The Creative Writing major requires the equivalent of nine full courses, distributed as follows: the 201 gateway (a full course), three 300-level workshops (3 full courses), a full course or two half courses in electives, the 470 capstone (a full course), and three additional full courses in textual studies. Students who declare the major will have completed 201 and been admitted to their first 300-level workshop. No more than one 100-level course will count as a major elective. Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.
Courses Requiring Applications
Admittance to all workshops and projects, required by the major, is by application only. At the end of each term, applications are due on the final day of classes. Please see the program website for information on submission deadlines and to download application forms.
The 201 Gateway:
In CRWR 201, students are given the opportunity to explore a variety of poetry and prose genres and the intersections among them. Successful completion of 201 is a pre-requisite for 310 (poetry) and 320 (fiction), as well as a number of other 300-level workshops.
As with 201, admittance to the 300-level workshops is based on a juried selection process requiring the submission of a completed application and recent work sample. The quality of the work sample is the primary criterion for selection, and students who hope to major in Creative Writing should focus on producing a strong body of work in 201 and other lower division Creative Writing courses.
Independent Projects and Other Variable Credit Courses:
An application and work sample are required for most 400-level courses. Please check the course catalog for pre-requisites.
This three-course requirement gives majors the opportunity to explore, through various disciplinary perspectives, the genres in which they are writing. The requirement may be met by literature, theory, and film courses (generally at the 200-level and above) offered by English, Comparative Literature, the language departments, Cinema Studies, and other disciplines. Majors also have the option of applying a single 200-level literature-based course in Creative Writing (such as Graphic Narrative, Beyond Genre: Mystery and Detective Fiction, Asian American literature, African Narrative, the Writer in the World, and Fabulist Fiction) toward filling this requirement. Students should consult wth their advisors when selecting courses.
There are a variety of options for filling this requirement:
- CRWR 110 or 120
- Elective courses at the 200-level in Creative Writing
- Cross-referenced or cross-listed courses offered by other programs and departments
- Transfer of course work completed outside of Oberlin
- Elective workshops at the 400-level
- Half courses at the 400-level (e.g., CRWR 475, 485)
Majors will normally take one semester of the Senior Projects Seminar (CrWr 490), during which they will work on individually designed projects under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Seminars will consist of regular peer group meetings and one-on-one conferences with the instructor. At the end of the term, students will be expected to have completed a substantial body of work, which may include up to 100-200 pages for a prose project or screenplay and 60 pages for poetry. With faculty approval, this course may be repeated for credit. Pre-requisites: It is strongly recommended that majors will have completed two 300-level workshops before applying for this course.
Transfer of Credit
Upon acceptance to the College, transfer students with an interest in Creative Writing should consult one of the co-directors for approval of previous coursework. Third-year transfer students will find it almost impossible to complete the major in four semesters and might consider the minor. While credit is normally given for Creative Writing courses taken elsewhere, equivalent credit is almost never given for any of the four required workshops.
No more than two full courses of transfer credit may be applied toward the Creative Writing Major. Transfer courses may be applied toward the textual studies requirement, the in-program course requirement, or a combination of these.