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    Columbia College Chicago
   
 
  Oct 17, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Catalog

Creative Writing BA


The Creative Writing Bachelor of Arts degree encourages students to pursue both specialization and breadth. Students choose to specialize in one of three concentrations (Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry) while also exploring broad, cross-genre writing opportunities in creative writing courses outside their chosen concentration. Creative Writing majors take 18 hours of Core workshop courses-at least 12 of which are in their chosen concentration. The Writer’s Portfolio, a required junior-year course, gives students the opportunity to reflect on the body of work they’ve produced at Columbia (in preparation for their Thesis Workshop), while also helping them explore options for applying their writing skills to the workplace after graduation.

Work in the major culminates in the capstone Thesis Workshop, in which students write, revise, and compile a portfolio that can serve as a potential publication, a demonstration of work for employers, or as a graduate school writing submission. Craft and Process Seminars, along with a series of Literature courses (designed for Creative Writers), allow students to explore the history of their chosen genre while creating original and innovative work of their own.

The wide range of course offerings in the Creative Writing Bachelor of Arts degree program helps prepare students to be competitive for an expansive range of careers, both in creative writing and in fields where effective communication, creative problem-solving, critical analysis, editing, and group relationship skills are crucial factors. 

Concentrations


Fiction


The Creative Writing Fiction concentration offers a variety of workshops, Craft and Process Seminars and specialized elective writing courses on a level and scope unequaled in undergraduate programs across the country. The Fiction Concentration introduces students to a variety of forms in fiction and helps them explore the history of the genre and find ways of creating fiction that is individual and original. The gateway course in the concentration is Foundations in Creative Writing. From there, students are poised to begin a sequence of scaffolded workshops progressing from Fiction Workshop: Beginning through Fiction Workshop: Intermediate, Fiction Workshop: Advanced, and Fiction Workshop: Thesis. In these workshops, students develop a writing process that includes methods for generating material as well as strategies for revising fiction of increasing quality. In their sophomore or junior years, students take Writer’s Portfolio, a course which gives students the opportunity to strengthen their professional portfolios as they deepen their engagement with the profession of Creative Writing. The work done in this course is reinforced and extended in their capstone course, Fiction Workshop: Thesis. Students also take Craft and Process Seminars, which combine the study of craft with readings in the theoretical underpinnings of fiction (sample Craft and Process Seminars in Fiction include courses in Short Story Writers, Novelists, Women Writers, Gender & Difference, Fiction Writers & Censorship, and The Novel in Stories, among others). Specialized elective writing courses in Fiction include workshops in genres as diverse as Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Graphic Forms, and others. Elective courses also include (but are not limited to): additional workshops in Fiction, workshops in Nonfiction and Poetry, Craft and Process Seminars (in any genre), Literary Magazine Editing, Literary Magazine Production, along with courses in Tutoring/Teaching, the visual and performing arts, English, and in New Media.

As a result of successfully completing the Fiction Concentration requirements, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the common language of the discipline of fiction writing.
  • Use a variety of narrative techniques, written forms, and revision strategies to create effective fiction.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with how open fiction is to new modes of expression.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between effective reading and effective writing.
  • Perform reasonably close readings of works of fiction by 1) analyzing relevant literary elements in fiction (narrative techniques, themes, forms/subgenres, stylistic choices, or other literary devices common to fiction), and 2) making appropriate reference to relevant texts and contexts.
  • Demonstrate a meaningful ability to participate in contemporary conversations on social and cultural change.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the literary marketplace and processes crucial to publishing their writing.
  • Apply creative problem-solving, effective written and oral communications, and critical thinking to their preparation for graduate studies, writing-related careers and other professions.

Program Requirements | 4 Year Planning Tool  | Transfer Planning Tool  

Nonfiction


The Creative Writing Nonfiction concentration introduces students to a variety of forms in nonfiction and helps them explore the history of the genre and find ways of creating nonfiction that is individual and original. The gateway course in the concentration is Foundations in Creative Writing. From there, students are poised to begin a sequence of scaffolded workshops progressing from Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Beginning through Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Intermediate, Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Advanced, and Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Thesis. In these workshops students focus on generating materials and writing and critiquing their essays. Students will also take courses focused on reading various genres of creative nonfiction and major nonfiction authors. Craft and Process Seminars will combine craft with readings in the theoretical underpinnings of nonfiction, and will introduce students to a wide variety of forms drawing from literary genres and subgenres such as autobiography, essay, the graphic novel, memoir, aphorism, and travel writing, among others. In their sophomore or junior years, students take Writer’s Portfolio, a course which gives students the opportunity to strengthen their professional portfolios as they deepen their engagement with the profession of Creative Writing. The work done in this course is reinforced and extended in their capstone course, Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Thesis, where students will develop and revise a thesis of their best work. Students are required to take three literature classes (designed for Creative Writers) in the English Department to deepen their understanding of the history of nonfiction. In accordance with the Department’s commitment to interdisciplinary, cross-genre contexts for writing, students also choose two writing electives from a broad and varying selection. Such electives include, but are not limited to: additional workshops in Nonfiction, workshops in Fiction and Poetry, Craft and Process Seminars (in any genre), Literary Magazine Editing, Literary Magazine Production, along with courses in Tutoring/Teaching, the visual and performing arts, English and in New Media.

As a result of successfully completing the Nonfiction Concentration requirements, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the common language of the discipline of nonfiction writing.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with how open nonfiction is to new modes of expression.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the major aspects of the history of nonfiction and its subgenres.
  • Use a variety of narrative techniques, written forms, and revision strategies to create effective nonfiction.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between effective reading and effective writing.
  • Perform reasonably close readings of works of nonfiction by 1) analyzing relevant literary elements in nonfiction (narrative techniques, themes, forms/subgenres, stylistic choices, or other literary devices common to nonfiction), and 2) making appropriate reference to relevant texts and contexts.
  • Demonstrate a meaningful ability to participate in contemporary conversations on social and cultural change.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the literary marketplace and processes crucial to publishing their writing.
  • Apply creative problem-solving, effective written and oral communications, and critical thinking to their preparation for graduate studies, writing-related careers and other professions.

Program Requirements | 4 Year Planning Tool  | Transfer Planning Tool  

Poetry


The Creative Writing Poetry concentration helps students discover their own voices as poets and develop their craft. Students in the Poetry Concentration are grounded in the history of poetry and poetics and are familiar with a wide range of approaches to writing. The gateway course in the concentration is Foundations in Creative Writing. From there, students are poised to begin a sequence of scaffolded workshops progressing from Poetry Workshop: Beginning through Poetry Workshop: Intermediate, Poetry Workshop: Advanced, and Poetry Workshop: Thesis. Students also take Craft and Process Seminars, which combine the study of craft with readings in the theoretical underpinnings of poetry. Examples of Craft and Process Seminars in Poetry include Forms of Poetry, Anatomies of Slam, Hybrid Poetics, Poetry Translation, Literary Collage and Collaboration, Poets’ Journals and Letters, Meditation and Poetics, and more. In their sophomore or junior years, students take Writer’s Portfolio, a course which gives students the opportunity to strengthen their professional portfolios as they deepen their engagement with the profession of Creative Writing. The work done in this course is reinforced and extended in their capstone course, Thesis Workshop: Poetry. The capstone experience in the Poetry Concentration is Poetry Workshop: Thesis. In this small, seminar-style course, students write a chapbook-length thesis of poems. Students are required to take three literature classes (designed for Creative Writers) in the English Department to deepen their understanding of the history of poetry. In accordance with the Department’s commitment to interdisciplinary, cross-genre contexts for writing, students choose two writing electives from a broad and varying selection. Such electives include, but are not limited to: additional workshops in Poetry, workshops in Fiction and Nonfiction, Craft and Process Seminars (in any genre), Literary Magazine Editing, Literary Magazine Production, along with courses in Tutoring/Teaching, the visual and performing arts, English and in New Media.

As a result of successfully completing the Poetry Concentration requirements, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the common language of the discipline of poetry writing.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with how open the discipline of poetry is to new modes of expression.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of major movements of the history of poetry and its subgenres.
  • Use a variety of techniques, forms, and revision strategies to create effective poetry.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between effective reading and effective writing.
  • Perform reasonably close readings of works of poetry by 1) analyzing relevant literary elements in poetry (discursive techniques, themes, forms/subgenres, stylistic choices, or other literary devices common to poetry), and 2) making appropriate reference to relevant texts and contexts.
  • Demonstrate a meaningful ability to participate in contemporary conversations on social and cultural change.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the literary marketplace and processes crucial to publishing their writing.
  • Apply creative problem-solving, effective written and oral communications, and critical thinking to their preparation for graduate studies, writing-related careers, and other professions.

Program Requirements | 4 Year Planning Tool  | Transfer Planning Tool