Objectives and Outcomes

Objectives and Outcomes

Creative Writing

Program Learning Objectives, Outcomes, and Assessment Measures


  • To produce graduates familiar with representative literary texts from a significant number of historical, geographical, and cultural contexts, with particular focus on the Modern and contemporary periods.
  • To produce graduates able to apply their knowledge and understanding of critical, theoretical, and technical traditions to the production of original literary works.
  • To produce graduates familiar with the contemporary literary publishing milieu.
  • To produce graduates able to effectively communicate what it is they, as writers, do, and to effectively present literary works, their own as well as the works of others.


  • Graduates will have the ability to apply critical and theoretical approaches to the reading and analysis of literary texts in multiple genres.
  • Graduates will be able to identify, analyze, interpret and describe the critical ideas, values, and themes that appear in literary texts and to understand the ways these ideas, values, and themes inform and impact cultures and societies, both in the past and the present.
  • Graduates will produce stories or poems or literary nonfiction pieces that are original yet engage in an effective and rewarding conversation with the traditions of literature.
  • Graduates will be able to articulate an awareness of the relationship between their individual works and the tradition.
  • Graduates will be able to judge whether a journal or press is an appropriate venue for their literary works.
  • Graduates will be able to analyze and critique the quality of literary journals and presses, as well as the work of particular writers.
  • Graduates will be able to produce cogent written and/or oral arguments to defend and explain the value of literature to a general population, to be, in other words, public ambassadors for the literary arts.
  • Graduates will be able to present their own literary works—and the works of others—orally in a public forum with the ability to bring the written word to life for an audience.

Assessment Measures

  • The required senior thesis, which is a book-length collection of the student’s creative work accompanied by a critical preface, is the best mechanism for assessing the success of our courses in achieving our objectives and outcomes. The project requires the ability to write creatively, of course, but it also assesses the students’ abilities to write and speak critically about their own creative work and the work of other writers. The project consists of five elements: the critical preface, the creative body of work, the scholarly bibliography, the oral defense, and a public reading.
  • The success of our program can be assessed by how many graduates attend M.F.A. programs, where they publish their writing, and what role their writing skills play in the jobs they take.