The Program in Creative Writing is located on the 6th floor of Helen C. White Hall, in room 6195. Stop by and say hello.

The Undergraduate Program


The Undergraduate Program in Creative Writing provides a 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, 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 seventeen students. In these courses—commonly called “workshops”— students read the work of established writers through the lens of literary craft and write poems and prose often generated from writing exercises. For more detailed descriptions of the undergraduate courses in creative writing, please see our courses and registration page.

Questions about the creative writing emphasis or enrollment challenges should be directed to the undergraduate creative writing coordinator, Ron Kuka, at Another resource is English Department Academic Advisor Erin Polnaszek Boyd, who can help with course selection and assist you in declaring your English major/Emphasis in Creative Writing.

Contact Us

Undergraduate Coordinator Ron Kuka
Program in Creative Writing
Department of English
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

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), ENGL 407 (Nonfiction Workshop), ENGL 408 (Fiction Workshop), ENGL 409 (Poetry Workshop), ENGL 410 (Playwriting Workshop), ENGL 508 (Advanced Fiction Workshop), ENGL 509 (Advanced Poetry Workshop), and ENGL 411 (Special Topics in Creative Writing). 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.”)

  • 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)

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 requirements for graduation. 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.