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Ohio state creative writing major

Ohio State University

OSU’s MFA program is unparalleled in its commitment to the success of its students, and the enthusiastic mutual support of both current students and alumni is legion. Everyone in the OSU creative writing family celebrates each new success as if it were his or her own.

We are a flourishing community of writers committed to the art and craft of writing. The six in-residence faculty teach at all levels of the curriculum; MFA students teach introductory and intermediate undergraduate creative writing courses as well as other English courses.

We offer workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for undergraduate and graduate students. The MFA program, launched in 1992, is a three-year, fully funded program of study. Our graduate students teach two classes a year–one in autumn and one in spring–and also have the opportunity to work as editors of OSU’s prize-winning, nationally distributed literary magazine, The Journal. The undergraduate creative writing concentration in the major, which is by selective admission to students already enrolled at Ohio State, offers advanced workshops and special topics seminars taught by the MFA faculty.

Course offerings, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, are varied and numerous. Special topics graduate workshops have been offered in such areas as the long poem, free verse, characterization, translation, and humor writing, to name just a few. Undergraduate special topics and honors seminars have focused on literary journalism, place in fiction, the art of revision, the writing of fairy tales, screenwriting and story engineering, queer narratives, and song lyrics and writing for musical theater. Opportunities abound for experimentation. Our graduate program includes coursework specifically designed for “crossing over”–poetry workshops, for example, for MFA fiction writers or essayists with little experience writing poems–and “forms” classes in prosody, the novel, memoir, novellas (etc.). Many students also elect to study playwriting as an elective, with an auxiliary faculty member from Theatre, and screenwriting workshops are regularly offered from our full-time faculty screenwriter, who holds a joint appointment in English and Film Studies. Many MFA students choose to pursue the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in the Fine Arts (GISFA), which allows them to take graduate courses in other arts disciplines. Indeed, Ohio State’s size and breadth offers our students the chance to explore many disciplines that enrich their study and practice of creative writing.

Contact Information

164 Annie and John Glenn Avenue
421 Denney Hall, Creative Writing Program
Ohio, United States
Phone: (614) 292-4363
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 614-292-7816

Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Creative Writing +

Undergraduate Program Director

The minor in Creative Writing requires the completion of four courses, at least half of them upper-division workshops. Coursework must be completed in two genres. A maximum of 10 transfer credit hours is allowed.

Type of Program: Studio/Research
Largest Class Size: 20
Smallest Class Size: 12
Genres: Fiction, Screenwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Unit of Measure: Hours

Bachelor of Arts in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing +

Undergraduate Program Director

This degree is under construction. Currently, students with a serious interest in creative writing may pursue a minor (see above) and may of course take additional classes at the advanced level, including a course in literary publishing (which is open to MFA students as well as upper-division undergraduates, by permission of the instructor). All advanced workshops are by permission only, and are taught by the MFA faculty. (We expect the BA in English, Creative Writing track, to be in place by 2014-2015 or 2015-2016.)

Type of Program: Studio/Research
Largest Class Size: 22
Smallest Class Size: 12
Genres: Fiction, Criticism & Theory, Screenwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Unit of Measure: Hours

Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Business and Professional Writing +

Undergraduate Program Director

Type of Program: Research/Theory/Studio
Genres: Professional Writing (technical writing, PR, etc.)
Unit of Measure: Hours

Bachelor of Arts in Any field, with a minor in Creative Writing +

Undergraduate Program Director

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (degrees in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction) +

Graduate Program Director

Kathy Fagan
164 Annie and John Glenn Avenue
Department of English
Ohio, United States
Email: [email protected]

The aim of Ohio State’s MFA program is to help its students develop to the fullest their talents and abilities as writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, with the expectation of eventual publication. (Coursework is available in other genres as well.) The program is both rigorous (demanding, challenging) and highly supportive, with a small and tightly knit student body that maintains its own organization, the Writers’ Guild, and sponsors readings as well as an annual gala, Epilog, to celebrate the newly minted MFAs. Recent visiting faculty have included Eula Biss, Rebecca Makkai, Brenda Hillman, and Terrance Hayes. MFA students teach in summer program for teenage writers, the Young Writers Workshop, and work as Editors on The Journal, OSU’s prize-winning, nationally distributed literary magazine. All students are fully funded for three years fully funded for three years in a program that is well known for its sense of community and a faculty that is as committed to teaching as to their own writing.

The current stipend for MFAs with teaching appointments (one course each semester) is roughly $15,500 for the nine-month academic year (along with the stipend comes a fee authorization, which means you do not have to pay tuition, the current value of which is $11,704 for Ohio residents and $29,016 for non-residents). Fellows (who do not teach during their first year in the program) are granted a $20,000 stipend for the twelve-month academic year (fellows teach during their second and third years). All MFA students also receive access to student health insurance. (For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions page for current students in our program:

Type of Program: Studio/Research
Largest Class Size: 15
Smallest Class Size: 5
Genres: Fiction, Literary Translation, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Duration of Study: 3 years
Unit of Measure: Credits
Workshop: 15
Literature: 9 (may be in other areas of English besides literature)
Other: 3 credit-course in literary forms; 3 credits (1 course) in an elective
Thesis: 9
Total Units for Degree: 39
Other Requirements: One course in the teaching of freshman composition (this does count toward the 36 hrs of course work).
Application Requirements: Transcripts, Writing Sample, Application Form, Letters of Recommendation, GRE, Cover Letter

Kathy Fagan

Kathy Fagan is the author of five books of poems: Sycamore (Milkweed Editions, 2017); The Raft, a National Poetry Series Award Winner; MOVING & ST RAGE, winner of the 1998 Vassar Miller Prize for Poetry; The Charm (2002), and LIP (2009). Her poems have been widely anthologized and her work has appeared in such publications as Poetry, The Paris Review, FIELD, The Kenyon Review, Slate, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and Blackbird. She is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, The Frost Place, and the Ohio Arts Council. Director of Creative Writing, she continues to serve as Advisor to The Journal, for which she and Michelle Herman were awarded the 2004 Ohioana Award for Editorial Excellence. Fagan is also Series Editor for The OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Poetry Prize.

Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson has published poems in the American Poetry Review, The New Yorker, the Harvard Review, and the Writers’ Almanac with Garrison Keillor, among many other venues. He is the author of Neighborhood Register, from CavanKerry Press, and his second book, Pardon My Heart, is due out soon. He has been a poetry fellow at Cave Canem and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship finalist. As an African-American poet from Toledo, Ohio, he is committed to giving voice, he has said, to places and people who have not previously been given voice in American poetry. His poems are the American Rust Belt, poverty, the beauties and difficulties within multi-racial families, the value of vernacular, and the unexpected resonances of common objects. The poet Cornelius Eady describes Jackson’s work as “lyrically knit[ting] together time, memory, human desires and obligations and invit[ing] the kind reader to dance along to his bright measures, which sometimes resemble the life of a young poet, deeply enmeshed in the world, and sometimes reflect like a mirror.” Carl Phillips says of Jackson: “Like Langston Hughes, Jackson uses the clearest language to celebrate the complexity and durability of the human will.” Jackson received his MFA in poetry from NYU and has has taught there, as well as at Rutgers, John Jay College, the University of Iowa, Middle Tennessee State, Capital University, and The Frost Place in New Hampshire.

Lee Martin

Lee Martin is the author of the novels The Bright Forever, a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction; River of Heaven; Quakertown; Break the Skin; and Late One Night. He has also published three memoirs: From Our House, Turning Bones, and Such a Life. His first book was the short story collection The Least You Need To Know, and a new collection, The Mutual UFO Network, is forthcoming in spring 2018. His craft book, Telling Stories: The Craft of Narrative and the Writing Life, will be released in October 2017. He is the co-editor of Passing the Word: Writers on Their Mentors. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in such places as Harper’s, Ms., Creative Nonfiction, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Glimmer Train, The Best American Mystery Stories and The Best American Essays. He is the winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council. He was the winner of the 2006 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching from Ohio State.

Elissa Washuta

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a writer of personal essays and memoir. She is the author of two books, Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Exquisite Vessel: Shapes of Native Nonfiction, forthcoming from University of Washington Press. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and awards from Artist Trust, 4Culture, Potlatch Fund, and Hugo House.

Nick White

A native of Mississippi, Nick White is the author of the novel How to Survive a Summer (Blue Rider, 2017). His short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Hopkins Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, and elsewhere.

Angus Fletcher (affiliated faculty)

Angus Fletcher is the Black List and Nicholl award-winning screenwriter of MIDDLE EARTH (produced by Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, directed by Michel Apted), WEE FREE MEN (produced by Allison Thomas and Gary Ross, based on the novel by Terry Pratchett), and VARIABLE MAN (produced by Isa Dick and Electric Shepherd, based on the novella by Philip K. Dick). He earned his PhD from Yale and has published articles on dramatic ethics and practice in Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, The Journal of the History of Philosophy, and a dozen other academic journals. His book Evolving Hamlet appeared on Palgrave in 2011, and his research and writing has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanties, the National Science Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation. Prior to coming to Ohio State, he taught at USC, Stanford, and Teach for America.

English—Creative Writing Major B.A.

The Creative Writing program offers students a range of beginning, intermediate, and advanced workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Undergraduate Creative Writing majors will take three writing workshops of their choice, in addition to a Form & Theory course. Creative Writing majors, working closely with a distinguished core faculty of professional writers, can enrich their background in literature provided by the English major curriculum with a rigorous apprenticeship to their craft.

In addition, the program regularly invites writers to campus for residency, workshops, and readings. Each year, five eminent authors are invited to participate in the three-day Spring Literary Festival. These visits provide a unique complement to the student’s workshop experience.

Many undergraduates publish their writing in Sphere (the undergraduate literary magazine), while others gain valuable editing experience. Undergraduate writers regularly organize formal and informal readings of their own work.

Undergraduate Creative Writing students have gone on to further study in M.F.A. and/or Ph.D. programs in Creative Writing. Many have gone on to publish their work.

Program Overview

In the English – Creative Writing major, students engage with genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from the inside out, by generating and revising their own work as well as exploring closely how published work uses the techniques of craft.

All creative writing students participate in workshops led by nationally recognized writers. The workshops focus on understanding and constructing different literary forms. To achieve these goals, workshops emphasize the study of texts by established writers as well as students’ experimentation with their own creative process.

The major is also flexible enough to match students’ interests and goals. Students can fulfill up to 12 of the required hours in the major with courses focusing on literature, rhetoric, or literary theory, or by combining these with apprenticeship or internship experiences.

To ensure a solid foundation in the skills and knowledge that employers and graduate schools expect from any English graduate, the English – Creative Writing major includes the English Core in analysis, research, and literary history.

Careers and Graduate School

After a curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking and analytical reading as well as multiple genres of writing, English – Creative Writing students enjoy the same wide variety of opportunity upon graduation that other English majors have.

Many of our graduates go on to graduate programs, not only M.A. or M.F.A. programs in Creative Writing but also programs in Information Science or Education.

Others work in publishing, web content development, grant-writing and community organizing, advertising, or other creative industries. Having invested in developing their own creativity as well as in the well-rounded education that this degree requires, English – Creative Writing students can face the unexpected challenges of the 21st-century job market with confidence.

Potential employers for those who hold a degree in Creative Writing include, but are certainly not limited to, newspaper and magazine organizations, the entertainment industry, government agencies, institutions of higher education, public and private K-12 schools, publishing companies, marketing agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, etc.

Browse through dozens of internship opportunities and full-time job postings for Ohio University students and alumni on Handshake, OHIO’s key resource for researching jobs, employers, workshops, and professional development events.

Admission Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission: No requirements beyond University admission requirements.

Change of Program Policy: For students currently enrolled at Ohio University, transferring into an English major requires a 2.0 GPA. Students choosing to transfer into the English – Creative Writing major should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the English Department for assistance. Students who wish to add an English major in addition to another major program should seek assistance from the Director of Undergraduate Studies; students with a second major outside the College of Arts & Sciences will be responsible for meeting the degree requirements of both the English – Creative Writing major and the College of Arts & Sciences.

External Transfer Admission: For students currently enrolled at institutions other than Ohio University, transferring into an English major entails no requirements beyond University admission requirements. Students should contact the director of undergraduate studies in the English Department for assistance.

Degree Requirements

University-wide Graduation Requirements

To complete this program, students must meet all University-wide graduation requirements.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Distribution Requirement

English Hours Requirement

For a B.A. degree with a major in English – Creative Writing, a student must complete a total of 42 semester credit hours in ENG coursework.

English Department Core Requirements

Genre Courses

Complete the following courses:

  • ENG 2010 – Introduction to Prose Fiction and Nonfiction Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 2020 – Introduction to Poetry and Drama Credit Hours: 3.0
British or American Literature before 1800 Course

Complete one of the following courses:

  • ENG 3010 – Shakespeare Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3020 – Topics in Shakespeare Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3110 – English Literature to 1500 Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3120 – English Literature: 1500-1660 Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3130 – English Literature: 1660-1800 Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3210 – American Literature to 1865 Credit Hours: 3.0
British or American Literature after 1800 Course

Complete one of the following courses:

  • ENG 3140 – English Literature: 1800-1900 Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3150 – English Literature: 1900 to Present Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3220 – American Literature: 1865-1918 Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3230 – American Literature: 1918 to Present Credit Hours: 3.0
Writing and Research in English Studies Course

Complete the following course:

  • ENG 3070J – Writing and Research in English Studies Credit Hours: 3.0
Senior Seminar Course

Complete one of the following courses:

  • ENG 4600 – Topics in English Studies Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4640 – English Authors Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4650 – American Authors Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4660 – International Authors Credit Hours: 3.0

Major Requirements

Courses used to fulfill English Core requirements may not also be used for Major Requirements.

Creative Writing Workshops

Complete three of the following courses:

  • ENG 3610 – Creative Writing: Fiction Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3620 – Creative Writing: Poetry Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3630 – Creative Writing: Nonfiction Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3950 – Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3960 – Creative Writing Workshop: Short Story Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 3970 – Intermediate Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4860 – Advanced Workshop in Fiction Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4870 – Advanced Workshop in Poetry Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4880 – Advanced Workshop in Nonfiction Credit Hours: 3.0
Creative Writing Form and Theory

Complete one of the following courses:

  • ENG 4820 – Form and Theory of Literary Genres: Poetry Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4810 – Form and Theory of Literary Genres: Fiction Credit Hours: 3.0
  • ENG 4830 – Form and Theory of Literary Genres: Nonfiction Credit Hours: 3.0

Major Electives

Complete at least 12 hours of ENG courses, excluding ENG 3***J, ENG 4510, and ENG 4520. Three hours may be at the 2000-level or higher; nine hours must be at the 3000-level or higher.