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.)

Notice for Writing Program students: Early registration usually guarantees students get the courses they want. Certain courses combine students from two campuses using online tools and video-conferencing equipment. Click for full course descriptions. Is your desired course full? Slots are likely to open up in courses especially in the last week or two before classes begin. For real-time status, please go to SIS. Keep checking back!

  • Homewood Campus

    490.652.06 - Contemporary American Writers

    $2918

    Elise Levine

    Monday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/9 - 5/1

    This foundation 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.

    490.660.01 - Fiction Workshop

    $2918

    Elise Levine

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/10 - 4/25

    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, if possible. 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. The 660-1-2 sequential numbering of workshops relates only to the three annual academic terms and does not indicate cumulative coursework.

    490.671.01 - Nonfiction Workshop

    $2918

    Barbara Vanasco

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/10 - 4/25

    These general workshops give students extensive experience in writing and revising their factual work, regardless of topic or form. Submissions are critiqued by peers as well as by the instructor. Students typically submit two to four essays, articles or book chapters. Revisions, exercises and readings also are required. Students may take this general workshop or any specialized workshop to meet the requirement of three workshops for the MA in Writing. The 670-1-2 sequential numbering of workshops relates only to the three annual academic terms and does not indicate cumulative coursework.

    490.747.01 - Advanced Revision Techniques in Fiction

    $2918

    Mark Farrington

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/12 - 4/27

    This elective course is designed to hone skills in the elements of fiction through an intensive revision process. The course is intended for fiction students who have a significant body of writing. All enrolling students must have completed at least one, and preferably two, fiction workshops. The course explores in depth such techniques as expanding/slowing down/”exploding” a scene, defining and refining character and plot arcs, and using syntax and word choice to strengthen sentences. Students improve the use of these and other techniques by reviewing and revising their own writing. While some workshop methods will be employed, this course will focus more on specific techniques and exercises than a workshop-style evaluation of student writing.

    490.801.01 - Thesis And Publication

    $2918

    Karen Houppert

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/11 - 4/26

    This final required 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 Writing Program. A creative writing thesis must be of considerable ambition and length — portions of a novel or a nonfiction book, or a collection of 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. Thesis students submit a full thesis draft in the first week of 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 create a class literary journal, 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 should submit a Thesis Planning Form at least 30 days in advance. For more information about the thesis course and process, see the Writing Program website under Program Resources.

  • Washington DC Center

    490.652.56 - Contemporary American Writers

    $2918

    Elise Levine

    Monday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/9 - 5/1

    This foundation 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.

    490.654.51 - Fiction Techniques

    $2918

    Michelle Brafman

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/11 - 4/26

    In this foundation course, students explore the elements of fiction, including point of view, plot, character, setting 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 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. Nonfiction students may take it as an elective, although the program may limit the number of registrants from outside the fiction concentration.

    490.661.51 - Fiction Workshop

    $2918

    Rion Scott

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/10 - 4/25

    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, if possible. 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. The 660-1-2 sequential numbering of workshops relates only to the three annual academic terms and does not indicate cumulative coursework.

    490.671.51 - Nonfiction Workshop

    $2918

    Timothy Wendel

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/10 - 5/9

    These general workshops give students extensive experience in writing and revising their factual work, regardless of topic or form. Submissions are critiqued by peers as well as by the instructor. Students typically submit two to four essays, articles or book chapters. Revisions, exercises and readings also are required. Students may take this general workshop or any specialized workshop to meet the requirement of three workshops for the MA in Writing. The 670-1-2 sequential numbering of workshops relates only to the three annual academic terms and does not indicate cumulative coursework.

    490.676.51 - Sentence Power: From Craft to Art

    $2918

    Edward Perlman

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/11 - 4/26

    This craft elective focuses on revision at the sentence and paragraph level and is open to fiction or nonfiction students. 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 revisions of their own work. Authors to be studied may include Updike, Munro, and Welty in fiction, and Dillard, McPhee, or Didion in nonfiction.

    490.682.51 - Writing The Novel Workshop

    $2918

    Eleanor Williams

    Saturday 10:30 - 1:15; 1/14 - 4/29

    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. This course counts as one of the required three workshops in fiction.

    490.687.51 - The Short Story: Past & Present

    $2918

    Margaret Meyers

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/12 - 4/27

    This fiction reading elective begins with a brief review of the history and development of short fiction, moving to analysis of contemporary forms, trends and practitioners. Featured authors may include Chekhov, Carver, Paley, Barthelme, Munro and Dixon. The course focuses on intense reading, analysis and discussion more than writing assignments. Students also may be asked to make class presentations and to review a range of literary journals.

    490.692.51 - Profile and Biography Workshop

    $2918

    Cathy Alter

    Tuesday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/10 - 4/25

    Articles or books about people are a central component of contemporary nonfiction. 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 workshop counts as one of the three required for a nonfiction degree. Enrollees must have completed or waived the nonfiction core courses. Fiction students may enroll only with program permission.

    490.801.51 - Thesis And Publication

    $2918

    Edward Perlman

    Monday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/9 - 5/1

    This final required 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 Writing Program. A creative writing thesis must be of considerable ambition and length — portions of a novel or a nonfiction book, or a collection of 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. Thesis students submit a full thesis draft in the first week of 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 create a class literary journal, 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 should submit a Thesis Planning Form at least 30 days in advance. For more information about the thesis course and process, see the Writing Program website under Program Resources.