Required: 15 credit hours

Students will take courses in 2 genres—poetry and fiction— and will be required to have an intro/intermediate sequence in one of those genres (e.g., ENGL 213 and ENGL 303, in the case of a fiction sequence; or ENGL 214 and 304, in the case of a poetry sequence). Students are encouraged to sample creative writing genres in ENGL 203 as a means of deciding whether to pursue a minor, and in what genre. ENGL 203 cannot count as part of a genre-specific sequence, but can count towards the 9 credits required in creative writing courses.


  • 15 credit hours
  • 9 credit hours in creative writing courses (at least 6 hours in one genre)
  • 6 credit hours in literature classes
  • A creative writing portfolio

For the literature requirement, a student should take two 300-level classes; at least one of these classes should match their dominant genre.

These courses may be in other disciplines if crosslisted with English (e.g., World Lit). Up to six credits may count toward either the English major or another minor (but not both).

(For a downloadable minor declaration form, go here.)

The Portfolio

We require the assembly of a creative writing portfolio as the cornerstone of a student’s academic and post-academic career. It would include

  • A selection of the student’s best creative work at CWRU. (Fiction: Two short stories or an excerpt from a novel that have been workshopped in class, between 20-30 pages. Poetry: 15-20 pages that have been workshopped in class.)
  • The critical introduction to the creative writing portfolio should be 8-10 pages (double-spaced) in length. It should introduce a reader to the work in the portfolio by framing its major aims, themes, technical strategies, and so on. The introduction is “critical” in the sense that it asks the writer to put her/his work in the context of other writers. The writer should cite 3-5 texts (craft essays, and/or works of fiction or poetry) that have had some bearing on her/his practice. These citations should be done in MLA style, with a corresponding Works Cited at the conclusion of the introduction.

The portfolio should be submitted electronically to both the student’s creative writing minor advisor and Susan Grimm ( in the department office one week before the last day of classes in the graduating semester.

Sample Genre Tracks

Poetry Track:

ENGL 214 (Intro to Poetry Writing)

ENGL 304 (Intermediate Writing Workshop: Poetry)

ENGL 312 (Chaucer)

ENGL 373 (Studies in Poetry)

Fiction Track:

ENGL 213 (Intro to Fiction Writing)

ENGL 303 (Intermediate Writing Workshop: Fiction)

ENGL 330 (Victorian Literature)

ENGL 372 (Studies in the Novel)