Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Creativity, PhD

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Dr. Bon Ku speaking to PhD in Creativity students in his innovative lab at Jefferson Medical School, accompanied by President Yager and Jonathan Fineberg, Director of the PhD in Creativity.

Jonathan Fineberg, Program Director

Mary Berman, Assistant Director 



Learn more and apply to the PhD in Creativity program.


The PhD in Creativity derives methods from creative practices in the arts to produce a more innovative researcher, practitioner, and leader in any field. Artistic modes of thinking expose students to new methods of interdisciplinary research, creative problem solving, and tools of critique that lay the foundation for a more intellectually-open approach to professional practice.
This three-year, low-residency, dissertation-only degree departs from conventional practices of other PhD programs by challenging existing limitations in research and widening the possibilities for a doctoral dissertation. Students define an interdisciplinary research topic and are guided through three years of dissertation development by a team of advisors specifically tailored to each project. Advisors may include members of UArts faculty in addition to others hired from different universities and research institutions in the U.S. or abroad to ensure each student is guided by a team of esteemed professionals and academics whose accomplishments are known and respected in their fields and particularly suited to the individual student’s needs.

The program commences with a two-week summer course in creative problem-solving, followed by shorter in-person intensives focused on innovative research and dissertation workshops, held at six month intervals. Each cohort of students then meets monthly online to discuss ongoing dissertations and hear occasional speakers.  The remainder of the program is centered on regular communication with advisors as students continue dissertation research and writing. This dissertation-only degree program accepts coursework done elsewhere to offer advanced students more time and support for dissertation development. The admissions process serves as a qualifying exam to demonstrate the readiness of a student to begin at the dissertation-level of a PhD and evaluates prior coursework as part of the admissions review. 

Program Objectives

The program objectives for student learning in the PhD in Creativity program are to:

  • Seed a more creative working practice in any discipline, drawing inspiration from the intuitive practices of the arts.
  • Approach problem-solving with innovation through an application of non-linear and integrative thinking.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of existing research methods to identify limitations and biases.
  • Implement diverse approaches to research that transcend the traditional hierarchies of conventional training.
  • Complete a Ph.D. thesis project that makes an original contribution to knowledge and embraces a truly interdisciplinary perspective.

Program Requirements (48.5 credits)  

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