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Creative Writing Frequently Asked Questions

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Applying to the Creative Writing Program

When will the application for Creative Writing be available?

The application is available here. Applications will be open until April 24, 2023 at 11:59pm.

Students must have taken English 206 and either 207 or 208 and be in their second year to apply. Students enrolled in 207 or 208 in spring quarter are eligible to apply so long as they are in the second year.

Is there a different application for the sequence-based minor or sequence only?

No.  The application is the same for all three designations. There is a field in the webform to state which program -- the major, the sequence-based minor, or sequence only -- you are applying for.

Can I apply for the Creative Writing Major if I am studying abroad during the application period?

Yes. If you are abroad, you may still fill out and submit an online application to the sequences by the deadline stated in CST.  Please contact Juan Martinez, our Director of Creative Writing, with any questions.

I want to apply to the Creative Writing program, but I also want to study abroad. Can I defer the sequence classes?

If you plan to study abroad, you will wait to apply until the spring before the year when you would enroll in the sequence courses.  For example, if you plan to go abroad during your junior year, you will wait until the spring of your junior year to apply to the program.

I'm a first year student and I couldn't get into English 206. Will I be behind next year if I want to apply to the Creative Writing program?

No. Most students fit both of the pre-requisites for applying into their sophomore year.  The recommended schedule for the sophomore year is to take English 206 in the fall quarter, English 207 or 208 in the winter quarter, then apply to the program in the spring.  Even if a student completes 206 and 207 or 208 in the first year, he or she must wait to spring of sophomore year to apply to the program. Students must be in their Sophomore or Junior year to apply to the sequences.

When can I declare a major or minor in Creative Writing?

You may declare the major or sequence-based minor only after applying and being accepted to the program.  Accepted students fill out their declaration forms during advising week in the spring quarter. (See also: When can I declare the Cross-Genre Minor)

I was accepted to the Creative Writing Major as a minor or sequence-only student. Now I want to change my status to major. How do I do this?

If you want to change from a writing minor or sequence only to major or vice versa, make an appointment with your writing faculty advisor.  If you do not have one, contact Juan Martinez, our Director of Creative Writing.

Required Courses

Can I take 206, 207, and/or 208 through the School for Professional Studies?

No.  English 206, 207, and 208 must be taken through the WCAS English Department in order to count toward the Creative Writing major or minor.

Can I repeat writing courses for credit?

Yes. English 206, 207, 208 and 306, 307, 308, and 309 may be repeated up to twice for credit as long as the course content is different from what you have already taken.

I am a transfer student, and I took a course similar to English 206 at another university. Do I have to take it at Northwestern?

Yes. All prerequisite courses for the creative writing program must be taken at Northwestern.  English 206, 207, and 208 are specifically tailored to prepare students for the year-long sequence courses and the rest of the program requirements.  Transfer credits for similar courses will not count toward the English Major or Minors in Creative Writing.

English 392, which is required for writing majors, is not being offered this year. How can I fulfill this requirement?

If English 392 is not going to be offered, the writing faculty will decide on a list of acceptable substitute courses in the spring quarter during advising week.  If you need a list of these courses, contact the Director of Creative Writing.

Can I participate in one of the sequence courses and the honors program at the same time?

No. The year-long sequences are demanding, as is the two-quarter honors project.   It would not be productive for a student to take them simultaneously, as the program is designed for students to focus on one major writing project at a time.

Cross-Genre Minor

What is the Cross-Genre Minor in Creative Writing? How is it different from the sequence track minor in writing?

The Cross-Genre Minor is the latest addition to the Creative Writing curriculum.  It is a non-application-based option for students who would like advanced workshops and a latitude of choice in exploring other art forms.  The Cross-Genre Minor provides practice in more than one genre of writing at the advanced level.  The sequence-based minor in writing provides an apprenticeship in one genre of writing, and admittance is through the same application process as the writing major.

Is there an application for the Cross-Genre Minor?

No. The Cross-genre minor is not competitive, though there are some pre-requisites to declaring. See next question.

When can I declare the Cross-Genre Minor?

You may declare the cross-genre minor after you have taken two prerequisites (English 206 and English 207 or 208), and one "core" course in the minor (English 306, 307, 308, or 309).  See the requirements for the Cross-Genre Minor.

The Weinberg Dean's Office has created electronic major and minor declaration forms, available hereOnce you have completed the form, e-mail it to Juan Martinez, our Director of Creative Writing.  Once signed by the Director, they will then submit the completed declaration form to the WCAS Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Other Questions

Can I double major in English Creative Writing and English Literature? Can I Major in English Literature and minor in Creative Writing, or vice versa?

No. There are too many overlapping courses to be able to double major or major and minor within the same department.  There are some concessions in both majors, though, regarding the prerequisites. 

If you have taken two of the introductory courses for the major or minor in English Literature (English 210-1, 2 or English 270-1,2) you may count that as one 300-level literature course toward the English Major in Creative Writing. 

English 300 is also a requirement for the English Literature major and counts as one of the 300-level literature courses toward the English Major in Creative Writing.

If you have taken some prerequisite classes toward the English Major in Creative Writing (English 206, 207 or 208), you may use one of these toward the requirements for the English major in Literature, with advisor approval.

Where can I get more information about the Creative Writing program?

Nearly all of the information about the Creative Writing program is on the Department of English website. 

We host an open house each year in April to introduce the writing faculty and answer any questions from interested students. 

There is also a Creative Writing Listserv, which you may sign up for in University Hall 215, to receive e-mails about specific writing events. 

If you have questions about the program, you may contact Juan Martinez, our Director of Creative Writing.

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