Doctor of Philosophy - English; Creative Dissertation

The Department of English in partnership with the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute and the Black Mountain Institute Ph.D. Fellows program offers a three-year course of studies leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a Creative Dissertation. Studies for the Ph.D. center around English and American Literature, also with possibilities for directed reading in Comparative Literature, and are designed to prepare students for careers in professional writing and the teaching of English and Creative Writing at the university or college level, as well as for careers in editing and publishing. The program includes course work in English and Creative Writing, a Qualifying Examination, and a Creative Dissertation, typically an original collection of short stories, a novel, a collection of literary nonfiction essays or book- length work of literary nonfiction, or a collection of poems.

For more information about the Creative Writing program, see:

Funding: all admitted Ph.D. with Creative Dissertation students are offered $26,500 per yer for three years, funded by a combination of the Graduate Assistantship and Black Mountain Institute Fellowship. Duties for this funding require 20 hours per week, usually fulfilled by a combination of teaching and editorial work on English Department or Black Mountain Institute publications.

Please note: Two new Ph.D. BMI Fellows are admitted each year, in alternating genres. Our current admissions schedule is to admit students for entering classes as follows: Literary Nonfiction – 2019, 2021; Fiction – 2019, 2020; Poetry – 2020, 2021.

Applications for a genre not in the admissions rotation will be returned.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will write a book-length, publishable work of fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry.
  • Students will develop literary and theoretical knowledge at the Ph.D. level, and writing skills that prepare them for university, college, and community college teaching careers.
  • Students will develop professional writing skills that prepare them for a career in writing professionally by selling works to magazines, book publishers, and websites.

Career Possibilities

Creative Writing Ph.D.s can go on to careers in:

A person with a Ph.D. in English with Creative Dissertation is prepared for a career in academia, and can pursue teaching at universities, colleges, or community colleges.
The UNLV and Black Mountain Ph.D. Fellows are offered opportunities to gain valuable professional experience by working on three literary magazines: Witness, Interim and The Believer. This experience prepares them to pursue careers in magazine editing, with publishing houses, with online publishers, or in copy editing and copy writing.
Public Relations, Media, Communications and Advertising
P-R and advertising agencies, as well as media companies of all kinds, need employees with strong writing and communications skills.
Business, Management, and Beyond
In the broadest possible sense, Ph.D. in English with Creative Dissertation graduates can do anything. Graduates can go on to careers in management, in nonprofit organizations, in human resources, sales, politics, civil service, and institutional analysis―the possibilities are endless.

Graduate Catalog

The graduate catalog is the official repository of the graduate program requirements, and Graduate College policies.

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Representative Syllabi


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