Creative Writing

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
    • Emphasis

    Get Involved

    A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

    • Contemporary Writer Series: Emerging and established literary artists visit campus and community venues.
       
    • Playwriting: Script plays for the Theatre program.
       
    • Sigma Tau Delta: Join the international English honor society.
       
    • Teaching Assistantships: Students help fellow students in challenging writing courses.
       
    • Wordehorde: This group hosts slam poetry and fiction at open-mic nights.
       
    • Writing Center: Work as a writing consultant for the greater campus community.

    Scholarships

    Institutional Scholarships

    Common Scholarships

    Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Early Action Credit

    If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

    Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

    Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

    Neighboring States Program

    Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

    The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

    For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Presidential Promise

    The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

    For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Tuition Discount Programs

    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

    For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Western Merit Scholarship

    Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

    For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit western.edu/scholarships.

    Faculty & Staff

    Faculty

    Terry Schliesman, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Communication Arts
    Phone: 970.943.2036
    Office Location: Taylor Hall 212E
    Mark Todd, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of English
    Phone: 970.943.2016
    Office Location: Taylor Hall 208G

    Courses

    FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

     COM 241 - Media Writing (3 credits)

    An analysis and practice of the major forms of media writing, including print, broadcast and web-based publication, with an introduction to the ways that production varies the writing of each. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of ÒC-.Ó

     COM 306 - Scriptwriting (3 credits)

    An introduction to the fundamental tools and skills required to craft a script for performance on stage or in film/video. Students are expected to produce play scripts and screenplays of varying lengths; they are also expected to read and respond to one another's writing. Some history of play writing and study of prevailing models of script writing are also included. Prerequisites: COM 205 or ENG 205, with a minimum grade of "C", or instructor permission.

     COM 310 - Introduction to Performance Studies (3 credits)

    An interdisciplinary course exploring the human desire to perform in both aesthetic and everyday settings. It explores the links between the arts and literature, anthropology, communication, sociology, and philosophy. Critical reading, written analysis, and performance of literary texts are essential elements of the course.

     ENG 205 - Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)

    An introduction to the basic techniques of writing fiction and poetry. Models of each are studied, and students write and share pieces in both of these literary forms. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-".

     ENG 220 - Grammar and the English Language (3 credits)

    A study of English grammar focusing on standard English. Students are also introduced to the history of the English language. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."

     ENG 250 - Critical Approaches to Literature (3 credits)

    Students study a variety of genres as a basis of learning to write literary analysis. Focus is on an understanding of the varied perspectives from which a text can be approached, and how readers construct meaning based not only upon the text itself, but also the context in which it is studied. The critical approach as well as theme or topic may vary. Prerequisite: ENG 102 with a minimum grade of "C-."

     ENG 300 - Creative Writing: Fiction (3 credits)

    Models are studied, and students read and respond to one another's writing. This course may incorporate narrative theory. Prerequisite: ENG 205 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 301 - Creative Writing: Poetry (3 credits)

    Instruction is given on the techniques and terminology of poetry writing. Models are studied, and students read and respond to one another's writing. Prerequisite: ENG 205 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 303 - Environmental Writing (3 credits)

    A workshop approach to help writers develop a portfolio of essays suitable for publication in outdoor, environmental, and other appropriate magazines. To enhance their essays, writers read and analyze theoretical and published environmental texts. Prerequisite: ENG 205 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 305 - Creative Writing: Non-Fiction (3 credits)

    Models are studied, and students read and respond to one another's writing. Prerequisite: ENG 205 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 358 - Global Literature: Studies in: (3 credits)

    A study of literatures from around the globe that considers the artistry, culture, and diverse social conditions of various countries. A specific focus is announced each time the course is offered. Possible topics may include "Colonialism and Globalization," "The Sacred Texts," and "War and Revolution." Course may be repeated once for credit with a different title, but may be counted only once toward the major. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 371 - Literary Theory and Criticism (3 credits)

    An introduction to some of the primary conversations structuring debates in literary theory and criticism. Students learn to identify central questions, assumptions, and conflicts in theoretical and critical texts. Students also gain an understanding of the ways that theory and criticism influence their immediate experiences in English courses. Prerequisites: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C" and at least one 300-level literature course, or instructor permission.

     ENG 372 - British Literature: Medieval and Renaissance Texts (3 credits)

    A study of British Literature focusing on the major genres for the Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, and Renaissance periods, ending with the Metaphysical poets (800 A.D. to early 1600s). Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 373 - British Literature: Milton through the Romantics (3 credits)

    A study of British works of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay produced from 1660 to1830. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 374 - British Literature: The Victorian to the Present Day (3 credits)

    A study of British works of poetry, fiction, drama, and essay produced from 1830 to the present day. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 384 - American Literature: Early to Civil War (3 credits)

    An exploration of authors and texts in American literature up to 1865. Prerequisite:ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 385 - American Literature: Civil War to Present (3 credits)

    An exploration of authors and texts in American literature from 1865 to the present. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 394 - Junior Seminar: Studies in: (3 credits)

    Students comprehensively engage a given topic and the critical conversations pertaining to it. The research component of the course allows students to participate in and extend scholarly dialogue. A specific focus is announced each time the course is offered. Prerequisites: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C" and ENG 371.

     ENG 405 - Advanced Writing (3 credits)

    An opportunity to deepen writing practiced at the junior level, with increased attention to voice and style. This course seeks to develop an awareness of the broader community of writers that includes those with not only similar but also differing writing goals. Prerequisites: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C" and at least two 300-level writing courses.

     ENG 445 - Literary Magazine Submission and Production (3 credits)

    Focus alternates between literary magazine submissions and literary magazine production. Submission discussion includes aesthetics and techniques for revising and polishing work for submission. During the production focus students participate in the editorial production of a fiction anthology including acquisition and proofreading of manuscripts. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C"; ENG 300, ENG 301, ENG 303, or ENG 305 with a minimum grade of "C"; or instructor permission.

     ENG 463 - Major British Authors: (3 credits)

    An in-depth study of selected, significant authors that approaches works from similar or cross-historical periods of British literature. Course may be repeated once for credit when taken with a different emphasis. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C" and junior standing.

     ENG 464 - Major American Authors: (3 credits)

    An in-depth study of selected, significant authors that approaches works from similar or cross-historical periods of American literature. Course may be repeated once for credit when taken with a different emphasis. Prerequisite: ENG 250 with a minimum grade of "C."

     ENG 494 - Senior Seminar: Studies in: (3 credits)

    The Senior Seminar serves as the Standard Major's capstone experience and focuses on announced thematic topics that allow students to demonstrate competencies developed in the major. The theme or topic is announced for each spring. Prerequisite: ENG 394 and senior standing; or instructor permission.

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
    • Emphasis

    The Creative Writing emphasis provides a supportive community of writers who collaborate rather than compete. In this environment, students feel comfortable sharing their creative work and hone the skills needed to write original poetry, prose, scripts and stories.

    Students gain solid credentials in literary analysis while broadening their expertise in creative writing, media writing and editing. There are many opportunities to perform and present poetry and fiction while exploring the business aspects of writing and publishing. Graduates leave with hands-on experience in editing a literary anthology and preparing their own work for submission to magazines and publishers. 

    What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

    As part of our vibrant community of writers, you’ll hone your own writing voice, creating vivid imagery and crafting stories that grab and hold readers’ attention. You’ll learn about the publishing world by editing a literary anthology and preparing your own work for submission to literary magazines and publishers. We’ll also prepare you to pursue advanced degrees in Creative Writing.

    Beyond the Classroom

    Our performance poetry team, WordHorde, travels to festivals, arts centers and high schools across Colorado and hosts fall and spring poetry slams.

    The performance poetry team holds weekly rehearsals to share new work and perfect their stage techniques.

    Creative Writing students also have the opportunity to serve as Teaching Assistants in the field, and take part in the Contemporary Writer Series that brings established and emerging authors, poets and screenwriters to campus.

    Students may also see their own creative work published in Pathfinder, Western’s art and literary magazine, or serve on its editorial board.

    After Graduation

    Our students have pursued careers in travel writing, as teachers of English as a second language overseas, as newspaper and magazine editors and as college English teachers. Others have started small presses, worked for literary agents, and published with numerous literary magazines and presses.

    Several students have gone on to advanced study, receiving MFA degrees in Creative Writing.