Semester by the Sea: Southampton Arts
The curriculum is designed to prepare and complete hands-on projects, each of which presents a rich complex of learning opportunities, not only for those in the arts, but in the humanities, the sciences — in any field where creativity and team work are key. Semesters are innovatively structured, with intensive courses sequenced as each project requires, rather than all courses running in parallel at fixed times from the semester’s first week to the end. As each new segment of course work begins, participants shift into new teams to better achieve the needs of the projects at that stage of development.
For example, creative writers take separate poetry or fiction workshops during the first weeks, when they are generating the material for their books, but come together toward the later weeks in publishing labs oriented toward print and online techniques. Filmmakers and playwrights take writing workshops separately, but lighting and some directing labs together. Actors attend the writing workshops, but as a practicum—akin to a lab session—attached to their acting workshop. Students in all areas come together for lecture courses in literature, film/theater history, and production design.
Furthermore, by providing courses that satisfy the general education requirements at many institutions, the Semester By The Sea provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates in any major to take a cohesive approach to fulfilling their distribution requirements in the humanities and fine arts.
For Stony Brook students, Semester by the Sea is not only a themed path through many of the D.E.C. requirements, it's also the heart of the Creative Writing minor. Stony Brook students who enroll in it need only two other courses to complete this 21-credit minor. The remaining requirements are CWL 202-D, Introduction to Creative Writing, which is offered as a stand-alone course in the spring term, and one advanced writing workshop course. Stony Brook's graduate program in Creative Writing leading to an MFA offers a remarkable range of 3-credit workshops open to advanced undergraduates during the winter term at such exotic locations as Italy and Kenya, or during its renowned summer term in Southampton.
Students interested in the minor should know that Semester by the Sea is the only way to complete the final project course, so start planning for taking a term "abroad." Students should try to take the prerequisite CWL 202-D "Introduction to Creative Writing" prior to enrolling in the Semester by the Sea. The remaining requirement, a writing workshop, may be taken, also as a stand-alone course, after completing Semester by the Sea.
Creative writers who already have an undergraduate degree can still participate in Semester by the Sea, as non-matriculated students. This is an appealing and cost-effective way to show a prospective employer in advertising, marketing or the arts some tangible evidence of communication skills and creativity. Other non-matrics may want to bolster their portfolio before applying to MFA programs. Still others may be seeking that calling card, in the form of a short film or manuscript, to open doors in the film, theater or publishing world.
Post-baccalaureates should apply to the program as a visiting student. They will be awarded the 15 credits to do with as they will. There is no non-credit option for this program, nor can post-bacs opt out of any of the 5 courses. For an a la carte menu of creative writing workshops, see the MFA in Creative Writing program, which also accepts non-matriculated students.
About Stony Brook Southampton
The Semester By The Sea program is a component of Southampton Arts, a graduate campus offering MFAs in Creative Writing & Literature, and in Theater & Film. It boasts a world-class faculty drawn from the culturally rich environs of the Hamptons and Manhattan.