The University of Southern California (USC) offers a prestigious PhD program in Creative Writing that combines the disciplines of literature and creative work. The program is highly competitive, accepting only 2 to 3 writers per genre each year from a large pool of applicants. The application deadline is December 1st, and all materials must be submitted online. Required application materials include a creative writing sample, a critical writing sample, a statement of purpose, a diversity statement (optional), a resume/CV, and three letters of recommendation. The program no longer requires the GRE General Test score.
- The USC PhD Creative Writing program offers a unique opportunity to combine the study of literature and creative work.
- Admission to the program is highly competitive, with only a limited number of writers accepted each year.
- Application materials, including writing samples and letters of recommendation, must be submitted online by December 1st.
- The program provides a supportive and rigorous environment for the academic and creative development of its students.
- Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work with award-winning faculty and participate in various literary events and projects.
Dual Ph.D. Program in Creative Writing & Literature
USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing & Literature is a unique opportunity for aspiring scholars and writers. Unlike traditional programs, USC offers a dual Ph.D. that integrates both creative writing and literature, allowing students to explore and develop their craft in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary manner.
Students in this program complete coursework in both creative writing and literature, culminating in a dissertation that combines both creative and critical manuscripts. This combination of creative and scholarly work allows students to delve deeper into their areas of interest and make significant contributions to the field.
The Faculty and Their Dedication
The USC writing department boasts an impressive faculty of award-winning writers who are committed to mentoring and guiding students in their creative and scholarly development. These renowned faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the program, offering valuable insights and nurturing the next generation of literary talent.
“The program’s faculty are highly accomplished and committed to the academic and creative growth of their students.”
Additionally, the USC writing department believes in fostering interdisciplinary scholarship. They offer graduate certificate programs in various fields, allowing students to gain expertise in areas beyond creative writing and literature. This interdisciplinary approach broadens students’ perspectives and equips them with a diverse skill set that can enhance their academic and professional endeavors.
Ph.D. student-run Projects and Collaborations
USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing & Literature provides ample opportunities for students to engage in meaningful projects and collaborate with their peers. The program encourages students to participate in Ph.D. student-run projects, such as a reading series and a publisher of chapbooks.
“Students have the opportunity to participate in Ph.D. student-run projects, such as a reading series and a publisher of chapbooks.”
This hands-on experience allows students to gain practical insights into the publishing industry, build valuable networks, and showcase their work to a wider audience. These student-run projects play a crucial role in fostering creativity, collaboration, and professional development among Ph.D. students.
By combining creative writing and literature, offering distinguished faculty mentorship, and encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, USC’s dual Ph.D. program in Creative Writing & Literature provides a dynamic and enriching experience for aspiring writers and scholars.
Funding and Support
USC understands the financial challenges that Ph.D. students in Creative Writing may face and strives to provide comprehensive funding and support. All incoming students in the program are eligible for five years of guaranteed funding, ensuring a worry-free academic journey.
The funding package includes three years of fellowship and two years of teaching assistantship. During the first, second, and fourth years of study, students receive fellowship years, which provide financial support while allowing them to focus on their creative and scholarly endeavors.
The fellowship includes:
- Financial stipend
- Full tuition remission
- Health insurance coverage
At USC, students will have the opportunity to engage with highly accomplished faculty who are dedicated to their academic and creative growth. The program’s faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, providing valuable guidance and mentorship throughout the Ph.D. journey.
Through their commitment to excellence in teaching and writing, the USC writing faculty create a supportive and collaborative environment for students to thrive. They offer valuable insights, constructive feedback, and individualized attention, ensuring that each student receives personalized guidance and support.
With the generous funding and the expertise of the USC writing faculty, students can pursue their academic and creative ambitions with confidence. They can focus on honing their craft, expanding their knowledge, and establishing themselves as emerging voices in the field of creative writing.
|First, second, and fourth years of study
|Teaching Assistantship Years
|Third and fifth years of study
|Full tuition coverage for the duration of the program
|Comprehensive health insurance coverage
The funding and support provided by USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing ensure that students can fully immerse themselves in their studies and pursue their passion for writing without financial worries. Apply now and embark on an enriching academic journey with the USC Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.
To be considered for admission to USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing, applicants must fulfill a set of requirements that showcase their potential and dedication to the field of creative writing.
Key Criteria for Admission
- Satisfactory scores in the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE General Test and the literature Subject Test
- Writing sample demonstrating competence in creative writing
- Sample of written work on literary subjects
- Written statement of aims and interests in graduate work
- Three letters of recommendation
- Satisfactory grades earned at other institutions
Applicants must also possess either a Bachelor’s degree or, for transfer students, an MA or MFA in creative writing.
The admission process for USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing is designed to identify talented individuals who are passionate about furthering their knowledge and skills in the field. By considering various aspects such as test scores, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and academic records, the program aims to create a diverse and dynamic cohort of students.
Once admitted, students can explore the comprehensive curriculum and writing workshops offered by USC, providing them with the tools and experience necessary to become successful contributors to the literary world.
|GRE General Test: Verbal and Quantitative sections
|Literature Subject Test
|Competence in creative writing
|Written work on literary subjects
|Aims and interests in graduate work
|Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (MA or MFA for transfer students)
The Ph.D. program in Creative Writing & Literature at USC requires students to complete 64 units of coursework. These degree requirements are designed to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded education in the field of creative writing.
The coursework includes the following:
- 32 units in literature
- 24 units in creative writing workshops and seminars
- 8 units of dissertation studies credits
This coursework covers a range of topics in literature and creative writing, ensuring that students develop a strong foundation in both areas. It also prepares them for independent research and the completion of their dissertations.
Foreign Language Proficiency
In addition to the coursework, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language. This requirement enhances students’ ability to engage with texts and cultures beyond their own, opening up new avenues for research and creative exploration.
Degree Requirements Overview
|Creative Writing Workshops and Seminars
|Dissertation Studies Credits
|Foreign Language Proficiency
These degree requirements provide a comprehensive education in southern California creative writing, offering students a well-rounded understanding of the field and preparing them for successful careers in academia, publishing, and other writing-related professions.
Advisement and Screening Procedure
Upon entering the USC Ph.D. program in Creative Writing, each student is assigned a dedicated faculty mentor who provides guidance and support throughout their graduate studies. The faculty mentor serves as a valuable resource, offering expertise and valuable insights to help students navigate their academic and creative journey.
As students advance in their studies, they are encouraged to form an informal qualifying exam committee. This committee plays a crucial role in assisting students in developing a comprehensive program of study and preparing for the departmental examination.
“My faculty mentor has been instrumental in shaping my research interests and providing invaluable advice on my creative work. The qualifying exam committee has also been a tremendous resource in helping me refine my study plan. The guidance and support I’ve received have been truly transformative.” – USC Ph.D. Creative Writing student
The departmental examination is an essential part of the screening procedure, evaluating students’ readiness to undertake independent research and showcasing their expertise in various areas of emphasis in literature and creative writing.
Throughout this process, students benefit from the expertise and mentorship of the esteemed USC writing faculty, who are committed to fostering a stimulating intellectual environment and nurturing students’ individual talents and aspirations.
The Role of Faculty Mentorship
The faculty mentor plays a critical role in guiding students through their Ph.D. program, providing mentorship and support in both academic and creative pursuits. They help students develop their research interests, refine their study plans, and navigate the complex terrain of the Ph.D. program.
Through one-on-one meetings, constructive feedback on their writing, and valuable insights gained from their own experiences, faculty mentors empower students to reach their full potential and make meaningful contributions to the field of creative writing.
Collaborating with the Qualifying Exam Committee
The qualifying exam committee is composed of faculty members who assist students in shaping their program of study, preparing for exams, and refining their research and creative goals. This collaborative approach ensures that students receive diverse perspectives and support as they advance in their Ph.D. journey.
Students have the opportunity to engage in stimulating discussions and receive feedback from committee members who are experts in their respective fields. This collaborative environment encourages interdisciplinary exploration and fosters a vibrant intellectual community.
Dissertation and Final Requirements
The final stage of USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing is the submission of a creative dissertation. The dissertation is a unique opportunity for students to make an original and substantial contribution to creative literature, whether it be a book of poems, a novel, or a collection of short stories.
Before embarking on the dissertation, students must pass a qualifying examination in their chosen area of focus. This examination consists of both written and oral components, with a strong emphasis on creative writing. It serves as a crucial checkpoint to ensure students have the skills and knowledge necessary to proceed with their research.
Once the qualifying examination is successfully completed, students begin the process of writing their dissertations. They work closely with their faculty mentors to refine their ideas, conduct research, and develop their creative manuscripts.
Throughout this process, students are encouraged to attend USC writing workshops and engage in collaborative discussions with fellow writers. The program provides a supportive environment where students can receive feedback, explore new ideas, and refine their writing skills.
“The dissertation is the culmination of the Ph.D. program, allowing students to demonstrate their creative prowess and scholarly potential. It is a testament to their dedication and passion for the art of writing.”
Throughout the writing process, students have access to USC’s extensive library resources, which include a vast collection of literary works, research databases, and archival materials. They also have the opportunity to participate in conferences, workshops, and literary events, further expanding their knowledge and networking with industry professionals.
Upon completion of the dissertation, students defend their work in front of a committee of faculty members, showcasing their research, creative choices, and contributions to the field of creative writing. This oral defense is an important step towards obtaining their Ph.D. degree.
The Ph.D. program’s emphasis on the dissertation ensures that students emerge as not only skilled writers but also innovative thinkers who contribute meaningfully to the field of creative literature.
|Dissertation and Final Requirements
|Students submit a creative dissertation, such as a book of poems, a novel, or a collection of short stories, making an original and substantial contribution to the field of creative literature.
|Students must pass a qualifying examination in their proposed dissertation area, which consists of both written and oral components, with special emphasis on creative writing.
|Students work closely with their faculty mentors to develop their dissertation ideas, refine their research questions, and navigate the creative writing process.
|Students are encouraged to attend USC writing workshops and engage in collaborative discussions with fellow writers during the dissertation writing process.
|Resources and Support
|Students have access to USC’s extensive library resources, literature databases, and archival materials to support their research and writing.
|After completing their dissertation, students defend their work in front of a committee of faculty members.
Opportunities and Events
USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing offers students the opportunity to engage in various projects and events. The program provides a vibrant and inclusive community where students can collaborate, showcase their work, and gain valuable experiences.
The Loudest Voice
One of the exciting projects in the program is The Loudest Voice, a renowned reading series. It allows students to share their creative writings, receive feedback, and connect with fellow writers and literary enthusiasts.
Gold Line Press
Students also have the chance to work with Gold Line Press, a respected publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry chapbooks. This opportunity allows students to gain hands-on experience in the publishing industry, from manuscript selection to distribution.
The program organizes various events that foster literary exploration and community engagement. Students can attend the Boudreaux Visiting Writers Series, where acclaimed authors from diverse backgrounds share their insights and experiences. Additionally, the Frank N. Magill Poetry Series presents an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the world of poetry.
USC also hosts the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of the largest literary events in the nation. Students can participate in this renowned festival, connecting with renowned authors, attending panel discussions, and exploring the vast array of books and literary resources.
Throughout their time at USC, students can embrace the vibrant arts scene of Los Angeles, enjoying its cultural offerings and expanding their creative perspectives.
Join USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing to seize these exceptional opportunities and embark on a journey of literary discovery and growth.
The University of Southern California’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing offers aspiring writers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a thriving literary community. With its unique dual Ph.D. structure, distinguished faculty, and guaranteed funding, the program provides a rigorous and supportive environment for students to develop their creative and scholarly abilities.
By combining coursework in literature and creative writing, USC prepares graduates for successful careers in academia, publishing, and other writing-related fields. The program equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the dynamic world of writing.
Whether you aspire to become a professor, a published author, or a professional in the writing industry, the USC Ph.D. Creative Writing program can elevate your craft and help you achieve your goals. Take the first step towards launching your writing career and apply now to join this prestigious program at the University of Southern California.
When is the application deadline for USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing?
The application deadline for USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing is December 1st.
What materials are required for the application?
The required application materials include a creative writing sample, a critical writing sample, a statement of purpose, a diversity statement (optional), a resume/CV, and three letters of recommendation.
Is the GRE General Test score required for the application?
No, the program no longer requires the GRE General Test score.
How long is the USC Ph.D. program in Creative Writing & Literature?
The program consists of 64 units of coursework.
How many units are required for literature coursework?
32 units of literature coursework are required.
Are there opportunities for funding and support?
Yes, USC provides five years of guaranteed funding, including fellowships and teaching assistantships, for all incoming Ph.D. students in Creative Writing.
What are the admission requirements for USC’s Ph.D. program in Creative Writing?
The admission requirements include satisfactory scores in the GRE General Test and literature Subject Test, a writing sample demonstrating competence in creative writing, a sample of written work on literary subjects, a statement of aims and interests in graduate work, three letters of recommendation, and satisfactory grades earned at other institutions.
Is proficiency in a foreign language required?
Yes, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language.
What is the final requirement for the Ph.D. program?
The final requirement is the submission of a creative dissertation, such as a book of poems, a novel, or a collection of short stories.
What events and projects can students participate in?
Students have the opportunity to participate in events such as The Loudest Voice reading series and Gold Line Press, a publisher of chapbooks. USC also hosts the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
Is the USC Ph.D. program in Creative Writing a prestigious program?
Yes, the USC Ph.D. program in Creative Writing is highly competitive and offers a rigorous and supportive environment for aspiring writers.