The creative writing concentration at MSU offers students a program that blends foundational work in literary studies, exploration of creative writing in multiple genres, and a focused capstone experience.  Students graduate with a B.A. in English, but their diplomas note their dedicated commitment to creative writing.  Beginning with the same foundation as other English majors, students also work at the introductory and advanced level in at least two different genres of creative writing.  Many then choose to write a senior thesis in a single genre, creating in the last year of study a collection of poems or stories, a novel, or a finished screenplay; students might also pursue internships in writing and editing.  Our program provides many co-curricular events and opportunities, including a reading series, writing workshops, brown bag lunch conversations with faculty and visiting writers.  The Michigan State University English Department is also home to Red Cedar Review, one of the oldest student-managed literary journals in the United States.

English Requirements for Concentration in Creative Writing (39 credits):
  • ENG 210: Foundations of Literary Study I (3 credits)
    • Writing-intensive course in close reading, with substantial attention to poetry, drama, and narrative prose, drawing broadly on texts taken from more than one century and more than one national literature.
  • ENG 200: Creative Writing Community (1 credit)
    • Experiential learning course, for students to attend literary events on campus and as outreach within the local community. 
  • ENG 280: Foundations of Literary Study II (3 credits)
    • Literary and critical theory. How literature is constituted and how representation works. Assumptions behind and limits of a range of theoretical approaches. Application of theory to literary texts.
  • ENG 320D: Methodologies of Literary History: History and Theory of Creative Writing (4 credits)
    • Reflection on the theories and practices of literary history, as seen through the specific lens of creative writing.
  • ENG 223: Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction Writing (3 credits each)
  • ENG 226: Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 227: Introduction to Playwriting (3 credits)
  • ENG 228: Introduction to Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 229: Introduction to Poetry Writing (3 credits)
  • FLM 334: Introduction to Screenwriting (3 credits)

These courses satisfy the genre requirement. 

  • ENG 317: Readings in African and Caribbean Literatures (3 credits)
  • ENG 350: Readings in African, African American, or African Diaspora Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 351: Readings in Chicano and Latino Literatures (3 credits)
  • ENG 352: Readings in Asian or Asian American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 353: Readings in Women Writers (3 credits)
  • ENG 354: Readings in Native American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 355: Readings in Sexuality and Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 356: Readings in Jewish Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 360: Studies in Postcolonial and Diaspora Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 448: Seminar in Gender and Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 449: Seminar in Race, Ethnicity, Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 450 Seminar in African American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 460: Seminar in Global and Postcolonial Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 466: Seminar in Literatures of the Pacific Rim (3 credits)
  • ENG 482: Seminar in Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory (3 credits)
  • FLM 450: Studies in Ethnic Film (3 credits)
  • FLM 451: Studies in Postcolonial Cinema (3 credits)
  • FLM 452: Studies in Film, Gender, and Sexuality (3 credits)

*If ENG 360, 450, or 460 is used to fulfill this requirement, it may not be used to fulfill the requirement for literature after 1800.

  • ENG 318: Readings in Shakespeare (3 credits)
  • ENG 324: Readings in Epic (3 credits)
  • ENG 368: Studies in Medieval/Early Modern Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 441: Seminar in Early American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 454: Seminar in Medieval Literature and Culture (3 credits)
  • ENG 455: Seminar in Early Modern Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 457: Seminar in 18th Century British Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 360: Studies in Postcolonial and Diaspora Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 362: Studies in Modern/Contemporary Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 443: Seminar in 19th Century American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 445: Seminar in 20th and 21st Century American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 450: Seminar in African American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 452: Seminar in 20th and 21st Century British Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 458: Seminar in 19th-Century British Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 460: Seminar in Global and Postcolonial Literature (3 credits)
  • PHL 474: Aesthetic Theory and Modernism (4 credits)

*If English 360, 450, or 460 is used to fulfill this requirement it may not be used to fulfill the diversity requirement.

  • ENG 423: Advanced Creative Non-Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 428: Advanced Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 429: Advanced Poetry Writing (3 credits)
  • FLM 434: Advanced Screenwriting (3 credits)
  • Typically an additional introductory creative writing workshop or complementary, literature-based or technical writing course (see Academic Programs Catalog for options).
  • ENG 484B: Critical Questions in Region, School, Movement (4 credits)
  • ENG 484C: Critical Questions in a Literary Period (4 credits)
  • ENG 484D: Critical Questions in a National Literature (4 credits)
  • ENG 489H: Senior Honors Independent Project (4 credits)
  • ENG 493: English Internship (4 credits)
  • ENG 499: Senior Thesis Research (W) (4 credits)

*With the prior approval of the Department of English, English 400 (1 credit) in conjunction with ENG 423, 428, or 429 may be used to satisfy this requirement.

  • One of the above ENG courses must fulfill the Tier II Writing requirement. 
  • Courses that fulfill this requirement are marked with a (W) on the schedule.

See the “Undergraduate Courses” page for more information and examples of specific English courses.

Alongside the requirements for the major, students must complete requirements for the University and for the College of Arts & Letters:

  • Tier 1 Writing (4 credits)
    • WRA 101
  • Mathematics (1-2 courses, credits vary, see math website for more details)
  • Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities (IAH)*:
    • 1 course IAH 201-210 (4 credits)
    • 1 course IAH 211 or higher (4 credits)
  • Integrative Studies in Social Sciences (ISS)*:
    • 1 course ISS 200-level (4 credits)
    • 1 course ISS 300-level (4 credits)
  • Integrative Studies in Natural Sciences (ISB/ISP):
    • ISB 200-level (3 credits)
    • ISP 200-level (3 credits)
    • ISB or ISP lab (2 credits)

*At least one IAH/ISS course must have an international focus (I), and one must have a national focus (D) as marked on the schedule of courses.

  • Foreign Language Requirement (credits variable)
    • Must demonstrate Second-Year Competency through “202” level
    • Certain AP credit, tested proficiency, transfer credit at the appropriate level, or MSU coursework can fulfill this requirement
    • Some languages have online placements tests
    • See your advisor for more information
  • Cognate (15 credits)
    • An additional major, minor, 2nd degree, or thematically linked courses as approved by an advisor
    • Minimum 15 credits, with 3 credits at 3xx/4xx level
  • Experiential Learning (3 credits)
  • College Distribution Requirement
    • At least 30 credits overall must be at the 300/400 level

Most students are left with room for general electives, and 120 total credits minimum are needed to graduate.

For more information about the program and/or your progress, speak with an advisor, visit Academic Programs, and review your information on student information systems.