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Courses / Degree Requirements for the BFA in Creative & Professional Writing

The following is projected for students entering the university in 2019-20 and is subject to change.

To graduate with a BFA in Creative and Professional Writing, students must successfully complete:

  • All general requirements for a bachelor’s degree
  • 48 credits of coursework from the list of courses shown below:

8 credits from Core Writing courses

This course examines the essential role of narrative in the creation of all forms of media. From the very beginnings of human records, whether it is mythology, scripture, literature, or the earliest cave paintings, the creators of these works have always told their audience a story or imparted a message by the use of narrative. In order to work in any creative medium, understanding the various ways in which narrative is used is a great advantage. This course will examine the range of narrative forms and narrative devices that have been used since the dawn of time right up until the modern day. We will discover that although the forms and types of media used might have changed as technology has advanced, in fact, most of the essential forms of narrative used in creative works have been with us for ages. Understanding why will reveal how narrative reflects both the universal and unique aspects of the experience of human life. As part of the course students will be required to undertake projects that aid the development of their own narrative skills.
In Creative Process, students study their own creative process as well as what artists, writers, and filmmakers have shared about creative inspiration. The purpose of this class is to break boundaries and rediscover an easy relationship with the inner Muse. The primary textbook is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The Syllabus Reader contains material by a wide range of authors such as Annie Dillard, Jorge Luis Borges, Eudora Welty, Ann Patchett, Patricia Hampl, William Saroyan, John Ciardi, Frank Conroy, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, William Stafford, Rainer Maria Rilke, Lu Chi, Mark Strand, Jane Hirshfield, Billy Collins, Elizabeth Gilbert, plus interviews with great authors by Bill Moyers and material from creativity experts Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg. A variety of guest lecturers working in different media will come to the class to discuss their work, career paths, and creative
process. Students will keep a daily journal and engage in various creative projects during the course. As a final project, students produce a portfolio and can choose to participate in a group installation/exhibit on creativity. (4 credits) Prerequisite: ART, LIT, or MC major, or permission of instructor
To be accepted for publication, all writers face the same decision: to edit their own material or pay an editor to do it for them. This course is for those who wish to make the first choice and save unnecessary expenses. Students will learn the parts of the sentence, the parts of speech, paragraph structure, and proper punctuation. To demonstrate real-world mastery of grammar, students will choose a creative-writing project and edit both their own work and the writing of their classmates. (4 credits)

4 credits of Critical Thinking courses

In this course, students will be introduced to persuasive communication. Methods of evaluating and responding to arguments will be covered. Students will learn the fundamentals of effective speech, writing and presentation, and examine those fundamentals in the contexts of storytelling, activism, advertising, and business. (4 credits)

4 credits from Literary Criticism courses

This introductory course is offered early in each academic year and covers three basic areas: a) how to read and analyze literature; b) how to write about literature; c) and how to write creative and effective essays. It will also contain a creative writing element. This course is a required course for all English majors (Literature and/or Creative Writing), and it is recommended that it be taken early in the major. Texts include short stories, essays, and a literary handbook specially designed for the course.

16 credits from any Literature courses

  • Any LIT level 200 and above

4 credits from any Fiction Writing courses

  • Any WTG or MC—W in Fiction

4 credits from any Poetry Writing courses

  • Any WTG or MC—W in Poetry

4 credits from any Nonfiction Writing courses

  • Any WTG or MC-W in Nonfiction

16 credits from MC Electives

  • Any MC, LIT, or WTG classes level 200 and above

4 credits from Professional Preparation courses

Writing to Publish is an advanced writing course designed to guide experienced writers through the publication process. This class teaches writers how to acutely edit their work, select a market for their work, and the intricate details about what publishers and editors and looking for. Upon completion students will have submitted several pieces for publication. (4 credits)

16 credits of BFA Studio

As a culmination of the BFA program, every BFA candidate enrolls in four consecutive studio courses, which provide concentrated, advanced level immersion in craft. Students receive in-depth, challenging feedback from faculty and peers as they push a body of work toward completion for an end-of-semester public reading. The workshop format hones the ability to critique the work of self and others and offers the opportunity for rigorous revision. Studio classes promote self-reliance as well as intensive self-discipline. Students are encouraged to reach beyond their boundaries, experiment, and keep an open mind. Each Studio block will offer master classes diving into the subtle mechanics of technique. Students attend panel discussions where professional poets and writers discuss creative process, the career of the writer, and publication. In the course of four BFA Studios, students will develop a 40 – 60 page portfolio in a genre of choice. Each student works under the guidance of their monthly BFA Studio faculty as well as a board of three faculty advisors. Students who want to work in more than one genre need permission from their faculty board. BFA portfolio work should be of publishable quality. Aim is to create a body of work that can be submitted as a portfolio for an MFA application or for publication to literary magazines and chapbook competitions. The BFA studio provides perfect preparation for graduate work in creative writing and for publication, allowing students to try out the professional writing life. (16 credits) Prerequisites: final semester and consent of Department