Undergraduate programs

The study of English has long been considered one of the best ways to obtain a liberal education. Courses are designed to develop students’ critical capabilities, to deepen their understanding of diverse cultural issues, and to improve their abilities to analyze and produce complex texts. The department prepares its majors for careers in writing and teaching, as well as for a variety of professions in which high levels of literacy and critical thought are required. Indeed, the breadth of knowledge and the communication skills that English majors typically acquire make them attractive to many potential employers and prepare them for graduate work leading to professions such as law. For those who wish to teach, the English Department prepares majors for graduate work leading to teaching certification or for entry into graduate master’s or doctoral programs in English.

Degree Maps and Learning Outcomes

Admission requirements

English B.A./B.S.

Creative Writing B.F.A.

English Minor

Writing Minor

Film Studies Minor

Creative Writing B.F.A.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the degree program is based on (a) general admission to the university (see University Admissions for more information) and (b) admission to the Creative Writing program, which includes submission of a Statement of Purpose and a writing sample (10-15 pages of poetry, or 15-25 pages of prose).


In addition to meeting university B.A. degree requirements, the Creative Writing major must meet the following requirements for the B.F.A. degree: Literature Courses, Writing Courses, Fine Art Electives, English Electives, Writing Electives, and a Graduation Requirement (Senior Portfolio).

Literature Courses (16 credits)

Eng 204Survey of British Literature I


Eng 205Survey of British Literature II


Eng 253Survey of American Literature I


Eng 254Survey of American Literature II


Writing Courses (12 credits)

Wr 212Introductory Fiction Writing


Wr 213Introductory Poetry Writing


Wr 214Introductory Nonfiction Writing


Fine Art Electives (8 credits)

Two courses in arts appreciation, theory, or performance (8 credits).

This requirement is fulfilled through courses in the College of the Arts prefixed Arch, ArH, Art, D, FILM, Mus, and TA.

English Electives (12 credits)

12 upper division Eng credits (With adviser approval, one upper-division WLL literature course may be applied to this requirement.)

Writing Electives (28 credits)

16 credits in the genre of portfolio (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry), at least 8 of which must be at the 400-level:

Wr 312Intermediate Fiction Writing


Wr 313Intermediate Poetry Writing


Wr 328Media Editing


Wr 399Special Studies


Wr 407Writing Seminar


Wr 412Advanced Fiction Writing


Wr 413Advanced Poetry Writing


Wr 428Advanced Media Writing


Wr 456Forms of Nonfiction


Wr 457Personal Essay Writing


Wr 458Magazine Writing


Wr 459Memoir Writing


12 credits of additional upper-division WR courses, 8 of which must be 400-level.

Note: Wr 312, Wr 313, Wr 412, Wr 413 may be repeated for credit.

Graduation Requirement

The Senior Portfolio is submitted for approval by the end of the third week of the quarter of graduation. This portfolio showcases the clean revised copy of the student's creative writing in a chosen genre (i.e., fiction, nonfiction, or poetry), and should contain: (a) An introductory statement of artistic intent, which is a formal statement of the student’s goals and craft and a critical assessment of the work (6-10 pages); and (b) Writing within a genre: 30-50 pages of fiction or nonfiction, or 20-30 pages of poetry.

Additional Information on Requirements

  • Creative Writing majors in upper-division English courses are expected to be able to write a library research paper when required. The department recommends that majors without prior training in research paper writing enroll in Wr 222.
  • Only courses in which a student receives a C or above can count for the Creative Writing major.
  • Only courses taken for a letter grade can count toward the Creative Writing major.
  • No more than 12 credits taken for the Minor in English may be applied to the Creative Writing major.
  • A minimum of 24 credits in English and/or Writing at PSU is required to graduate from PSU with a major in Creative Writing.

Total Credit Hours: 76