Program Requirements and Opportunities
Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.
The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.
The Creative Writing Department offers a range of combine workshop/literatures courses in a wide variety of literary genres, from Short Fiction and Novel Writing, to Poetry, Screenwriting, Young Adult Literature and Writing for Radio and Podcast, all in the interest of developing the skills necessary to becoming accomplished emerging writers. In addition to these curricular offerings, students will be guided by working, publishing poets, novelists and practitioners who will help teach students negotiate their lives as writers. Students will also be exposed to many paths this life might take them down– from publishing to careers in magazine editorial work, book publishing and work in radio and podcasting.
Students will develop their own paths through the Department, experimenting with genres that might be unfamiliar while also developing expertise in areas of specific interest to them. Through these courses, students will learn to edit and revise their work, edit the work of others, and will leave the Department with a strong sense of the opportunities available to them in the literary, journalistic and film-writing worlds. They will become not just better creative writers, but more informed citizens of the world they will enter upon graduation.
In addition, each CW Major will plan to take three (3) Allied Courses under the advisement of their advisor in the Department. While the student’s seven and a half CW courses will allow them to focus deeply on their craft, their larger project will be informed by the empirical and academic study they’ll undertake in these courses. The Major in CW at the College will focus directly on the idea that good writing is informed not only by the writer’s own experience of the world, but also by how they undertake study in the humanities and sciences to deepen and broaden their knowledge base, their experience in researching and engaging with history, languages, science and beyond.
The CW Department stresses a combination of creative work, literary studies and empirical study throughout the College curriculum. Creative Writing majors will design a personalized program of study that deepens their understanding of diverse genres, textual traditions, and study in other fields. The Major culminates, in the Major’s senior year, in an independently written Capstone Project of a minimum of 50 pages of creative work, developed and individually mentored by accomplished working writers. Students are encouraged to take at least two CW courses at Bryn Mawr or Haverford before signing up for the Major or Minor.
Summary of the Major
The Creative Writing Major requires a total of 12.5 units. Students must take seven and a half CW units which must include: at least one course in each of our core genres, Fiction and Poetry; the Sentence Workshop/Prosody Workshop; the half-credit Writing Practice course, taken during the student’s junior or senior year; and two 300-level courses taken at BMC or HC, a one-semester Capstone course of one-on-one study with an assigned member of the CW faculty during their senior year, and one elective. Students will take three (3) Allied Courses in order to have a clear, empirical academic course of study to complement their literature and writing courses. These courses must come from multiple departments at the College, all related to each other through connections the student will make to inform their Capstone experience their Senior year. The Allied Courses will be chosen under advisement from the student’s Major Advisor at the time of their declaring their Major.
Finally, to complete the Major, Creative Writing students must take two (2) courses within the Literatures in English Department. These courses can be taken at any level.
Students will meet with their advisers by the end of their sophomore year to create a written proposal, describing the logic of their Allied Course choices, and their intended Capstone project.
The Creative Writing Major requires a minimum of 12.5 units:
• 1 unit fiction writing
• 1 unit poetry writing
• 1 unit sentence / prosody workshop
• 2 units 300-level work (completed at Bryn Mawr or Haverford)
• 1 unit senior capstone course
• 1 unit creative writing elective at any level
• Half-unit writing practice
• 2 units from Literatures in English
• 3 units allied courses
Requirements for the minor in CW are six (6) units of course work, generally including three beginning/intermediate courses in at least three different genres of creative writing and three electives, including at least one course at the 300 level allowing for advanced work in one or more genres of creative writing which are of particular interest to the student. The objective of the minor in CW is to provide both depth and range, through exposure to several genres of creative writing. Students should consult with the CW Chair by the end of their sophomore year to submit a plan for the minor in order to ensure admission to the appropriate range of courses.
Writing in the Major Requirement
Creative Writing majors will complete one Writing Intensive course. Most Creative Writing courses meet the requirement as Writing Intensive courses.
Students Going Abroad
Students should complete both the Sentence Workshop/Prosody Workshop and one 300-level course before leaving for a semester or year abroad. Up to two courses from study abroad may count toward the CW major, provided they get departmental approval. Send your request, and full syllabuses of the courses you took/will take, to the CW Chair.
Students who have done distinguished work in their courses in the major and who write outstanding Capstone projects will be considered for departmental honors.