Creative Writing Courses

Taft House

Arts Core courses and Beginning Workshops are open to all students via the standard pre-registration process. Other courses require consent and prioritize students enrolled in creative writing degree programs. Students can submit their course application via the program's application form. A writing is required for any Advanced Workshop.

Note: Students who have not formally declared the major will not receive priority in consent-based courses. Those interested in the major should meet with the program's Director of Undergraduate Studies, before the end of Autumn Quarter of third year.

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 will 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, but majors may use these courses to satisfy their general education requirement in the arts.

Beginning Workshops

These courses are intended for students who may or may not have writing experience, but are interested in gaining experience in a particular genre. Courses will be focused on the fundamentals of craft and will feature workshops of student writing. Open to all undergraduate students during pre-registration. 


The Fundamentals in Creative Writing course is an introductory cross-genre seminar to be taken by all students in the major. Each section of the course focuses on a current debate that is relevant to all forms of literary practice and will introduce 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 mimesis, translation and appropriation, and art and the market—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 students who have declared the major. The course is taught in a seminar format and will require a final paper that will analyze 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, ideally in the first or second quarter in the major 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 will examine works of contemporary literature to deepen their understanding of a literary technique central to the genre. A Technical Seminar in Fiction might concentrate on point of view in several novels and short stories, and a Technical Seminar in Poetry might look closely at the line in a range of poems.

Technical Seminars will 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 will ask students (and instructors) to approach contemporary literature as critics and, crucially, as practitioners.

These courses will 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 will focus on analysis of assigned readings.

These courses are cross-listed with a graduate number and will give priority to students in the major. Students in the minor may take technical seminars as an elective (meaning they will 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. Advanced workshops will 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. All students may apply to take the course by submitting the creative writing application form. A writing sample in the genre of the relevant course is required for faculty review. Specific submission requirements appear in the course descriptions.

Thesis/Major Projects

The Thesis/Major Projects Workshop is only offered during Winter Quarter and centers on workshops of creative writing major, minor, and MAPH CRWR Option student work. The Thesis/Major Projects Workshop is a required capstone course for all creative writing degree paths. Priority is given to students in the major, minor, or the MAPH Creative Writing Option. A writing sample in the genre of the relevant course is required for faculty review. Specific application requirements appear in the course descriptions.