Creative Writing

As we are storytellers, the books we love and love to work with are stories, whether fact or fiction.

Our certificate program is intended to give those who have a story or stories to tell the knowledge base they will need as their work progresses from an idea through drafts to a finished manuscript and on to a book bought and appreciated by many.

The classes are created and taught as upper division/graduate level, with each credit requiring approximately 45 hours of dedicated participation.

The certificate requires a minimum of 12 credits.


Story Basics (Writing 501) :  3 credits

Story Basics asks students to read seminal books on creating stories and to submit assignments that relate to the texts as well as to a story or stories of their own. They are required to write and submit for critique around 7500 words of original fiction or dramatic non-fiction, and to revise following the critique. They will gain the skills and confidence to begin writing and revising stories. They will learn to describe the structure of dramatic stories, to summarize stories by giving the action-idea, to define the purposes and goals they intend for their writing to achieve, and to demonstrate in their writing the principles of clear, concise and compelling prose

Advanced Story Writing (Writing 511) or The Novel (Writing 512) : 3 credits per class

Advanced Story Writing requires that students refine both their craft and their attitudes toward their work. Reading assignments explore the structure of dramatic fiction and encourage students to find, refine, or expand their artistic vision. Writing assignments require them to examine what they discovered and to put their discoveries to use.  By the end of the course, students will express with clarity why they write and who their target audience is. They will also prove in both the final exam and through their stories that they have grasped the structure of dramatic fiction.  Prerequisite: Story Basics

The Novel is an in-depth study of the structural and other elements of novels of various types.  Required reading includes two novels and two critical works on the form. Required writing includes outlines, a synopsis, and 10,000 words of a novel’s beginning. Students gain the theoretical skills required to structure a compelling novel. They learn that different genres present different expectations and that a variety of different methods of structuring the novel can be equally viable. Through the structural analysis of two novels by masters of the form, they learn to outline in at least two ways. They write the beginning of a novel using one of the outlines. Their grasp of the knowledge the course offers will be proven by exercises and their novel beginning. Prerequisite: Story Basics

Magazine Article Basics (Writing 504) or a class in a specific Genre: 3 credits

Article Basics introduces modern journalism. Students outline articles, interview sources and research background information. Required reading includes examples of both traditional news features and literary journalism. Required writing includes a journal of responses to the readings and assigned articles. By the end of the course, students will have at least one article suitable for sale to a magazine.

Our Genre (Writing 514) classes guide writers through an in-depth study and practice in the traditional elements and reader expectations of a particular genre, such as Memoir, The Thriller, Mystery, or Young Adult Fiction.

2017 Tuition for all classes above: $60 per credit

Independent Study in Writing: (Writing 568) 3-6 credits (depending upon the length and clarity of the manuscript submitted)

Independent Study allows students the opportunity to work under the supervision of an established writer while creating and revising the project they have been working toward during the previous classes.

2017 Tuition for Independent Study in Writing: $100 per credit.

Tuition for independent study is higher than tuition for other classes to allow for the professor’s compensation for time spent in critiques and/or edits.