Major in Creative Writing

Room full of students

Creative Writing Major at a Glance

Students who graduate with the Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing will be skilled writers in a major literary genre and have a theoretically informed understanding of the aesthetic, historical, social, and political context of a range of contemporary writing. Students in the major will focus their studies on a primary genre: fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

The organization of the major incorporates the writing workshop model into a broader education that furthers students’ knowledge of historical and contemporary literary practice, sharpens their critical attention, and fosters their creative enthusiasm.

Summary of Major Requirements

  • 1 Fundamentals in Creative Writing Seminar
  • 2 Technical Seminars (in primary genre)
  • 3 Advanced Workshops (at least 2 in primary genre)
  • 4 literature courses
    • 1 literary genre course (in primary genre)
    • 1 literary theory course
    • 1 pre-20th-century literature course
    • 1 general literature course
  • 2 Research Background Electives
  • 1 Thesis/Major Projects Workshop (Winter Quarter of fourth year)
  • BA Thesis (due in Spring Quarter; requires work with Writing and Research Advisor over fourth year)

= 13 Courses and a Thesis

Courses in the Major

Creative Writing courses give priority to students who have declared the major with Edgar Garcia, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). In instances where a class has many more applications than it has spots, priority is determined first by degree program and then by class year.

Fundamentals in Creative Writing Seminar

The Fundamentals in Creative Writing course is an introductory cross-genre seminar to be taken by all students in the major. Every section of the course focuses on a current debate relevant to all forms of literary practice and will introduce students to core texts from each major literary genre.

Technical Seminars (in Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction)

These courses are designed to give students a solid grounding in core technical elements of their primary genre. Coursework may involve creative exercises, but papers will focus on analysis of assigned readings.

Advanced Workshops

Critique is the core value and activity of the workshop environment. Students in Advanced Workshops will practice critique under the guidance of the workshop instructor. Advanced Workshops typically focus on original student work.

Literary Genre Courses

This requirement can be met by a cross-listed English course or an eligible literature course offered by another department. For a list of eligible courses, please visit this page.

Literature Courses

A substantial proportion of one of these courses must involve the study of literature written before the twentieth century, and one must fulfill a theory requirement. For a list of eligible courses, please visit this page.

Research Background Electives

Students take two courses outside the Creative Writing program, selected in consultation with the DUS, to support the student’s individual interests and thesis project.

BA Thesis & Workshop

Students work on their BA project over four quarters. In Winter Quarter of their fourth year, students will enroll in one of the Thesis/Major Projects Workshops in their genre.

Declaring the Major

Students in the major receive priority in Advanced Workshops, Technical Seminars, and Fundamentals Seminars.

There are two steps to declaring a major in Creative Writing:

  1. Meet with the DUS, Edgar Garcia, to start a major worksheet.
  2. Confirm program approval with your College Advisor, so the major can be added to your my.uchicago account.

Students who have completed both steps are considered officially declared at the department level and therefore eligible for priority in major courses.