Major Overview

We invite you to join an international community of authors, publishers, artists, translators, and critics, as you bring your writing into dialogue with other forms of art and media. Our program encourages you to deepen the quality of your writing by exploring multiple genres and to appreciate the nuances of language and culture through literary translation. As you create connections between your academic study and your creative production, you will gain an extensive knowledge of literature in its historical and geographical contexts. This insight will come coupled with well-informed attention to linguistic and cultural diversity and close analysis of the details of literary production, which will prove crucial to improving your writing as well as your workshop discussion.  


The educational goals for this major are as follows:

  • You will demonstrate knowledge of the history of literary forms, and of the techniques involved in the creation of contemporary literary works and works from earlier periods, across several genres and in more than one culture.
  • You will analyze literary works, reflect on their qualities, and show awareness of appropriate methods in literary criticism.
  • You will create literary works in one chosen genre which are complete, carefully edited, and which show awareness of the conventions of the genre.
  • You will demonstrate advanced capacities in the use of the English language as a creative and communicative tool, and basic capacities in your understanding of the relation between English and French, and show awareness of the challenges involved in translation.

Learning Environment

Your classes will be taught by literary and artistic practitioners. Here, you will produce original work, develop creative and professional skills, and acquire the capacity to reflect upon, analyze, and evaluate your work. You will take part in advanced workshops, while enjoying individual mentorship from your advisor and other faculty. You will develop and articulate a personal focus for your reading and your creative production, culminating in a portfolio that combines academic and creative work, along with a senior project in the final year.

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision.

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Each elective provides you with entry to a variety of subject areas which you can choose among to further focus your studies. With the help of your academic advisor, you’ll be able to tailor your major so that it most effectively prepares you for the next step in your academic and professional journey.

See all Major Electives



You have the option to focus your Creative Writing major in the Creative Arts specialization. While reinforcing your writing skills and your knowledge of literature, you will also create meaningful connections between your work and other art forms of your choosing. Learn the basics of video production, find out how to write fiction for television, develop your drawing skills, start acting in French, and so much more, all while figuring out how these and other artistic pursuits can feed into how and what you write, no matter the genre.

See Creative Arts Specialization Requirements

Core Courses

The Creative Writing core courses, which you must take as part of the major requirements, will provide you with the tools you’ll need to ground your present and future studies. Your introduction to the history of world literature and to the fundamentals of Creative Writing will help pave the way for your successful completion of other Creative Writing courses. When you have acquired specialized skills in your elective courses, you develop them in the core Advanced Creative Writing Projects course, which serves as a capstone to the major and a gateway to the Honors Thesis.

CL1025 The World, The Text, And The Critic I

Considers closely three moments when the practice of writing changed radically in response to historical and cultural processes, from Ancient Greece to 1800 (specific contents change each year). Investigates the forces that inform creative imagination and cultural production. Places those moments and those forces within a geographical and historical map of literary production, and introduces the tools of literary analysis.


CL1050 The World, The Text, And The Critic II

This team-taught course opens up a historical panorama of European literature stretching from the 18th to the 21st century. It does not pretend to provide a survey of this period but rather showcases a selection of significant moments and locations when literary genres changed or new genres appeared. The idea is to open as many doors as possible onto the rich complexity of comparative literary history. In order to help students orient themselves within various histories of generic mutations and emergences, the professors have put together a vocabulary of key literary critical terms in the fields of narrative structure, style, and rhetoric.


CL2100 Introduction To Creative Writing: A Cross-genre Workshop

In this course, students practice writing fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry while exploring the boundaries between genres. The workshop format includes guided peer critique of sketches, poems, and full-length works presented in class and discussion and analysis of literary models. In Fall, students concentrate on writing techniques. In Spring, the workshop is theme-driven. May be taken twice for credit.


CL2094 French Fiction Now: Traduire Le Roman Francais Contemp.

Ce cours introduira les étudiants aux techniques et aux problématiques de la traduction littéraire par le cas particulier des traductions en anglais de romans contemporains écrits en français. La traduction sera discutée comme un transfert culturel : en observant comment des écrivains représentatifs (Houellebecq, Djebar, Gavalda…) ont été reçus aux USA, et en GB, et en faisant le commentaire de trois traductions récentes. L’essentiel du cours sera consacré à l’expérience collective et individuelle de la traduction d’un livre non encore traduit.


CL3400 Literary Translation And Creative Writing

This workshop offers an introduction to literary and cultural translation between French and English. Students encounter, through practical exercises, key differences between French and English linguistic and cultural forms, and find ways to resolve and explore these differences in their literary translation and in their creative writing. Practice in translation is supplemented by reflection on translation.


CL4000 Advanced Creative Writing Projects

Have you yearned to start a novel, a collection of related short stories or narrative essays, a memoir, or a series of poems? This cross-genre, seminar-style course is designed for students who want to pursue larger, more advanced creative writing projects. Students will submit project proposals for discussion and approval, and then present significant installments of writing at regular intervals during the semester. Revisions will be required along with student-professor individual conferences. Readings will be used as guiding examples, and required reaction papers will be tailored to individual projects. May be taken twice for credit.


CL4075 Portfolio

Under the supervision of the major advisor, students prepare a portfolio of at least 5 essays from their major courses, along with relevant work in other courses, and identify, evaluate and justify the personal focus of their work in an introductory essay. Examined orally by a panel of faculty.