Best Online Creative Writing Ph.D. Programs

A PhD in creative writing opens doors to a variety of career paths that may not be available to talented writers without this degree. If you want to enhance your writing skills and discover new employment opportunities, getting a PhD online can be an excellent solution.

An online Ph.D. in creative writing is a great option for students who aren’t ready to give up personal and professional commitments to pursue a degree. By attending classes online and watching recorded lectures, you can finish your studies without leaving the comfort of your own home.

The key to getting an online PhD is choosing the best option for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the selection process.

What Is a PhD in Creative Writing?

When considering an online Ph.D. you need to understand what this degree entails as well as the opportunities it offers. This terminal degree focuses on the advanced study of creative writing. It is designed for individuals with a passion for writing who aspire to become professionals in the writing industry.

A doctor in creative writing goes beyond the traditional creative writing workshops. It explores the theoretical and critical aspects of the craft. It combines creative writing with scholarly research. The studies allow students to develop their writing skills by engaging in in-depth analysis and reflection on the creative process.

One of the key components of this PhD is writing a creative dissertation. This work demonstrates the student’s mastery of the craft and often takes the form of a novel, a collection of short stories, poetry, or a screenplay. The creative dissertation involves a critical component that demonstrates the student’s understanding and analysis of their creative work. It’s done within the context of existing literary traditions and theories.

In addition to the creative dissertation, students pursuing a doctorate in creative writing engage in rigorous coursework that covers multiple topics. These may include:

  • Literary theory
  • Genre studies
  • Literary criticism
  • Research methods
  • Pedagogy

The coursework provides a strong foundation in the theoretical and critical aspects of creative writing. It provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the field.

This PhD also offers opportunities for professional development and networking. Many courses provide teaching or editorial assistantships, allowing students to gain valuable experience in the classroom. These opportunities not only provide financial support but also enhance the student’s teaching and mentoring skills. Such an approach prepares them for careers in academia or writing-related fields.

A doctorate in creative writing opens doors for students who are interested in pursuing careers as writers, editors, or literary agents. The degree demonstrates a high level of expertise and dedication to the craft. This turns graduates into highly sought-after professionals in the publishing industry. It also provides opportunities for collaboration with established writers through conferences, workshops, and literary events.

Students who opt for an online doctorate enjoy the flexibility and convenience of the format. Online schedules provide access to quality education and resources, allowing students to engage in coursework and research from anywhere in the world. Online learning platforms facilitate interaction with faculty and foster a supportive and collaborative environment.

Career Opportunities with an Online PhD in Creative Writing

After completing an online PhD in Creative Writing, you can either pursue your current career or explore other opportunities. Positions that graduates of online PhD programs can consider include:

Professor of Creative Writing

Many graduates go on to teach at the university level. They can become professors of creative writing to teach aspiring writers and share their expertise. These positions often involve mentoring students, leading workshops, and conducting research in the field.


Graduates may secure positions as writers-in-residence at universities, organizations, or cultural institutions. In this role, they have the opportunity to work on their own writing projects while also engaging with the community through public readings, workshops, and literary events.


With their deep understanding of the craft of writing, doctoral graduates can pursue careers in editing. You may choose to work as an editor for a publishing house, literary magazine, or online publication. Alternatively, you can start your own editing business and offer services to writers.

Literary Agent

Graduates can also explore careers as literary agents. With your knowledge of the publishing industry and the ability to identify exceptional writing talent, you can help other authors navigate the publishing world and build successful writing careers.

Freelance Writer

Many doctoral graduates choose to pursue freelance writing careers. They may write for magazines, newspapers, websites, or other publications. By leveraging advanced writing skills and critical thinking abilities, you can produce high-quality content across various genres.

Poet Laureate/Poetry Consultant

After finishing an online PhD program, some people go on to become poet laureates or poetry consultants. In these roles, they promote and celebrate poetry within the community, organize events, and engage in public speaking engagements.

Literary Critic/Reviewer

Graduates with a doctor of philosophy in Creative Writing can pursue careers as literary critics or reviewers. They can write book reviews for newspapers, magazines, or online platforms. Their skills allow these professionals to conduct insightful analyses and provide valuable commentary on contemporary literature.

Nonprofit Work

Some doctorate program graduates choose to work in nonprofit organizations related to the literary arts. They may become directors, coordinators, or administrators. Your responsibilities can include organizing writing workshops, author events, and literary festivals.

Content Writer/Strategist

With their strong writing skills and ability to craft compelling narratives, creative writers with a Ph.D. can excel in content writing and strategy roles. They may work for marketing agencies, businesses, or organizations. In these roles, you may be responsible for creating engaging content for websites, social media, and other platforms.


Graduates can explore careers in screenwriting. They can write scripts for television shows, films, or web series. By leveraging your storytelling abilities and understanding of narrative structure, you can come up with high-quality entertainment content.

Is Getting an Online PhD in Creative Writing a Good Idea?

Obtaining an online doctor of philosophy in creative writing can be a highly rewarding process. It can offer numerous benefits for aspiring writers. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth considering:

Advanced Expertise

A PhD allows you to deepen your understanding of the craft and take your writing skills to an advanced level. Through rigorous coursework, critical analysis, and the production of a creative dissertation, students gain a comprehensive knowledge of the field. They also learn how to develop a unique writing voice.

Career Advancement

An online PhD in creative writing can open up many interesting career opportunities. It can qualify graduates for positions as:

  • Professors of creative writing
  • Writers-in-residence
  • Editors
  • Literary agents
  • And many more.

This degree demonstrates a high level of expertise and dedication and backs the writer’s talent. When interviewing for a dream job, writers with a PhD have the upper hand.

Personal Growth

Pursuing a PhD in creative writing is not just about professional development. It is also a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. Engaging with advanced coursework and exploring new literary theories allows writers to push the boundaries of their creative abilities.

Overall, if you love your writing experience and want to continue your career as a writer, a creative writing doctorate is worth pursuing. It can help you achieve career goals, learn new writing tactics, and explore valuable collaborations.

Top Online PhD Programs in Creative Writing

When choosing the best courses, you need to pay attention to the school’s location (in case occasional visits to the campus are required), accreditation, and time of schedule completion.

This list contains the top online PhD programs in creative writing to help you make the most suitable choice for your needs.

University of Birmingham

Located in Birmingham, UK, the University of Birmingham offers a solid doctorate program in Creative Writing. The duration of the course is three years if you decide to study full-time. If you enroll in a part-time course, it will take six years to complete.

The creative writing program involves collaboration with published writers, the development of creative writing knowledge, honing critique skills, and discovering new forms of writing for yourself.

The admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or relevant experience
  • Description of creative project
  • Description of the likely critical inquiry
  • Examples of creative work
  • Personal statement

The school is accredited by the Accredited Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

University of Nottingham

Located in Nottingham, UK, the University of Nottingham has a strong online creative writing PhD program. The full-time schedule takes four years while part-time studies will require eight years. You will be studying independently while getting assistance from faculty through online supervision meetings. By the end of the course, you will complete a 100,000-word written thesis.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or relevant experience
  • English proficiency tests if you aren’t a native English speaker
  • A PhD proposal
  • Summary of research experience

The school is accredited by the Accredited Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Lancaster University

Located in Lancaster, UK, Lancaster University offers an online PhD program. The full-time program only takes two years to complete while the part-time program is four years long. During the program, you will work with renowned published writers to hone your writing and creative skills. Lancaster University graduates have published multiple pieces of work and have exciting careers in the writing industry.

Admission requirements include:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent (for students from the US, a bachelor’s degree will be sufficient)
  • Research proposal
  • Portfolio of original writing

The school is accredited by the Accredited Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Located in Manchester, UK, Manchester Metropolitan University has a distance PhD program in Creative Writing. The program allows you to hone your writing skills together with research training. You can study online but may need to attend some offline workshops and seminars.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Two letters or recommendations
  • A research proposal
  • Master’s degree or bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Examples of your work

Requirements for international students may be different.

The school is accredited by the Accredited Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of pursuing an online PhD program in Creative Writing?
An online PhD program offers flexibility by allowing students to study at their own pace regardless of their location. It also provides access to a diverse community of writer and industry professionals remotely.
Are online PhD programs in Creative Writing as reputable as traditional on-campus programs?
Yes, many online PhD programs in Creative Writing are offered by reputable universities and institutions. Accredited online programs often have the same rigorous curriculum and faculty as their on-campus counterparts.
How does the online format impact the quality of education in a PhD program?
Online PhD programs leverage various interactive technologies to deliver engaging learning experiences. Students have access to digital libraries, research databases, and other valuable information resources.
Can I pursue an online doctorate in Creative Writing while working full-time?
Yes, online programs offer flexibility that allows students to balance their studies with professional and personal commitments. You can usually access course materials and participate in discussions at your convenience.
How long does the online PhD program in Creative Writing usually take to complete?
The duration of online PhD programs in creative writing varies from school to school. For full-time format, it usually takes two to four years. If you choose to study part-time, the duration increases.