Creative Writing Major (CWRIT)

Program Chair:
George Looney


One of the few such programs in the country, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Penn State Erie is an intensive and exhaustive course of study in the fine art of writing. The curriculum includes basic craft courses in poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction, and a series of graduated genre workshops that provide intensive and personal attention to the student's own writing. There are also a series of courses in criticism and theory, and a sequence of literature courses designed to familiarize the student with the significant work in all three genres from both the modern and postmodern eras. This course work is supported by an established reading series which brings writers of national stature to campus to read from their works and talk with students. In addition, the student has the opportunity to serve on the editorial staff of the international literary journal (and get course credit for doing so), Lake Effect, an opportunity which provides invaluable experience that adds to the student's familiarity with the work of contemporary writers.

The B.F.A. major culminates in a senior thesis, a two-semester project to produce a coherent collection of the student's creative writing, including a substantive critical preface. This is produced through close interaction with a mentoring professor. The thesis process concludes with the student's thesis defense.

Although the B.F.A. in Creative Writing at Penn State Erie is a new program, the creative writing program has already distinguished itself by placing alumni in some of the finest M.F.A. programs in the country, such as University of Utah, Bowling Green State University, Western Michigan University, Eastern Washington University, University of Minnesota, The Ohio State University, and the University of Southern California's Professional Writing Program. And our alumni have won regional and state-wide awards and been finalists for national awards such as the Ruth Lily Fellowship from Poetry, "and have started publishing their work while still undergraduates in such journals as The Literary Review, Epoch, 3 AM, and Poetry East."

Due not only to the rigorous curriculum but also to the opportunity the student in the B.F.A. program at Penn State Erie has to participate as an editor or on the editorial staff of Lake Effect, a international literary journal published at Penn State Erie, the student who graduates with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Penn State Erie is well equipped, and has the experience, to be competitive for a variety of positions in publishing, as well as editorial positions with institutions and companies across the country.

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Updated February 11, 2008
© 2005 The Pennsylvania State University