Uchicago catalog creative writing
The Program in Creative Writing is part of the Department of English Language & Literature at the University of Chicago. Students at UChicago pursue creative writing within the larger context of academic study. While the purpose of the program is, above all, to give students a rigorous background in the fundamentals of creative work by providing them with the opportunity to study with established poets and prose writers, it differs from creative writing programs at other universities in seeing itself as an integral part of the university’s intellectual life, and most particularly in providing opportunities for interdisciplinary work. The program offers an undergraduate major in Creative Writing; a joint minor in English and Creative Writing that includes a creative portfolio; and a formal Creative Writing Option through the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities.
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Major in Creative Writing
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.
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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
= 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.
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.
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.