Program Overview:

English Major in Writing

The writing major offers students disciplined training in the writing of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. The major relies on workshop formats to provide feedback and nurture talent. A robust literature component further anchors writing within a context of general literacy.

Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to:

  • Write effectively, with a distinct voice or style, and a grasp of compositional elements in poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction
  • Analyze literary works from a craft perspective, focusing on technique and composition
  • Offer informed, constructive critiques of other students’ creative work
  • Demonstrate skill in composing in more than one genre, as well as drafting and revising
  • Recognize, analyze and interpret closely and critically the use of language across a range of literary texts
  • Demonstrate knowledge of major works, movements and genres of English and American literature in their cultural, historical and intellectual contexts
  • Write clear and compelling literary analysis with textual substantiation and intellectual integrity

Required Courses


  • ENGLISH 206 Reading and Writing Poetry
  • ENGLISH 207 Reading and Writing Fiction or
  • ENGLISH 208 Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction
  • ENGLISH 298 Seminar in Reading and Interpretation
  • ENGLISH 392 The Situation of Writing
  • 2 300-level advanced writing workshops
  • 1 300-level writing elective
  • 6 literature courses including:
    • 2 in English literature before 1798
    • 2 in English, American or postcolonial literature after 1798

Program Details

English majors in writing examine poetry, fiction and nonfiction with a writer's eye while developing their own work. Creative development is guided by instructors who are respected writers themselves. The specific course of study is based on genre — fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry – while literature courses provide a substantial grounding in analyzing literary texts and using literary theory. In introductory and advanced writing workshops, majors develop craft and technique and gain facility in giving and receiving constructive feedback through peer critique and the workshopping process.