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English, Creative Writing Option (old requirements)

Note! If you declared your major after the spring of 2022, please consult the current requirements.

The undergraduate English major with emphasis in creative writing combines a range of workshops in verse, short story, novel, and creative non-fiction or expository writing with a broadly based, historically grounded introduction to the literature of Britain, the United States, and, increasingly, Anglophone literature from around the world.  Courses in language study examine the structural, historical, social, and aesthetic dimensions of English. Good writing, analytical ability, research skills, and a broadened perspective on the world are among the practical accomplishments majors can expect to acquire, all of which can be applied to a range of careers.

Admission to the Creative Writing Option

Applicants to the Creative Writing option must have already declared, or be eligible to declare, the English: Language and Literature major.

Applications for the Creative Writing option are accepted in autumn, winter, and spring quarters only, and should be submitted through this portal   by the third Friday of the quarter at 4:00pm. Applications to creative writing are not accepted in summer quarter.

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible to apply for the Creative Writing option, you must

  1. have already declared, or be ready to declare, the English major program;
  2. have completed ENGL 202,  283 (beginning verse writing) and ENGL 284 (beginning short story writing) or transfer equivalents.


Application Procedure:

1. Undergraduate Creative Writing Option Application (PDF)  

RIGHT-click the above link and save it as a PDF to your computer.  Fill out the form using Acrobat Reader.  Save your changes. 

Transcripts for all college work completed, both at the UW and elsewhere (these are additional sets of transcripts, separate from the transcripts you will have supplied as part of your application for the major):

  • Unofficial UW Transcript : Even if this is your first quarter after transferring to the UW, you should submit an unofficial UW transcript, available through the MyUW system;
  • Complete set of Unofficial transcripts from all schools from which you have transfer credit : We need the information contained in the complete transcript from each transfer school; the transfer summary on a UW unofficial transcript is not sufficient. Photocopies of transcripts are acceptable.

2. A Writing Sample of 3-5 poems and 5-10 pages of fiction (preferably a complete story), double spaced:

Admission decisions are based primarily on the potential a student exhibits in his or her writing sample - grades and GPAs are usually not at issue. Admission decisions are sent to applicants by e-mail, normally within two weeks of the application deadline.

Completion of the requirements above does not guarantee admission.

Students who are denied admission to the Creative Writing option will continue to be English majors, and may complete the requirements for the literature BA in English. They may apply for the Creative Writing option one additional time, but if they are denied admission then, they must complete the literature major or elect another major in another department.

Major Requirements, Creative Writing Option

Effective Autumn 2013 and later. For those accepted to the Creative Writing option in the English major in Autumn 2013 and later. If you declared the Creative Writing option in Spring 2013 or earlier, please see the older requirement sets.

A minimum of 60 credits in English

ENGL 202 [formerly ENGL 301] (Introduction to English Language and Literature) 
Grades of 2.0 or above required in both courses.
(ENGL 202 was formerly numbered ENGL 301, but the content remains the same. If you took ENGL 301 and 297, you can use these as prerequisites when you apply to the English major, and you can use them toward the major in place of the new course number, ENGL 202.) 202 will not count as a pre-1900 after Fall, 2018.

ENGL 283 (Beginning Verse Writing) and ENGL 284 (Beginning Short Story Writing): 10 credits.
Both courses (or transfer equivalents) must be completed for a student to be eligible to apply for admission to the Creative Writing option.

English Literature Core: 10 credits.
At least 5 credits from each of two categories. All courses must be taken at the 300 level or above. Note that all students must complete at least 15 credits in pre-1900 literature.*

English Literature Electives: 15 credits (taken from the Theories and Histories list).
All courses must be taken at the 300 level or above. Note that all English majors in both major options must complete at least 15 credits in pre-1900 literature.*

A note to students in the Creative Writing about the  Histories and Theories Requirement.  These requirements are designed to expose students to a breadth of theoretical and historical knowledge. Many literature courses may be worthwhile in other ways without meeting these particular goals, so do not assume that a particular literature course automatically will satisfy these requirements. It is best to follow the approved list.

ENGL 383 (The Craft of Verse) and ENGL 384 (The Craft of Prose): 10 credits.
Both of these courses must be completed before students may move up to the 400-level workshops. Though we encourage you to take CMS 370/ENGL 387 (basic screenwriting) if you are interested, it  will not count towards the 300 level creative writing requirements.

Approved 400-level Creative Writing courses: 10 credits.
(ENGL 483, 484, 485, 486, 493: Each of these 400-level workshops may be repeated for credit.) Though we encourage you to take CMS 470 (advanced screenwriting) if you are interested, it will  not count towards the 400 level creative writing requirements.

Historical Breadth:
10 credits in ENGL courses must be focused on pre-1945 Literature and 5 credits of pre-1700 literature. Please see the Historical Breadth page for a comprehensive list of pre-1945 and pre-1700 courses. (These courses may overlap with other English major requirements.)

202 will not count as a pre-1700 or 1945

Limit on 200-level ENGL credit:
Only 5 credits of 200-level ENGL beyond the required courses (ENGL 202, 283, and 284) may be applied toward the English major: all other English credits must be taken at the 300 or 400 level.

GPA Requirements:
All English majors must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.00 in all UW ENGL courses.

At least 30 ENGL credits applicable to the English major must be taken in residence at the UW Seattle.

Satisfactory Progress

Department of English Admission and Continuation Policy (PDF) (rules for satisfactory progress)

Have questions?

For assistance with planning and for questions, please consult the Humanities Academic Services Center.