2022-2023 Course Catalog

Creative Writing (BFA)

Creative Writing majors develop and hone their skills through a focused sequence of creative writing courses culminating in a capstone project. The program requires a firm grounding in literary forms and history, along with genre theory, literary theory, and literature study, in order to foster the development of a unique writing voice effectively positioned for communicative reach and creative impact.

Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing the program will learn the following:

  1. Genre and form
    1. Students understand distinctions between genres and forms (basic)
    2. Students can recognize and define a variety of forms and genres (proficient)
    3. Students can write in a variety of forms and genres (mastery)
    4. Students can maximize relationship between meaning and form/genre (advanced)

  2. Metaphor
    1. Students can define metaphor
    2. Students can recognize and discuss metaphor at work in the writings of others
    3. Students can create and employ metaphor in their own work
    4. Students can articulate orally and on paper how metaphor works in their own writing, and that of published writers, to ensure strong BFA tutorial introduction and senses of self as writers

  3. Revision
    1. Students understands the need to revise multiple times before a piece is ready or even moderately good
    2. Students can apply strategies and techniques learned in class for successful revision
    3. Students can help their peers in revision efforts, thereby contributing to the workshop experience
    4. Students can articulate their processes of revision orally and on paper to ensure strong BFA tutorial introduction and senses of self as writers

  4. Voice
    1. Students understand the concept of voice
    2. Students sometimes write in a voice that is recognizable, and consciously work toward controlling voice, both theirs and that of their characters
    3. Students have developed their own voices as writers, and recognize literary influence on their writing
    4. Students have developed own voices, and can extend it to other characters or personae, without losing plausibility

  5. Design (Arc—flow—plot)
    1. Students can recognize direction/design in a piece
    2. Students can plot simple stories or arc the direction of pieces of creative nonfiction
    3. Students can see specific craft decisions beneath an organic appearance
    4. Students can create plot lines which arrives through the characters’ personalities/dilemmas


Chatham University Creative Writing (B.F.A.)

Lindsay House • Woodland Road • Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Curriculum

+Major Requirements

12 courses, plus a major-related internship:

ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies

This course focuses on the principles and methods of close literary analysis to develop critical reading and thinking skills. By examining how culture relates to literature, students explore how ethnic heritage contributes to writing; how writers define community and culture; and how strong oral traditions translate into literary forms.

3
ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing

This course introduces students to the distinguishing features and traditional elements of poems, plays, fiction, and nonfiction writing. Students read classic and contemporary works in each of these genres, while attending to how a given text adheres to or plays with generic norms. Readings in genre theory will accompany each unit of the course.

3
ENG243 Creative Writing I

Students present a selection of their work each week for class comment and criticism. In addition, special problem topics are assigned weekly to develop writing skills. Readings concentrate on contemporary prose and verse.

Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • 3
    ENG244 Creative Writing II

    Students present a selection of their work each week for class comment and criticism. In addition, special problem topics are assigned weekly to develop writing skills. Readings concentrate on contemporary prose and verse.

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • ENG243 Creative Writing I
  • 3
    ENG350W Seminar in Literary Theory and Scholarly Writing

    An advanced course in writing literary analysis and methods of literary research; required of all junior English majors and interdepartmental majors before enrollment in the tutorial. Second-term junior status is required.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Multicultural Literature
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • 3
    ENG490 Integrative Capstone

    The integrative capstone, undertaken by the student during the senior year, is an extended project that helps the student complete their transition from an undergraduate student to a world-ready professional. The study usually centers on the student’s major and may be conducted, at least in part, in the context of a group experience. Such programs are crafted to meet the unique needs of each major, and could include, for example, fieldwork, theater production, creative work in the arts, independent research, or independent readings. The integrative capstone in an interdisciplinary major must have the approval of both academic programs.

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • ENG350W Seminar in Literary Theory and Scholarly Writing
  • 3
    INTENG303 Internship - English

    Internship - English

    3
    3 Literature survey courses
    1 English Content Course at 300-level or above
    2 300-level or above Creative Writing Courses

    +Literature Survey Courses

    Student must choose three literature survey courses from the following:

    ENG204 World Literature

    A critical and imaginative approach to major themes and genres in literary works from different places and periods in human history. Emphasis on interconnectedness of culturally diverse efforts to make sense, via literary representation, of personal and community experience.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENG105 First-Year Writing
  • 3
    ENG207 British Writers I

    A critical and historical approach to major writers in English during the Anglo-Saxon, medieval, and Renaissance periods, including such representative authors as the Beowulf poet, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENG105 First-Year Writing
  • 3
    ENG208 British Writers II

    A critical and historical approach to major writers in English during the Augustan, Romantic, and Victorian periods, including such representative authors as Swift, Pope, Johnson, Wordsworth, Keats, Arnold, Tennyson, and Browning.

    3
    ENG216W American Writers I

    A study of cultural and literary developments in America, beginning with the Puritans and culminating with the writers of the American Renaissance: Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Hawthorne, and Melville.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENG105 First-Year Writing
  • 3
    ENG217W American Writers II

    A continuation of English 216, with emphasis on such figures as Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Henry James, Faulkner, and Sylvia Plath.

    Pre-requisites Complete all 2 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENG105 First-Year Writing
  • 3
    ENG321W Shakespeare Survey

    A representative study of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, and tragedies as literary, dramatic, and Elizabethan art.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG207 British Writers I
  • ENG216 American Writers I
  • ENG216W American Writers I
  • 3
    ENG287 African-American Writers

    This course provides an introduction to the African-American expressive tradition, including poetry, fiction, autobiography, song and folktales from the 18th century to the present. Examining writers such as Douglass, Chesnutt, Brooks, Baldwin, Ellison, and Walker, this course works to delineate the critical and historical contours of the African-American literary tradition.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENG105 First-Year Writing
  • 3

    +English Content Courses

    Student must choose one English Content Course at 300-level or above (these offerings vary, below is a selection):

    ENG321W Shakespeare Survey

    A representative study of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, and tragedies as literary, dramatic, and Elizabethan art.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG207 British Writers I
  • ENG216 American Writers I
  • ENG216W American Writers I
  • 3
    ENG385 Toni Morrison Seminar

    This seminar is a study of Toni Morrison’s literature within the context of African-American critical theory. Through Morrison’s work, students will engage in current issues regarding the politics of language, narrative authority, historical revision, the production of meaning, and African-American subjectivity.

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • ENG105 First-Year Writing
  • 3
    ENG425 Bleak Houses: Shifting Landscapes of the English Novel

    This course will cover the modern European novel through the thematic rubric of "love and lies." The latter theme affords the opportunity to consider fiction not only as a medium of the literary genre of the novel but also as a discourse of self-expression, self-creation, and in the cases of some our lying protagonists, self-destruction. Students will focus on characters' constructions of "truth" and "lies" as these concepts are informed by characters' emotional positions. At its most ambitious, this focus on the dynamic of intersubjectivity not only provides important insights into the literature we will read but also enhances students' understanding of the interpersonal connections that drive individuals' worldviews and narratives.

    3
    ENG449 Exiles

    This course will examine the 20th-century condition of exile in relation to its different configurations, from European émigrés to postcolonial subjects to experiences of exile in the United States, to the relation of exile to Diaspora (African, Indian, and Jewish). Students will see how different patterns of movement define subjects variously as exiles, migrants, nomads, and tourists. They also will approach the concept of exile from psychological, geographical, and cultural angles to understand the different uses of the term, its scope, and its limitations.

    3
    ENG452 Ecofeminist Literature

    This course brings together theoretical, nonfictional, and fictional approaches to the study of women and the environment. Students will examine how diverse ecofeminist writers problematize, resituate, and reclaim the woman/nature paradigm--a construct historically based in patriarchal culture. This course focuses particularly on how representations of women and environment (ranging from the traditional to the radical) can help students rethink and reimagine their relationship to the ecological world.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG287 African-American Writers
  • ENG207 British Writers I
  • 3

    +Creative Writing Courses

    Two 300-level or above Creative Writing Courses from the following (one of these must be a special topics course in the area of student Integrative Capstone OR a graduate writing course in the student’s primary genre, with permission of instructor and the MFA Program Director.) :

    ENG310 Summer Community of Writers

    The ten-day intensive residency in Pittsburgh is for upper-level BFA Creative Writing students. The residency is composed of genre-specific craft sessions, workshops, lectures, readings and one-on-one conferences with mentors.

    Pre-requisites Complete all 4 of the following courses:
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENG243 Creative Writing I
  • ENG244 Creative Writing II
  • ENG245 Advanced Writing Workshop
  • 3
    ENG313 Special Topics

    Special Topics

    3
    ENG327 Writing About Environment Science

    This course is designed for students with some basic scientific skills, who might become scientists professionally, but all of whom will be communicating about science, often to non-scientists. In this course, we will read, discuss, and practice a variety of methods of communicating about environmental science, from popular culture to news to government reports. Students will competently translate scientific results into written journalistic English and will be able to evaluate scientific results from the news in terms of its scientific accuracy and clarity. Three hours of lecture per week. Cross-listed as ENV 327. Pre-requisite: any 200-level ENV course or permission of either department chairperson.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENV201 Special Topics
  • ENV202 Exercise and the Environment
  • ENV213V Special Topics
  • ENV217 Env Solutions-systems
  • ENV221E Organic Gardening
  • ENV222E Organic Gardening
  • ENV224 Environmental Sculpture
  • ENV225 Environmental Ethics
  • ENV230 Wilderness- Food Sustainability
  • ENV230W Wilderness - Food Sustainability
  • ENV231 Wilderness & Food Sustainability
  • ENV233 Soundscapes:mus-nat-silnc
  • ENV242 Women and the Global Environment
  • ENV250 Plants, People, and the Environment
  • ENV255 Soundscapes: Music, Nature, and Silence
  • ENV262 Environmental Economics
  • ENV265 Environmental Economics
  • ENV275 Ecological Economics
  • ENV285 Internatl Env Policy
  • 3
    ENG355 Advanced Writing and Stylistics

    This is an advanced writing class which concentrates on style, meaning, and effect. It is designed for upper-level students, and emphasizes the skills of writing more effective sentences, paragraphs and essays. The course focuses on writing academic papers, applications, proposals, and personal statements across the disciplines in appropriate formats.

    3
    ENG365 Writing Fiction

    This is an upper-level course for BFA students specializing in fiction. Reading and writing will center on the craft of fiction and will include exploration of tools for creating character, scene, sense of place, summary, dialogue, framing, flashbacks, and transitions, as well as oral presentation and publication.

    Pre-requisites Complete all 2 of the following courses:
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • 3
    ENG366 Writing Nonfiction

    This is an upper-level course for BFA students specializing in creative nonfiction. Reading and writing will center on the craft of nonfiction and will include exploration of tools for scene, sense of place, point of view, character and narrator development, tone, lyricism, structure, as well as oral presentation and publication.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Multicultural Literature
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • Complete the following course:
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • 3
    ENG367 Multi-Genre Writing

    This is an upper-level course for BFA students focusing on creative writing for experienced writers, geared toward preparing a finished manuscript or portfolio of work for potential publication in the student's primary genre. Students read and write in the craft of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Offered every spring.

    Pre-requisites Complete all 2 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • 3
    ENG368 Writing Poetry

    This is an upper-level course for BFA students specializing in poetry. Reading and writing will center on the craft of poetry and will include exploration of poetic tools including figures of speech, meter, music and rhythmic devices in both traditional and experimental forms, and oral performance and publication of poetry.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • ENG100 Multicultural Literature
  • ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • Complete the following course:
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • 3
    Graduate writing courses (student needs permission of instructor and MFA Program Director):
    ENG523 The Craft of Creative Writing: Multiple Genres

    This course may substitute for any other craft course for students specializing in any genre. Students will be introduced to the craft of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and will also be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending out work for publication.

    3
    ENG581 The Craft of Fiction

    This is a required course for MFA students specializing in fiction. Students will experiment with creating scene, sense of place, summary, dialogue, framing, flashbacks, and transitions. Students will be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending work out for publication.

    3
    ENG582 The Art and Craft of Narrative

    Readings and writing in this multi-genre course will focus on constructing narratives in fiction, nonfiction, poetry or writing for children. Students will be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending work out for publication.

    3
    ENG583 The Art and Craft of the Lyric

    Readings and writing in this multi-genre course will focus on writing lyrically in poetry and prose. Students will be introduced to the workshop method and given instruction on sending work out for publication.

    3

    +Creative Writing Minor Requirements

    The minor in Creative Writing draws upon the strengths of the undergraduate English program and the graduate faculty of the Master of Fine Arts program. Students who choose this minor may be interested in pursuing a graduate degree in creative writing or looking to enter careers as professional writers. Designed in conjunction with a faculty member in the English program, individual programs of study require the approval of the division chairperson.

    ENG100 Introduction to Literary Studies

    This course focuses on the principles and methods of close literary analysis to develop critical reading and thinking skills. By examining how culture relates to literature, students explore how ethnic heritage contributes to writing; how writers define community and culture; and how strong oral traditions translate into literary forms.

    3
    ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing

    This course introduces students to the distinguishing features and traditional elements of poems, plays, fiction, and nonfiction writing. Students read classic and contemporary works in each of these genres, while attending to how a given text adheres to or plays with generic norms. Readings in genre theory will accompany each unit of the course.

    3
    ENG243 Creative Writing I

    Students present a selection of their work each week for class comment and criticism. In addition, special problem topics are assigned weekly to develop writing skills. Readings concentrate on contemporary prose and verse.

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • ENG242 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • 3
    ENG244 Creative Writing II

    Students present a selection of their work each week for class comment and criticism. In addition, special problem topics are assigned weekly to develop writing skills. Readings concentrate on contemporary prose and verse.

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • ENG243 Creative Writing I
  • 3
    2 300-level or above writing-intensive courses or graduate writing workshops with permission of the director of the MFA program.