Creative Writing


Two programs within the umbrella of the Department of English focus on particular aspects or genres of literary endeavor.

Creative Writing

The purpose of the Creative Writing program is to give students a rigorous background in the fundamentals of creative work by providing them with the opportunity to study with established poets and prose writers. The program is committed to interdisciplinary work while also teaching the elements of creative writing that underlie all genres. Creative Writing sponsors events, workshops, and lectures and also schedules many undergraduate and graduate classes in writing. Visiting writers each quarter provide a dynamic component to the curriculum, with authors ranging from George Saunders to Susan Howe. English faculty member John Wilkinson is currently the Director of the Program in Creative Writing and the Program in Poetry & Poetics, and several English faculty members, including Rachel Cohen, Edgar Garcia, Srikanth Reddy, Jennifer Scappettone, and Vu Tran, regularly teach both creative and critical classes.

Minor in English and Creative Writing

Undergraduate students who are not majoring in English may enter a minor program in English and Creative Writing. These students should declare their intention to enter the minor program by the end of Spring Quarter of their third year. Students choose courses in consultation with the Program Manager in Creative Writing and must submit a minor program consent form to their College Adviser in order to declare the minor. Students completing this minor must follow all relevant admission procedures described in the Creative Writing website.

Courses in the minor may not be double counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors and may not be counted toward general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality letter grades, and all of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Requirements for the minor program:

  • 2 Creative Writing courses (at least one at the Special Topics or advanced level)
  • 3 Creative Writing or English electives
  • 1 portfolio/projects workshop (or advanced workshop depending on genre) to be taken in the Winter Quarter of the students' fourth year
  • A portfolio of the student's work to be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the end of the fifth week in the quarter in which the student plans to graduate. The portfolio might consist of a selection of poems, one or two short stories or chapters from a novel, a substantial part or the whole of a play, two or three non-fiction pieces, and so forth.

Poetry and Poetics

This program aims to coordinate the University's various curricular approaches to the creative and critical practice of poetics. The Program supports the History and Forms of Lyric series, an ongoing series of lectures by prominent scholars, and a graduate workshop that focuses on work in progressfrom students, faculty, and visitors. The discussions enabled by the Program are intended to help students at all levels to pursue work that crosses disciplines and discourses. The Program also supports collaboration among faculty members in the form, forexample, of team-taught courses, conferences, and lectures. The Program is overseen by an ad-hoc committee of faculty from various departments, including the Department of English.

Affiliated Departments

The University of Chicago in general, and the Department of English in particular, are known for the interdisciplinary and theoretically driven work of their faculty and students. Many English faculty members have joint appointment in other programs at the University, including Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media Studies, Art History, Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS), and the Divinity School, among others. Interdisciplinary work is encouraged in the Department of English--both graduate and undergraduate students take classes in a variety of University departments and programs. Students in these programs, in turn, enliven English classes with their perspectives. Listed below are links to some of the departments with which the Department of English works closely.