Creative Writing Frequently Asked Questions

1. When will the application for Creative Writing be available?
The application will be available at the beginning of spring quarter.  Copies of the application are available on the English Dept. website and in the main English office, University Hall 215.
2. Is there a different application for the sequence-based minor or sequence only?
No.  The application is the same for all three designations, there is an area on the coversheet to state which program -- the major, the sequence-based minor, or sequence only -- you are applying for.
3. When can I declare a major or minor in Creative Writing?
You may declare the major or sequence-based minor only after applying and being accepted to the program.  Accepted students fill out their declaration forms during advising week in the spring quarter. (See also question 5)
4. What is the Cross-Genre Minor in Creative Writing? How is it different from the sequence track minor in writing?
The Cross-Genre Minor is a new addition to the Creative Writing curriculum.  It is a non-application-based option for students who would like advanced workshops and a latitude of choice in exploring other art forms.  The Cross-Genre Minor combines courses from the Department of English and the Center for Writing Arts in order to provide practice in more than one genre of writing.  The sequence-based minor in writing provides an apprenticeship in one genre of writing, and admittance is through the same application process as the writing major. (See questions 2 and 3 above).
5. When can I declare the Cross-Genre Minor?
You may declare the cross-genre minor with a creative writing advisor after you have taken two prerequisites (English 206 and English 207 or 208), and one "core" course in the minor (English 306, 307, 308 or CWA 301, 302, 303).  See the requirements for the Cross-Genre Minor.
6. Can I take 206, 207, and/or 208 through the School for Professional Studies?
No.  206, 207, and 208 must be taken through the WCAS English Department in order to count toward the Creative Writing major or minor.
7. Can I repeat writing courses for credit?

Yes. English 206, 207, 208 and 306, 307, 308 may be repeated twice for credit as long as the course content is different from what you have already taken.

8. I am a transfer student, and I took a course similar to English 206 at another university. Do I have to take it at Northwestern?

Yes. All prerequisite courses for the creative writing program must be taken at Northwestern.  English 206, 207, and 208 are specifically tailored to prepare students for the year-long sequence courses and the rest of the program requirements.  Transfer credits for similar courses will not count toward the English Major or Minors in Creative Writing.

9. Can I take English 207 or 208 without taking the pre-requisite 206?

English Literature majors may take 207 or 208 without having taken 206 in their senior year ONLY.  Permission numbers will be given to interested seniors after all potential majors and minors (juniors and sophomores) have had the chance to register. 

All other SENIORS may take 207 or 208 without having taken 206 ONLY during their last quarter on campus or during add/drop week when no underclassmen are waitlisted.

10. Can I apply for the Creative Writing Major if I am studying abroad during the application period?

Yes.  If you are abroad, you can obtain the application coversheet online when it becomes available, and send your application via e-mail by the deadline to the Creative Writing Program Assistant.

11. I want to apply to the Creative Writing program, but I also want to study abroad. Can I defer the sequence classes?

If you plan to study abroad, you will wait to apply until the spring before the year when you would enroll in the sequence courses.  For example, if you plan to go abroad during your junior year, you will wait until the spring of your junior year to apply to the program.

12. I'm a freshman and I couldn't get into English 206 in Spring Quarter. Will I be behind next year if I want to apply to the Creative Writing program?

No.  Most students fit both of the pre-requisites for applying into their sophomore year.  The recommended schedule for the sophomore year is to take English 206 in the fall quarter, English 207 or 208 in the winter quarter, then apply to the program in the spring.

13. English 392, which is required for writing majors, is not being offered this year. How can I fulfill this requirement?

If English 392 is not going to be offered, the writing faculty will decide on a list of acceptable substitute courses in the spring quarter during advising week.  If you need a list of these courses, contact the Creative Writing Program Assistant.

14. Can I participate in one of the sequence courses and the honors program at the same time?

No.  The year-long sequences are demanding, as is the two-quarter honors project.   It would not be productive for a student to take them simultaneously, as the program is designed for students to focus on one major writing project at a time.

15. I was accepted to the Creative Writing Major as a minor or sequence-only student. Now I want to change my status to major. How do I do this?

If you want to change from a writing minor or sequence only to major or vice versa, make an appointment with your writing faculty advisor.  If you do not have one, contact the Creative Writing Program Assistant.

16. Can I double major in English Creative Writing and English Literature? Can I Major in English Literature and minor in Creative Writing, or vice versa?

No. There are too many overlapping courses to be able to double major or major and minor within the same department.  There are some concessions in both majors, though, regarding the prerequisites. 

If you have taken one of the introductory sequences for the major or minor in English Literature (English 210-1, 2 or English 270-1,2) you may count that as one 300-level literature course toward the English major in Writing. 

If you have taken some prerequisite classes toward the English major in Writing (English 206, 207 or 208), you may use one of these toward the requirements for the English major in Literature, with advisor approval.

17. Where can I get more information about the Creative Writing program?

Nearly all of the information about the Creative Writing program is on the Department of English website, including the yearly brochure. 

We host two open houses each year (one in November and one in April) to introduce the writing faculty and answer any questions from interested students. 

There is also a Creative Writing Listserv, which you may sign up for in University Hall 215, to receive e-mails about specific writing events. 

If you have questions about the program, you may contact the Creative Writing Program Assistant.