When you major in creative writing you declare a genre of emphasis in poetry, fiction or - unusual among college writing majors -- creative non-fiction. You will also take a course in Special Topics, which could include screenwriting, novel writing, Sudden Fiction, epic or lyric poetry or connected short fiction. Your major study will culminate in a Senior Seminar, in which you produce a significant portfolio of writing to present to the English department faculty for critique.
Creative writers are a special breed of students. Your interests are often eclectic and always innovative. Those diverse interests are well served by intimate classes that meet in workshop settings to enable collective learning. You will be encouraged to publish poetry, fiction and non-fiction in the student literary magazine, Incunabula, as well as to be part of the two honors societies, Sigma Tau Delta or Alpha Eta Kappa. You will also want to meet fellow student writers outside of class hours to work as a writing group, reading and critiquing each other's work. You also have the opportunity to evaluate entries for the Salem College National Literary Awards, making you more familiar with elements involved in the literary and publishing worlds. Each semester culminates with a public reading where you may present your work to family, friends and the college community. A singular advantage to student writers is that you may participate in master classes taught by regionally and nationally recognized writers who are brought to campus each semester by The Center for Women Writers.
You will learn from creative writing faculty members who are passionate about writing and their students. Professors continually develop strategies to aid you in cultivating an authentic and compelling writing voice. Faculty members are well published and are dedicated to establishing a writing community that nurtures and cultivates your individual talent. They share generously with you and other students, not only their own creative spirit but also the extensive network of literary relationships they have developed over the years.
Writing is a cornerstone of a liberal arts education. Salem's creative writing major empowers you to develop clarity of thought and expression, to think critically, to offer and accept criticism and to study writing as craft. You may join other Salem graduates in earning MFAs or law degrees; editing magazines and working for publishing companies; teaching in the classroom; or working in non-profit organizations. You, like all of our graduates, will leave Salem having learned to use the written word as a tool to expand your ways of knowing and understanding our world.
Salem’s department of English offers both a major and minor in creative writing. The creative writing major/minor offers talented students the opportunity for in-depth study and practice of the craft of imaginative writing. Through close readings, workshop discussions and rigorous revision, students will be prepared to pursue graduate degrees in writing and/or English or to avail themselves of the many careers that value writing skills and critical thinking.
Creative Writing Major (B.A.)
The creative writing major requires 12 courses. Five of the 12 courses must be in literature or literary studies.
Creative Writing Minor
The College offers courses in creative writing for students interested in using their imaginative talent and skills. A minor in creative writing consists of five courses in the English department: four courses in creative writing and one in literature. At least three of these courses must be taken at Salem.
Creative Writing Courses (CRWR)
200. Independent Study in Creative Writing One course
Independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to students with a 2.0 cumulative average and permission of the chair of the department. Independent study may take the form of readings and/or research, and will include a substantial written project. Independent study may be taken for a total of four courses, no more than two in any term. Prerequisite: Previous study in creative writing and permission of the department.
212. Introduction to Creative Writing One course
This course is required of all creative writing majors and is a prerequisite to all Creative Writing courses. The course is organized for the fledgling creative writer and is designed to develop creative writing skills in poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Students will read contemporary poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction in order to deepen and broaden their understanding of the creative process and the craft of writing. This course must be taken at Salem College. Fall and Spring.
217. Introductory Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Workshop One course
In this workshop course in writing fiction and creative non-fiction, emphasis is on the craft of writing prose and how that craft contributes to meaning. The original prose of the students will make up the workshops. Workshop sessions will assist students in acquiring the skills necessary to evaluate with care the writing of others as well as their own writing. The course also includes a survey of selected writings by fiction and creative non-fiction writers. Prerequisite: CRWR 212.
218. Introductory Poetry Workshop One course
In this workshop course on writing poetry, emphasis is on the craft of poetry and how that craft contributes to meaning. The original poetry of students will make up the workshops. Workshop sessions will assist students in acquiring the skills necessary to evaluate with care the writing of others as well as their own writing. The course also includes a survey of selected writings by traditional and contemporary poets. Prerequisite: CRWR 212.
220. Special Topics in Creative Writing One course
Intensive investigation of a genre, topic or craft issue. The subject matter of the course will be announced prior to the beginning of the course. Prerequisite: CRWR 212.
270. Internship in Creative Writing One course
The opportunity to use the knowledge and skills that the creative writing major/minor has learned through coursework in a professional setting. The apprenticeship aspect of the internship implies that the student will increase her knowledge and skills by direct contact with an experienced mentor. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors with at least a 2.0 cumulative average; no more than one internship can count toward major; admission only by application.
290. Honors Independent Study in Creative Writing One course
Advanced independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to juniors and seniors with a 3.5 G.P.A. in creative writing, subject to the approval of the chair of the department. Honors Independent Study may be taken for a maximum of two courses.
313. Intermediate Fiction Workshop One course
This workshop course in fiction writing builds upon the skills developed in CRWR 217 and addresses the essential strategies for writing and evaluating fiction. Students read, discuss and analyze contemporary fiction and original fiction written for the class. Writing will focus on short fiction. Substantial original writing and outside reading required. Prerequisites: CRWR 212 and 217.
319. Intermediate Creative Non-Fiction Workshop One course
This workshop course in creative non-fiction builds upon the skills developed in CRWR 217 and addresses the essential strategies for writing and evaluating creative nonfiction. Students read, discuss and analyze writings such as essays, biographies and memoirs, as well as original creative non-fiction written for the class. Substantial original writing and outside reading required. In addition, students will discuss various modes of writing about personal experience and the aesthetic and ethical issues raised by such writing. Writing will focus on biography, essay, memoir, vignette, etc. Prerequisites: CRWR 212 and 217.
321. Intermediate Poetry Workshop One course
This workshop course in poetry builds upon the skills developed in CRWR 218 and addresses the essential strategies for writing and evaluating poetry. Students read, discuss and analyze contemporary poetry and original poetry written for the class. Writing will focus on various forms of poetry. Substantial original writing and outside reading required. Prerequisites: CRWR 212 and 218.
370. Special Topics in Creative Writing One course
This advanced workshop course will put emphasis on a sustained creative writing project. Students will focus on manuscript preparation and should anticipate individual conferences with the professor. Topic will vary each semester and could include advanced poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction. Additional possible topics might include novel writing, screenwriting or writing for children. Students may take the course for credit more than once if the genre/topic differs or with approval from the professor. Prerequisites: CRWR 212 and one 300-level creative writing course taken at Salem in the genre of the special topic, or permission of instructor.
390. Editing National Literary Awards One course
Students will work with the National Literary Awards given annually in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction through the Center for Women Writers. Students will be responsible for using editorial criteria to read, evaluate and discuss entries. They will also help with promotion of the awards and assist in the announcement of winners. Each student will consult with the professor to identify a specific writing project. In workshops, original writing will be edited, polished and evaluated, and culminate in a final portfolio. Prerequisite: CRWR 212 and two additional creative writing courses (all taken at Salem).
395. Senior Seminar in Creative Writing One course
This capstone workshop course is open only to seniors or students who have completed all but one creative writing class and one literature course required for the creative writing major. The course involves intensive writing in the students’ genre of emphasis and will culminate in a substantial portfolio of original work: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction or an appropriate genre as determined by the professor. Students will complete the course with a portfolio of writing that might be used as preparation for graduate study or a career in a related field. The course will conclude with a teaching demonstration.
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