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University College’s creative writing courses are open to all students who possess writing skills comparable to those typically learned in English Composition 111* 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.
* This requirement effective as of summer 2019. Students admitted to University College programs prior to summer 2019 are expected to fulfill the requirements in place at the time of their admission.
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) 935-6700 for more information.
There are no formal requirements for admission to undergraduate certificates. Students should speak with an academic advisor regarding their preparation for specific certificates or courses.
US Citizenship or Eligible Noncitizen
International students interested in the certificate programs must hold a visa that permits part-time study (including F-2 and J-2 visas). Students holding F-1 visas are not eligible for these programs. Students holding a B-2 visa may be eligible if the coursework is recreational or avocational in nature.
NOTE: University College is designed for students with adult responsibilities who may require part-time and flexible course schedules. Current high school students and recent graduates seeking a traditional WashU college experience should apply through the undergraduate admissions office: admissions.wustl.edu.
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis and typically take four to six weeks. An application is incomplete and will not be reviewed until all of the application requirements have been received or processed. Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by the following dates:
- Fall 2022: July 31, 2022
- Spring 2023: Dec. 31, 2022
- Summer 2023: April 30, 2023
Completed Application Form
The online application is available on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed and the required documents have been received.
We are here for you, every step of the way. Getting started at University College is easy.
1. Meet with an Advisor
- Schedule an appointment with an advisor online.
2. Start Your Application
- Applying is easy, and our advisors are here to help you find the path that fits your needs. Apply Today!
3. Plan Ahead
- Explore ways that can help you afford your education such as tuition payment methods, scholarships and financial aid.
Take a course today. Apply later.
At University College, students can take courses without applying to a degree program. If you are interested in taking a class to get to know University College, to fulfill credits, for professional development, or to follow a passion, the non-degree option is for you. Learn more.
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.
POETRY WRITING (U11 316)
FICTION WRITING (U11 317)
FICTION SEMINAR (U11 318)
NONFICTION: READING AND WRITING THE MEMOIR (U11 3151)
NONFICTION WRITING: THE VARIETIES OF NONFICTION (U11 313K)
THE ART AND CRAFT OF THE ESSAY (U11 320)
THE ART OF THE PERSONAL ESSAY (U11 323)
Our advisors go the extra mile to help you navigate your path and needs. We will provide you with the tools to make each moment spent on your education as valuable as possible. Students will receive:
- individual appointments with an experienced advisor;
- career planning services to prepare you for opportunities after graduation;
- a partner throughout your journey to ensure success.
Student advising is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.