Jan 29, 2020  
2018-2019 University Catalogue 
2018-2019 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

BFA in Creative Writing

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Zachary Savich, Program Director



The BFA in Creative Writing prepares students for professional writing careers. Within the major, students complete courses dedicated exclusively to writing, including small, intensive workshops in poetry and fiction. Students also take craft seminars focused on specialized writing forms and genres, literature courses, a hands-on course in publishing, and a cross-disciplinary course requiring close collaboration with a student in another artistic field.

In their first year, Creative Writing students acquire a working knowledge of the elements of poetry and short fiction by taking two year-long workshops—Introduction to Contemporary Poetry and Introduction to the Contemporary Short Story—which equally emphasize reading and writing. Here students begin learning to read as writers, to critique material productively, and to hone their writing skills by using as models the significant poetry and story collections of the last fifteen years.

As sophomores, students continue to explore and refine their writing interests by taking the Intermediate Workshops in fiction and poetry, as well as choosing from among the diverse roster of craft seminars. These seminars are not literature courses in the traditional sense, but courses that look closely at a particular form or genre with an eye to craft. These electives, offered on a rotating basis, include Creative Nonfiction, Screenplay Adaptation, Speculative Fiction, Translation and Adaptation, and Graphic Storytelling.

Juniors, in addition to taking increasingly advanced writing workshops in poetry or fiction (or both), have the opportunity to explore connections between their writing and other arts. In the cross-disciplinary Writing and Collaboration, students undertake a creative project with a student in another major; in Literary Editing and Publishing, students are introduced to all aspects of producing a literary magazine. To complete the degree, students also take elective courses in Creative Writing, editorial internships, and studio programs from across the University.

In the senior year, Creative Writing majors take a two-semester seminar in poetry or fiction, concentrated on revising finished work with potential for publication. The senior year culminates in a portfolio of revised pieces, an exit interview with members of the writing faculty, and a public reading.

Program Objectives

  • Understand the elements of the poem and the short story and be able to use them, skillfully and deliberately, in their own work;
  • Be close and careful readers, able to analyze text with a writer’s eye;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of significant books, writers and trends in the contemporary landscape, as well as the context for the development of these models and traditions;
  • Write ably in a range of forms and genres;
  • Critique writing usefully and productively, delivering detailed, well-supported verbal and written peer feedback;
  • Find and articulate connections between their writing and other artistic disciplines;
  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of producing a literary magazine;
  • Hone public speaking skills by reading work aloud, introducing visiting writers, and participating in public readings and other presentations;
  • Engage in thorough, substantial revision of written work;
  • Demonstrate a mature awareness of their own process of writing and revising, both in written self-assessments and exit interview;
  • Produce a final portfolio of professional-quality writing;
  • Have something to say.

Academic Plan

Academic plans provide a semester by semester suggested course sequence. Plans can be customized through discussions with academic advisors.

Program Requirements (120 credits)

Discipline History (9 credits)

Critical Studies (33 credits)

First Year Writing (6 credits)

Students will complete a writing placement exam to determine their composition sequence. Students who do not complete the exam may be placed based on standardized tests scores (if available) or high school GPA. Some students may be required to complete additional developmental coursework.

Students will complete one of the following sequences:



Critical Approaches to the Arts and Culture (9 credits)

  • Select 3 courses from subject CRIT

Scientific Inquiry Foundation Track (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject SIFT

Critical Studies Electives (15 credits)

  • Select courses from subjects:
    • AHST (Art History), HIST (History)
    • FRCH (French), ITAL (Italian), LITT (Literature)
    • PHIL (Philosophy), RELI (Religion)
    • MATH (Math), SCIE (Science)
    • ANTH (Anthropology), PHIL (Philosophy), PSYC (Psychology), SOCI (Sociology)
    • STCU (Cultural Studies), STDA (Dance Studies), STGS (Gender & Sexuality Studies),
      STMU (Music Studies), STPF (Performance Studies)   
  • Select courses from  : Art History or Critical Studies Elective.

Electives (15 credits)

  • Complete 15 credits of free electives. This requirement is satisfied by any undergraduate course that isn’t required by the program.

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