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Major with a Creative Writing Emphasis

Major with a Creative Writing Emphasis

With the range of writing courses open to them, it is possible for students at Swarthmore to pursue a Major in English Literature with an Emphasis in Creative Writing, by completing three units of creative writing in addition to the usual departmental requirements. One workshop taken outside our English Department may be counted towards the Emphasis.

Student writers may also pursue a Directed Creative Writing Project (070K), completing a portfolio of independent work under the guidance of a faculty member. Some students have used the Directed Creative Writing Project as an opportunity to extend and polish a project begun in workshops – a novel, a linked collection of short stories, a sequence of poems responding to photographs, for example – while others have worked intensively and rigorously to master the sonnet form, or explored through their own work the implications of a theoretical premise – the blurred distinction between dramatic monologue and poetic confession, for example. Because our writing faculty is small, the Department sponsors only a limited number of writing projects each year. Students interested in pursuing independent work in creative writing normally declare their intention in the sophomore plan, and submit a prospectus to the Department in the semester before they hope to begin their project, after consulting with the chair of the Department and with members of the writing faculty.

Students – whether Course or Honors majors or minors -- who plan a directed writing project in fiction or poetry must consult with the Director of the Program in Creative Writing and if possible with a member of the Department’s writing faculty who might supervise the project, and must submit a prospectus to the Department by way of application for such work before the beginning of the semester during which the project is actually done. The number of these ventures the Department can sponsor each year is limited. In spring 2021, the deadline for written applications for the Directed Creative Writing Project for 2021-22 and 2022-23 is April 19. For projects proposed for the spring semester, students should confirm their interest by updating their application by the Monday after fall break.

Creative writing and the Honors Program

Students in the Honors Program may present work in creative writing as a preparation for either a Major or a Minor in English Literature. Normally the two-credit preparation is defined as a one-credit workshop (most typically 070A, 070B, 070C, or 070H) paired with a one-credit Directed Creative Writing Project (070K), but it is also possible in unusual circumstances for a student to develop a portfolio through writing done entirely within workshops.

For additional information about the Creative Writing program, including more details about the courses mentioned here,  see Read more about the Creative Writing program. Printed information about the program is also available in the department office.