Creative Writing Curriculum

 

Overview | Transfer Students | Collaborative Minor: Writing for the Screen and Stage | Additional Resources

Overview

The Creative Writing Program, centered in the Department of English and Comparative Literature , offers four different levels of workshops - introductory, intermediate, advanced, and senior honors - which can lead to graduation with Honors in Creative Writing and/or a Minor in Creative Writing. The minor requires 15 hours, a total of 5 courses which students need to begin by their sophomore year, at the rate of one Creative Writing class per semester. The minor may be completed by pursuing a fiction track or a poetry track, or via multiple genres. Advancement to in either the fiction or poetry sequence is by recommendation of the student's previous instructor(s), and for both the Advanced workshops and year-long Senior Honors Seminars, by application. If possible, the student is assigned to a different instructor for each course. Should students not advance beyond the Intermediate level, they may choose to finish the minor with other classes offered in Creative Writing. Creative Writing minors receive priority in all Creative Writing classes and usually fill all seats.

PLEASE NOTE: Writing classes offered by the UNC Friday Center for Continuing Education (correspondence, independent study, online) DO NOT count toward the minor.

The courses are:

Fiction

  • ENGL 130 (Introduction to Fiction Writing)
  • ENGL 132H (Freshman Honors in Fiction Writing)
  • ENGL 206 (Intermediate Fiction Writing)
  • ENGL 406 (Advanced Fiction Writing)
  • ENGL 693H & ENGL 694H (a year-long two-semester senior workshop, which counts as two courses, and can lead to graduation with Honors or with Highest Honors in Creative Writing). Prerequisites of ENGL 693H: Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part 1-- ENGL 130, 131, 132H, or 133H; ENGL 206 or 207; ENGL 406 or 407; and permission of the Director of Creative Writing. Prerequisites of ENGL 694H: Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part 2 -- ENGL 130, 131, 132H, or 133H; ENGL 206 or 207; ENGL 406 or 407; ENGL 693H; and permission of the Director of Creative Writing.

Poetry

  • ENGL 131 (Introduction to Poetry Writing)
  • ENGL 133H (Freshman Honors in Poetry Writing)
  • ENGL 207 (Intermediate Poetry Writing)
  • ENGL 407 (Advanced Poetry Writing)
  • ENGL 693H & ENGL 694H (a year-long two-semester senior workshop, which counts as two courses, and can lead to graduation with Honors or with Highest Honors in Creative Writing). Prerequisites of ENGL 693H: Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part 1-- ENGL 130, 131, 132H, or 133H; ENGL 206 or 207; ENGL 406 or 407; and permission of the Director of Creative Writing. Prerequisites of ENGL 694H: Creative Writing Senior Honors Thesis, Part 2-- ENGL 130, 131, 132H, or 133H; ENGL 206 or 207; ENGL 406 or 407; ENGL 693H; and permission of the Director of Creative Writing.

Creative Non-fiction

  • ENGL 138 (Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction)  A course in reading and writing Creative Non-Fiction, prose based in fact but treated in a literary manner, e.g., personal essays, travel narratives, science and nature writing, immersive interviews and profiles, reportage, and belles-lettres.  Composition, workshop discussion and revision of work written for this class.
  • ENGL 208 (Reading and Writing Creative Non-fiction) has been taught as Narrative Non-fiction, Nature Writing, and Memoir Writing, including the personal essay, travel writing, and writing about the natural world. Can be repeated for credit if taken with different instructor. Restricted to declared and prospective Creative Writing minors.

English 130, 131, 132H, 133H & 138  the introductory classes, are pre-requisites to other Creative Writing Program classes.130 and 131 are open for registration by RISING SOPHOMORES ONLY during Spring semester for the following Fall and for CURRENT SOPHOMORES ONLY during Fall semester for the following Spring. Rising or current sophomores may register for ENGL 130, ENGL 131 OR ENGL 138.  Demand by sophomores regularly exceeds the number of seats available. Enrollment of juniors and seniors is on a space-available basis by permission of the instructor, and they may inquire of the instructor during the first week of classes to see if seats are available. ENGL 130 and 131 are sometimes offered during summer sessions with no registration restrictions. Please always review summer session course listings for any changes or updates.

Other Creative Writing classes

ENGL 130, 131, 132H,133H or 138 is required as a pre-requisite.

  • ENGL 306 (Playwriting) pre-reqs, Introduction to Fiction or Poetry (ENGL 130, 131, 132H, or 133H, 138) or permission of instructor.  A workshop for people interested in writing plays, focusing on elements that make them work on stage, such as:  characterization, climax, dialogue, exposition, momentum, setting, and visual effects.
  • ENGL 307 (Studies in Fiction and Poetry:  Stylistics) Prerequisite, ENGL 130, 131, 132H, or 133H, 138 and permission of the Director of Creative Writing. Creative Writing minors only. An occasional intermediate-level course, which may focus on such topics as Living Writers, Poetic Forms, Poetry Imitation, and Prose Imitation, but which is offered every fall as Gram-o-Rama, the close study of language and grammar as tools of style, a class involving numerous short exercises and the collaborative development and production of a language-arts show based on original exercises.
  • ENGL 412 (Creative Writing: Special Topics) Permission of the Director of Creative Writing required. Creative Writing minors only. An occasional advanced-level course, which may focus on such topics as: advanced creative non-fiction; editing and publishing; the lyric in song, and collaboration between lyricists and composers; the one-act play; and short-short fiction.  
For a complete list of Creative Writing courses and descriptions, click here.
 

To receive a minor in Creative Writing, a student may take 15 hours in the fiction or poetry sequence, or take a collection of courses from fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and so on. The Creative Writing Program also gives credit toward the minor to several courses offered in other departments - such as AMST 499 Advanced Seminar in American Studies (contact CW program assistant to make sure this course will count toward your minor); COMM 131-Writing for the Stage and Screen; COMM 330-Drama/Fiction Writing; DRAM 231-Playwriting; and JOMC 256-Feature Writing. A student may seek permission from the Creative Writing Program to declare the minor once he or she has taken 2 courses and is on track to graduate with three more - without doubling up in any one semester. To receive a degree with Honors or Highest Honors in Creative Writing, students must maintain a 3.2 GPA and meet all other requirements to both enter and complete the Senior Honors Thesis (ENGL 693H and 694H). Students minoring in Creative Writing must also plan carefully when intending on studying abroad and keep in mind submission and deadline requirements for applying to successive courses.

PLEASE NOTEAt least 3 of the 5 courses taken for a minor -- a majority of the classes -- must be Creative Writing Program courses taken at UNC.

Students completing the 5 courses for the minor may only take additional Creative Writing course by permission of the Director, providing that all other students still completing the minor are served first.

Students with unusual scheduling situations or requests need to speak directly with the Director of Creative Writing, Professor Daniel Wallace, dhwallac@email.unc.edu, 962-4052, 520 Greenlaw Hall.

Transfer Students

 

The requirement for taking a minor in creative writing is five courses or 15 semester hours. Students are limited to one creative writing course at a time. Most junior transfer students have four semesters remaining. Junior transfer students wanting to minor in creative writing must either:

1. Have an introductory course already on their record that will transfer to Carolina as credit, e.g., an introductory course in fiction writing or poetry writing taken at their former college or university that is transferring in as credit for ENGL 130, 131 or 138; OR

2. Take an introductory course via UNC–Chapel Hill Summer School prior to their first fall term at Carolina and be promoted to the next level or to another creative writing class (on a space available basis) in the fall of their junior year.

Permission to move forward with transfer credit for an introductory course requirement (option 1 above) will require a review of the syllabus and work completed in the course by the creative writing faculty and is dependent on space availability, which cannot be guaranteed. Students must provide hard copies of syllabi and samples of course work as early as possible in order to ensure time for review.  Please see Anita Braxton in 229 Greenlaw for instructions.

Junior transfer students fulfilling one of these two options would be eligible for Advanced Fiction or Poetry (ENGL 406 or 407) and the senior honors seminars (ENGL 693H and 694H) if there is space available in Intermediate Fiction (ENGL 206) or Intermediate Poetry (ENGL 207) their first fall semester, and if – on the basis of submitted work reviewed by a committee – they are chosen for those classes. If not, they would need to complete the minor using the multi-genre approach.

PLEASE NOTENo more than 2 creative writing courses from other schools may be counted for credit here at UNC. At least 3 of the 5 courses taken for a minor -- a majority of the classes -- must be Creative Writing Program courses taken at Carolina.

Details of class requirements:

Fiction

  • 130 (Introduction to Fiction Writing) restricted to sophomores or CW minors taking multiple genres.
  • 132H (Freshman Honors in Fiction Writing) restricted to freshmen honors students. Students are either chosen by the Honors Program as incoming freshman, or apply for admittance Spring semester of their freshman year. Go to "Joining Once You're Here" on the Honors Program website.
  • 206 (Intermediate Fiction Writing) pre-req of 130 or 132H and instructor's written recommendation to advance.
  • 406 (Advanced Fiction Writing); pre-reqs of 130 or 132H, 206, and submission of hard copy portfolio properly assembled and turned in by deadline. A reading committee of CW faculty makes the final recommendations for students to be admitted to 406. All decisions are final. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED.
  • 693H and 694H(a year-long two-semester senior workshop, which count as two courses, and can lead to graduation with Honors or with Highest Honors in Creative Writing). Pre-reqs of 130 or 132H, 206, 406, and submission of hard copy portfolio properly assembled and turned in by deadline. A reading committee of CW faculty makes the final recommendations for students to be admitted to 693H & 694H. All decisions are final. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED.

Poetry

  • 131 (Introduction to Poetry Writing) restricted to sophomores or CW minors taking multiple genres
  • 133H (Freshman Honors in Poetry Writing); restricted to freshmen honors students
  • 207 (Intermediate Poetry Writing); pre-req of 131 or 133H and instructor's written recommendation to advance
  • 407 (Advanced Poetry Writing); pre-reqs of 131 or 133H, 207, and submission of hard copy portfolio properly assembled and turned in by deadline. A reading committee of CW faculty makes the final recommendations for students to be admitted to 407. All decisions are final. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED.
  • 693H and 694H (a year-long two-semester Senior Honors workshop, which count as two courses, and can lead to graduation with Honors or with Highest Honors in Creative Writing). Pre-reqs of 131 or 133H, 207, 407, and submission of hard copy portfolio properly assembled and turned in by deadline. A reading committee of CW faculty makes the final recommendations for students to be admitted to 693H & 694H. All decisions are final. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED.

Collaborative Minor: Writing for the Screen and Stage

The Departments of Communication Studies, Creative Writing, and Dramatic Art have established a new program, Writing for the Screen and Stage. Students who have taken ENGL 130 or ENGL 132H (fiction), have a 2.4 GPA, and are rising Juniors are eligible to apply. All students must have a recommendation letter from their writing instructor. Interested students should go to the Writing for the Screen and Stage Webpage. There is an application process to become a Minor. For more information, contact Professor Dana Coen at rcoen@email.unc.edu.

Additional Resources

One all important note:  our small program exists solely for full-time, resident undergraduate students at the University; our classes are always full and are in enormous demand from the undergraduate population. We simply cannot fulfill all the requests to register for courses, to audit officially, or "just to sit in," such as come to us regularly from graduate students, University staff members, and citizens from Chapel Hill and beyond. Please study the list below for other possibilities.

Local creative writing courses:

Creative writing programs at the graduate level in North Carolina:

Other resources: