Study in the Writing Seminars offers students the chance to engage deeply with literature, not only as readers but as writers of their own creative work. 

The Writing Seminars department offers survey courses, workshops, readings classes, and opportunities to engage in community-based learning.  In addition to core classes taught every semester, recent offerings have included “Race, Passing, and Performance,” “Writing the Fantastical,” “Writing for Children and Adolescents,” “Shakespeare and Modern Poetry,” “Podcasting: Telling Stories Through Sound” and “Science and Storytelling.” 

After completing workshops through at least the intermediate level, students have the option to apply for capstone classes, small seminars in which to work on a book-length project.

Major Requirements

The Writing Seminars major provides a broad liberal arts education, requiring twelve courses within the department and six outside the department (two each in literature, history and philosophy). [1]  Majors also need to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.

Students must take a minimum of 15 credits at the 300-level or higher towards the Writing Seminars major. These fifteen credits can come from any combination of Writing Seminars courses and outside requirements (literature, history, philosophy). 

Major requirements within the department:

  • Introduction to Fiction and Poetry I (220.105) and Introduction to Fiction and Poetry II (220.106). These courses are commonly called “IFP I and II.” (Introduction to Fiction and Nonfiction” (220.108) may substitute for IFP I.)
  • One course of 220.200, The Craft of Fiction.
  • One course of 220.201, The Craft of Poetry.
  • One additional course of fiction at the 300-400 level.
  • One additional course of poetry at the 300-400 level.
  • Two readings courses.
  • One course of either Advanced Fiction Workshop (220.401) or Advanced Poetry Workshop (220.400).
  • Three additional, elective courses. Any Writing Seminars course numbered above “The Craft of Fiction” (220.200) or “The Craft of Poetry” (220.201) may be used to fulfill this requirement.  Courses cross- listed with The Writing Seminars may count here with approval from the DUS; approval is given for courses with a strong creative writing component (e.g., 061.205, Introduction to Screenwriting).

[1] Students who matriculated before 2023 have a requirement of four literature courses, up to two of which can be Readings classes taken within the Writing Seminars.  The current literature requirements– two literature courses outside the department and two Readings classes within the department—apply to students matriculating in 2023 and after.

Major requirements outside the department:

  • Two classes of literature at the 100-400 level, in the Department of English (060) or cross listed in English (with the exception of Expository Writing). Courses in literature offered in departments other than English, whether in the original language or in translation, also fulfill this requirement when the department is numbered AS.212-216 (German and Romance Languages and Literatures) and AS.300 (Contemporary Thought and Literature). 
  • Two courses in the Department of Philosophy. It is recommended that one of these classes be an introductory-level class.
  • Two courses in the Department of History. May include courses from History of Art or from History of Science and Technology.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language. Foreign language proficiency is defined as completing college classes through the second semester of the intermediate level. If you are already proficient in a language, information on language waivers may be found at the Placement Exams page.

Complete details of requirements for the major can be found in the Degree Audit checklist or Academic Catalog.

Minor Requirements

Students majoring in another department may minor in the Writing Seminars.  The minor consists of four core courses and three electives:

  • Introduction to Fiction and Poetry I (220.105) and Introduction to Fiction and Poetry II (220.106). These courses are commonly called “IFP I and II.”  Introduction to Fiction and Nonfiction (220.108) may substitute for IFP I. 
  • One course of 220.200, The Craft of Fiction
  • One course of 220.201, The Craft of Poetry
  • Any three additional courses within the department. Any Writing Seminars course numbered above “The Craft of Fiction” (220.200) or “The Craft of Poetry” (220.201) may be used to fulfill this requirement. A maximum of one course outside The Writing Seminars may count here with approval from the DUS; approval is given for courses with a strong creative writing component (e.g., 061.205, Introduction to Screenwriting).

Information about the minor can also be found in the Degree Audit checklist and Academic Catalog.

Focus in Writing for Medicine, Science and the Humanities (MSH) majors

A track in Writing Seminars for MSH majors requires students take the following four courses:

  • 220.105 Introduction to Fiction and Poetry I (220.108 Introduction to Fiction and Nonfiction can substitute)
  • 220.106 Introduction to Fiction and Poetry II
  • 220.200 (Craft of Fiction) OR 220.201 (Craft of Poetry)
  • Any 300-400 level course offered by the Writing Seminars (AS.220.xxx). While not all upper-level course have prerequisites, upper-level fiction workshops require having taken 220.200 and upper-level poetry workshops require having taken 220.201.