay at the same university for your MA and PhD. On that note: an MA in writing isn’t necessary for a PhD application, but it really helps. So, too, does having finished writing a novel before and having experience in a workshop/critique setting.

Choose your supervisor even more wisely. First, their research interest should match yours and they should be active in your genre; and second, it’s a close relationship, but a working one. Interviewing the supervisor is as important as the possible supervisor interviewing you.

In the end, a PhD in Creative Writing is an academic pursuit, not the means to finish a novel. As it turns out, the novel I wrote, Threading the Labyrinth, worked as the result of academic study but wasn’t commercially publishable until I revised it and even restructured it, and now, more than three years later, it’s on its way to being published. I don’t know whether I could have written Threading without the research I did as a PhD student, but I do know that Threading is a better novel for it.

Tiffani Angus is a Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, who lectures in Publishing and Creative Writing, is the Course Leader for the MA Creative Writing, and is a Director at the Anglia Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy. She has published short fiction in a variety of genres (among them science fiction, historical fantasy, horror, and even erotica) and her debut novel Threading the Labyrinth will be out with Unsung Stories Press in late 2019. Her current work in progress is novel inspired by her research into the estrangement of women’s bodies in apocalyptic fiction. An American who grew up in Las Vegas, she now lives in Bury St Edmunds with her partner.

She can be found on Twitter @tiffaniangus

Her website is at www.tiffani-angus.com

Tags: featured , women writers

Category : How To and Tips

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

' src=

Thank you for this information. Very helpful.

' src=

I loved this ! I know what I’m doing with my life now . It’s such a beautiful combination of science and creativity . So well spoken .

' src=

Hi, Tiffani.

I really enjoyed your post and found it very informative. I’m coming to the end of my MA in Creative Writing at Hull, and I’m currently looking for Ph.D. opportunities with a focus on magical realism and the introduction of mesmerism into British society in the 1800s. I hadn’t realised Anglia Ruskin had an SFF department, but it sounds like a wonderful place to study.

Thanks for the insight.

' src=

So which uni did you do your PhD in? I’m also thinking of doing something related to SFF!

' src=

I did my PhD at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, where I now teach and am also the General Director of the Anglia Centre for Science Fiction & Fantasy (we are very genre-friendly at ARU!). We have staff in the English Department who supervise lit students studying SFF, and I and a colleague supervise creative writing students (though currently our rosters are rather full). There are other universities that are SFF-friendly; best bet is to start looking at universities and the staff members’ research expertise listings to find someone to approach. Good luck!

' src=

It was good to see your blog post. I keep being on the fence on getting a creative writing phd. I have an MA and MFA in creative writing (and had a good and a bad experience with that). Part of my wants to get the phd for my ego. But honestly, I itch to write. I have been writing since I was twelve and I can’t not write. I miss being with writers and the writing craft.

If you have any advice for this, that would be fantastic! Thanks, K

First of all, apologies for the delay in responding.

I am glad to hear that the blog post has been informative. I can understand wanting to get the PhD for your ego–it is definitely one of those things that changes how people see you in some ways. But it doesn’t necessarily help you feel completely different about yourself in a positive way. Like with the MA and MFA, the experience can be both good and bad.

If you itch to write, then just write. A PhD does require writing, yes, but in addition to the creative/fiction writing it also requires a LOT of academic and non-fiction writing, which requires a boatload of analysis and thinking, which end up distracting you away from the fiction writing! So it’s not all sitting and doing constant sprints or pomodoros but going into detail explaining what you were doing when you were writing, explaining where ideas came from, how they developed, etc. (read the 2nd article I posted on the site for more about that: https://booksbywomen.org/threading-the-labyrinth-of-historical-research-how-the-twists-and-turns-led-to-a-creative-writing-phd/ )

If you miss being with writers, then the PhD (at least in the UK) might not be the right fit for you because you spend most of your time doing solo research. I’d advise you to find a writers’ group to be part of. This can be difficult, but they ARE out there. (Do some googling for meetups, etc., in your area.) Try to find a group of serious writers, not hobbyists; by that I mean people who want to publish or have been published. A group where people stand a read their work aloud (where that is your first experience with their work and you don’t read it before the meetings) isn’t what you want. You want people who are serious about critiquing and helping each other. A group like that can be invaluable, and it is a completely different experience from a PhD where YOU are often a group of 1.

Good luck with your writing and with making a decision about doing the PhD. If you do decide you want to explore the PhD idea, you’ve got my advice for that in the article!

Best, Tiffani

Leave a Reply

Name ( required )

Email ( required; will not be published )

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Recent Posts

  • Creating Characters in Springtime
  • The Scandalous Origins of a Faux, Fascinating Life 
  • SAD SACKED: Excerpt
  • Laughing About it One Day By Courtney Deane
  • Henriette Lazaridis: On Writing LAST DAYS IN PLAKA

Recent Comments

  • Lena Gregory on My Writing Journey by Lena Gregory
  • The Secret Life of a Publishing Company – Part III : Women Writers, Women's Books on THE SECRET LIFE OF A PUBLISHING COMPANY
  • The Secret Life of a Publishing Company – Part III : Women Writers, Women's Books on The Secret Life of A Publishing Company Part II
  • Laura Sherman on Alice McIlroy: On Writing Genre-Blending Fiction 
  • Richard Pelletier on How I Found my Literary Agent
  • Catherine Evans on Things I Wish I’d Known About Book Marketing
  • Cherie on Science Fiction World Building
  • Submission Guidelines
  • Site Sponsors
  • marquette.edu //
  • Contacts //
  • A-Z Index //
  • Give to Marquette

Marquette.edu  //  Career Center  //  Resources  // 

Properly Write Your Degree

The correct way to communicate your degree to employers and others is by using the following formats:

Degree - This is the academic degree you are receiving. Your major is in addition to the degree; it can be added to the phrase or written separately.  Include the full name of your degree, major(s), minor(s), emphases, and certificates on your resume.

Double Majors - You will not be receiving two bachelor's degrees if you double major. Your primary major determines the degree (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science). If you're not fully sure which of your majors is primary, check CheckMarq or call the registrar's office.

Example: Primary Major: Psychology ; Secondary Major: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology & Marketing

Primary Major: Marketing ; Secondary Major: Psychology

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing & Psychology

In a letter, you may shorten your degree by writing it this way:

  • In May 20XX, I will graduate with my Bachelor's degree in International Affairs.
  • In December 20XX, I will graduate with my Master's degree in Counseling Education.

Not sure which degree you are graduating with? Here is a list of Undergraduate Majors and corresponding degrees:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Communication
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Nursing  

Student meets for an appointment at the Career Center

  • Online Resources
  • Handouts and Guides
  • College/Major Specific Resources
  • Grad Program Specific Resources
  • Diverse Population Resource s
  • Affinity Group Resources
  • Schedule an Appointment
  • Major/Career Exploration
  • Internship/Job Search
  • Graduate/Professional School
  • Year of Service
  • Resume and Cover Letter Writing

Handshake logo

  • Login to Handshake
  • Getting Started with Handshake
  • Handshake Support for Students
  • Handshake Support for Alumni
  • Handshake Information for Employers

CONNECT WITH US

Instagram

PROBLEM WITH THIS WEBPAGE? Report an accessibility problem  

To report another problem, please contact  [email protected]

Marquette University Holthusen Hall, First Floor Milwaukee, WI 53233 Phone: (414) 288-7423

  • Campus contacts
  • Search marquette.edu

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Privacy Policy Legal Disclaimer Non-Discrimination Policy Accessible Technology

© 2024 Marquette University

IMAGES

  1. What Can You Do With A Creative Writing Degree?

    can you get a doctorate in creative writing

  2. How Useful Is A Creative Writing Degree?

    can you get a doctorate in creative writing

  3. Creative Writing Degree: Everything You Need to Know

    can you get a doctorate in creative writing

  4. Explaining Graduate Degrees in Creative Writing

    can you get a doctorate in creative writing

  5. The Difference Between A Doctorate And A PhD

    can you get a doctorate in creative writing

  6. How to Get a Doctorate in English (with Pictures)

    can you get a doctorate in creative writing

VIDEO

  1. What to do in the second year of PhD?

  2. 10 Tips for Selecting an Online Doctoral Program

  3. Achieve Excellence with Honorary Doctorate

  4. How many papers in a PhD?

  5. Writing and Design for Musical Theater Master's Degree at Berklee NYC

  6. English, Creative Writing and Publishing at the University of Derby

COMMENTS

  1. PhD Creative Writing

    A rigorous program that combines creative writing and literary studies, the Ph.D. in Creative Writing prepares graduates for both scholarly and creative publication and teaching. With faculty guidance, students admitted to the Ph.D. program may tailor their programs to their goals and interests. The creative writing faculty at KU has been ...

  2. Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature

    Requirements for admission to study in the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing and Literature include: B.A. degree in any area of study; GPA, undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) Creative writing sample (25 pages of prose or 10-12 pages of poetry) Critical writing sample (10-25 pages) Statement of purpose (no more than three pages)

  3. Fully Funded PhD Programs in Creative Writing

    Starting salary for a PhDs is $20,104/9 months. As part of the assistantship, students are awarded either a Graduate Tuition Fellowship, which remits tuition, or a Creative Writing Program Fellowship, which covers the cost of tuition and the University will pay up to 50% of the costs of medical insurance. University of Illinois, PhD in Creative ...

  4. PhD in Creative Writing

    Program Overview. The PhD in Creative Writing and Literature is a four-year course of study. Following two years of course work that includes workshop, forms classes, pedagogical training, literature, and theory, students take exams in two areas, one that examines texts through the lens of craft and another that examines them through the lens ...

  5. Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature

    The curriculum for Ph.D. students emphasizes creative writing and literary study. The city of Houston offers a vibrant, multi-cultural backdrop for studying creative writing at the University of Houston. With a dynamic visual and performing arts scene, the Houston metropolitan area supplies a wealth of aesthetic materials.

  6. - PhD in Creative Writing & Literature

    the Ph.D. in CREATIVE WRITING & LITERATURE PROGRAM is one of the few dual Ph.D. programs in the country that weaves the disciplines of literature and creative work into a single educational experience. Students complete coursework in both creative writing and literature. The dissertation project is comprised of creative and critical manuscripts ...

  7. English Creative Writing Ph.D.

    English Creative Writing Ph.D. Highlights. In a 2020 report by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the UNT English Department ranked No. 10 out of all R1institutions in doctoral degrees earned by minority students, and No. 19 in the number of Latinx Ph.D. graduates. The creative writing faculty features nationally and internationally ...

  8. Best 7 Creative Writing PhD Programmes in United States 2024

    This page shows a selection of the available PhDs in United States. If you're interested in studying a Creative Writing degree in United States you can view all 7 PhDs. You can also read more about Creative Writing degrees in general, or about studying in United States. Many universities and colleges in United States offer English-taught PhD's ...

  9. Curriculum

    The program provides dual emphasis in literature & creative writing, culminating in the dissertation, which combines critical analysis with creative originality. Doctoral candidates not only read and write texts as finished products of scholarship in researching their creative work's literary and historical milieu, but also consider the text ...

  10. PhD Programs in Creative Writing

    Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we've published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests ...

  11. Literature and Creative Writing (PhD)

    The graduate curriculum is divided into 500-level foundation courses and 600-level advanced courses. The 500-level courses offer fundamental work in theory and in the history of British and American literatures and cultures. The 600-level courses feature advanced studies in theory, creative writing seminars and workshops and special topics.

  12. PhD in Creative Writing and Literature

    The Creative Writing and Literature PhD curriculum is comprised of professional development courses, courses in a curricular area stream, elective courses, and creative writing workshops. As part of their curricular plans, all English department PhD students must enroll in one of five curricular area streams: Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy ...

  13. Creative Writing

    Obtaining a doctorate degree in creative writing provides an education specializing in fiction writing techniques and literary analysis. Upon receiving a PhD in Creative Writing, graduates can use the degree to further develop their own creative writing career or teach others the skills and techniques used to write and analyze literature at the ...

  14. Doctoral Concentration in Creative Writing

    Apply to Write with Us. In addition to the PhD in English application requirements, the department requires a creative writing portfolio. You should submit a creative writing sample of 15-20 pages as part of their application directly to the Graduate Coordinator for Incoming Students, Dr. Leah Orr at [email protected]. PDFs are preferred.

  15. About the PhD Creative/Critical Writing Concentration

    The "Creative Writing Studio" is a mixed-genre class that moves beyond the classic workshop mode to give students time to focus on their creative work in a supportive community. The "Methods and Materials" class is a seminar that examines one form, topic, and/or theme. Students can respond creatively, critically or creative/critically.

  16. Where Can I Earn a PhD in Creative Writing?

    The Ph.D. program in creative writing at the University of Denver accepts only 20 students at one time; the program boasts a tightly knit writer's community. The 3-year program includes four writer's workshops, one of which must be out of your usual writing style. The required dissertation must cover literary criticism, but it cannot be ...

  17. Your complete guide to a PhD in Creative Writing

    Creative Writing educates students on basic elements of fiction, as well as the importance of character, scene and plot. The disciplines is strongly connected with the disciplines of literature, philosophy and communications. Creative Writing can be separated in sub-disciplines like screen writing, playwriting, poetry, songs, memoirs, and more.

  18. Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions. "Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.". - Samuel Johnson. Below find the answers to some common questions regarding the Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature program. The dropdown menus below will help you skip to the topic in which you are interested.

  19. Best Online Creative Writing Ph.D. Programs

    Career Opportunities with an Online PhD in Creative Writing. After completing an online PhD in Creative Writing, you can either pursue your current career or explore other opportunities. Positions that graduates of online PhD programs can consider include: Professor of Creative Writing. Many graduates go on to teach at the university level.

  20. PhD Creative Writing (2024 entry)

    Our PhD Creative Writing programme gives you the opportunity to work on a significant piece of creative writing while developing your research skills. You will benefit from creative supervision by an experienced poet or fiction writer and draw on the range of expertise within the University to find a supervisor for your critical element. ...

  21. 3 Myths About the MFA in Creative Writing

    Myth 2: The MFA Is a Shortcut to Getting Published. No agent will sign you and no editor will publish your book based on a credential alone. You have to write something beautiful. If you attend an MFA program and work hard, you will become a better writer.

  22. Doing a PhD in Creative Writing: Is it for Everyone?

    PhD in Creative Writing programs are becoming more popular, but the question remains whether they are necessary for a writer. The easy answer: no. The harder answer: not really but maybe there's some benefit. Doing a PhD is a four- to seven-year commitment, depending on the country and whether you study full or part time.

  23. A Doctorate in Creative Writing

    It can be. What I am asking is if it is a doctorate in the field of rocket science. Clearly, it is not. In fact, it should not be a doctorate in any other field than creative writing. Yet, over and over again, we find this simple fact misunderstood or misrepresented or misinterpreted. I admit I used to blame colleagues in English and Literary ...

  24. Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

    Creative Writing Program Details. Our Masters of Creative Writing degree program offers comprehensive online courses in literary arts, encompassing advanced writing studies in various genres such as fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and more. Students benefit from one-on-one mentorship with renowned and published writers in their respective genres ...

  25. Properly Write Your Degree

    The correct way to communicate your degree to employers and others is by using the following formats: Degree - This is the academic degree you are receiving. Your major is in addition to the degree; it can be added to the phrase or written separately. Include the full name of your degree, major (s), minor (s), emphases, and certificates on your ...