PhD in Literature and Creative Writing

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 student should also continue to strengthen and deepen an understanding of three areas of expertise: his/her specific genre, including the history of the genre and contemporary theoretical approaches to the genre; a historical period, rhetoric or literary theory; and a specific individualized area of inquiry. The career of a PhD student should be marked by increasing independence in his/her creative writing and in thinking and writing about literature and/or literary theory. Working toward these objectives advances the student's competence in writing the creative dissertation. The PhD in Literature and Creative Writing constitutes solid preparation for creative publication, scholarly publication, and expert undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Application Deadlines

Fall Admission: December 15
No Spring Admission 

Texas Common Application Form

Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • M.A. in English or M.F.A. in Creative Writing
  • 3.5 g.p.a. in graduate studies
  • Studies in one foreign language (Student can complete this requirement while in residence.)
  • GRE general test

Application Materials

Students should submit the following materials to the University of Houston’s Office of Admissions:

  • The online application
  • Academic transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended
  • The scores for the GRE general test 

The following materials should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • The student’s statement of intent (1-2 pages)
  • A 15-25 page critical writing sample with bibliography
  • 10 pages of poetry or 20-25 pages of fiction or non-fiction; the fiction or non-fiction manuscript should be double-spaced on numbered, single-sided pages; the poetry manuscript can be single-spaced and formatted as desired; the creative manuscript should be stapled, but neither bound nor presented in a folder or notebook.

Requirements of the Degree

  • 45 hours of coursework
  • Foreign language. Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages or intensive knowledge of one foreign language.
  • 3 written comprehensive examinations
  • 1 oral comprehensive examination
  • Dissertation

Distribution of Coursework

  • 3 hours of Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English
  • 3 hours of bibliography, literary theory, or rhetoric. If students have taken a course in one of these areas for the M.A., this requirement will be waived, allowing the student an additional 3 hours of elective course work (but not a reduction in the total hours required).
  • 24 hours of literature, including (1) either History of Poetry and Poetics or History of Narrative and Narrative Theory, (2) 9 hours in early literature, (3) 6 hours in later literature, and (4) 6 hours of elective courses, each contributing to the student's areas of expertise. Students should select each of these courses in consultation with the graduate advisor and his/her faculty mentors. Early British literature is defined as British literature before 1800 and early American literature is defined as American literature before 1865.
  • 3 hours of Writers on Literature
  • 12 hours of creative writing workshops, including 1 Master Workshop in student's program

Doctoral Reading Lists