Certificate in Creative Writing
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.
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:
- one-on-one, hour long appointments with an experienced advisor;
- career planning services to prepare you for opportunities after graduation;
- a partner throughout your journey to ensure success.
Request an Appointment
Student advising is available at our West Campus location from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Friday.
required course work
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.
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.
The online application is available online on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed and the application fee is paid.
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.