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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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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A Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. in creative writing is choosing the best program for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the selection process.
When considering an online Ph.D. in creative writing, 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. also offers opportunities for professional development and networking. Many programs 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 Ph.D. 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 choose to pursue an online Ph.D. in Creative Writing benefit from the format’s flexibility and convenience. Online programs 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 Ph.D. in Creative Writing
After completing an online Ph.D. in Creative Writing, you can either pursue your current career or explore other opportunities. Positions that graduates of online Ph.D. programs can consider include:
Many graduates of online Ph.D. programs in creative writing 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 with a Ph.D. in creative writing 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, Ph.D. 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 with a Ph.D. in creative writing 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program in creative writing, 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 Ph.D. 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 program 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 with a Ph.D. in Creative Writing 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 Ph.D. in Creative Writing a Good Idea?
Obtaining an online Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. in creative writing 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 Ph.D. in creative writing can open up many interesting career opportunities. It can qualify graduates for positions as:
- Professors of creative writing
- 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 Ph.D. have the upper hand.
Pursuing a Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. in creative writing is definitely worth pursuing. It can help you achieve career goals, learn new writing tactics, and explore valuable collaborations.
Top Online Ph.D. Programs in Creative Writing
When choosing the best program to get an online Ph.D. in creative writing, you need to pay attention to the school’s location (in case occasional visits to the campus are required), accreditation, and time of program completion.
This list contains the top online Ph.D. 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 program is three years if you decide to study full-time. If you enroll in a part-time program, it will take six years to compete.
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 in creative writing 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 Ph.D. program . The full-time program 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 program, you will complete a 100,000-word written thesis.
Admissions requirements include:
- Master’s degree or relevant experience
- English proficiency tests if you aren’t a native English speaker
- A Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program in creative writing. 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 U.S.A, bachelor’s degree will be sufficient)
- Research proposal
- Portfolio of original writing
Located in Manchester, UK, Manchester Metropolitan University has a distance Ph.D. 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
- Masters’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 Ph.D. program in Creative Writing? An online Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. programs in Creative Writing as reputable as traditional on-campus programs? Yes, many online Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program? Online Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program in Creative Writing usually take to complete? The duration of online Ph.D. 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.
PHD in Economics, Associate Professor, Department of Business Process Management, Faculty of Market Technologies IOM
College of Arts and Sciences » Academic Units » English » Creative Writing » Graduate Program » PhD in Creative Writing
PhD in Creative Writing
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 which examines texts through the lens of craft and another which 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 , 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.
- Exam Areas and Committee
- Doctoral Candidacy Form
- Foreign Language
- Exam Procedures
- Applying for Fifth-Year Funding
- Working for The Cincinnati Review
- Teaching Opportunities
- All Creative Writing Graduate Courses
- Archive of Technique & Form Courses
January and Spring Term 2024 course registration is now open!
Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program
11 out of 12 total courses
One 1- or 3-week residency in summer
$3,220 per course
Unlock your creative potential and hone your unique voice.
Build a strong foundation in literary criticism and writing across multiple genres — including fiction, nonfiction, and drama — in our live online writing and literature program with an in-person writer’s residency at Harvard.
Through the master’s degree in creative writing and literature, you’ll hone your skills as a storyteller — crafting publishable original scripts, novels, and stories.
In small, workshop-style classes, you’ll master key elements of narrative craft, including characterization, story and plot structure, point of view, dialogue, and description. And you’ll learn to approach literary works as both a writer and scholar by developing skills in critical analysis.
Instructors who are published authors of drama, fiction, and nonfiction
A community of writers who support your growth in live online classes
Writer's residency with agent & editor networking opportunities
Personalized academic and career advising
Thesis or capstone options that lead to publishable creative work
Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation
Customizable Course Curriculum
As you work through the program’s courses, you’ll enhance your creative writing skills and knowledge of literary concepts and strategies. You’ll practice the art of revision to hone your voice as a writer in courses like Writing the Short Personal Essay and Writing Flash Fiction.
Within the creative writing and literature program, you will choose between a thesis or capstone track. You’ll also experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person.
11 Online Courses
- Primarily synchronous
- Fall, spring, January, and summer options
A 1- or 3-week summer master class taught by a notable instructor, followed by an agents-and-editors weekend
Thesis or Capstone Track
- Thesis: features a 9-month independent creative project with a faculty advisor
- Capstone: includes crafting a fiction or nonfiction manuscript in a classroom community
The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.
First, you’ll register for and complete 2 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.
We invite you to explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.
A Faculty of Creative Writing Experts
Studying at Harvard Extension School means learning from the world’s best. Our instructors are renowned academics in literary analysis, storytelling, manuscript writing, and more. They bring a genuine passion for teaching, with students giving our faculty an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.
Playwright and Screenwriter
Talaya Adrienne Delaney
Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University
Elisabeth Sharp McKetta
Our community at a glance.
80% of our creative writing and literature students are enrolled in our master’s degree program for either personal enrichment or to make a career change. Most (74%) are employed full time while pursuing their degree and work across a variety of industries.
Course Taken Each Semester
Work Full Time
Would Recommend the Program
Professional Experience in the Field
Pursued for Personal Enrichment
Career Opportunities & Alumni Outcomes
Graduates of our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Program have writing, research, and communication jobs in the fields of publishing, advertising/marketing, fundraising, secondary and higher education, and more.
Some alumni continue their educational journeys and pursue further studies in other nationally ranked degree programs, including those at Boston University, Brandeis University, University of Pennsylvania, and Cambridge University.
Our alumni hold titles as:
- Marketing Manager
- Director of Publishing
- Senior Research Writer
Our alumni work at a variety of leading organizations, including:
- Little, Brown & Company
- New York University (NYU)
- Bentley Publishers
Career Advising and Mentorship
Whatever your career goals, we’re here to support you. Harvard’s Mignone Center for Career Success offers career advising, employment opportunities, Harvard alumni mentor connections, and career fairs like the annual on-campus Harvard Humanities, Media, Marketing, and Creative Careers Expo.
Your Harvard University Degree
Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Creative Writing and Literature.
Expand Your Connections: the Harvard Alumni Network
As a graduate, you’ll become a member of the worldwide Harvard Alumni Association (400,000+ members) and Harvard Extension Alumni Association (29,000+ members).
Harvard is closer than one might think. You can be anywhere and still be part of this world.
Read Julia Antuerpem's Story
Tuition & Financial Aid
Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.
After admission, you may qualify for financial aid . Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.
What can you do with a master’s degree in creative writing and literature?
A master’s degree in creative writing and literature prepares you for a variety of career paths in writing, literature, and communication — it’s up to you to decide where your interests will take you.
You could become a professional writer, editor, literary agent, marketing copywriter, or communications specialist.
You could also go the academic route and bring your knowledge to the classroom to teach creative writing or literature courses.
Is a degree in creative writing and literature worth it?
The value you find in our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program will depend on your unique goals, interests, and circumstances.
The curriculum provides a range of courses that allow you to graduate with knowledge and skills transferable to various industries and careers.
How long does completing the creative writing and literature graduate program take?
Program length is ordinarily anywhere between 2 and 5 years. It depends on your preferred pace and the number of courses you want to take each semester.
For an accelerated journey, we offer year round study, where you can take courses in fall, January, spring, and summer.
While we don’t require you to register for a certain number of courses each semester, you cannot take longer than 5 years to complete the degree.
What skills do you need prior to applying for the creative writing and literature degree program?
Harvard Extension School does not require any specific skills prior to applying, but in general, it’s helpful to have solid reading, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills if you are considering a creative writing and literature master’s degree.
Initial eligibility requirements can be found on our creative writing and literature master’s degree requirements page .
Harvard Division of Continuing Education
The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) at Harvard University is dedicated to bringing rigorous academics and innovative teaching capabilities to those seeking to improve their lives through education. We make Harvard education accessible to lifelong learners from high school to retirement.
What are you looking for?
Phd in creative writing & literature, at home in usc’s department of english,.
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, both of which are essential for completion of the degree.
USC CREATIVE WRITING FACULTY include recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, Guggenheim Fellowships, the National Book Award, National Endowment for the Arts grants, Pushcart Prizes and other prestigious recognitions for their exemplary writing and dedication to their creative and scholarly work. As professors, the faculty are committed to developing innovative seminars and guiding students in the cultivation of their abilities as writers and scholars. Each incoming student is assigned a faculty mentor, with whom the student will work closely during their years at USC. While Creative Writing faculty teach critical courses from time to time, most of these literature and theory-based seminars are led by the faculty in the Department of English, all of whom are impressively accomplished scholars who are devoted to the scholarly growth of their graduate students.
Our program prizes INTERDISCIPLINARY SCHOLARSHIP, so students are encouraged to cultivate their diverse interests with courses outside of the English Department. Many students choose to pursue a complimentary graduate certificate concurrent with the Ph.D. degree. The Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers graduate certificate programs in Gender Studies, Visual Studies, East Asian Studies and Visual Anthropology, among others.
IN ADDITION TO COURSEWORK, students have the opportunity to participate in Ph.D. student-run projects such as The Loudest Voice, a reading series, and Gold Line Press , a publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry chapbooks.
Though known for its competitive sports teams, USC also organizes an array of stimulating events throughout the year, including the English Department’s Boudreaux Visiting Writers Series and Frank N. Magill Poetry Series, as well as the University-wide Visions & Voices series, which features diverse and dynamic performances, lectures, and discussions that extend the arts and humanities beyond the classroom.
USC also hosts the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books — one of the largest literary events in the nation. USC itself is located in the heart of beautiful Los Angeles, an international city with a vibrant arts scene, just miles from the beach or hiking trails; students will never be at a loss for something to do.
ADMISSION is extremely competitive: the program accepts 2 or 3 writers per genre every year from hundreds of applicants. All incoming students receive five years of guaranteed funding — three years of fellowship and two of teaching assistantship. Fellowship years are granted during the first, second, and fourth years of study. Funding packages also cover full tuition remission and health insurance.
OUR STUDENTS and ALUMNI have published book-length works and collections with Alice James Books, Anhinga Press, Black Lawrence Press, Copper Canyon Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hogarth, Northwestern University Press, Other Press, Penguin, Red Hen Press, Saturnalia, Siglio Press, Slope Editions, Tebot Bach, Ugly Duckling Presse, University of Iowa Press, and White Pine Press, among others. Their books, poems, stories, and essays have garnered an impressive array of accolades.
For information concerning admission, please visit our Application page.
Many questions concerning the Creative Writing & Literature Program are answered on our FAQ page.
If you do not find the information you are looking for on our website, please feel free to contact us.
Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature
3501 Trousdale Parkway
Taper Hall of Humanities 431
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354
Monday — Friday
8:30 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.
Times may adjust in accordance with university holidays.