Writing (Creative & Professional)

Consider pursuing a Writing concentration (or minor for students outside of the English & Communications department) at MCLA. Whether you choose a Creative or Professional sequence, you’ll inevitably gain exposure to various modes, such as fiction and nonfiction, innovative cross-genre forms, poetry, essay writing, journalism and magazine writing, and professional or technical writing.

As a student in this concentration (or minor), you will take writing workshops that have a range of foci—Fantasy, Hybrid Texts, Travel Writing, Indie Publishing, and Disability Poetics are some examples, as well as foundational workshops in Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction. Workshops are intimate, egalitarian and open spaces where students may experiment with expression and technique, and use the study of literature to further their creative practice.

Beyond coursework, students benefit from a host of co-curricular offerings. You might submit your work to the student-run literary and arts journal, Spires, read your work at student-hosted open mics at the local coffeeshop, and eventually become an editor at the journal. Nationally acclaimed authors visit each semester to mentor students and give lively readings at Gallery 51 in downtown North Adams. Seniors present their work to the community with a year-long schedule of events and students gain arts management and programming experience by hosting an emerging writer each fall for our “MCLA Under 27 Writer’s Residency.” Students also have opportunities to intern with Tupelo Press, Full Stop Magazine, and New Europe Books.

Visiting Writer Series

MCLA graduates with Writing concentrations or minors have recently gone on to receive fellowships in phenomenal graduate programs in Writing, including at Cornell University, University of Washington, University of Michigan, Sarah Lawrence College, James Madison University and University of Massachusetts Amherst.  

You might choose this concentration (or minor) to launch yourself into continuing graduate work (in Creative Writing, Journalism, Publishing…), to pursue a passion different from your major, or to augment the work you plan to do in another field, such as Social Work, Communications, Education, English Literature, Theatre, Arts Management, Psychology, Business…Whatever your discipline, Writing is an exciting and highly personalized course of study to pursue at MCLA. 

Total credits required for Writing concentration: 48

  • Foundation courses - 24 credits
  • Department electives - 6 credits

Concentration Courses

Creative Writing Sequence

Select six courses, 3 at the 200-level or above, and 3 at the 300-level or above (each 3 credits):

  • The Personal Essay (ENGL 202)
  • Experiments in Creative Writing (ENGL 208)
  • The Power of Words (ENGL 231)
  • Creative Writing: Fiction (ENGL 300)
  • Creative Writing: Poetry (ENGL 301)
  • Creative Writing: Scripts (ENGL 302)
  • Writing Prose (ENGL 303)
  • Creative Writing: Playwriting (ENGL 304)
  • Magazine Writing & Editing (ENGL 305)
  • Advanced Poetry Workshop (ENGL 430)
  • Advanced Fiction Workshop (ENGL 435)
  • Independent Study (ENGL 500) 


Professional Writing Sequence

Select six courses, 3 at the 200-level or above, and 3 at the 300-level or above (each 3 credits)

  • The Personal Essay (ENGL 202)
  • Writing and Reporting the News I (ENGL 239)
  • Creative Writing: Scripts (ENGL 302)
  • Magazine Writing & Editing (ENGL 305)
  • Business Writing & Presentation (ENGL 306)
  • Writing Associate Workshop (ENGL 308)
  • Technical Writing (ENGL 309)
  • News Editing Practicum (ENGL 321)
  • Writing & Reporting the News II (ENGL 339)
  • Public Relations (ENGL 396)
  • Senior News Editing Practicum (ENGL 427)
  • Independent Study (ENGL 500)
  • Internship (ENGL 540)  

View a sample 4-year plan to complete your major