Academics > Creative Writing Major

The Creative Writing Major

The Creative Writing program, based in the English Department, offers courses in fiction, poetry, and playwriting. Creative Writing at Coe focuses on the workshop method, which emphasizes writing and peer-reviewing student-authored texts.

We offer both a major and a minor.

The Creative Writing major is a nine-course collateral major, meaning it needs to be taken in conjunction with a departmental major. This ensures that students’ writing is informed by engaged, intensive study in at least one discipline. It also allows for a richness of experience in the workshops as Creative Writing students study in all areas of the College (currently, Creative Writing students are also majoring in History, Psychology, Art, Sociology, Asian Studies, Philosophy, Theater, Political Science, French, Computer Science, Biology, Public Relations, Sociology and English).

Creative Writing graduates are accepted into MFA programs each year, including some of the top programs in the country. They publish regularly. Some teach. Others apply their strong writing, editing, and oral communication skills—all honed throughout the workshop process—to a variety of other professional activities.

Writing at Coe is not a solitary, lonely venture, nor is it confined to the classroom. The Creative Writing program emphasizes collaboration, public presentation, and participation in campus publications and readings.

For the major, students are trained in the workshop method in the introductory Topics in Creative Writing course and then required to take workshops in at least two genres (fiction, poetry, and drama) before going on to concentrate in one area. The major culminates in the Manuscript Workshop in the senior year in which students thoroughly revise and polish a unified manuscript, typically a collection of short stories, a novel, a collection of poems, a collection of one-act plays, or a full-length play.

The Creative Writing major offered by the English Department is distinct from the Writing major offered by the Rhetoric Department which focuses on nonfiction writing of various forms including journalism, creative non-fiction, and technical and professional writing. Coe provides multiple opportunities for the serious pursuit of writing for students with a variety of interests and career goals.

Read more about English Department news and events on our blog:

Top Ten Reasons To Study Creative Writing at Coe

  1. Write intensively over your four years at college in a community of serious, committed writers
  2. Learn to read and respond to other people’s works-in-progress with insight and skill
  3. Combine two areas—Creative Writing and another major of your choice—to broaden and deepen your range as a writer and thinker
  4. Meet visiting writers from all over the country
  5. Surround yourself with talented and dedicated writers, both students and faculty, who will give you great feedback and inspiration
  6. Learn the ropes of applying for and succeeding in MFA graduate programs from senior classmates and recent Coe alums
  7. Gain real-world editorial experience on the staff of The Coe Review, a national literary journal
  8. Study with an excellent faculty of working writers and editors (a larger creative writing faculty than is typical for a school Coe’s size)
  9. Make valuable professional contacts on Coe’s New York Term
  10. Stand up in front of the world (gulp) on a regular basis to read from your work