Feb 24, 2024  
2016-2017 University Catalog 
2016-2017 University Catalog [Archived Catalogue]

Creative Writing, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Contacts     Description     Program Objectives      Program Requirements

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Elise Juska \ ejuska@uarts.edu \ 215.717.6264
Creative Writing Program Director


The BFA in Creative Writing is a 60-credit major that prepares students for professional writing careers. Within the major, 45 credits are dedicated exclusively to writing courses including small, intensive workshops in poetry and fiction. Students also take craft seminars focused on specialized writing forms and genres, literature courses, a hands-on course in publishing, and a cross-disciplinary course requiring close collaboration with a student in another artistic field.

In their first year, Creative Writing students acquire a working knowledge of the elements of poetry and short fiction by taking two year-long workshops—Introduction to Contemporary Poetry and Introduction to the Contemporary Short Story—which equally emphasize reading and writing. Here students begin learning to read as writers, to critique material productively, and to hone their writing skills by using as models the significant poetry and story collections of the last fifteen years.

As sophomores, students continue to explore and refine their writing interests by taking the Intermediate Workshops in fiction and poetry, as well as choosing from among the diverse roster of craft seminars. These seminars are not literature courses in the traditional sense, but courses that look closely at a particular form or genre with an eye to craft. These electives, offered on a rotating basis, include Creative Nonfiction, Screenplay Adaptation, Speculative Fiction, Translation and Adaptation, and Graphic Storytelling.

Juniors, in addition to taking increasingly advanced writing workshops in poetry or fiction (or both), have the opportunity to explore connections between their writing and other arts. In the cross-disciplinary Writing and Collaboration, students undertake a creative project with a student in another major; in Literary Editing and Publishing, students are introduced to all aspects of producing a literary magazine. To complete their degree, students also enjoy 15 credits of free electives, which may be used for additional courses in Creative Writing, editorial internships, or studio programs from across the University.

In the senior year, Creative Writing majors take a two-semester seminar in poetry or fiction, concentrated on revising finished work with potential for publication. The senior year culminates in a portfolio of revised pieces, an exit interview with members of the writing faculty, and a public reading.

Program Objectives

  • Understand the elements of the poem and the short story and be able to use them, skillfully and deliberately, in their own work;
  • Be close and careful readers, able to analyze text with a writer’s eye;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of significant books, writers and trends in the contemporary landscape, as well as the context for the development of these models and traditions;
  • Write ably in a range of forms and genres;
  • Critique writing usefully and productively, delivering detailed, well-supported verbal and written peer feedback;
  • Find and articulate connections between their writing and other artistic disciplines;
  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of producing a literary magazine;
  • Hone public speaking skills by reading work aloud, introducing visiting writers, and participating in public readings and other presentations;
  • Engage in thorough, substantial revision of written work;
  • Demonstrate a mature awareness of their own process of writing and revising, both in written self-assessments and exit interview;
  • Produce a final portfolio of professional-quality writing;
  • Have something to say.

Program Requirements (121.5 credits)

University Commom Curriculum (4.5 Credits)

Additional information available on the University Common Curriculum page.

Program Requirements (60 credits)

Discipline History (9 credits)

Liberal Arts Distribution (33 credits)

Humanities Seminar (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject HUMS

Period Interpretation (6 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject PIPT
  • Select 1 course from subject PITC

Scientific Inquiry Foundation Track (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject SIFT

Liberal Arts Electives (15 credits)

  • Select courses from subjects:
    • AHST (Art History), HIST (History)
    • ARAB (Arabic), FRCH (French), ITAL (Italian), LITT (Literature)
    • PHIL (Philosophy), RELI (Religion)
    • MATH (Math), SCIE (Science)
    • ANTH (Anthropology), PHIL (Philosophy), PSYC (Psychology), SOCI (Sociology)
    • STCU (Cultural Studies), STDA (Dance Studies), STGS (Gender & Sexuality Studies),
      STMU (Music Studies), STPF (Performance Studies)   
  • Select courses from  : Art History or LA Elective.

Electives (15 credits)

  • Complete 15 credits of free electives. This requirement is satisfied by any undergraduate course that isn’t required by the program.