US Uni opens PhD in Creativity

How many of us have scorned people thinking outside of the typical line of thought?

Many of you may deny it while being guilty. But it's probably true of most of us at some point. When we tell a child to use a different colour to colour the Sun in their drawings, because "that's the colour the Sun usually is". When we tell our mothers to use only a specific mix of spices for a curry, because "that's how it's usually made".  

Well, creativity is slowly achieving a higher status, as experts realise that the world needs creative people more than it needs people who can consume loads of literature and regurgitate it when necessary.

The University of Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is now offering a Ph.D. in Creativity.

The course is said to be targeted at working professionals who are already experts in their fields, in order to challenge them to think differently, which is essential if we are to have people driving along industries which do not even exist as of yet.

Applicants must have a minimum of M.A. level work or qualification to enter this programme. Additionally, they are not even required to leave their jobs in order to take up this Ph.D. programme. 

To enter the program, applicants must have at least a foundation of M.A. level work or qualification. As long as they can set aside time to work on their PhD project, candidates do not need to leave their jobs to take up this PhD programme. 

One main aim of this programme is for people to be able to train directly for the position of Chief Creative Officer, which as of now has not seen any formal training or courses to prepare people for the role. In fact, currently, many people hired for this role are from unconventional, nonacademic backgrounds. However, this programme was created with the belief that it is possible for people to train directly to be Chief Creative Officer.

The programme commences with a 2-week "creative bootcamp" where those doing the degree will then proceed with cross-disciplinary workshops and independent dissertations guided by external advisors, Quartz reported.

The course is “A low-residency degree for advanced interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences,” as described on its website.

This programme was essentially created on the basis that "creative thinking lay at the heart of innovation in all fields".


The idea of a PhD in Creativity is absurd to most of us, no matter how many articles we chance upon explaining the basis of the programme. However, this is the end result of a system where discipline and order were cherished heavily, leaving little to no room for creativity.

Picture students working on a project, only to be told to design and structure it in a specific way to fulfil the "marking criteria". Picture instances where working staff work on projects only to have their proposals rejected because "we cannot fulfil the client's needs if we work like this".

Basically, we might not have reached a need for people to teach creativity if we had all been allowed to let it bloom when it approached us on its own. If we had been allowed to try working problems out in atypical ways.

It's not really an issue of there currently not being any avenues for creative output, it's more of this degree programme being a result of a problem our society created on its own. 

Then again, maybe the programme was just meant as a direct path for aspiring Chief Creative Officers, and that's it. 


What do you think? Let's have a discussion.

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