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PhD with Creative Dissertation

The University of Calgary offers a Ph.D. in English with a Creative Writing option. A graduate student may be permitted to submit a substantial book-length manuscript of poetry or fiction for the Ph.D. thesis in English. However, students should note that because of the high standards expected for such a project and the Department's limited resources in the area of creative writing, very few students will be able to undertake this creative alternative. While an indication of writing and publishing experience is essential, such publication by itself does not guarantee either admission to the doctoral program or approval of a creative dissertation project.

  1. A student proposing to do a creative project must, in the first instance, submit a portfolio of writing and published works.
  2. It is expected that, in his/her dissertation essay, the student admitted to the creative Ph.D. option shall show extensive critical awareness of the approach he or she expects to take. The student should expect, as part of his/her studies, to do research within the genre.
  3. The finished product when presented as a dissertation for examination must be previously unpublished and must be accompanied by a critical essay showing a sophisticated critical and/or theoretical awareness of the approach taken.
  4. Although it is accepted that quantity and quality cannot be equated, the body of work presented must be substantial; as with the dissertation for a critical Ph.D., it should fulfill expectations of originality and publishability.