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English majors, primary or secondary, can declare a Concentration in Creative Writing. (Non-majors may pursue the Letter of Specialization in Creative Writing.)

Declare intent of Concentration
 
The Concentration in Creative Writing leads students through a sequence of introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses. All creative writing courses invite students to work in various forms, styles, and modes, and they provide training in the elements of prosody and the craft of storytelling. Working with the UMass English Department’s esteemed creative writing faculty, students:
  • Workshop their original stories, novel chapters, poems, and essays
  • Study deeply the craft of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with a focus in one genre
  • Learn to read like writers

This concentration prepares students for successful careers as writers and equips them with important skills. Across fields and professions, few qualities are as prized among employers today as creativity and facility with expressive written communication.
 
The Concentration in Creative Writing requires that students take the following five courses:

  1. ENGL 254 Introduction to Creative Writing
  2. One 300-level intermediate creative writing class (genre-specific 350*, 355*, 356*, or 357*)
  3. One 400-level advanced creative writing class (genre specific 450*, 455*, 456*, 457*, or 499C/D**)
  4. Creative Writing Elective #1
  5. Creative Writing Elective #2

Eligible Creative Writing Electives include:

  • ENG 146 Living Writers
  • ENG 391D Writing and Emerging Tech (with publishing focus)
  • Any 300-level creative writing class*
  • Any 400-level creative writing class*
  • ENGL 396 (independent study)
  • ENGL 496 (independent study)
  • ENGL 499C/D Honors Project (two semester thesis projects)**

*300-level creative writing courses require English 254 as a prerequisite; 400-level creative writing courses require a 300-level creative writing course as a prerequisite. 300- and 400-level creative writing courses may be repeated once for credit with a different instructor.

**ENGL 499C/D is a two-semester course that counts for two courses toward the certificate and can replace ENGL 450, 455, 456, or 457.

***Spring 2023 and prior instances of English 391NM Narrative Medicine also count as a 300 elective in creative writing.
 
If approved, students may substitute appropriate courses at UMass and the four colleges (Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, and Hampshire) for the courses listed above. Pre-approval must be by the Director of Creative Writing, Professor John Hennessy. You can reach him via email at @email. Oxford Summer Program courses in creative writing may also be counted toward the concentration. Transfer students may count creative writing courses taken at other institutions toward these requirements.  

In addition to counting toward the Creative Writing Concentration, three of the above courses may also be counted as electives toward the English major. The lists below show the full English major curriculum with and without the concentration:

English Major without Concentration in CW

Core Courses

  • 200 - Intro to Lit (4cr)
  • Brit Lit before 1700 (3cr)
  • Brit Lit after 1700 or Am Lit before/after 1865 (3cr)
  • Brit Lit after 1700 or Am Lit before/after 1865 (3cr)
  • Global or Ethnic American Lit (3cr)
  • 300 - Junior Year Writing (4cr)
  • IE (3cr)
  • Three electives (9cr)

Total courses: 10

English Major with Concentration in CW

Core Courses

  • 200 - Intro to Lit (4cr)
  • Brit Lit before 1700 (3cr)
  • Brit Lit after 1700 or Am Lit before/after 1865 (3cr)
  • Brit Lit after 1700 or Am Lit before/after 1865 (3cr)
  • Global or Ethnic American Lit (3cr)
  • 300 - Junior Year Writing (4cr)
  • IE (3cr)

Creative Writing Concentration

  • 254 - Intro to CW (3cr)
  • 300-level CW class (3cr)
  • 400-level CW class (3cr)
  • CW elective (3cr)
  • CW elective (3cr)

Total courses: 12

Below are all the courses eligible to be counted toward the Creative Writing Concentration or Specialization in the current academic year. See the undergraduate courses page for more information on these courses, and register on SPIRE.


Fall 2023 Creative Writing Courses

CW Concentration Core Classes:

  • ENG 254 – Introduction to Creative Writing (TOs)
  • ENG 350H – Expository Writing (Hennessy)*
  • ENG 355 – Creative Writing: Fiction (TO)*
  • ENG 356 – Creative Writing: Poetry (TO)*
  • ENG 499C: Honors Thesis Seminar - 1st semester (Sub-title: Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Non-Fiction - 1st semester) (Hennessy)

Electives:

  • ENG 146 - Living Writers (TO)
  • ENG 257H – Interactive Fiction (Sack)
  • ENG 391NM – Narrative Medicine (MacCurdy)
  • ENG 398: Literary Programming, Editing, & Publishing Practicum (Syki Barbee)

Spring 2024 Creative Writing Courses

CW Concentration Core Classes:

  • ENG 254 – Introduction to Creative Writing (TOs)
  • ENG 355 – Creative Writing: Fiction (TO)*
  • ENG 355 – Creative Writing: Fiction (Hennessy)*
  • ENG 356 – Creative Writing: Poetry (TO)*
  • ENG 356 – Creative Writing: Poetry (Hennessy)*
  • ENG 450 – Advanced Expository Writing (Toomey)*
  • ENG 455 – Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction (Sack)*
  • ENG 456 – Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry (Espada)*
  • ENG 499D: Honors Thesis Seminar – 2nd semester (Sub-title: Foundations and Departures in Creative Writing: Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Non-Fiction – 2nd semester) (Hennessy)

Electives:

  • ENG 391NM – Narrative Medicine (MacCurdy)

Once you have completed the concentration requirements, please declare your completion of the concentration.

 

For further information, contact the Director of Creative Writing, Professor John Hennessy, E465 South College, @email.

John Hennessy
Creative Writing Concentration Contact
John Hennessy

Senior Lecturer II

Email: jjhennes@english.umass.edu
Office: E465 South College
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