Doctor of Philosophy - English with 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, with possibilities for some 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 description and 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.

Application Information – (application deadline is January 15 th )

  1. Applicants must possess an M.A. in English or an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from a regionally accredited institution, and must have taken at least 21 credits in British and American literature courses, and have earned a graduate GPA of 3.50 or better.
  2. Applicants must submit the following:
    • A letter of application, addressed to the Graduate Committee, that states the applicant’s reasons for wanting to enter the graduate program in English at UNLV and the intended area(s) of specialization
    • One official set of transcripts from all colleges or universities attended (mailed directly to the Graduate College) and one unofficial set (uploaded through the Grad Rebel Gateway or mailed directly to the English Department)
    • A creative writing sample of fiction, literary nonfiction, or poetry, of not less than 40 pages and not more than 100 pages, to be read and appraised by the Creative Writing faculty. The strength and quality of the writing sample in the opinion of the faculty is the primary basis for selection for admission.
    • Three letters of recommendation from professors of English that specifically address the applicant’s ability to complete the Ph.D. in English with Creative Dissertation.
    • Official scores on the Verbal portion of the General Test and the Literature in English Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination (official GRE results should be directed to institution code 4861; applicants should not enter a department code). Applicants are encouraged to self-report GRE scores in addition to requesting an official report from ETS.
  3. All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Application Process

  1. An application form and presentation manuscript for admission must be submitted via the Grad Rebel Gateway portal.
  2. Official college and/or university transcripts must be mailed directly to the Graduate College at UNLV:

    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Graduate College
    FDH 352
    Box 451017
    4505 S. Maryland Parkway
    Las Vegas, NV 89154-1017
  3. Official GRE scores from ETS should be directed to institution code 4861; do not enter a department code.
  4. Unofficial transcripts and all other supporting materials (statement of purpose, writing sample, letters of recommendation, self-reported GRE scores) should be uploaded through the Grad Rebel Gateway, which is the preferred method for quickly completing and processing an application.
  5. For inquiries about admissions or help in negotiating the process, submit questions or requests via e-mail to:

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.

Visit Graduate Catalog

Representative Syllabi


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