The Creative Writing Program offers rigorous studio training in writing within the context of the liberal arts. Its mission is to foster young writers of diverse aesthetics and backgrounds in the interrelated disciplines of composition, revision, close reading, constructive critique, and building an engaged, supportive community.
Introductory courses acquaint aspiring majors and non-majors with the craft of writing, focusing on the differences and commonalities between multiple genres. Mid-level courses narrow the focus to topics and questions that pertain to genres and forms. Once students have completed the prerequisite courses, they may apply for admission to the major. If accepted, they undertake a series of three intensive upper-level workshops: exacting, low-enrollment courses designed to test and refine the core skills and practices of maturing writers, writers committed to their own development and that of their peers, as well as to nurturing a vibrant, open-minded community of fellow craftspeople. In order to complete the major, students are required to have taken Creative Writing courses in at least two genres, preferably at the 200 level or above. Acknowledging that there is no good writing without good reading, a textual studies requirement cultivates the careful reading and interpretation of literature as central to any vital studio practice.
The major culminates in a substantial, closely-mentored capstone project, undertaken in a seminar setting with other capstone students. Capstone seminars include discussions of how to bring the skills and disciplines honed in the Creative Writing major out into the world after college.
The program has designed its curriculum so that students will have opportunities throughout to engage with other arts at Oberlin, as well as with the broader community, for example, in practica in the local schools.
Because there is great demand for Creative Writing courses at all levels, and because writers at all levels have much to learn from breadth in their studies, the faculty urges all students to register for no more than one Creative Writing course per term. Students seeking an exception to this practice should contact the chair.