Undergraduate Creative Writing Program

Why Creative Writing | Where Are Our Alumni Course Descriptions | Creative Writing Minor

Why Creative Writing?

Denney Hall

What can the study and practice of creative writing do for you? At the very least, it will make you a more sophisticated and discriminating reader. But it will also teach you ways to span what seems like a chasm between the self and other, help you to understand the meaning of your own experiences as you find ways to put them into words, teach you the resources of expression unique to language itself, teach you self-discipline and the rewards of re-writing, and stretch your imagination.

There are additional and compelling reasons for the study of creative writing. Students, through the close study of the craft of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, improve their skills as readers and critics. Furthermore, students who hope to eventually pursue graduate study in creative writing through a Master of Fine Arts program, or doctoral study in English with an emphasis in creative writing, have the have the unique opportunity at OSU to take classes with the award-winning resident faculty of our own MFA program as well as introductory and intermediate classes taught by MFA students.

The culture of the MFA Program benefits the undergraduate students through the distinguished visiting writers who come to campus to give public readings. Recently, we've hosted writers such as Natasha Trethewey, Scott Raab, Amy Bloom, Phillip Lopate, Nick Hornby, J.M. Coetzee, Brenda Hillman, Philip Levine, Carolyn Forche, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, Anne Carson, Marilyn Nelson, C.D. Wright, John Gallaher, Edward Hirsch, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Claudia Emerson, Jill McCorkle, Randall Kenan, Tony Early, David Wagoner, Beth Anne Fennelly, Russell Banks, Percival Everett, Pinckney Bendict, Louise Gluck, and many others. We also regularly host our own alumni when their books are published.

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Where Are Our Alumni?

The undergraduate alumni listed below are currently pursuing graduate degrees in Creative Writing at institutions located around the country. 

Krista Drummond, Sarah Lawrence College 
Matthew Gallant, University of Memphis
Stephen Grim, University of Arizona
Joshua Kleinberg, Columbia University
Zach McVicker, University of Illinois
Chu Ndulue, Columbia University
Stephen Rodriguez, University of Michigan
Noa Saunders, University of Maryland
Brandon Timm, Southern Illinois University
Ellie White, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

We welcome news and updates from our undergraduate alumni. Please let us know how you're doing by emailing english.admin@osu.edu

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Course Descriptions

Undergraduates at The Ohio State University may take both introductory and advanced creative writing workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Undergraduates studying creative writing at OSU take advanced classes with the MFA faculty, and may undertake a creative thesis under the direction of a member of that faculty.

Students who have applied and been accepted to the Creative Writing Concentration within the English major may take any Creative Writing course without needing instructor permission.

For all other students, the follwoing rules apply:

The 2000-level workshops (please see descriptions below) are open admission courses and may be taken twice (6 semester hours) for credit. The prerequisite for 2000-level workshops is English 1110.01 (First Year English Composition).

The 3000-level workshops are open admission courses and may be taken twice (6 semester hours) for credit.  The prerequisites for 2000-level workshops are English 1110.01 (First Year English Composition) and a grade of at least “C-“ in the corresponding 2000-level workshop.

The 4000-level workshops are taught by members of the MFA faculty and admission is by permission of instructor only, which means that interested students should submit a sample of their work to the instructor who will then decide whether to offer permission to enroll. The 4000-level workshops are repeatable up to three times for credit (9 semester hours).

Both the 2000 and the 4000-level workshops fit into the (non-Creative Writing Concentration) English major as electives and can satisfy lower and/or upper divsion Elective requirments.

In addition to writing workshops, we also offer a special topics honors course in the study of creative writing as well as a course in literary publishing.

Other opportunities for undergrads pursuing creative writing at OSU include working on and publication in the undergraduate arts and literature magazine, Mosaic, volunteer and work-study positions on The Journal, OSU's prize-winning, nationally distributed literary magazine (edited by MFA students), and participation in The Grove, an undergraduate creative writing community.

Course List

English 2265 Writing of Fiction I
Practice in the writing of fiction; analysis and discussion of student work, with some attention to general methods of fiction writing.

English 2266 Writing of Poetry I
Practice in the writing of poetry; emphasis on the student's own work, with reference to established poetic patterns and established poets.

English 2268 Writing of Creative Nonfiction I
Practice in the writing of creative nonfiction; analysis and discussion of student work, with reference to the general methods and scope of the genre.

English 3465 Intermediate Creative Writing: Special Topics in Fiction
Practice in the advanced techniques of fiction writing.

English 3466 Intermediate Creative Writing: Special Topics in Poetry
Practice in the advanced techniques of poetry writing.

English 3468 Intermediate Creative Writing: Special Topics in Creative Nonfiction
Practice in the advanced techniques of creative nonfiction writing.

*English 4565 Writing of Fiction II
Practice in the writing of fiction; continuation of 265 and 465 at an advanced level.

*English 4566 Writing of Poetry II
Practice in the writing of poetry; continuation of 266 and 466 at an advanced level.

*English 4568 Writing of Creative Nonfiction II
Practice in the writing of essays and book-length creative nonfiction; continuation of 268 and 468 at an advanced level.

English 4591.01H Special Topics in the Study of Creative Writing
A seminar in literary forms and themes with a significant creative writing component.

*English 5662.01 Literary Publishing
A course in the theory and practice of editing and publishing literature.

*English 5193 Individual Studies
Individually directed work in creative writing for undergraduates.

*By Permission of Instructor Only

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Creative Writing Minor

The Creative Writing minor is designed to engage undergraduates in an in-depth study of the craft of creative writing. In addition to sharpening their critical reading abilities, students in this program will develop the skills needed to create original poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. The minor consists of four undergraduate courses for a minimum of 12 total credit hours. Additional minor description, including course requirements information.

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