May 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin

English (Creative Writing) PhD


The English PhD with a creative writing emphasis allows students to develop their creative writing and literary criticism, culminating in a dissertation of fiction or poetry. The distinguished faculty in the Center for Writers offer workshops in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, along with courses in craft, literary forms, and teaching creative writing. The program is also home to the Mississippi Review, a nationally recognized literary magazine. Our graduate programs pay particular attention to professional development, including scholarly and creative publishing. With its dual emphases in literature and creative writing, the English program offers students a uniquely hybrid experience in which emerging writers and critics study alongside one another and work with specialists in both fields, preparing students for creative, academic, and professional careers.


Campus: Hattiesburg

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants for regular admission to the PhD program usually have a GPA of 3.5 in all (undergraduate and graduate) English courses and will typically have completed a BA and/or an MA in English. Students must have completed an MA degree in English or another field to start in the English (Creative Writing) PhD program. Application materials include transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a curriculum vitae, a sample of academic writing of between 10 and 20 double-spaced pages, and a sample of creative writing in the applicant’s intended genre of study (literary fiction or poetry) of between 10 and 20 double-spaced pages. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.

Conditional admission is sometimes possible for applicants who do not meet all the criteria for regular admission. To remove conditional status, students must meet the Graduate School requirements described in the Admission Requirements and Procedures section of this Bulletin, and they must satisfy all additional requirements stipulated by the school.

Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

See Admission Requirements and Procedures  for other admission requirements. The English graduate programs do not require GRE or other standardized exam results.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies

Students must complete one research tool: either proficiency  in one foreign language OR six graduate hours of coursework in an allied field of study approved by their advisor or the Graduate Program Coordinator.

No more than 6 hours at the 500-level classes will count towards the degree.

Students must take ENG 690 - Practicum in the Theory and Teaching of Composition if they hold an assistantship that includes teaching as one of their duties.

Students must successfully complete a Doctoral Qualifying Examination.

Students must successfully complete a written Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam.

Students must write a dissertation and complete an oral defense of the dissertation (for fiction, 100 pages of fiction plus short introduction; for poetry, 60 pages of poetry plus introduction).

A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.

See General Degree Requirements  and General Academic Information  for other requirements and policies.

Course Requirements (54 hours)

Creative Writing Workshops, Fiction OR Poetry (12-15 hours)

Literature Courses (21 hours); within these courses, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • 1 early literature course in (American literature to 1865 or British literature to 1800)
  • 1 course designated non-traditional
  • 1 literary theory course or 1 course designated theory-rich
  • Note: a single course may fulfill up to 2 of the above requirements