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Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Liberty University

Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Where Can I Earn a PhD in Creative Writing?

Prospective students exploring PhD options at different institutions may expect to find the application process selective and highly competitive, resulting in very intimate class sizes. Students may also choose to apply to even more specific programs within their PhD such as fiction or poetry. This degree usually concludes with a dissertation of personal work, such as a novel or compilation of poems.


While writing creatively requires a certain amount of talent, writing is also a craft. Many colleges have master's degree programs in creative writing, but few offer Ph.D. studies. To find out more about some colleges where you can earn a Ph.D. in creative writing, continue reading.

Important Facts about a PhD in Creative Writing

Common Courses Poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction, 20th century American and British literature and theory
Prerequisites (varies by institution) B.A, M.A or M.F.A in Creative Writing, a creative writing sample, a critical writing sample, statement of purpose and letter(s) of recommendation
Possible Careers Assistant Professor, Director of Marketing, Author, Editor
Concentrations Literary and cultural studies, composition and rhetoric and creative writing
Median Salary (2018)$62,170 (writes and authors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% (writers and authors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The University of Missouri

The University of Missouri offers Ph.D. programs in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Program requirements include working knowledge of two languages or proficiency in one.

After being accepted and entering the Ph.D. program, you will be required to take an English language course and a course in either English language structure or the history of English language. The final required course is English literary criticism. At the end of the first year, you will be required to take a Ph.D. qualifying exam.

During the rest of your program, you will prepare to pass your comprehensive examination, teach classes and complete your dissertation. Your dissertation should be a creative example of your writing abilities, such as a collection of poetry, short stories or a complete novel. A 5-member committee will quiz you on your dissertation and your knowledge of creative writing.

The University of Southern California

Ph.D. students in creative writing at the University of Southern California (USC) take the same basic courses and tests as Ph.D. students in literature. As a creative writing student at USC, you'll cover areas of British literature, American literature and poetry. Advanced courses include writing seminars, as well as classes in theory and writer's workshops.

As a doctoral candidate, you will present your own written text, which will be clinically analyzed by discussing its literary characteristics as part of a dissertation. Passing this final test culminates in earning your degree.

The University of Denver

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 completely dedicated to your own work.

The University of Nebraska

Located on the Lincoln campus, the graduate programs in English at the University of Nebraska accept only about 150 students per year. Starting in fall 2013, the school adjusted its admissions process, which means students interested in poetry are admitted one year, and fiction or nonfiction writers are admitted the next year. The Ph.D. in Creative Writing degree program has a low student to teacher ratio, which means that you could receive a lot of individual instruction.

In this program, you are responsible for developing your own program of coursework and reading lists, which will be used in the final comprehensive exam. You must be fluent in one foreign language and a collateral field of study, and you will complete a special dissertation project.