First and foremost, we are program that emphasizes the development of an artistic craft within a literary tradition. But studies in creative writing also engage students in “real-world” skills, such as developing strong writing abilities, using creative solutions, learning research and analytical techniques, and getting on-hands experience in publishing and advocacy.
RWU creative writing alumni have moved on to professional fields that include journalism, public relations, marketing, publishing, library science, and political communication. Our alumni have also gone on to graduate schools that not only include creative writing and publishing, but law school, business school, journalism school, library sciences, and even veterinary school.
We emphasize outcomes that are both specific and general, but spread over four years in a way that leads from basic understanding of forms and strategies as freshmen, to the creative senior thesis. The thesis is the culmination of the process, a year-long effort that leads to the student assembling a final portfolio of both analytical examination of literature as well as a body of creative work that might be a collection of poems or short stories or a significant piece of a novel.
In the 40 years of the program, numerous RWU graduates have gone on to publish novels, short stories and poetry. We have also had publications by current students in venues such as The Santa Clara Review, The Allegheny Review, and other literary journals.
As importantly, we think, the study of literary writing makes one a better human being, through the deep examination of the human condition and human nature. We seek to instill a love of literature, empathy to others, a more evolved way of looking at the world, and an appreciation of aesthetic beauty of all kinds.
While our classes do not cover genre fiction (horror, fantasy, romance, crime), we do work to instill in students the storytelling craft common to all writing.
The required Foundation Courses include CW 210 Form in Poetry, CW 220 Narrative in Writing the Short Story, and four courses from the English major. After completing this group of courses, Creative Writing majors should be able to:
- Identify literary terms and develop a literary vocabulary
- Use the library and Internet to locate research materials relevant to course work
- Analyze literary texts and identify poetic forms and the elements of narrative structure
- Draft and present formal critical essays emphasizing some aspect of a particular literary work
- Draft and present imaginative work in the form of fiction and poetry that indicates a student’s experimentation with the specific elements that serve as the foundation of each genre
- Draft and present formal writing that indicates thoughtfulness and recognition of decisions made during the revision process
- Demonstrate an understanding of the breadth of literature written in the English and non‐English tradition
Advanced Bridge Courses
The required Advanced Bridge Courses include CW 350 Writers Reading Poetry Seminar, CW 360 Writers Reading Fiction Seminar, CW 440 Writing Contemporary Poetry, and CW 450 The Use of Style in Writing Fiction. After completing this group of courses, Creative Writing majors should be able to:
- Conduct sophisticated analyses of fictional and poetical texts from a practitioner’s perspective
- Create sophisticated fictional and poetic texts that reveal a command of literary craft
- Understand and comment upon the relationship between an author’s life and his or her work
- Advanced Breadth Course
Creative Writing majors complete two of the following Advanced Breath Courses: CW 310 Creative Nonfiction, CW 330 Literary Publishing, CW 340 Introduction to Playwriting, CW 430 Special Topics in Creative Writing. After completing this group of courses, Creative Writing majors should be able to:
- Conduct sophisticated analyses of literary works outside the genres of fiction and poetry
- Create literary works in genres other than fiction and poetry
Breadth Courses in the Fine Arts
To satisfy this requirement, Creative Writing majors must complete one from a list of courses in Dance, Music, the Visual Arts, Graphic Design, or Theatre. After completing this course, Creative Writing majors should be able to:
- Implement the creative process in an art form other than writing
- Understand the relationships among the various art forms
To satisfy the thesis requirement, Creative Writing majors complete CW 480 Creative Writing Senior Seminar I and CW 481 Seminar II—Thesis. After completing these two courses, Creative Writing majors should be able to:
- Revise their own creative work
- Complete an annotated bibliography
- Compose a thesis including both creative and critical work
- Present critical work in an interview with creative writing faculty
- Present creative work in a public reading