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Home ยป How Viable Is a Creative Writing PhD?

How Viable Is a Creative Writing PhD?

If you’re considering a career in creative writing, you might be wondering whether or not to pursue a PhD in English. We spoke to two academics to get their opinion on the matter.

The Viability Of A Creative Writing PhD

In a fast-paced world, it’s important to keep up with the times. Otherwise, you’ll be left behind. This is especially relevant when pursuing a PhD, as the requirements of a PhD often involve staying on top of your field. It’s therefore essential that you stay updated with the latest trends and theories in your field.

As English is a broad field, it regularly changes and evolves. There are new styles and new words that come into being and disappear just as quickly. It’s essential that you stay abreast of these changes if you want to continue writing successfully. So what makes a PhD less viable in English? To find out, we reached out to Dr Anna Puri and Dr Lara Nouri, Academic Research Consultants at the University of Warwick. Here, they explain the changing role of a PhD in English and the problems that arise from relying on digital texts alone for research purposes.

Changing Role Of A PhD In English

English has always been seen as a’safe’ subject to go to university and gain employment in. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a stable job, especially after graduation. So, going to university to gain a degree and then entering the job market as an English teacher would be seen as a traditional route. A more recent trend, however, has seen a growing number of students choosing to pursue a PhD in English. This may be due to the changing landscape of English as a subject. In the past, students would typically gain practical experience by teaching English as part of their coursework. These days, however, students are often looking to gain theoretical knowledge.

The job market for English teachers has, therefore, changed. Instead of just teaching English as a subject, students now have the option of researching, analysing and synthesising theoretical concepts as part of their teaching. Essentially, a PhD provides an excellent opportunity to teach while also learning. So while a traditional route would see a teacher gaining practical experience by teaching English to pupils, the changing role of a PhD in English is that of a ‘practical’ or ‘theory’ PhD. A teacher who decides to undertake a PhD will, therefore, have a unique opportunity to teach while also gaining in-demand theoretical knowledge.

The Challenges Of Doing Research In English

When deciding to undertake a PhD in English, you might be wondering what types of research opportunities are available. One of the primary challenges that a student encounters is finding a supervisor who is both willing and able to guide them through the process. Inevitably, there will be times when you’re stuck and don’t know where to turn. Fortunately, there are more resources available online than you’d think, including online communities where students can ask questions and find discussion boards and blogs where they can post their work. Doing research in English, therefore, doesn’t have to be as daunting as you might think.

The other challenge that students typically encounter is finding the resources necessary to complete their research. To give you an idea of the kind of resources available, Dr Puri and Dr Nouri pointed out that many universities now offer a ‘Creative Writing’ module. In addition to this, a growing number of English-taught schools now offer bachelors in ‘Literary Studies’. This means that there will be more opportunities for students to access relevant materials as part of their coursework.

As a result of increased accessibility, you might find that the majority of your materials come from digital sources. Whether this is coursework, a thesis or an essay, the chances are you’ll be using digital texts to inform your research. If you’re not used to working with digital texts, this can pose a problem. You might, therefore, need to invest in training or learn how to use pre-made materials efficiently. Remember: doing research in English doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. There are a number of opportunities available to help you along the way. Be sure to explore these opportunities and take full advantage of them.

Hopefully, this has given you a better understanding of the changing role of a PhD in English. If you’d like to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.