The options open to the English major represent a broad spectrum of possibilities. This includes the opportunity for students who love to put pen to paper, creating poems, short stories and novels. Many colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree track in creative writing for these wordsmiths, allowing them to hone their writing skills throughout the four years of their degree programs.
Choosing a Concentration
A concentration within a degree represents an emphasis, either in a specific subject related to the major or in a skill set. The English major has the option of concentrating on different areas such as literature, technical writing, linguistics, language and rhetoric or creative writing, depending on that student's career and personal goals. The creative writing track prepares students for jobs as freelance writers, editors, journalists, or public relations or advertising specialists.
Creative Writing Concentration Criteria
The student choosing this concentration must meet criteria to fulfill the degree requirements. For example, creative writing students will take some literature or linguistic classes. The creative writing major then takes some specific required writing classes, typically within each category of writing, such as poetry, non-fiction, technical writing and fiction writing. After that, the student moves on to writing electives that speak to her writing interest. For example, an aspiring novelist will take several fiction writing classes beyond the required ones for the major.
Not all bachelor's degree programs that offer a concentration in English adhere to the same structure. While many require that a student turn in a portfolio of all her work at the end of her studies, some programs require the students to turn in a longer work such as a novella or a compilation of poems or short stories. A student in the former type of creative writing concentration keeps her best assignments throughout the course of her education and turns in a portfolio of work that represents the duration of her degree. Creative writing majors in the second type of program must write a new work. Additionally, some universities require a combination of these two types of portfolios.
The Internet has changed the way people consume media, and this change affects writers. Some university programs, such as Florida's Full Sail University's creative writing program, have added courses in transmedia writing. These courses teach students to write across platforms, meaning that their coursework might require them to write an article for the Web, a related script for an online video and a video game script. These classes help the aspiring creative writer address the changing landscape of writing.
- University of California Irvine: The Writing Emphasis
- Full Sail University: Creative Writing -- Transmedia Writing
- Weber State University: English Major with a Creative Writing Emphasis
- Boise State University: English Department -- Bachelor's Degrees
- University of Michigan: Undergraduate Creative Writing Program
- University of Maine, Farmington: What Can You do with a Degree in Creative Writing?
Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.