The Undergraduate Program
The Undergraduate Program in Creative Writing, established in 1978, provides a wide variety of opportunities for students to read, write, and study the genres of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting. In addition to a range of creative writing courses open to undergraduates (and, under certain circumstances, graduate students and special students), the program also offers an English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing, a lively series of readings, visits by distinguished authors, opportunities to work on The Madison Review, and a number of contests and prize competitions. Undergraduate creative writing workshops are composed of twelve to nineteen students. In these courses—commonly called "workshops"—some time is spent on theory and technique, some time is spent reading the work of established writers, and some short writing exercises may be assigned. However, in all of our workshops the major focus is on student writing, both in the classroom and in individual conferences. For more detailed descriptions of the undergraduate courses in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin, please see our courses and registration page.
If, after reading this page and our courses and registration page, you still have questions or concerns of any kind about the creative writing emphasis, please contact the undergraduate creative writing coordinator, Ron Kuka, at email@example.com.
If you are having trouble enrolling in a Creative Writing course through “Student Center,” contact Ron Kuka at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT contact the Academic Advisor, Karen Redfield, about enrollment for a particular course; she is the person to speak with in order to declare your English major/Emphasis in Creative Writing, or to guide you in your course work through the major.
The Emphasis in Creative Writing
The Department of English offers an undergraduate English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. The required course of study is a minimum of 30 credits in the major, including 18 credits of English Literature and Linguistics courses and 12 credits of creative writing courses. Of the 12 credits in creative writing, 9 must be acquired by taking some combination of ENGL 307 (Fiction & Poetry Workshop, formerly ENGL 300 in the old numbering system), ENGL 407 (Nonfiction Workshop, formerly an ENGL 307 special topics course under the old system), ENGL 408 (Fiction Workshop, formerly ENGL 301), ENGL 409 (Poetry Workshop, formerly ENGL 302), ENGL 410 (Playwriting Workshop, formerly an ENGL 307 special topics course), ENGL 508 (Advanced Fiction Workshop, formerly ENGL 304), ENGL 509 (Advanced Poetry Workshop, formerly ENGL 305), and ENGL 511 (Special Topics in creative writing, formerly listed as ENGL 307 courses). Three additional creative writing credits must be acquired by taking English 695: Directed Study in Creative Writing (often referred to as the "Creative Writing Thesis.") The full requirements of the English Major with an Emphasis in Creative Writing are as follows:
- ENGL 241 — Literature & Culture to the 18th Century — (3 credits)
- ENGL 242 — Literature & Culture from the 18th Century — (3 credits)
- ENGL 245 — Seminar in the Major — (3 credits)
- One course in American Literature (any literature course in which the vast majority of texts are by American authors) — (3 credits)
- One ENGL elective numbered above 300 — (3 credits)
- One English Language & Linguistics course, ENGL 214
-OR- a course in Composition and Rhetoric (usually ENGL 2014). — (3 credits)
- Three creative writing courses numbered above 300 (any of which may be repeated for credit, except for ENGL 307—see list above). — (9 credits)
- English 695: Directed Creative Writing Thesis (3 credits)
If you declared your Emphasis in Creative Writing under the "old major" (before Fall 2014), then please note the course number equivalencies described above. For other questions about course equivalencies under the new major, please contact Karen Redfield at email@example.com.
Please note that the Program in Creative Writing and the Department of English do not guarantee access to any of the required courses for the major or emphasis. It is the student's responsibility to meet the necessary prerequisites and organize his or her academic schedule in such a timely way that he or she will be able to take the necessary courses and graduate as planned. Only after completing the three 300-level Creative Writing Workshops (or while completing the third) may a student register for English 695. English 695 is offered primarily in the spring semester, though a limited number of sections may be available each fall. A graduating senior who has not completed the three 300-level workshops, and is therefore ineligible to take English 695, should complete the standard English Major. Under the standard English Major, 300-level workshops count as electives.