Texas Tech University

Creative Writing - PhD Specialization

Doctoral student Ashley Gabbert in the Stray Dog Reading Series.
Doctoral student Ashley Gabbert in the Stray Dog Reading Series.

The Ph.D. with specialization in Creative Writing is an extraordinarily flexible and important degree: it asks you to practice your craft as a writer and to become a scholar of literature, providing you with the expertise and credentials to pursue a career as a faculty member in any English department in the country.

Generally speaking, the Ph.D. requires 30 hours of coursework beyond the M.A. degree, or a total of 60 hours of coursework in English beyond the B.A. degree. Students pursuing the specialization in creative writing must pass qualifying examinations in the genre they intend to study and defend a creative dissertation, typically either a collection of poems, a collection of short stories or non-fiction essays, or a complete manuscript novel or work of creative non-fiction. Students must also acquire or demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages or high proficiency in one foreign language.


Katrina Prow, PhD candidate in fiction, gets to know TTU's Red Raider.
Katrina Prow, PhD candidate in fiction, gets to know TTU's Red Raider.

By design, we expect the Ph.D. to take 4-5 years of full-time study. Some of this time must be spent in full-time residence at Texas Tech University, which requires 24 hours of on-site doctoral coursework in a period of 18 months. During this period of study, doctoral students are expected to meet general requirements in areas like research methods, critical methods, and British and American literature. (Many of these requirements have already been satisfied by students who have completed the M.A. in English.) But at least 12 of the 30 hours taken at the doctoral level will consist of creative writing workshops with our outstanding faculty. Also, students interested in other fields of study may take up to 15 hours of coursework to constitute a degree minor, for instance in a field like art history, philosophy, or women's studies.

Ph.D. student Brian Larsen, who in 2016 won the William Bryan Gates Graduate Award in English.

In our Creative Writing program, we also are committed to the professional development of every doctoral student, so that every student emerges from our Ph.D. program with the tools to publish both creative and scholarly work and to teach creative writing workshops, literature classes, and other courses. Our Professional Development Curriculum is designed to get students thinking about career goals, publication, and other professional activities very early. Also, Ph.D. students begin teaching courses in creative writing and introductory literature as early as their second year. All of this makes for an excellent beginning to a career as a writer and scholar.

Creative writing

Hands Statue

Reading Series


For more information about graduate study in Creative Writing, please contact Dr. Curtis Bauer, Director of Creative Writing.

For general information about graduate study in the Department of English, please contact Dr. Julie Couch, Director of Graduate Studies by email or at 806.834.1742.