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Creative Writing FAQs

1. Who can take a creative writing workshop?

Any Montclair State University undergraduate student may enroll in a workshop; however, students may take a 300-level workshop only after completing a 200-level workshop in that genre, and a 400-level workshop only after completing a 300-level workshop in that genre. Note: exceptions may be made based on workshops taken elsewhere.

2. What’s the difference between the creative writing concentration and the creative writing minor?

The concentration in creative writing is for English majors only and consists of any four creative writing workshops, for a total of 12 credits. All the workshops in the concentration count towards the English major.

The creative writing minor is open to all university undergraduates. It consists of six courses for a total of 18 credits, including a three-part sequence of beginning, intermediate, and advanced single-genre workshops in either poetry or fiction. Two elective creative writing workshops, in any genre and at any level, are required in addition to the sequence track. Creative writing minors must also take a literature course in their chosen genre. If the student is an English major, up to two workshops may count toward English major requirements. See the creative writing minor curriculum guide for more details.

3. How do I enroll in the creative writing concentration or minor?

Fill out a concentration or minor declaration form, downloadable from the Office of the Registrar’s website, get it signed by a departmental representative, and bring it to the English department office. .

4. What’s the difference between a 200-, 300-, and 400-level workshop?

As their titles indicate, workshops at the 200-level are starter classes, in which students learn the basics of the craft. The readings are usually linked to a textbook, and the writing is often based on prompts or other specific assignments. As writing-intensive courses, they require a minimum of 20 pages from each student over the course of the semester.

300-level workshops are intermediate classes, in which students build upon the basics learned at the beginning level. The craft lessons, readings, and writing projects are longer and more complicated. These intermediate-level workshops require a minimum of 30 pages from each student over the course of the semester.

400-level workshops are advanced classes, where students hone their craft and may start submitting their work for publication. Instructors for these workshops teach sophisticated techniques, and the level of classroom analysis reflects that focus. The readings often reflect an awareness of how style changes over the eras. Though a minimum of 40 pages is required from each student by the end of the semester, the students choose what to write on within the genre of the workshop. An advanced workshop also culminates in a capstone project such as a chapbook of poems or a substantial piece of fiction.

We usually have sufficient enrollment to offer the 400-level fiction and poetry workshops only once every spring semester.  Please plan ahead.

5. What genres do you offer in the creative writing workshops?

We offer poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and memoir on a fairly regular basis. We cross-list playwriting and screenwriting through the School of the Arts. We’ve also offered a workshop in children’s books and are considering sections devoted specifically to Young Adult fiction and graphic fiction.

6. How do I enroll in the creative writing concentration?

Students must apply using the major-minor drop-add form, writing in “concentration” instead of “minor.”

7. If I’ve already taken a creative workshop at the college level, may I bring that in as transfer credit?

Usually yes, upon consultation with your advisor, with a credit-adjustment form. You may also use previous workshop experience to enroll directly into an intermediate workshop, with the permission of the instructor.

8. Does a journalism course count?

No, and the same is true for most communications courses.

9. Why can’t I take the advanced workshop I need this semester?

We usually have sufficient enrollment to offer the 400-level fiction and poetry workshops only once every spring semester. If we get more minors, we can offer more sections. Meanwhile, please plan accordingly. Bear in mind that the minor includes a beginning, intermediate, and advanced workshop in the genre you’ve chosen, and that sequence takes at least three semesters to complete. You also need two workshops in other genres.