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Writers Institute faculty will help you unleash your creative potential

Susquehanna has one of the nation’s most rigorous and successful creative writing majors.

Independent reviewers admire us for our thoroughness, challenge, and substance:

  • Professional, published authors critique your work from Day One.
  • Courses in poetry, creative non-fiction, and fiction at the Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced levels.
  • Literature courses shaped to teach writers how to read for craft and technique.
  • We support around seven literary magazines a year, entirely run by undergraduates.
  • One in twelve students at Susquehanna is a creative writing major. So we have creative writing housing, poetry slams, late-night literary gatherings. Our alumni network includes hundreds of trained writers.

Submit your creative writing application portfolio

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 in a studio environment.

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
  • Edit, lay out, plan launch parties for, and manage the budgets of our literary magazines
  • Join FUSE, a national network for student editors and writers founded by the Writers Institute
  • Win literary prizes
  • Work on a novel, memoir, or collection of short stories or poems

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.

Recent graduates have enrolled in programs at:

McNeese State MFA in Creative Writing
California Institute of the Arts MFA in Poetry
Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Writing and Literature
Emerson College MA in Writing and Publishing
University of San Francisco MFA in Poetry
University of New Hampshire MFA in Fiction
University of Central Florida
Arizona State University MFA in Fiction
Boston Language Institute (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
University of Memphis MFA in Fiction

University of Montana MFA
Portland State MFA
Rhode Island University Ph.D.
University of Houston MFA
Columbia Publishing

Yale Divinity School
University of Houston MFA
University of Maryland MFA
George Mason MFA Rosemont MA
Florida State MFA
Sarah Lawrence MFA
Emerson MFA

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-Marvel Comics; 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)
Legal editor-Agora,Inc.
Ministry-Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ; Mahatma Gandhi Center at JMU
Professor-Mississippi State University; University of Indianapolis 
Social Media/Publicity-Penguin Young Readers
Student Life Staff-Ursinus College; 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

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

Hasanthika Sirisena

Department: English & Creative Writing
Visiting Assistant Professor English

Raji-Syman Visiting Writers Series

Internationally recognized writers visit Susquehanna University for free public readings.

For High School Writers

Learn more about events for high school writers, as well as our creative writing scholarships.

Alumni Awards & Publications

A selection of awards and publications from our Writers Institute alumni.

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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!

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Writers Institute

514 University Ave.
Selinsgrove, Pa. 17870

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