Creative Writing

Creative writing majors focus on writing poetry, fiction, or drama. In addition to the required five courses in writing, students take six or more courses in either literature or linguistics. Creative writing is appropriate for students who love to write and who do so no matter what. Many students choose to double major in creative writing and professional writing.

Points of Pride

  • The Purdue Department of English holds an annual High School Creative Writing Award which includes cash prizes presented at the annual Literary Awards Banquet.
  • The creative writing major at Purdue offers an intimate program (around 70 undergraduate students), and the creative writing faculty all know their students well.
  • The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers a vast library of resources ranging from style guides to instructional material to assist Purdue students. OWL also is an international resource, with a Web site that receives nearly 100 million hits a year from more than 125 different countries.
  • Sycamore Review, a nonprofit journal for the arts, was founded in 1988 and is published twice annually by Purdue University's Department of English.
  • Books and Coffee is held on campus each Thursday in February. Coffee and tea are available, followed by a half-hour talk about a selected work. The series is highly attended by faculty, staff, and students.
  • Purdue has several student organizations for English students which include the Student English Association, Haraka Writers, and the Professional Writers Club.


Most students in this major want to pursue a career as a writer of poetry, drama, or fiction. Many plan to attend graduate school to hone their skill and further develop their art.

Other students will take jobs in industry while pursuing their writing as an avocation. An English major (including the creative writing major) learns many skills that employers find desirable, which may lead them to jobs in publishing, marketing, management, etc.

Plan of Study


ENGL 10600 First-Year Composition or ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition
ENGL 20500 Introduction to Creative Writing (B- or better) (Aesthetic Awareness)
ENGL _____ ( ONE 20000-level English Department literature course from the core)

A. Writing courses from the following courses (12)

ENGL 31600 Craft of Fiction from a Writer's Perspective or  ENGL 31700 Craft of Poetry from a Writer's Perspective
ENGL 40700 Introduction to Poetry Writing
ENGL 40900 Introduction to Fiction Writing
ENGL 50700 Poetry Writing
ENGL 50800 Play Writing
ENGL 50900 Fiction Writing
ENGL 58900 Directed Writing
NOTE: All Creative Writing courses except 20500, 31600, and 31700 may be repeated once by Creative Writing majors for credit; English 58900 may be taken only after two courses in the following list have been completed: ENGL 40700, 40900, 50700, 50800, and 50900. (The 40000 and 50000 level courses should be taken in order in any given g4enre; exceptions are granted by the permission fo instructor.)

B. Literature/Linguistics Courses, at least 12 at the 30000 level or higher (18)

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

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Print plan of Study

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