Writing a PHD
The Creative Writing Program offers a challenging intellectual experience with most of the same requirements as the Literary Studies PhD. There are two principal differences:
- The dissertation is a body of creative work with a short critical preface or afterword (more below).The coursework includes four workshops over a three-year period (with one of those workshops out of the writer's genre).
- This is not a studio program. Workshops do not occur nearly as often they do in an MFA program. But everything students do during their coursework tends to interact with their writing. Applicants must choose to apply either to the "fiction" or "poetry" track. Once admitted, students may take workshops in both fiction and poetry. For more information, please see:
The preface or afterword of the creative dissertation is a critical essay of approximately 25 pages, which may cover any subject reasonably connected to but not directly engaging the creative work of the candidate, such as a group of writings, a genre, a school of writers, a historical theme, theory, style or diction. This will be an exercise in publishable literary criticism or a more informal literary essay, which demonstrates the candidate's professional maturity.
An Environment for Writers
We offer an environment for writers who are also serious and cross-disciplinary readers. We believe writers are enriched by a heady diet of great literature in conjunction with philosophy, history, critical and aesthetic theory, anthropology, art history, and the history of science. We teach students to read constantly, think hard, but only rarely to self-consciously put that reading and thinking into their writing. Instead we believe it is the mind behind the work that is altered and will in turn eventually alter the writing.
The deadline for applications to the Creative Writing program is January 1.
More about the Creative Writing Program—Just for PhD Students
DU's program in creative writing is one of the only writing programs in the country that focuses exclusively on doctoral study. All of the University of Denver's graduate students in Creative Writing are PhD students. We do not offer an MA in creative writing. We have never had an MFA.
At other creative writing doctoral programs, MFA and MA students generally outnumber creative writing PhD students in workshops. We pitch our workshops and other courses to the sophisticated levels of students who have done an MA or MFA in creative writing elsewhere.