University College's creative writing courses are open to all students who possess writing skills comparable to those typically learned in English Composition 101 and 203. However, for those who want to explore in depth and achieve significant mastery in the art of writing poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, University College offers a 16-unit Certificate Program in Creative Writing.
Students may specialize in any one of the three genres: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Each student will take five three-credit, advanced level (300 or higher) courses, including three courses devoted to mastering the craft of writing in the chosen specialty genre, one course primarily in reading and analysis of the literature in that genre, and one course in a second genre.
The student's final course in the program will be taken for four credits, rather than the usual three, and will include a one-credit meta-commentary assignment. This assignment requires stepping back from the particular course and describing (in 1500 words) what you have learned about the differences between and similarities among the genres investigated and how these have affected your choice of genre. You should look at the strategies you have chosen in your writing and explain why you chose them for a particular purpose. The purpose of this assignment is for you to show the skills that you have learned in the course of the certificate as you think about the genres you have examined, and how these skills govern your approach to creative writing.
Instructors are experienced professional writers, most of whom are associated with the Washington University Graduate Writing Program and the Department of English. All of the craft courses are taught on the workshop model, with open discussion, and detailed, constructive criticism of each student's writing (Request Info).
Policies and Procedures
Courses taken toward a University College undergraduate certificate program may be applied to a University College bachelor of science degree, as distribution, general elective, or major elective courses. A maximum of 6 units of course work from a University College undergraduate certificate may be used as core major courses in a University College bachelor of science degree.
- Poetry Writing (U11-316)
- Fiction Writing (U11-317)
- Fiction Seminar (U11-318) (Prerequisite: U11-317, or one published work)
- Nonfiction: Reading and Writing the Memoir (U11-3151)
- Nonfiction Writing: The Varieties of Nonfiction (U11-3135)
- The Art and Craft of the Essay (U11-320)
- The Art of the Personal Essay (U11-323)
Please review the English Composition course listings in University College for current offerings.
Students with little previous experience in creative writing are encouraged to begin with a 200-level writing course or workshop as a foundation for the more advanced courses that will count toward the certificate.
- Complete the Application for Admission form.
- Attach a sample of your writing, whether in poetry (3 poems), fiction (1 or 2 stories, depending on length) or prose non-fiction (1 or 2 pieces, depending on length).
- Include a 150- to 200-word essay describing your past experiences in creative writing and your reasons for applying to the program.
- Request a letter of reference from a teacher or instructor, and have him or her forward the letter to the address on the Application for Admission form.
- Mail your application package, plus the $35 application fee, to the address on the Application for Admission form.
Each June, Washington University holds the Summer Writers Institute, a creative writing experience for writers of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Participants may earn 3 college credits. Call (314) 935-6720 for more information.
For more information, contact University College via E-mail at email@example.com, or call (314) 935-6793.