Creative Writing, Undergraduate Certificate
Department of English
College of Arts and Letters
To receive an undergraduate certificate (at least 15 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.
Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program). See the "Details" tab for additional information.
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
|Minimum Units for Completion||15|
The Creative Writing Certificate introduces non-English majors to the range of written art: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry. At the completion of the certificate, students will have attained the literacy skills necessary to compete for jobs and graduate programs that require high-level communication. In the certificate, students have opportunities to develop an understanding of the different uses of narrative, lyricism, facts, form, and genre for the purposes of self-expression, argument, entertainment, and enlightenment. They will read work from a variety of perspectives and cultures, which will increase not only their storytelling and art-making skills, but also their empathy. The certificate can thus help students prepare themselves to become productive, responsible members of the communities in which they live and work.
Student Learning Outcomes
General Knowledge of English:
- Graduates will identify and explain how repetition, variation, syntax, diction, prosody, sentence structure, paragraphing, idiom, dialect, and semiotic structures may be used in creative writing to produce varied effects, such as lyricism, comedy, drama, narration, satire, etc.
- Graduates will know Standard English grammar, punctuation, and usage, and will explain how, when, and why they may be altered for artistic effect.
- Graduates will know how audience expectations apply to writing their own creative work, analyzing the creative work of others, and performing their work for a public audience.
- Graduates will know basic concepts and terminology used in the composition and analysis of narrative and poetic technique.
- Graduates will know how terminology varies and is applied in composing and analyzing one or more of three creative writing forms—fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction.
- Graduates with focused studies in one or more of three creative writing forms, poetry, fiction, and/or literary nonfiction, will know varied traditions and histories of those forms, as well as how formal conventions, aesthetics, social contexts, and audience expectations influence creative expression.
- Graduates with focused study in poetry will know histories of poetic forms, including free verse, traditional forms governed by rhyme schemes and line metering (e.g. sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, haiku, quatrains, couplets, epigrams, and epitaphs), as well as the poetic sequence.
- Graduates with focused study in fiction will know contemporary approaches to various narrative forms (e.g. flash fiction, short story, novella, and novel), as well as how genre intersects with and deviates from form.
- Graduates with focused study in literary nonfiction will know how narrative, expository, descriptive, lyric, and persuasive writing may be utilized in various nonfiction forms (e.g. memoir, personal essay, lyric essay, and subjective criticism).
- Graduates will know how hybridity functions to create new structures by blending both literary and nonliterary genres and discourses.
- Graduates will have some familiarity with the history of these forms as practiced by diverse Anglophone writers. They will also be familiar with cultural variations in storytelling forms as practiced by non-English-language writers (in translation) from varied indigenous and global cultures. They will know how aesthetics, culture, social context, and audience expectations influence content and structure.
- Graduates will know how to draw from aesthetic, personal, social, cultural, and historical contexts in creating fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction.
- Graduates will know how writers from varied aesthetic, social, cultural, and historical contexts draw from diverse experience and knowledge in creating fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction.
- Graduates will know how to explicate texts in one or more of three creative writing forms: poetry, fiction, and/or literary nonfiction; in explication, graduates will know how to utilize vocabulary appropriate for each genre. Graduates will know how to summarize and interpret, and how to draw conclusions from their literary analyses.
- Graduates will know how to apply analyses of a variety of texts to their own creative work.
- Graduates will know how to write effectively in one or more of three creative writing forms, poetry, fiction, and/or literary nonfiction.
- Graduates with focused coursework in poetry, having completed a sequence of sophomore, junior, and senior level courses, will have experience writing a variety of forms—such as free verse, sonnet, ghazal, haiku, the long poem, the sequence, and others. Graduates will have a range of voices and styles expressive of their personal aesthetics and self-awareness.
- Graduates with focused coursework in fiction, having completed a sequence of sophomore, junior, and senior level courses, will have experience writing a variety of forms—such as psychological realism, magical realism, lyricism, minimalism, metafiction, and others. They will know how to create characters suited to their purposes (e.g. complex, flat, caricature…); how to describe place as it relates to story settings and scene building; how to use language to create mood; how to advance tension with effective dramaturgy; and how to adapt style (e.g. comedy, tragedy…) for desired audience response. Graduates will have a range of voices and styles expressive of their personal aesthetics and self-awareness.
- Graduates with focused coursework in literary nonfiction, having completed a sequence of sophomore, junior, and senior level courses, will have experience writing in a variety of forms—lyric essay, researched essay, memoir, and others. Graduates will have a range of voices and styles expressive of their personal aesthetics and self-awareness.
- Graduates will know how to develop effective writing processes for creative expression. They will know how to brainstorm and free-write to generate ideas, how to develop and revise ideas through imaginative exploration and reasoned logic, and how to refine creative work through revising, then editing.
- Through workshopping, graduates will know how to engage in productive writer/reader relationships. They will know how to use appropriate vocabulary to describe and summarize techniques in their classmates’ drafts, how to reflect on and brainstorm strategies for revision, and how to edit workshop manuscripts.
- Graduates will know how to engage their imaginations, and to conduct research through a variety of sources such as libraries, the internet, oral storytelling, personal experience, and others, in exploring, expanding, and developing their ideas for creative writing.
- Graduates will be familiar with a variety of publication sources for creative writing, including nationally and internationally distributed magazines, literary quarterlies, newspapers, internet magazines, and blogs, as well as AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) and other resources for publication opportunities and contest submissions. They will know how to write query letters and how to submit their finished work for publication.
- Graduates will know how to form and participate in creative writing communities by attending and performing at creative writing readings.
- Graduates will know how to apply creative writing processes and techniques in and outside the discipline for employment in a variety of professions such as the arts, technology, public service, and education.
- Graduates will grow intellectually, empower their imaginations, and attune their responsiveness to creative expression and artful communication to such an extent that they will continue to write creatively for decades beyond the completion of their Bachelor of Arts in English.
Take the following 15 units with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
- A maximum of 6 units of lower-division coursework may count toward this certificate.
- A minimum of 9 units of upper-division work must count toward this certificate.
- All 400-level Creative Writing courses, including the capstone courses are repeatable for additional credit when they have different content.
- Under certain circumstances with instructor and advisor approval ENG 507 or ENG 509 may substitute for one 400-level course.
- English Education Majors may only use 6 units from the major toward this certificate.
- This certificate is not available to English BA Majors or English Minors.
This certificate may only be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program. This certificate is not available as a stand-alone certificate.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.