Major FAQ

What are the major requirements?

  • Five writing workshops, including one 200-level Intro: 270 (a course covering two genres of the instructor's choosing, from among poetry, fiction, playwriting, screenwriting, or creative nonfiction); 271 (a single-genre into to poetry); and 272 (a single-genre intro to fiction). The 200-level workshop must be taken before permission is granted for intermediate workshops.

    At least two of the five required workshops must be in the same genre (either fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, or creative nonfiction.)

    Students are encouraged to continue study in the same genre as their intro workshops, but this is not a requirement.

    One semester of CW honors, or a CW independent study, may be substituted for one writing workshop, with the approval of the student's Creative Writing advisor.

  • Six 300 level English courses (English 300 or above)

    At least two courses concentrating mainly on poetry.

    At least two courses concentrating mainly on prose.

    At least two courses in writing of the 19 th century or earlier.

    Majors should take advantage of the advising system when planning a program of study. Creative Writing faculty advisors are responsible for allowing credit for literature courses that are a mixture of prose and poetry, for example, and may also choose to allow credit for one 200 level English course from the approved list of those courses acceptable for the English major.

    Students specializing in playwriting may substitute courses in drama for some part of the poetry or prose requirement, but not for all of either; the decision to allow the substitution rests with the major's Creative Writing advisor.

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Can I still take literature courses offered by other Departments or Programs?

If a course is cross-listed with English, you may use it to satisfy the requirement for six 300 level literature courses. But again, check with your advisor to see how the content of the course fits with the content emphasis required of the six English courses taken for the major.

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How can I be sure I'm taking the right courses?

See your Creative Writing advisor before you register to make sure the courses you're planning to take fit the content requirements. Waiting a semester (or two), and then trying to get them approved retroactively, is much more time consuming than simply checking to see if the courses meet the requirements.

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How else will I know that I'm on track to graduate as a CW major?

Creative Writing advisors watch the progress of every student by periodically checking his or her file and reviewing Degree Tracker. Students are contacted if questions arise. You may also request an appointment with your advisor at any time to review your progress toward graduation.

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What do I do if my advisor isn't available for some reason?

If a faculty member is on leave, his or her advisees are assigned to other faculty in the Program. You should be able to see your assigned advisor in OPUS. If you have a question as to which faculty member is your advisor, please contact Nora Lewis ( in the Creative Writing Program office. You'll always have an advisor assigned to you. But you can also ask questions of any faculty member in Creative Writing, at any time.

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How do advisors stay in touch with their advisees in Creative Writing?

Advisors generally stay in touch with their advisees via e-mail or meetings in person. Majors should be pro-active in contacting their advisors for assistance and keeping track of courses needed to fulfill the major. The Program also maintains a listserve for Creative Writing majors. We post announcements to this listserve, including deadlines for applying for Creative Writing courses, and information regarding other Program changes, as well as event announcements.

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If I've talked to my advisor, and I'm still having problems with requirements for the major, what do I do?

See the director of the Program, who will involve you and your advisor in solving the problem.

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Are there other reasons to see my advisor?

Creative Writing faculty are knowledgeable about graduate writing programs, academic and non-academic careers in writing, sustaining a writing life after graduation, and other issues of concerns to our majors.

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