Certificate in Creative Writing

Certificates

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. 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.

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.

Summer Writers Institute

Each July, Washington University holds the Summer Writers Institute, a creative writing experience for writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Participants may earn 3 credits. Call (314) 935-4695 for more information.

required course work

Required Courses: 16 units

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.

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.

admissions requirements

Transferring Credit

A maximum of six units of transfer credit for required courses may be applied to certificate programs that include nineteen units of credit or more. All other required courses must be taken at Washington University.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

In order to be considered for admission to this certificate program, students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 in at least six units of previous college course work, including at least one college-level English composition course with a grade of B or better.

Policies & Procedures
  • Courses may be taken on a stand-alone basis.
  • Courses taken in the certificate program at Washington University must be completed with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Courses taken toward a University College undergraduate certificate program may be applied to a University College bachelor of science degree as distribution or general elective courses.

application requirements

Completed application form

The online application is available online on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed, required documents have been received, and the application fee is paid.

Official transcripts from all previous college work

Contact the registrar at each previous college or university attended to request an official transcript. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar to University College.

Personal statement

Tell us about yourself in a brief essay (about 250 words). Why are you applying to University College? What are your goals, both academic and professional? What do we need to know when considering your application?

TOEFL scores (if applicable)

If you are not a U.S. citizen, official TOEFL scores must be forwarded to University College.

Graduates of a U.S. university or college or Canada, Australia, and U.K. residents are exempt if they have earned a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree from such college or university.

$35 application fee

You may pay by credit card online, or via check or money order payable to Washington University in St. Louis. You may also pay the fee by cash at the University College office. 

This fee is waived for all WashU staff.

Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation should be completed by teachers or professional associates. It can be submitted as part of your online application or mailed to University College.

Writing Samples

Please submit samples of either poetry (3 poems), fiction (1 or 2 stories, depending on length) or prose non-fiction (1 or 2 pieces, depending on length)

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Still have questions?

Administrative Assistant for Academic Programs: Holly Schroeder | (314) 935-6759 | cschroed@wustl.edu

Director of Advising and Student Services: Elizabeth Fogt | (314) 935-6778 | efogt@wustl.edu