As an English major with a Concentration in Creative Writing
The English major with a concentration in creative writing provides an exceptionally rich experience for students interested in shaping as well as studying literature. To fulfill the creative writing concentration, majors take five courses in creative writing, including at least three upper-division (300- or 400-level) classes. Students eventually specialize in one particular genre—poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction—and pursue a three-course sequence in that genre at the 200, 300, and 400 level. Students must also select at least one creative writing course from outside their genre of specialization. This last requirement may be fulfilled by courses in screenwriting or playwriting as well as by classes in the secondary genres named above.
Typically, a creative writing concentrator will sample two 200-level courses in different genres to choose an area of specialization. After this choice is made, the student proceeds to complete the sequence of three generically-focused courses, with at least one at the 400 level. Provided that the two-genre requirement has been satisfied, the fifth and final upper-division creative writing class may be taken in whatever genre the student prefers.
The creative writing concentration does not alter the regular requirements for the English major; the number of courses in literature, as well as the 200-level prerequisites and the existing requirements in literary history and theory, all remain in place. The 400-level course in creative writing cannot count as a 400-level seminar for the purposes of the English major. An English major with a creative writing concentration thus requires 36 credit hours, with nine upper-division hours in creative writing counting as electives in the major and an additional six hours of writing courses applied to the concentration.
The major in English with the Creative Writing Concentration consists of twelve courses comprising thirty-six units, including:
1. Two Mandatory 200-Level Prerequisite Courses (usually taken in the sophomore year):
English Literature 2151: Early Texts and Contexts
English Literature 2152: Modern Texts and Contexts
2. Three Classes Demonstrating Historical Range
Classes must be taken in three of the five historical periods listed below, any of which may involve British, American, or Anglophone materials. (Course listings explicitly designate which historical period each class represents.) At least one course must be selected from both Group 1 and Group 2:
The Eighteenth Century
The Nineteenth Century
The Twentieth Century and Later
3. One class in Literary Theory (namely, English Literature 3552: Introduction to Literary Theory)
4. One additional literature elective based in L14
5. Of the historical or elective literature courses above, two must also be at the 400 level
6. One course centered on either global or minority literatures. English majors who declare their major in the Fall of 2021 and after must take at least one 300- or 400-level literature course in either:
a) global literatures in English, defined as the Anglophone literatures of Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, and other non-British or non-U.S. territories; or
b) minority literature of the United States or United Kingdom—literatures including Anglophone African American, Asian American, Native American, Latinx, or Black British writing.
Each semester, official course listings will designate those classes, selected by the English Department Curriculum Committee, which may be chosen to meet this requirement. Courses applied to this requirement may also satisfy other English major requirements involving historical range (requirement two) and the need for two 400-level classes (requirement five).
7. A three-course sequence in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction
8. Two remaining creative writing electives, one of which must be taken at the 300- or 400-level, and one of which must be taken outside the genre of the three-course sequence.
Howard Nemerov Scholars and the English Major
The Howard Nemerov Writing Scholars Program recognizes entering freshmen with exceptional literary talent and a pronounced dedication to writing. Please visit the Admissions website for more information on the program.
Nemerov Scholars who also enroll in the English major may count two semesters of the 200-level Nemerov seminar class (L43 211) as three units of 200-level work toward the creative writing concentration. Similarly, two semesters of the 300-level Nemerov seminar (L43 3111) may be counted as three units of 300-level work toward the concentration. A maximum of six Howard Nemerov program units may go to fulfill the concentration, then, but no Nemerov coursework can substitute for the three-course genre sequence.
Students from other majors interested in writing
Students with majors other than English are invited to pursue the writing minor, which includes courses in journalism, screenwriting, humor writing, writing and medicine, and other non-fictional as well as creative modes. This minor requires five courses including a 300-level class in either expository or argumentative writing. Unlike the creative writing concentration in the English major, however, it does not demand a sequence of classes concentrating on a single creative genre. The study of literary history is encouraged for writing minors, but not required.