The Nonfiction program 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 should 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 should also acquire the writing and editing skills necessary for the opportunity 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.
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