Skip to Navigation
    Columbia College Chicago
  Feb 25, 2018
2013-2014 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Creative Writing, BA

Return to Majors & Programs Return to: Majors & Programs


Learn about this Department




The major in Creative Writing-Nonfiction in the Department of English 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. By graduation students will have a clear sense of how open creative nonfiction is to new modes of expression and will be well-versed in some major aspects of the history of nonfiction and its subgenres. Students will also acquire the writing and editing skills necessary to gain employment or entrance into a graduate program in nonfiction.


The foundation of the major are workshops in Creative Nonfiction, which include Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. 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. Other classes will combine craft with readings in the theoretical underpinnings of nonfiction and will introduce students to a wide variety of forms such as autobiography, essay, the graphic comics, memoir, aphorism, travel writing, etc. To broaden their writing experience in the major, students will take classes in genre writing, such as Journal Writing, Memoir, Writing for New Media, Comedy Writing, or Reviewing the Arts, and they will also take a Beginning Poetry Workshop. As part of Columbia College’s interdisciplinary focus, students will also take two elective classes from a range of other departments, including Journalism, Fiction, and Humanities, History, and Social Sciences. In the English Department, students will be required to take a number of literature classes. The capstone experience for students will be the thesis class, where students will develop and revise a thesis of their best work.


View the Requirements for this Concentration

Transfer Students: View a Transfer Planning Tool for this Major 



The English Department’s major in Creative Writing–Poetry helps students discover their own voices as poets and develop their craft. Graduates of the program are grounded in the history of poetry and poetics and are familiar with a wide range of approaches to writing. The gateway courses in the major are 52-1500 Poetry Workshop: Beginning  and 52-1602 Introduction to Poetry  . From there, students are poised to begin a sequence of workshop-style classes, including two intermediate and two advanced workshops. Students also take a Craft Seminar, sometimes alongside graduate students in the MFA Program, and literature courses in the English Department, including required courses in three historical periods: pre-20th-century poetry (such as Shakespeare or British Romantic Poetry), Modern poetry (such as American Modernism or Williams & Moore), and contemporary poetry (such as Poetry and Jazz or Experimental Women Poets). Students have a wide range of literature electives (on various topics and authors) to choose from as well, such as Blake to the Beats, Queer Poetry, Poetry of Diversity, Eastern European Poetry, and many others. Examples of Craft Seminars include Hybrid Poetics, Poetry Translation, Literary Collage and Collaboration, Poets’ Journals and Letters, and more.


A two-part capstone experience completes the major. First, 52-3510 Poetics  , taken in the Fall semester of junior or senior year, combines the writing of poetry with the study of poetic theory as articulated by such thinkers as Aristotle and by poets through the ages themselves. Poetics is followed by the 52-3520 Undergraduate Thesis Development Seminar , normally taken in the Spring semester of the senior year. In this small, seminar-style course, students write a chapbook-length thesis of poems. At any time during the major (once the gateway courses have been completed), students take 52-1900 Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Beginning , gaining experience in another genre. And, in accordance with the English Department’s commitment to interdisciplinary contexts for writing, students choose two writing electives from a broad and varying selection. Such electives include 52-2816 Reviewing the Arts , 52-2814 Writing Comedy , 52-2510 Poetry Workshop: Performance , 52-4502 Literary Magazine Editing: Columbia Poetry Review and Court Green , 52-4503 Literary Magazine Production: Columbia Poetry Review , and many others.


View the Requirements for this Concentration

Transfer Students: View a Transfer Planning Tool for this Major 


Return to Majors & Programs Return to: Majors & Programs