Creative Writing

College of Humanities
Dean: Nancy McDermid

Department of Creative Writing
HUM 380
415-338-1891
E-mail: cwriting@ceres.sfsu.edu
Chair: Maxine Chernoff

Undergraduate and Graduate Advisers: Carter, Chernoff, Conboy, Giles, Gluck, Kim, Langton, Mayes, Mirosevich, Mullins

Faculty

Professors—Carter, Chernoff, Giles, Langton, Mayes

Associate Professors—Conboy, Kim

Assistant Professors—Gluck, Mirosevich, Mullins

Programs

B.A. in English: Concentration in Creative Writing
M.A. in English: Concentration in Creative Writing
M.F.A. in Creative Writing


Program Scope

The Department of Creative Writing offers undergraduate and graduate programs. The three degree programs emphasize the primary importance of the study and practice of imaginative writing in the genres of poetry, fiction, playwriting, and nonfiction. All three degree programs combine an intense workshop requirement and a variety of special topic creative process classes with requirements in the English Department. The core literature classes assure that students will continue to absorb and be trained in a study of the best literature of the past. In Creative Writing classes, students work with an active, publishing faculty. They learn by vigorous practice; by focused studies of craft; and by extensive reading, analysis, and discussion of their own work, as well as that of published authors.

The undergraduate major combines the academic specifications of the traditional English major with the experiential needs of the writing student. Students who enter this program should do so only under the strongly held assumption that they have abilities as writers that may be fostered and trained by such a discipline as is described here. It is hoped that this combined program of writing and literature will lead students to a cohesive study and discipline that combines breadth with intensity.

Accordingly, some greater latitude of choice in literature courses is allowed in the creative writing major. Students' studies will lead them to a degree in English with a creative writing emphasis. Ample guidance of the creative writing advisers helps insure that students will not be deprived of a sense of the history of literature. In this regard they will continue to be fully qualified as potential graduate students in English as well as prepared should they wish to continue as M.A. or M.F.A. candidates in a creative writing program.

The two graduate programs differ in scope. Both programs are distinguished by innovative classes. Both include seminars, opportunities for community projects, and a thesis. Students may apply for admission to either the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Creative Writing (30 units) or the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (54 units). A student who applies for, but is not accepted into, the M.F.A. program may be considered for admission to the M.A. program if he or she has so indicated. In no case will a student be admitted to both programs.

The Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Creative Writing serves a double purpose: to extend and broaden the student's familiarity with literature, and to provide the help of a faculty of professional writers and critics in developing the student's own potential as a professional writer. The Creative Writing Department has a strong core faculty and invites several visiting faculty each semester.

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is regarded as the terminal degree in the field. It is a smaller program than the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Creative Writing. The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing offers extended experience in small seminars and in individual instruction with faculty. It also develops the student's understanding of the history and theory of literature, and incorporates correlative patterns of study in elective areas such as other cultures, other arts, technical studies, and/or the teaching of writing.

Career Outlook

Our career goal is to train and encourage writers of poetry, fiction, plays, and nonfiction. Many celebrated and distinguished writers are graduates of the department. In the job market, good writers are hard to find. The skills developed in Creative Writing translate well into corporate editing, publishing, and arts organization positions.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN ENGLISH: CONCENTRATION IN CREATIVE WRITING

Online course descriptions are available.

Program Units
Courses in the Writing Courses Area selected from the following (must include CW 301): 12
CW 301 Fundamentals of Creative Writing (prerequisite to all writing courses)
CW 403 Short Story Writing One 1
CW 404 Poetry Writing One 1
CW 405 Playwriting 2
CW 600 Special Problems In Writing 3
CW 603 Short Story Writing Two 2
CW 604 Poetry Writing Two 2
CW 605 Writing and Performing Monologues
CW 609 Directed Writing 2
Courses in the Creative Process Area selected from the following (must include CW 601): 9
CW 509 Jewish Writers in the American Poetry Archives
CW 510 Creative Process 3
CW 520 Writers on Writing
CW 550 Poetry Center Workshop
CW 601 Work in Progress
CW 640 Transfer Literary Magazine
CW 675 Community Projects in Literature
CW 685 Projects in Teaching Creative Writing (1-4)
Course in the Craft Area selected from the following 3
CW 511 Craft of Poetry
CW 512 Craft of Fiction
CW 513 Craft of Playwriting
Courses in the Literature Area, one course to be selected from each of the following groups: 12
American Literature Sequence
ENG 525 Studies in American Literature
ENG 527 American Literature, 1860-1914
ENG 528 American Literature, 1914-1960
ENG 529 American Literature, 1960-Present
The "Age of" Sequence
ENG 501 Age of Chaucer
ENG 509 Age of Humanism
ENG 510 Age of Wit
ENG 514 Age of the Romantics
ENG 516 Age of the Victorians
ENG 526 Age of American Renaissance: 1830-1860
The Genre Sequence
ENG 550 The Rise of the Novel
ENG 551 Nineteenth Century English Novel
ENG 552 Modern British Novel
ENG 553 Classic American Novel
ENG 554 Modern American Novel
ENG 555 The Short Story
ENG 556 Modern American Poetry
ENG 557 Modern British Poetry
ENG 570 Medieval and Renaissance Drama
ENG 571 The Tragedy of Blood, The Comedy of Humors
ENG 572 English Drama: Restoration and Eighteenth Century
ENG 573 American Drama
ENG 574 Modern British Drama
WCL 450 Greek and Roman Drama
WCL 465 Modern Greek Poetry
WCL 495 Short Fiction
The Individual Authors Sequence
ENG 580 Individual Authors
ENG 581 Chaucer
ENG 583 Shakespeare: Representative Plays
ENG 584 Shakespeare: Selected Plays
ENG 586 Milton
WCL 425 Individual Authors
Course selected from Theory and Language or Writing from the American Experience (substitution may be made with adviser's approval) 3
Theory and Language
BLS 444 Black Oratory
ENG 420 Introduction to the Study of Language
ENG 600 Theory of Literature
ENG 610 History of Criticism
ENG 611 Modern Criticism
ENG 612 Studies in Theory and Criticism of Literature
ENG 613/WOMS 544 Feminist Literary Criticism
ENG 615 Imagery, Metaphor, and Symbol
Writing from the American Experience
AAS 363 Survey of Pilipino Literature
AAS 406 Asian American Workshop in Creative Writing
AIS 360 Modern American Indian Authors
BLS 411 African American Literature
BLS 420 Black Fiction
BLS 430 Black Poetry
ENG/WOMS 545 American Radical Women Writers
ENG/JS/WOMS 546 Twentieth Century American Jewish Women Writers
ENG 614/WOMS 541 Women Writers and Social Change
ENG 618 Studies in Gay and Bisexual Literature
LARA 505 Creative Writing Workshop
LARA 560 Contemporary Literature of La Raza
WOMS 547 Contemporary Asian American Women Writers
WOMS 551 Lesbian Literature
Total for major 39

MASTER OF ARTS IN ENGLISH: CONCENTRATION IN CREATIVE WRITING

Admission to the Program

Students interested in this program must submit a meaningful sample of their writing (fifteen to twenty pages of fiction, fifteen to twenty poems, or a full-length stage play or two short plays), and two letters of recommendation along with the Creative Writing Department application form. Submissions should be sent to the Creative Writing Office by January 15 for the Fall semester. Students accepted into the program with an undergraduate major that is not English are accepted conditionally. Such students, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, must make up undergraduate course deficiencies (up to twelve units) in addition to the requirements.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: the writing proficiency of the student is monitored on a continuing basis as each course in the program is completed. Level Two: satisfactory completion of CW 893.

Online course descriptions are available. Selected upper division courses offered by the department may be used for the master's degree upon approval of a departmental adviser. Enrollment is not required in the semester of graduation.

Program Units
Writing courses selected from the following: 9
CW 803 Advanced Short Story Writing
CW 804 Advanced Poetry Writing
CW 805 Advanced Playwriting
CW 807 Developing the Novel
CW 808 Novel Writing
CW 809 Directed Writing for Graduate Students
CW 824 Advanced Novel Workshop (6)
Creative Process courses selected from the following 9
CW 785 Projects in Teaching Creative Writing
CW 810 Seminar in the Creative Process
CW 825 Playwright's Theatre Workshop
CW 840 Fourteen Hills Literary Magazine
CW 860 Teaching Creative Writing
CW 866 Craft of Translation
CW 875 Community Projects in Literature
CW 876 Writers in Danger
Upper division or graduate literature courses in the English or Comparative Literature Departments, to be taken on advisement 9
CW 893 Written M.A. Creative Project 3
Minimum total 30

MASTER OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

Admission to the Program

Students interested in this program must submit a meaningful sample of their writing (fifteen to twenty pages of fiction, fifteen to twenty poems, or a full-length stage play or two short plays), and two letters of recommendation along with the Creative Writing Department application form. Submissions should be sent to the Creative Writing Office by January 15 for the Fall semester. Students accepted in the program with an undergraduate major that is not English are accepted conditionally, as are students with an undergraduate English major who did not achieve a 3.0 grade point average within the major. Such students, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, must make up undergraduate course deficiencies, which will be required in addition to the 54 units for the M.F.A.

Applicants from SFSU's M.A. in English: Concentration in Creative Writing may transfer up to twenty-seven units to the M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Applicants from creative writing programs at other colleges or universities may transfer nine units to the M.F.A. program, on review and recommendation of the Creative Writing Admissions Committee and approval of the Graduate Division. For further clarification, contact the Creative Writing Department.

Students in the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Creative Writing at San Francisco State who wish to transfer to the M.F.A. program are required to apply for admission and are subject to the same admission standards as are all other applicants. Those admitted into the M.F.A. program must file a Request for Advancement to Classified Graduate or Credential Standing (for use by continuing graduate students only) with the Registrar's Office.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: the writing proficiency of the student is monitored on a continuing basis as each course in the program is completed. Level Two: satisfactory completion of CW 893.

Online course descriptions are available. Selected upper division courses offered by the department may be used for the degree upon approval of a department adviser. Enrollment is not required in the semester of graduation.

Priority is given to classified M.F.A. students accepted in the genre of the course.

Program Units
Writing courses selected from the following and including at least six units at the M.F.A. level (CW 853, 854, or 855) 18
CW 803 Advanced Short Story Writing 4
CW 804 Advanced Poetry Writing 4
CW 805 Advanced Playwriting 4
CW 807 Developing the Novel 4
CW 808 Novel Writing 4
CW 809 Directed Writing for Graduate Students 4
CW 824 Advanced Novel Workshop
CW 853 M.F.A. Workshop in Fiction 4
CW 854 M.F.A. Workshop in Poetry 4
CW 855 M.F.A. Workshop in Playwriting 4
CW 856 M.F.A. Workshop in Short Plays 4
Creative Process courses at the M.F.A. level 6
CW 880 Craft and Process Tutorial in Fiction 4
CW 881 Craft and Process Tutorial in Poetry 4
CW 882 Craft and Process Tutorial in Playwriting 4
Literature courses or Graduate Creative Process courses
Courses numbered 400-level and above may be chosen as follows: literature courses in the English Department, World and Comparative Literature, or in other departments with the consent of the M.F.A. adviser. Graduate process courses include CW 785, 810 4, 825, 828, 840, 860, 866, 875, 876, 880 4, 881 4, 882 4.
12
Correlative courses related to the candidate's interests and planned with the approval of the M.F.A. adviser. Sequences and patterns are especially appropriate. (CW 860, along with the English Department's course in the teaching of composition, is an option in this sequence. For students planning a culminating project in playwriting, the following courses in Theatre Arts are acceptable: TH A 460, 711, 740) 12
CW 893 Written M.F.A. Creative Work 6
Minimum total 54


Footnotes

  1. May be taken for two semesters of credit.
  2. May be taken for three semesters of credit.
  3. Repeatable for credit when topics vary.
  4. May be repeated for credit with faculty approval and in accordance with the restrictions identified in the course descriptions.


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