Creative Writing Courses

Taft House

Arts Core courses and Beginning Workshops are open to all College students via the standard pre-registration process. Other courses are listed open-bid during pre-registration and prioritize students enrolled in Creative Writing degree programs. 


Arts Core Courses

These multi-genre courses are introductions to topics in creative writing and satisfy the College's general arts education requirement. Arts Core courses are generally taught under two headings—"Reading as a Writer" and "Intro to Genres"—and feature class critiques of students’ creative work. Open to all undergraduate students during pre-registration, these courses do not count towards the Creative Writing major.

Beginning Workshops

These courses are intended for students who may or may not have previous writing experience, but are interested in gaining experience in a particular genre. Beginning Workshops focus on foundational elements of craft (such as scene-building, different forms of the essay, etc.) and feature workshops of student writing. They are open to all undergraduate students during pre-registration and are cross-listed with a graduate number. 

Fundamentals in Creative Writing

The Fundamentals in Creative Writing course is an introductory multi-genre seminar to be taken by all students in the major and minor. Each section of the course focuses on a theme that is relevant to all forms of literary practice and introduces students to a group of core texts from the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Courses may center around a range of topics—such as truth, literary empathy, or creative research—meant to draw attention to relationships across genres and to establish a deeper understanding of fundamental issues and questions in contemporary writing. Further aims of the course are to develop cohort solidarity, promote a culture of articulate exchange, and to foster a reflection on practice that will serve students’ artistic and professional development.

Fundamentals in Creative Writing is restricted to undergraduate students who have declared the major or minor. The course is taught in a seminar format and requires a final paper that analyzes one or more contemporary works in the context of a question or problem discussed in the class. Students should plan to take the course as early as possible after declaring the major or minor, ideally during their first or second quarter in the Program.

Technical Seminars

Technical Seminars are designed to give students a deep grounding in core technical elements of their primary genre. In these courses, students examine works of contemporary literature to deepen their understanding of a particular literary technique central to the genre. A Technical Seminar in Fiction might concentrate on point of view in several novels and short stories; a Technical Seminar in Poetry might look closely at the line in a range of poems.

Technical Seminars act as a “bridge” between the literature courses included in the major and the creative writing workshops. While literature courses offered through other departments may take a distinctly scholarly approach to literature from a range of time periods, Technical Seminars ask students to approach contemporary literature as critics and, crucially, as practitioners.

These courses prepare students for the writing and critiquing they will do in workshops, but with a focus on published work and critical texts rather than original student material. Instructors may include creative exercises in the syllabus, but core writing assignments focus on analysis of assigned readings with a specific technical element in mind.

These courses give priority to students in the major and are cross-listed with a graduate number. Students in the minor may take Technical Seminars as electives (meaning they can count towards the minor but not towards the workshop requirement).

Advanced Workshops

These courses are intended for students with substantive writing experience in a particular genre. Students are required to complete a fundamentals in creative writing course and a beginning workshop prior to enrolling in an advanced workshop. Advanced Workshops focus on class critiques of student writing with accompanying readings from exemplary literary texts. Priority is given to students in the major, minor, or the MAPH Creative Writing Option. These courses are cross-listed with a graduate number. 


Thesis/Major Projects Workshops

The Thesis/Major Projects Workshop is only offered during Winter Quarter and centers on workshops of Creative Writing major, minor, and MAPH Creative Writing Option student work. Priority is given to students in the major, minor, or the MAPH Creative Writing Option. These courses are cross-listed with a graduate number.