Craft your writing in a wide variety of our studio courses: novels, screenplays, poems, plays, and/or non-fiction narratives, under the guidance of widely published, award-winning faculty. Whether students take just one course in Creative Writing, or the minor, or the major (BFA), our engaged community of writers welcomes students to a wide variety of experiential learning inside and outside the classroom: Mount Hope Literary Magazine, international Advocacy courses, off-campus internships, visits by acclaimed writers, writing fellowships, informal writing groups, and much more. We also offer guidance to help students market their writing skills for successful careers after graduation.
What does creative writing have to do with the Real World? Everything.
The world is bound by stories. Powerful writing can change minds, inspire people to greatness, shape a culture and move mountains.
People who harness the power of their writing can use it in amazing ways. Graduates of our program have found their purpose in their published works, and also by their work in the publishing industry, in the legal profession, in nonprofit organizations, in advocacy organizations, in libraries and advertising agencies and public relations firms; they work in journalism and television and even as teachers.
What binds it altogether is their excellence in storytelling.
Words can take you to a lot of exciting places.
Come develop your writing superpowers with us.
You’re here because you love writing, you love reading, and you want the opportunity to take your talents to greater heights. In our program, you’ll work with professors and peers who are on the same ongoing journey to excellence as you. Our classrooms are places to help your creativity soar, to find the grounding that comes in the mastery of language, and the synergy that comes when people who share a passion to excel.
We’re serious about what we do. But in a fun way.
The study of Creative Writing is all about doing. You learn by writing, and sharing your writing, and then looking at it again with a critical and educated eye. Your professors, as active writers themselves, serve as “leaders among peers” and mentors. We’re here to help each other be better, to inspire you to feel the joys and satisfactions of creating, and to celebrate when you find that powerful voice within yourself. Some of our students are already getting their work published by the time they graduate, but the writing life is really a way of being, whether you take that into a profession or continue a lifelong love of creating. Your work here is the first step on that journey.
Students in the CW major will focus on the following six general areas:
- Language and Style: Students will develop awareness of standards and conventions of good writing and demonstrate their command of language in relation to specific writing projects and distinctive use of voice
- Honoring of diverse perspectives and identities: Students will reflect upon the relationship of individual background to their writing and articulate awareness of a diverse literary tradition
- Literary Influences: Students will situate their writing in relation to historical traditions and recognize contemporary literary trends
- Form and Literary Design: As students write and revise their work, they will exhibit their understanding of literary form and to explore literary design
- Revision and the Writing Process: Students will practice effective revision techniques as they revise own work. They will often work productively in a team-environment involving critique and editing of peer work.
- Applied and Experiential Learning: Students will engage in applied and professional writing settings and/or reflect on the relationship between academic learning and applications to professional contexts.
Meet our Faculty.
Come and connect with our faculty of working writers. We’ve published fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; we’ve published 19 books, we’ve made films, authored plays, done journalism and web-based writing, produced podcasts and organized writing events. Our faculty members have been honored with national and regional writing awards, and by faculty awards for teaching excellence.
In class, studio, and conferences, our work focuses on the “story” and the “understory”—the narrative and emotional situations of a poem. I love when students shift their exploration from “what is this poem about?” to “how does this poem get the job done?” and work that out in their own writing.
My favorite moments of the semester are when the students share and critique their writing in the studio workshop--when they become real writers. It is forever moving to witness how the combination of language and structure can transform a simple idea into a complex world, one that can shape perceptions and affect emotions.
Unlike more-typical top-down academic programs, I see what we do as being writers working side-by-side with our students to continually advance our storytelling skills. We serve as guides, mentors, editors and possibly inspirations to those who want to find a life in which their writing skills carry them to many successes.
Our writing studio courses form the core of the writing experience, but our students engage in numerous hands-on experiences that prepare them to apply their skills that will prepare you for an array of careers that relate directly to the art of writing and editing.
Mount Hope is our nationally recognized literary magazine, in which student editors work with faculty leadership, publishing work from writer from around the world. Mount Hope has published authors from across the country, and from more than a dozen countries; our authors range from people publishing for the first time, all the way to Pulitzer Prize winners. The student editors review and select the work, copy edit these selections and prepare them for publication, and engage in the ongoing business of publishing. Dozens of our student editors have gone on to careers in the publishing industry.
Advocacy Seminar is a venture affiliated with the international organization Scholars at Risk, which advocates for scholars, writers and journalists around the world who are being persecuted and imprisoned for expressing their views. Led by faculty, the students in this venture have been instrumental in the release from prison of authors in Cuba, Vietnam and Egypt. The student leaders have worked with faculty to co-produce six books in the Broken Silence series of books published by The University of New Orleans Press.
Outside internships offer the opportunity to venture beyond the departmental work to have real world experience. Our interns have worked in such places as Rhode Island Monthly magazine, Candlewick Press, Cengage, Spinner Publications, Yale University Press, The Bristol Phoenix, WPRI television, and many other venues.
Double Up. We Give You Room To Roam.
You’ve come to this program because you have a passion for writing you can’t shake. You’re a storyteller and we’ll help you be the best you can be. But most of our students combine this ongoing development of their skills as writers with other areas of study that relate your ability to write with ways you’ll make a living. Because our major requires a total of only 12 courses (out of about 40 you’ll take in your four years of college), most of our students either double-major or take minors in other majors such as Graphic Design, Web Design, Public Relations, Marketing, Journalism, Psychology, Education and many others. Bring your writing skills from our courses to these other areas of study; bring the professional practices from those back to your writing.
Opportunities abound. Take advantage.
When you leave the classroom, your opportunities to learn and to succeed continue. We offer lots of way to show off your talents, be recognized for them, and have access to more people who can help.
- The Matthew Wolfe Scholarship, in the amount of about $1,000 applied to tuition, recognizes exceptional writers in their second or third year, and alternates yearly between poetry and prose.
- The Clark/McRoberts Awards, in the amount of about $500, recognizes exceptional first-year and fourth-year students in poetry and fiction.
- The RWU FIT internships identify high-performing first-year students and offers them three-year, paid internships in the department, typically working on the staff of our literary magazine, Mount Hope.
- The Bermont Fellowships, administered through the University Library, rewards three to five exceptional RWU student writers with an opportunity to participate in a “master class” over a spring weekend, in which a distinguished visiting writer works directly with the students on their work. Visitors have included Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Paul Harding, National Book Award recipient Sigrid Nunez, and many other well-known, award-winning authors.
- The Annual Birss Lecture, hosted by the University Library, offers fellowships to student work on research projects supporting the annual lecture, which features scholars speaking on great works in American literature.
- The Talking in the Library Series hosts talks and readings by top authors, including best-selling and award-winning novelists, poets, nonfiction authors, and journalists.
- Writers Anonymous,a student organization, hosts student gatherings to discuss workshop and critique one another’s work. It’s a professor-free-zone in which students can share their love of the work and provide support and encouragement.
Where are our former students?
Students from our program are finding success in the world in any number of ways. Here’s a few of them.
I’m the Language Manager at Yale University Press, where I use my degree in creative writing—which trains students to be not just writers, but readers, critics, collaborators, and advocates—to make new ideas in language learning, literature, and the performing arts accessible to book readers around the world.
Ash Lago ‘09, Yale University Press
I caught the poetry bug while studying at Roger Williams, and have continued writing since graduation. My five semesters working on Mount Hope were a great way to learn about getting my own work published as well as publishing other people’s; so far, I’ve had poems in The Allegheny Review and Two Hawks Quarterly.
Kieran Binney, ‘21
I am currently the Digital Initiatives Assistant at Binghamton University Libraries in Upstate New York. One big take-away from my degree is that there is not just one way to tell a story. In my job I often have to think out of the box and consider how to tell the "story" of unique materials held within our collections
Caitlin Holton ‘15, Librarian, Binghamton University
Juris Doctor/Bachelor's 3+3 Accelerated Program (J.D.)
Earn your bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees in six years through RWU’s Three-Plus-Three Law program. You’ll get a jump-start on your J.D. by integrating law courses into your undergraduate studies and completing undergraduate requirements in your first year of law school. Accepted students will take first-year courses in the School of Law along with legal electives to fulfill undergraduate fourth-year requirements. Interested students must indicate their intent to pursue a 3+3 pathway early in their undergraduate studies for curriculum planning and advising.