Undergraduate Bulletin

Fall 2019 Bulletin

Requirements for the Major and Minor in Creative Writing (CWL) 

Notes regarding the Major in Creative Writing: 

  • Current Stony Brook students may declare the major as early as spring 2019.
  • New transfer students who wish to declare the major should speak with the program director after they arrive at Stony Brook regarding options to declare the major. 
  • Freshmen may apply for entry on their application for admission beginning in fall 2020.

Admission to the Major 

Students who would like to major in Creative Writing apply to the program with a portfolio that includes a statement of purpose and ten to 15 pages of creative writing in any genre or genres. Those applying to Stony Brook may apply for admission to Creative Writing at the same time and will be prompted to submit their portfolios. Those who are already Stony Brook students, or have been admitted as transfer students to Stony Brook from another institution, should apply with the supplemental materials to the Program Director. Current students are advised to apply to the major after they have successfully completed CWL 190 and CWL 202 or the equivalent. See department website for a more detailed description of the application process and portfolio. 

Requirements for the Major in Creative Writing 

The major in Creative Writing leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Students must earn a C or better in all courses toward the major, and a B or better in CWL 250, a course for majors only. At the end of their second year, majors choose a genre in which to specialize: fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction. In either spring of their 3rd year or fall of their 4th, majors take their capstone cluster of courses, which may be offered as a one-semester residency in Southampton. 

Completion of the major requires at least 60 credits.  

Study within the Area 

A. Introductory courses required of all majors (9 credits)

  • CWL 190 Introduction to Contemporary Literature
  • CWL 202 Introduction to Creative Writing: Writing Everything
  • CWL 250 Join the Conversation 

B. Ten writing workshops (30-31 credits)

Students may repeat courses for credit. Majors must take at least 3 workshops outside their declared genre.

  • CWL 300 Forms of Creative Non-Fiction
  • CWL 305 Forms of Fiction
  • CWL 310 Forms of Poetry
  • CWL 315 Forms of Scriptwriting
  • CWL 320 Forms of Interdisciplinary Arts
  • CWL 325 Forms of Science Writing
  • CWL 510, 520, 530, 540, 550 Forms of Fiction, Poetry, Scriptwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Professional and Scientific Writing (MFA faculty). By special permission, majors may take a graduate writing workshop, or may count credits earned in EGL 285, EGL 286, FLM 101, THR 325, or THR 326 toward this requirement. Note that a maximum of 6 graduate credits may be applied toward the undergraduate degree.

C. Two literature courses for writers (6 credits)

Students may repeat these courses for credit as the topics change.

  • CWL 330 Topics in European Literature for Writers
  • CWL 335 Topics in American Literature for Writers
  • CWL 340 Topics in World Literature for Writers

Students may count credits earned in AFH 205, 329, 330, 368 and 382, AAS 321 and 322, EGL 224, HUF 318, HUS 271, UST 382 toward this requirement.  Students may also petition to substitute any other relevant courses from other departments. 

D. Four “Capstone Cluster” courses (15 credits)

These courses may be offered as a cluster in Southampton, to be taken during the spring of Y3 or fall of Y4.

E. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

The upper-division writing requirement is satisfied by satisfactory completion of CWL 300, 305, 310, 315, 320, or 325 with a grade of C or better. These courses satisfy Requirement B for the major, ten required writing workshops.

Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.  

Requirements for the Minor in Creative Writing 

Students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses toward the minor. Completion of the minor in creative writing and literature requires 21 credits. Students should declare the Creative Writing and Literature minor no later than the middle of their sophomore year, at which time they should consult with the directors of both their major and minor to plan their course of study. The objective is to fulfill both sets of requirements in a coherent and complementary way. 

When it is offered, students may take up to five creative writing courses in a single semester through a Semester by the Sea residency at the Southampton campus. CWL 450, the capstone project, is offered only in the Semester by the Sea format. Students completing coursework on main campus should plan to take an extra writing workshop instead. 

A. Introductory Courses required of all minors (6 credits)

  • CWL 190 Introduction to Contemporary Literature
  • CWL 202 Introduction to Creative Writing: Writing Everything 

B. Three writing workshops chosen from the following (9 credits)

Students may repeat a workshop as the topic changes.

  • CWL 300 Forms of Creative Non-Fiction
  • CWL 305 Forms of Fiction
  • CWL 310 Forms of Poetry
  • CWL 315 Forms of Scriptwriting
  • CWL 320 Forms of Interdisciplinary Arts
  • CWL 325 Forms of Science Writing
  • CWL 510, 520, 530, 540, 550 Forms of Fiction, Poetry, Scriptwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Professional and Scientific Writing (MFA faculty). By special permission, exceptional undergraduates may earn entry into the graduate writing program's workshops. 

C. One literature course for writers chosen from the following (3 credits)

  • CWL 330 Topics in European Literature for Writers
  • CWL 335 Topics in American Literature for Writers
  • CWL 340 Topics in World Literature for Writers 

D. Senior Project or one Additional Writing Workshop at the 300 or graduate level (3 credits)*

  • CWL 450 Senior Project
  • CWL 300, 305, 310, 315, 320, 325 or graduate-level CWL 510, 520, 530, 540, 550

*Note: Workshop courses taken to satisfy requirement B may not be used to also satisfy requirement D.