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Creative Writing College and Career Resources

Is your goal to be a playwright or a screenplay writer? Or, are you more drawn to the literary world and picture yourself as a professor of literature or a published poet or novelist? How do you feel about developing advertising copy or web content? Any of these ambitions can come one step closer to realization through the right college program in creative writing.

Creative writing programs are housed within the English Departments on campuses. While Bachelor’s degree programs in the specialty are rare, many college and universities offer English programs that boast emphases, concentrations, and minors in creative writing. In addition to workshop-style courses designed to help students hone their expressive facilities, these programs often have literary magazines that offer students publishing opportunities and visiting author speakers, campus writing clubs and centers and other professional networking opportunities.

B.A. in English or Creative Writing
Faculty of these programs are usually published fiction writers, playwrights, and poets, who develop and present writing courses in a “workshop” format involving public class reading/ critique of original work. These workshops are designed to stretch each student’s comfort zone and give them experience writing in different genres and forms. Courses in literature and in contemporary writing round out the program offerings.

B.A. in Screenwriting
Designed to help young screenwriters find their unique creative voices, these programs offer training in the fundamental components of story structure and character development. You will learn to write in a variety of forms — short film, feature-length, and episodic television. These programs involve writing, shooting, and editing your own short films as well as contributing to the works of fellow students.

Bridge to College Tip: Screenwriting programs are housed within theater programs, while Creative Writing programs are housed within English Departments.

Other degrees:
BFA: Bachelors of Fine Arts
AA: Associates Degree
AFA: Associates of Fine Arts

BFA or BA? See this PDF from the National Association for College Admission Counseling
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2014 National Association for College Admission Counseling

Highlights of college level training in California
Searching for the Right College Fit: Do they have my major?

Based on the seven disciplines offered at CSSSA, here is a pocket guide to see at-a-glance what arts majors are offered at four-year state colleges/universities:
The California State University system
The University of California system

Colleges that participate in Bridge to College or the CSSSA College Fair:
Independent Colleges – In California
Independent Colleges – Outside of California

In addition, here is a pocket guide to the California Community Colleges also based on the seven CSSSA disciplines: Click Here.

Educational Institutions: If you would like to see your college or university listed here, please contact the CSSSA Foundation.

Listing here does not constitute an endorsement, but is intended for educational purposes only. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

12 Questions to Consider as you select a program in Creative Writing:

  1. How many other students are studying creative writing on the campus?
  2. How large a part of the English Department is the creative writing program—does it consist of just a couple classes, or does the college have an emphasis, concentration or minor in this area?
  3. Is your orientation more toward the reading/ study/ analysis of literature or the creation of original material?
  4. Have you read the creative work of key faculty and do you feel a resonance with its style and perspective? (These are the people who will inform and guide your work, so feeling a connection to them is important.)
  5. Will your classes be taught by the main faculty member or by graduate students?
  6. Are you comfortable with workshop-based instruction?
  7. Does the department sponsor a literary or creative writing publication or have interest groups to allow publication/ networking with other students?
  8. Are there connections/ support with regard to publishing your work in professional publications?
  9. If you are going into screenwriting, what are the opportunities to work with students in related cinematic disciplines like directing, production, critical studies and film history?
  10. Are there opportunities on campus for your work to be produced and seen?
  11. What do administrators/ instructors feel distinguishes their program from competitors’?
  12. What sort of work are alumni of the program doing and what support does the school give students trying to be placed in work or graduate settings?

Career information (and job boards)
2013 Writer's Market: Paperback book series published each year. Lists all publications accepting new work with profiles.
Poets & Writers Magazine: www.pw.org/magazine
www.duotrope.com: An invaluable summary of all publications looking for creative work, with notations regarding rate of pay
http://www.creativescreenwriting.com/current.html
http://www.newpages.com essential links to everything writing- magazines, alternative lit, contests, publishers AND a page especially targeted to the young writer
Writer’s Digest has a free newsletter for writers who want to publish
Big Future's Creative Writing Article

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to endorse, guarantee, warrant, or recommend any particular program or course of study. Parents and students are encouraged to consult their school’s guidance counselor or other educational professionals before making any decision about investment in higher education. CSSSA Foundation 2015.

Highlighting Careers in the Arts: See Screenwriter Ian Brennan in action. Brought to you by Gigniks.