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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Writers and Authors

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”
  1. Subash chandra Roy

    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.

  2. alscess lewis brown

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

  3. Rhonda Sharee

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

  4. Donna

    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.

  5. 05.25.2021

    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?

    Thank you.

Share Your Thoughts