Course Schedule

The courses below are those offered for the term. (To view the course description, class dates & times, touch on accordion tab by the title.)

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: We currently are not accepting applications to the online Master of Arts in Science Writing from students who reside in Alabama or Kansas. Students should be aware of additional state-specific information for online programs.

  • Homewood Campus

    490.652.06 - Contemporary American Writers

    $2806

    William Black

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/27 - 5/4

    This course surveys issues and trends in recent fiction and nonfiction, with emphasis on the diverse work and methods of American writers publishing today. Students read and discuss contemporary writing and hear from Writing Seminars faculty or other accomplished writers. This core course focuses on developing skills to read as a writer, and it explores the similarities and differences between factual and nonfactual writing, including the roles of truth, accuracy, and reader expectation. This core course is required for all incoming fiction and nonfiction students and usually must be completed before students in those concentrations enroll in a writing workshop. This course replaces Contemporary Nonfiction as one of two nonfiction core courses.

    Combines with DC students in live video conference. Instructor alternates locations.

    490.654.06 - Fiction Techniques

    $2806

    Heidi Vornbrock Roosa

    Monday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/25 - 5/2

    Students examine in depth the elements of fiction, including point of view, plot, character development, and the forms of short stories and the novel. The course also introduces students to the writing process, the techniques of reading as a writer, and the workshop process. Readings usually include short stories, one or more novels, and books or articles on craft. Writing assignments may involve exercises, response writings, and one complete piece, either an original short story or novel chapter. Revisions also may be required. This core course is required for all incoming fiction students as a prerequisite to any workshop. Others may take it as an elective, although the program may limit the number of registrants from outside fiction.

    This section will be combined as a video-conference course with the 490.651.51 at DC.

    490.656.06 - Nonfiction Techniques

    $2806

    Tim Wendel

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/26 - 5/3

    The intensive reading and writing exercises of this course help students gather information and transform it into clear, creative prose — whether in literary essay and memoir or journalistic forms such as articles, reviews, or opinion. Reporting techniques include interviewing, personal observation, and examining documents. Writing techniques include structure, quotation, detail, word choice, transition, and revision. This core course is required for all incoming Nonfiction students prior to enrolling in a workshop. Students in fiction may consider this course as an elective.

    Combines with DC students by live video conference. Instructor alternates locations.

    490.662.01 - Fiction Workshop

    $2806

    Danielle Bryant

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/27 - 5/4

    Fiction Workshops concentrate on intensive writing and revision, with some required reading. As members of a general workshop, students submit short stories or novel chapters to their instructor and peers for critiques. Typically, two or three stories or chapters are submitted during a semester; revisions are usually required. Workshop participants also submit detailed critiques of their fellow students' writing. We recommend, but do not require, that students take at least one general workshop before progressing to more specialized workshops, and we urge students to take workshops from different instructors. Students may take Fiction Workshop up to three times, although specialized workshops also can count toward the requirement of three workshops for a master's degree. (See Writing the Novel Workshop.)

    490.678.01 - Novel Form, Style, & Structure

    $2806

    Eleanor Williams

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/28 - 5/5

    This craft elective is meant primarily for fiction writers, especially those writing or wishing to write a novel. Others, however, might find it of interest. The course focuses on a writer's analysis of novels, expanding the study of fiction into techniques and issues relating to the longer form. Topics include structure, character arcs, style, consistency of voice, techniques of backstory, and plot management. Class assignments may include response writings and original fiction as well as oral presentations. Readings usually include a number of novels, plus books or essays on novel craft.

    490.700.06 - Readings in Creative Nonfiction

    $2806

    Tim Wendel

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/28 - 5/5

    "This new elective course features intensive readings and discussion of Creative Nonfiction in its many forms. While the traditional essay, memoir, and article continue to be popular, Creative Nonfiction has reformed these traditions into sophisticated or experimental incarnations. Creative Nonfiction respects reader expectations for factual accuracy, but it also explores new approaches to narrative, factual expression, the blending of fact and fiction, and innovations in structure, theme, and form. Readings include short, medium, and book-length works, digital and in print. This elective course is not a workshop and focuses mostly on reading, discussion and team presentations. "

    Combines with DC students by live video conference. Instructor alternates locations.

    490.800.01 - Independent Study in Writing

    $2806

    Susan Eisenfeld

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/31 - 5/1

    An independent study is a special project that an advanced student proposes to complete within a single semester, for either elective or workshop credit. Most independent studies in the Writing Program involve a student working one-on-one with a faculty member. The project must involve writing or writing-related work equivalent to a full-semester, graduate-level course, and the project must not duplicate any course or other part of the program’s curriculum. Students usually are not eligible to propose independent studies until they have completed at least five courses, including at least one workshop. The tuition for an independent study is the regular, single-course rate for the term in question. Proposals for an independent study must be submitted in writing to the program’s independent study coordinator no later than 60 days before the start of the target semester. Proposals are evaluated competitively after that date, and only a small number of proposals will be approved.

    490.801.01 - Thesis And Publication

    $2806

    David Everett
    Susan Muaddi-Darraj

    Wednesday 6:15 - 8:45; 1/27 - 5/4

    This final course is required for all degree candidates in fiction or nonfiction and is offered only in the fall and spring terms. The two course goals are the completion of a successful thesis and an enriching, challenging capstone experience for the entire program. A creative writing thesis must be of considerable ambition and length — portions of a novel or a nonfiction or science-medical book, or a collection of poems, short stories, essays, or articles. Thesis students should select their best, most revised work from previous program courses; not all program writing will become part of a thesis. Students in this course are required to submit a full thesis draft early in the course; the author spends the term revising this draft. To provide extensive time for revision, thesis students meet as a class only for certain weeks during the term. During those class sessions, students contribute to and edit a class journal project, engage in forward-looking discussions on the writing life, participate in a program-capping roundtable discussion, and rehearse and conduct a public reading. Prerequisite: All other required and elective courses. Students may not take another course during their thesis term without program permission; such a course must be in addition to program requirements. Students enrolling in this course must submit a Thesis Planning Form at least 30 days in advance.

    For MA in Writing students in Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry. Science writing students should enroll in 490.802.81 Thesis and Careers in Science Writing.

  • Washington DC Center

    490.652.56 - Contemporary American Writers

    $2806

    William Black

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/27 - 5/4

    This course surveys issues and trends in recent fiction and nonfiction, with emphasis on the diverse work and methods of American writers publishing today. Students read and discuss contemporary writing and hear from Writing Seminars faculty or other accomplished writers. This core course focuses on developing skills to read as a writer, and it explores the similarities and differences between factual and nonfactual writing, including the roles of truth, accuracy, and reader expectation. This core course is required for all incoming fiction and nonfiction students and usually must be completed before students in those concentrations enroll in a writing workshop. This course replaces Contemporary Nonfiction as one of two nonfiction core courses.

    Combines with Baltimore students by live video conference. Instructor alternates locations.

    490.654.56 - Fiction Techniques

    $2806

    Heidi Vornbrock Roosa

    Monday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/25 - 5/2

    Students examine in depth the elements of fiction, including point of view, plot, character development, and the forms of short stories and the novel. The course also introduces students to the writing process, the techniques of reading as a writer, and the workshop process. Readings usually include short stories, one or more novels, and books or articles on craft. Writing assignments may involve exercises, response writings, and one complete piece, either an original short story or novel chapter. Revisions also may be required. This core course is required for all incoming fiction students as a prerequisite to any workshop. Others may take it as an elective, although the program may limit the number of registrants from outside fiction.

    This DC section will be combined as a video-conference course with the 490.654.01 at Homewood.

    490.656.56 - Nonfiction Techniques

    $2806

    Tim Wendel

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/26 - 5/3

    The intensive reading and writing exercises of this course help students gather information and transform it into clear, creative prose — whether in literary essay and memoir or journalistic forms such as articles, reviews, or opinion. Reporting techniques include interviewing, personal observation, and examining documents. Writing techniques include structure, quotation, detail, word choice, transition, and revision. This core course is required for all incoming Nonfiction students prior to enrolling in a workshop. Students in fiction may consider this course as an elective.

    Combines with Baltimore students by live video conference. Instructor alternates locations.

    490.662.51 - Fiction Workshop

    $2806

    Margaret Meyers

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/26 - 5/3

    Fiction Workshops concentrate on intensive writing and revision, with some required reading. As members of a general workshop, students submit short stories or novel chapters to their instructor and peers for critiques. Typically, two or three stories or chapters are submitted during a semester; revisions are usually required. Workshop participants also submit detailed critiques of their fellow students' writing. We recommend, but do not require, that students take at least one general workshop before progressing to more specialized workshops, and we urge students to take workshops from different instructors. Students may take Fiction Workshop up to three times, although specialized workshops also can count toward the requirement of three workshops for a master's degree. (See Writing the Novel Workshop.)

    490.676.51 - Sentence Power: From Craft to Art

    $2806

    Edward Perlman

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/27 - 5/4

    This craft elective focuses on revision at the sentence and paragraph level and is open to students of all concentrations. Through close reading and brief exercises, students learn various techniques to assemble sentences and establish syntactic relationships within paragraphs. Students imitate other writers, as well as revise, exchange, and discuss paragraphs or stanzas from their own work. Authors to be studied may include Updike, Munro, and Welty in fiction; Dillard, Maclean, and Mitchell in nonfiction; Brodsky, Hecht, and Bishop in poetry; and Thomas, McPhee, and Quammen in science and nature

    490.682.51 - Writing The Novel Workshop

    $2806

    Mark Farrington

    Saturday 10:00 - 12:30; 1/30 - 5/7

    This specialized workshop is designed for students who are writing a novel. Students must submit a total of 40-75 pages of a novel in progress, plus a synopsis. Revisions also may be required. Included are readings and discussions on the particular demands of longer fiction. Prerequisite: Fiction Workshop, or permission of the program fiction advisor. (Enrollees also must have completed or waived the fiction core courses.)

    490.683.51 - Voice in Modern Fiction

    $2806

    Mark Farrington

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/28 - 5/5

    This course explores how fiction writers create their own personality on the page, leading students to develop and refine their own writing voices. Student will consider how style, point of view, tone, word choice, structure, and culture all contribute to an author's or narrator's individual voice. In recognizing how authors use these elements, students engage in exercises to strengthen their own writers’ voices. Readings include novels, short stories, and other fictional work, as well as articles on craft. Class assignments may include response writings and original fiction as well as oral presentations.

    490.692.51 - Profile and Biography Workshop

    $2806

    Cathy Alter

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/26 - 5/3

    Articles or books about people are a central component of contemporary nonfiction and science-medical writing. In this specialized workshop, students examine methods used in profile articles, biographies, and, to a lesser extent, fictionalized biographical accounts. Students usually write two or three profiles or biography chapters in this course, plus revisions. This course is open to nonfiction and science-medical writing students who have completed or waived both core courses in their concentrations.

    490.700.56 - Readings in Creative Nonfiction

    $2806

    Tim Wendel

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/28 - 5/5

    "This new elective course features intensive readings and discussion of Creative Nonfiction in its many forms. While the traditional essay, memoir, and article continue to be popular, Creative Nonfiction has reformed these traditions into sophisticated or experimental incarnations. Creative Nonfiction respects reader expectations for factual accuracy, but it also explores new approaches to narrative, factual expression, the blending of fact and fiction, and innovations in structure, theme, and form. Readings include short, medium, and book-length works, digital and in print. This elective course is not a workshop and focuses mostly on reading, discussion and team presentations. "

    Combines with DC students by live video conference. Instructor alternates locations.

    490.800.51 - Independent Study in Writing

    $2806

    Sarah Trzepacz

    Sunday 12:00 - 12:00; 1/25 - 5/7

    An independent study is a special project that an advanced student proposes to complete within a single semester, for either elective or workshop credit. Most independent studies in the Writing Program involve a student working one-on-one with a faculty member. The project must involve writing or writing-related work equivalent to a full-semester, graduate-level course, and the project must not duplicate any course or other part of the program’s curriculum. Students usually are not eligible to propose independent studies until they have completed at least five courses, including at least one workshop. The tuition for an independent study is the regular, single-course rate for the term in question. Proposals for an independent study must be submitted in writing to the program’s independent study coordinator no later than 60 days before the start of the target semester. Proposals are evaluated competitively after that date, and only a small number of proposals will be approved.

    490.801.51 - Thesis And Publication

    $2806

    Edward Perlman
    Mark Farrington

    Monday 6:00 - 8:30; 1/25 - 5/2

    This final course is required for all degree candidates in fiction or nonfiction and is offered only in the fall and spring terms. The two course goals are the completion of a successful thesis and an enriching, challenging capstone experience for the entire program. A creative writing thesis must be of considerable ambition and length — portions of a novel or a nonfiction or science-medical book, or a collection of poems, short stories, essays, or articles. Thesis students should select their best, most revised work from previous program courses; not all program writing will become part of a thesis. Students in this course are required to submit a full thesis draft early in the course; the author spends the term revising this draft. To provide extensive time for revision, thesis students meet as a class only for certain weeks during the term. During those class sessions, students contribute to and edit a class journal project, engage in forward-looking discussions on the writing life, participate in a program-capping roundtable discussion, and rehearse and conduct a public reading. Prerequisite: All other required and elective courses. Students may not take another course during their thesis term without program permission; such a course must be in addition to program requirements. Students enrolling in this course must submit a Thesis Planning Form at least 30 days in advance.

    For MA in Writing students in Fiction, Nonfiction, or Poetry. Science writing students should enroll in 490.802.81 Thesis and Careers in Science Writing.

  • Online Courses

    490.658.81 - Techniques of Science-Medical Writing

    $2806

    Laura McClellan

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    This core course develops and hones the reporting, creative, and explanatory skills demonstrated by the best science-medical writers. The course features writing assignments and exercises in journalistic and literary writing, plus interviewing, ethics, and the use of scientific journals and databases. In some cases, students may be able to choose from a range of writing topics, including nature, technology, health, space, biology, medicine, or other technical or scientific issues. Science Writing students should complete this course before enrolling in any writing workshop. Enrollment is encouraged by other students interested in this growing professional and creative field.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    490.658.82 - Techniques of Science-Medical Writing

    $2806

    Adam Marcus

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    This core course develops and hones the reporting, creative, and explanatory skills demonstrated by the best science-medical writers. The course features writing assignments and exercises in journalistic and literary writing, plus interviewing, ethics, and the use of scientific journals and databases. In some cases, students may be able to choose from a range of writing topics, including nature, technology, health, space, biology, medicine, or other technical or scientific issues. Science Writing students should complete this course before enrolling in any writing workshop. Enrollment is encouraged by other students interested in this growing professional and creative field.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    490.675.81 - Science-Medical Writing Workshop

    $2806

    Kim O'Connell

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    In a writing workshop, students receive professional guidance in translating complex scientific or medical knowledge and research into graceful, lucid prose. Students submit individual essays or articles, or parts of a larger work in progress. Writing submissions are critiqued by peers as well as by the instructor, then revised. Students are encouraged but not required to take this course from different instructors. (The three section numbers designate the term in which the workshop is offered. Students earn workshop credit by taking any section number multiple times, or by combining any sections.)

    Technology Fee: 175.00

    490.696.81 - The Nature of Nature

    $2806

    Susan Eisenfeld

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    This reading course focuses on Mother Nature, human nature, and the nature of the beast. Students analyze books, essays, and articles from writers who tell gripping, true stories about topics ranging from outdoor adventure to personal reflections on illness. Readings include authors such as Richard Selzer, Diane Ackerman, E.O. Wilson, Kay Redfield Jamison and John McPhee.

    Online course for Science Writing students. Technology Fee: $175.00

    490.719.81 - Technology Tools, Multimedia, and Digital Publications for Writers

    $2806

    Adam Cole

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    This course is a practical, hands-on experience that teaches students tools and theories for multimedia and online writing and publication. Students learn basic design and digital tools for text, audio, photography, video, and social networks, with a special emphasis on adapting to changing technologies. To better understand websites, literary journals, magazines, and other digital publications, students will create their own digital sites or publications. This course also showcases various digital publications and sites that might offer publishing opportunities. This course may cover general writing topics and fields, or, as announced, it might focus on a specific field such as science writing, nonfiction, technology writing, or fiction.

    Online course for Science Writing students. Technology Fee: $175.00

    490.750.81 - Contemporary Science-Medical Writing: Creative and Professional Forms

    $2806

    Nancy Lord

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    This core course provides a broad foundation in the diverse forms and venues encountered in contemporary science writing careers. Students learn elements of classic forms such as essay, profile, news article, and op-ed, and examine the range of venues for science writing, including magazines, institutional publications, literary journals, blogs, speeches, and even museum exhibit text. The course covers the differing goals of various forms and how they might be used in multimedia, social networks, and other digital communication. Guest speakers present real-world expertise, with students engaged in discussion, exercises, and writing assignments.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    490.755.81 - Science Personal Essay and Memoir Workshop

    $2806

    Laura McClellan

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    While science writing most often turns to content outside the author’s experience, the personal essay or memoir in science is growing in popularity. In this specialized workshop, students experiment with memoir and the personal essay as distinct forms and as an exploration of the self. Seminal essays are read to clarify students' thoughts and to help them develop their own voice and style in personal nonfiction. The topics of health, technology, environment, and other realms of science or medicine will be paramount, whether in reported content or within the personal experience, feelings, or ideas of the writer. This writing-intensive course satisfies a workshop requirement for certificate and degree students in the Science Writing Program.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    490.802.81 - Thesis and Careers in Science Writing

    $2806

    Melissa Hendricks

    Online 1/25 - 5/7

    This course involves the revision of a program thesis and a final capstone experience that prepares a student for a science writing career. If possible, students should enroll in this final program course after completing all other cores, workshops, and electives. Thesis: Each student's thesis is created from writing in earlier courses. Students revise and refine an individual portfolio that includes creative writing, journalism, and communication writing. Students submit a Science Writing Thesis Planning Form at least one month before the course begins. Student should prepare a thesis draft before the course starts; the term is spent revising that work. Capstone: The group experience of the course requires each participant to develop a career plan that includes personal goals such as publication, job applications, or job advancement. Other capstone experiences may include attending science writing events or seminars, publication of a course magazine or journal, and discussions of the changing business of writing. The Science Writing Program also may propose an optional mini-residency that includes a series of final onsite experiences at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and Washington. (This thesis course applies only to the MA in Science Writing; for the MA in Writing, see 490.801.)

    This course is for Science Writing students. MA in Writing students in Fiction or Nonfiction should enroll in 490.801 Thesis and Publication. Technology Fee: $175.00