The Creative Writing BA Program | Academic Requirements | Student Learning Outcomes | Courses | Faculty

The Creative Writing Program: Courses

1000–1999 (lower level, freshman)
2000–2999 (lower level, sophomore)
3000–3999 (upper level, junior)
4000–4999 (upper level, senior)


Reinstated Spring 2016 (4/09/15):
Poetic Techniques
CWR 1000
/ 4 credits / Every year
Introduces the essentials of poetry writing, including poetic form and forms (traditional and unconventional), line structures and rhythms, figures of speech, and other elements of rhetoric, voice, and subject matter. Regular writing exercises are the heart of the course, emphasizing problems to solve and techniques to master. Reading and study of important poetic models accompanies the poetry writing. Students produce a portfolio of original poems by the end of the semester.

Frequency changed Fall 2014 (3/27/14):
Introduction to Creative Writing
CWR 1010
/ 3 credits / Every year
This introductory course in creative writing allows students to explore various genres. Poetry, the short story, and memoir are among the forms discussed. Students should be prepared to write, revise, and share portions of their work with other members of the class, and to read a selection of works by contemporary authors.

Replaced by CWR 1000 and 1100 Fall 2015, and discontinued (4/09/15):
Foundations in Fiction and Poetry
CWR 1050
/ 4 credits / Fall
Students are instructed in the basic aspects of craft and prepared for further study in the creative writing concentration of their choice.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Reinstated Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Narrative Techniques
CWR 1100
/ 4 credits / Every year
An introduction to the fundamental aspects of fiction writing, including dialogue, plot, point of view, character development, detail, and voice. Starting from a series of writing exercises and analyses of published stories, students explore the techniques involved in creating effective fiction, using these as a springboard to complete a short story.


Prerequisite and frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Creative Nonfiction
CWR 2300
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
In this introduction to creative nonfiction, students explore a variety of forms within the genre, including personal narrative, memoir, reportage, and the lyric essay. Students also write and workshop their own original essays.
Prerequisite: CWR 1000 and 1100

Prerequisite revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Poetry Writing I
CWR 2400
/ 4 credits / Fall
Students begin to study and practice poetic strategies, producing a poem per week in response to assigned exercises. Students also develop skills in critiquing by commenting on each others’ work and by reading and discussing the work of established poets.
Prerequisite: CWR 1000

Fiction Writing I
CWR 2500
/ 4 credits / Fall
While continuing to explore narrative strategies, students write and submit several short stories during the semester. Students also learn the fundamentals of critiquing as they discuss their work and that of published writers.
Prerequisite: CWR 1100

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Frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Travel Writing
CWR 3100
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Drawing on students’ personal experiences of travel as well as readings in fiction and nonfiction, this course explores the ways in which travel informs writing. Class time is divided between discussions of the students’ own work and published selections that represent various aspects of travel, from the “voyage” itself to “being there” and “remembering” place, character, and events.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Writing and Reading the Region
CWR 3105
/ 4 credits / Summer (offered in France)
Using the French location and selected readings related to the region, students explore the contexts and their responses through writing. Students meet at various locations, from castles and ruins to a local café, and receive writing assignments that draw on place and setting. Each week, students select one of their on-the-spot works to revise and develop into a short piece of fiction for submission. Emphasis is on capturing the nuances of one’s surroundings and experiences of these surroundings, and on how to use setting as a main “character“ in writing.

Prerequisite and frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Alternate Worlds
CWR 3125
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
This writing workshop draws on a variety of texts, media, and film as students explore fictional portrayals of other worlds. In their writing assignments, students focus on elements that contribute to effective narratives—setting, character, situation, etcetera—in order to create alternate realities.
Prerequisite: CWR 2500

Prerequisite and frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
The Art of the Novella
CWR 3200
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
What makes the novella work? What power does the form offer that the short story and longer novel do not? Is there a subject matter best suited to such brevity? Students examine these questions through close reading of works by new and established writers (e.g., James, Conrad, Moore), and begin to structure and write their own novella.
Prerequisite: CWR 2500

Frequency changed Fall 2014 (3/27/14), prerequisite added Spring 2015 (10/20/14); prerequisite and frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Editing and Production Workshop
CWR 3205
/ 4 credits / Every semester
From the editorial stage to design, production, and marketing, this course gives students hands-on experience working with the creative writing program’s literary magazine, Italics Mine.
Prerequisite: CWR 1010 or 1100

Prerequisite added and frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Constructing Truths: The Personal Essay
CWR 3210
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Students are guided through the classical questions of form and style, the building materials of the personal essay, through reading and writing assignments. Students examine the elements that convince the reader of the truth of their tales and explore how to confront their own experiences creatively. Readings are various, but with a focus on the 20th-century essay in English.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

The Screenplay
CIN 3325
Refer to Cinema Studies Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description. Formerly also offered as CWR 3325.

Poetry Writing II
CWR 3400
/ 4 credits / Spring
This course assumes that students have a good command of basic poetic craft. Writing assignments put increased emphasis on students’ own work, though there are still exercises to guide the workshop, as well as study and discussion of poetry by established writers.
Prerequisite: CWR 2400 or permission of instructor

Prerequisite modified Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
The Importance of Tone in Constructing a Poem
CWR 3430
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
How does a poet’s attitude or stance towards her or his subject create tone or voice in a poem? In this workshop, students read and analyze a range of poetry to understand the linguistic and syntactic underpinnings of tone, including its relationship to line break and simile. Poets include Louise Gluck, Marie Howe, Billy Collins, Tony Hoagland, Jane Kenyon, Brenda Hillman, Eamon Grennan, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, and T.S. Eliot.
Prerequisite: CWR 2400 or permission of instructor

Added Spring 2015 (9/30/14), prerequisite revised (10/23/14); prerequisite revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Poets at Work: First Books
CWR 3450
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Students interact with contemporary poets who have recently published their first poetry book or chapbook. Most classes are structured as a brief reading by and discussion with visiting authors. Topics include each author’s influences, how one assembles a collection, how manuscripts evolve over time, and the editorial/publishing process. Students read each poet’s collection and compose critical and creative responses.
Prerequisite: CWR 1000

Fiction Writing II
CWR 3500
/ 4 credits / Spring
This course assumes a working knowledge of the craft. Students write and discuss short stories or chapters from a novel in progress, and continue to refine their critiquing skills through discussion of their own work as well as published stories. Revision of submitted work is an important component of this course.
Prerequisite: CWR 2500

Discontinued Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Writing Women:
Women Fiction Writers of the 20th and 21st Centuries
CWR 3653
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Focuses on short fiction and novels written by women in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through readings, discussions, lectures, and both analytical and creative writing, students consider the female experience as portrayed in the fiction of women writers and the role of women writers in shaping the genre over the course of the last century. Limited to creative writing majors.
Formerly also offered as LIT 3653.

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Corequisite modified 3/20/14; prerequisite revised Spring 2015 (11/18/14); frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Special Topics in Creative Writing
CWR 4000
/ 3 credits / Fall
A series of mini-workshops, guest speakers, and activities focused on current trends in the field and on broader topics germane to students in their senior year.
Prerequisite: CWR 3200, 3400, or 3500
Corequisite: SPJ 4990 or 4991
Note: This course replaced CWR 4890 in Spring 2015

Advanced Seminar in Fiction Writing
CWR 4510
/ 4 credits / Fall
Taught by a well-published writer-in-residence. Students work intensively on revising and editing their own work and each other’s fiction, as well as on critiquing published stories and novels. The course also familiarizes students with the professional writer’s market and the submission process, in order to encourage each student to prepare at least one story for possible publication.
Prerequisite: CWR 3200 or 3500

Frequency revised Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Advanced Seminar in Poetry Writing
CWR 4511
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Advanced students with practiced skills in poetry writing and criticism work to produce poems of publishable stature. Students should be able to assume full responsibility for their creative process in this course.
Prerequisite: CWR 3400

Replaced by CWR 4000 Spring 2015 and discontinued:
Senior Colloquium in Creative Writing
CWR 4890
/ 2 credits / Every semester
As a required supplement to individual work on senior projects, students meet together weekly with members of the Creative Writing Board of Study to discuss each other’s work.
Prerequisite: CWR 4510 or 4511
Corequisite: SPJ 4990

Senior projects changed to I and II, 4 credits each, and prefix changed from CWR to SPJ, Fall 2014; corequisite modified Spring 2015 (3/18/14) and Fall 2015 (4/09/15):
Senior Project I and II
SPJ 4990
and 4991 / 4 credits per semester / Every year
The senior project in creative writing is the final step in the program, to be undertaken after all other requirements have been completed. Sponsored by an instructor in the program, the final product is either a work of fiction or a collection of poems. Each student meets weekly with her or his sponsor. Two semesters required (8 credits total).
Prerequisite: CWR 4510 or 4511
Corequisite: CWR 4000, in the fall semester only

Updated April 9, 2015

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