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Writers Institute faculty will help you unleash your creative potential

Do you love to write?

Then our nationally recognized creative writing program at the Writers Institute is for you.

Join a vibrant community of writers, led by widely published, award-winning creative writing faculty whose passion is sharing their craft with talented writers like you.

With our creative writing degree and our Writers Institute, you'll get a professional writing experience while developing the critical thinking, writing and communication skills essential to any career you choose.

At Susquehanna, you'll hone your craft in one of the best undergraduate creative writing programs in the nation.

In Writers Institute workshops, you'll share your fiction, nonfiction and poetry with your classmates and critique each other's work.

You'll sit down with writing faculty regularly for one-on-one conferences and get tips of the trade from acclaimed authors and respected editors through the Raji-Syman Visiting Writers Series.

While earning your creative writing degree, you will have a chance to:

  • Do at least one public reading
  • Work on seven campus literary magazines 
  • Join FUSE, a national network for student editors and writers founded by the Writers Institute 
  • Develop a portfolio worthy of publication or graduate school admission

Want to go on to grad school? Great. Almost all of our writers who apply to grad school receive funding. The rest of our writing majors pursue other career paths such as law, business, teaching, publishing, and editing.

The creative writing major emphasizes literature and writing courses that will be most valuable in preparing students not only for careers in writing, but also for related careers in law, education, publishing and editing. Courses are organized to offer breadth and depth, practical skills, and intensive independent writing, presentation and production experiences.  

Requirements for the Creative Writing Major. 48 semester hours with grades of C- or better.

Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>
4 WRIT-251 Introduction to Fiction
4 WRIT-252 Introduction to Poetry
4 WRIT-253 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction

8        Intermediate creative writing workshops chosen from WRIT-351 Intermediate Fiction, WRIT-352    Intermediate Poetry, and WRIT-353, Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

4        Advanced creative writing workshops chosen from WRIT-451 Advanced Fiction, WRIT-452 Advanced Poetry, and WRIT-453, Advanced Creative Nonfiction

2 WRIT-550 Senior Writing Portfolio
2-4 WRIT-520 Practicum
or WRIT-540 Internship

8         ENGL-265 Forms of Writing, with no repetition of genre and no limitation of topic within the course topics listed below:

           ENGL-265: Novel 

           ENGL-265: Short Story

           ENGL-265: Formal Structure of Poetry  

           ENGL-265: Narrative Poetry

           ENGL-265: Lyric Poetry 

           ENGL-265: Prose Poetry/Lyric Essay

           ENGL-265: Personal Essay

           ENGL-265 Memoir

           ENGL-265 Literary Journalism

           ENGL-265 Popular Writing

2 ENGL-269 English Grammar and the Writing Process
4 ENGL-290 Aesthetics and Interpretation

4         ENGL courses at the 300 level other than ENGL-381, ENGL-382, and ENGL-388

Note: A student is required to participate in a senior reading and to produce a senior chapbook in order to graduate with a creative writing major.

Minor in Creative Writing. Creative writing minors complete, with grades of C- or better, at least 20 semester hours beyond ENGL-100 and including WRIT-350. The remaining courses are chosen with guidance and approval of the departmental minor adviser from departmental offerings in writing: WRIT-240, WRIT-241, WRIT-250, WRIT-270, WRIT-350, WRIT-450 and WRIT-550, all of which, except for WRIT-241, WRIT-270 and WRIT-550, may be taken more than once for credit provided that the subtitle and content of the course are changed. COMM-131 Introduction to Journalism also satisfies requirements of the minor. Declaration of a creative writing minor requires submission of a six- to eight-page creative writing sample to the director of creative writing. Select members of the creative writing faculty will review this sample to ensure that students have the ability to succeed in this minor. Note that approval of a creative writing minor does not guarantee a place in workshop classes. The creative writing minor is not open to students pursuing the creative writing major.

The creative writing secondary education major emphasizes literature and creative writing courses that will be most valuable in preparing students for a career in teaching. Courses are organized to develop not only the writing skills of the student, but also to enhance the ability to teach creative writing and literature. Courses in literature are chosen specifically to enable students to master the core of literature needed to both succeed on standardized examinations required of teaching candidates and to be familiar with secondary school curricula.

This major is offered by the Department of English and Creative Writing in conjunction with the Department of Education. It is designed to be a program leading to teacher certification, and students formally apply to the teacher education program by February of their sophomore year or as soon after that as possible At the time of application, the candidate must have at least a 3.00 overall GPA and a 3.00 English GPA.

Requirements for the Creative Writing Secondary Education Major. 44-50 semester hours in Department of English and Creative Writing courses with grades of C- or better.

Coursework required by the state of Pennsylvania for admission to the teacher certification program includes successful completion of ENGL-100 Writing and Thinking or equivalent course, at least 3 semester hours in British or American Literature, at least 6 semester hours of mathematics coursework (or other courses which satisfy the Central Curriculum Analytic Thought requirement), and at least one 40-hour externship.

Education course requirements for secondary education are EDUC-101 Introduction to Education and Society, EDUC-102 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education, EDUC-250 Educational Psychology, EDUC-260 Introduction to Special Education, EDUC-270 Instruction of Exceptional Students, EDUC-330 Technology in Education, EDUC-350 English Language Learners, EDUC-380 Instructional Design, EDUC-421 Methods of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Teaching English, EDUC-479 Principles of Learning and Teaching in Secondary Education, EDUC-483 Differentiated Instruction and Classroom Management in Secondary Education, and the EDUC-500 Student Teaching Package (EUDC-501, EDUC-502, EDUC-503, and EDUC-600).

Semester Hours View Full Course Catalog >>
4 WRIT-251 Introduction to Fiction
4 WRIT-252 Introduction to Poetry
2 WRIT-253 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction

4         Intermediate creative writing workshops chosen from WRIT-351 Intermediate Fiction, WRIT-352 Intermediate Poetry, and WRIT-353 Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

4         Advanced creative writing workshops chosen from WRIT-451 Advanced Fiction, WRIT-452 Advanced Poetry, and WRIT-453 Advanced Creative Nonfiction

4 ENGL-269
4 ENGL-290
2 WRIT-550
4 ENGL-265

12      12 semester hours in advanced study to be chosen from among courses in the ENGL-300 to ENGL-390 range.  4 semester hours of this work must be in an early period course, defined as pre-1865 America or pre-1789 British. Creative writing - secondary education majors are strongly encouraged to fulfill this early period requirement via ENGL-350 Major Authors: Shakespeare. A further 4 semester hours must be multicultural/non-Western.

Note: The Department of Education requires a cumulative grade point of 3.00 overall and in the major. Also, a student is required to participate in a senior reading and to produce a senior chapbook in order to graduate with a creative writing major.

Recent graduates have enrolled in programs at:

American University
University of Arizona
Boston University
George Mason
University of Montana
Temple University-Sociology
Fullbright Fellowship, Germany
Fullbright Fellowship, France

University of Arizona
Bucknell University
Chatham University
Columbia University
University of Edinburgh
Emerson College
Iowa Writers Workshop, multiple graduates, fiction and poetry
Johns Hopkins University
University of Maryland
New Mexico State
Regents University
Simmons College

Here are just a few of the fields in which recent creative writing graduates have found jobs, along with a selection of employers:

Advertising-Simon and Schuster; Warfel Construction
Copywriting-World Wrestling (WWE); Virtucom Group
Corporate Communications-Susquehanna Health consortium; Vanguard
Graphic Design-Pixar
Editing-In Touch magazine; Prentice Hall; Harpercollins; Thieme Publishers;
English Teacher Abroad-Shane English School, China
Fact Checker-Us magazine
Instructor-Hollins University and University of Virginia
Journalism (sports editor)-Finger Lakes Community Newspapers
Lawyer-Cureton Clark (NJ)
Ministry-Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ; Mahatma Gandhi Center at JMU
Professor-Mississippi State University; University of Indianapolis 
Social Media/Publicity-Movoto Real Estate; Crayola; New York City Vacation Packages
Student Life Staff-SUNY Fredonia; Susquehanna University;
Teacher-Raritan-Bridgewater High; Lincoln Middle; Mountain Rose Academy
Technical Writer-Virtucom; VectorCSP

"Outstanding  Creative Writing Program."
-HuffPost, "So You Want to Be a Writer?"  (Top 40 ranking in North America)

"Recommended creative writing program."
-Rugg's Recommendations on the Colleges, 32nd edition (Top 60 national ranking)

"Susquehanna University has the best undergraduate writing program in the United States."
-Robert Boswell, Guggenheim Fellow and New Yorker fiction writer

"Susquehanna's writing program is extraordinary in every way-in fact, I've never seen anything like it. The students are wildly talented, deeply committed, and supportive of one another, and faculty are nearly super-human in their rigor as teachers and in their achievement-nationally and internationally-as poets, essayists and fiction writers. This is a rare and wondrous place."
- Lia Purpura, Guggenheim Fellow, author of On Looking and Rough Likeness

"I had no idea a writing program like this existed. Susquehanna's students are every bit as dedicated and intellectually sophisticated as any MFA student I've met. Nowhere have I encountered a faculty more passionate about student learning. But what I'll remember most about my astounding week at Susquehanna was the sense of community: generous, genuine, and exhilarating."
Ann Pancake, author of Strange As This Weather Has Been and Given Ground

"What Susquehanna offers its undergraduate writers rivals that of any established and exemplary MFA program. It's an amazing program in every way."
- Jill McCorkle, author of Creatures of Habit and The Cheer Leader

Home to Susquehanna University's nationally recognized writing program offering a major and minor in creative writing, the Writers Institute delivers an outstanding experience to its students. With accessible, expert faculty and the Visiting Writers Series, which brings acclaimed authors to campus to give readings and engage with students, the institute is the nucleus of a vibrant community of published writers.

The Writers Institute provides a hub for all things creative writing-related at Susquehanna University.  It facilitates the Raji-Syman Visiting Writers Series, which brings around six nationally known writers, editors, and/or literary agents a year to the area. The Institute funds and supports four major literary magazines on campus - Rivercraft, Essay, the Susquehanna Review, and Apprentice Writer - as well several smaller journals and the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors.

The Writers Institute also organizes a senior reading and chapbook series to celebrate the accomplishments of creative writing majors.

Glen Retief, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing
Go Program: South Africa
Director, Writers Institute

Tom Bailey, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Professor of English

Gary W. Fincke, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Professor of English
Director, Writers Institute

Karla Anne Kelsey, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Associate Professor of Creative Writing

Catherine Zobal Dent, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Associate Professor of Creative Writing

Silas Dent Zobal, Ph.D.

Department: English & Creative Writing
Associate Professor of Creative Writing

Codie Nevil Sauers

Department: Provost
Academic Assistant- Writer's Institute

Creative Writing
Raji-Syman Visiting Writers Series

Internationally recognized writers visit Susquehanna University for free public readings.

Janet Weis Scholarships

Ten scholarships of up to $5,000 will be offered to first-year creative writing majors based on the quality of their writing portfolios.

For High School Writers

Get information on completing your portfolio, our summer advanced writers workshops and The Apprentice Writer.

Student Publications

Essay Magazine

Our student-run creative nonfiction magazine annually showcases student memoirs, personal essays and literary journalism pieces.


An annual collection of student poetry, short stories and novellas put together by students.

The Susquehanna Review

Nationally distributed, student-run literary magazine featuring work from student writers across the country.


We started this national group of student editors and writers and it now has an annual conference hosted by member institutions and a caucus that meets at AWP each year.

The Apprentice Writer

A national literary journal for budding high school writers like you!

See what makes our creative writing major special

A comprehensive look at the Susquehanna University creative writing major and the Writers Institute.

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