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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.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • MA in English or MFA in Creative Writing
  • 3.5 GPA in graduate studies
  • Studies in one foreign language (Student can complete this requirement while in residence.)

Fall Admission Application Deadline: January 15

No Spring Admission

Application Materials

Consult the Creative Writing Program website for details on required materials and submission procedures.

Degree Requirements

  • 45 hours of coursework
  • Foreign language competence. Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages or intensive knowledge of one foreign language.
  • 2 written doctoral examinations
  • 1 oral examination
  • 1 dissertation prospectus and hearing
  • Dissertation and hearing

Distribution of Coursework

  • 3 hours of Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English
  • 6 hours of bibliography, literary theory, or rhetoric
  • 3 hours History of Poetry and Poetics OR History of Narrative and Narrative Theory
  • 3 hours of Writers on Literature
  • 9 hours of Early Literature 
  • 6 hours of Later Literature 
  • 6 hours of 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.
  • 12 hours of Workshops including one Master Workshop in the major genre

General Policies and Procedures

Program guidelines are available here.