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Program Details

Study Creative Writing

UNCW’s undergraduate program in creative writing guides students in their development as creative writers, effective communicators, critical thinkers, analytical problem-solvers, and prospective professionals in the publishing industry. The 63-credit-hour program leads to the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing, one of just a few of its kind in the nation.

Our students write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. (We don’t follow specialty tracks.) We use variations of the traditional workshop model, in which students and professors provide constructive responses to classmates’ stories, poems, and essays. The department also has classes in reading for craft, research for creative writers, grammar and mechanics, and the psychology of the creative process.

Advanced writing classes concentrate on special topics, such as writing dialogue, ekphrastic poetry, the personal essay, songwriting, ghost stories, writing for the public good, young adult writing, the study of the image in poetry, and the graphic novel.

BFA students should show a dedication to their craft through a strong work ethic, a willingness to strengthen the fundamentals, and an openness to apply their skills in a wide variety of creative works. We seek promise, not perfection. Most students have personal interests for their writing, but we challenge them to explore beyond that. We believe broader study in creative writing results in the deepest learning and most beneficial artistic development.

Undergraduates in creative writing also benefit from the department’s Publishing Laboratory and its classes in publishing, editing, and design. This hands-on curriculum prepares students for the publishing industry, graduate study in publishing, or simply broader knowledge of the literary profession. Creative writing majors who complete the optional 15-credit-hour program may earn the Certificate in Publishing, a designation added to the BFA degree, making UNCW’s undergraduate creative writing program unique nationwide.

Beyond the classroom, creative writing majors have opportunities to learn through internships, most of which involve professional training and nonfiction writing in marketing and promotions, journalism, and event planning. Nearly all of our internships require in-person commitments, though we do have limited online internships. Interns must be juniors or seniors and earn qualifying grade-point averages.

Our Minor in Creative Writing attracts students from across the university, and our Minor in Coastal and Environmental Writing combines classes in writing and the earth sciences. Both minors require 21 credit hours of study.

Our majors and minors are bright, capable, ambitious, writers who bring energy to the classroom and a sense of belonging to our writing community. We’re proud of our students for their commitment to writing, reading, learning, and growing as artists.

The Department of Creative Writing offers a minor, which emphasizes development in the craft of writing. The 21-hour Minor in Creative Writing provides students with a foundation in creative writing classes, including an introductory course and a course in the historical development of the discipline. Minors in creative writing also take first-level workshops in the department’s three writing genres: fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The minor helps students develop basic proficiencies in creative writing, while allowing them to focus their interests through appropriate electives in related study. 21 hours: 15 core, 6 related study electives. The minor requires at least 6 credit hours of course work at the 300–400 level.

Requirements for the Minor in Creative Writing

21 hours: 15 in core courses, 6 in Related Study electives

Core Courses: 15 hours

CRW 201 is the appropriate first course to take in the creative writing minor. After completion of that course, students should take CRW 203, which may be taken before or at the same time as CRW 207CRW 208, and CRW 209. (CRW 203 is a pre- or co-requisite.)


Related Study: 6 hours

Choose any two classes from these:


Additional Information

A grade of C- or better is required in each course counted toward the minor, and a grade point average of C (2.00) or better for all courses counted toward the minor.

More Information

Academic Advising in Creative Writing

All majors in creative writing receive individual academic advising each semester, with written plans of action for course registration. For majors and minors, an advisor is available to respond to questions or academic concerns.

Declaring Pre-Creative Writing, Applying to the Full Major

Students may declare a major in Pre-Creative Writing upon completing at least 24 hours of college credits. The next step is to apply to the full major immediately after completing all five of these classes: CRW 201, 203, 207, 208, 209.

Earning the BFA Degree: Major, Minors, Publishing, Honors

All undergraduate students at UNCW must complete at least 120 credit hours to earn a degree. In addition to meeting UNCW's University Studies requirements for general education, candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing also must complete certain requirements for the major.

Grading Guidelines in Creative Writing

While a grade of C is considered average campus-wide, the department expects students in the major to earn grades of B or higher in major courses. For classes in the creative writing major and minors, grades below C- do not count at all.


Internships in creative writing offer students several important learning opportunities: gaining essential work experience, applying creative writing in the working world, using editing skills, and preparing for life after college.

Policies for Undergraduate Creative Writing Students

The Department of Creative Writing recognizes and implements some policies and guidelines in addition to the rights, responsibilities, and expected levels of student conduct listed in the UNCW Code of Student Life.

Campus, Writing, and Cultural Resources


We offer a broad liberal arts education that fosters creativity, exercises communication skills, sharpens analytical perception, and encourages informed, integrated cultural viewpoints.

Our Bachelor of Fine Arts Program provides aspiring writers an apprenticeship in writing, informed by the close study of literature among a community of professional writers. As a studio-academic experience in writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, our program unites passionate people who believe the creation of art is a pursuit valuable to self and culture.

What We Do

UNCW’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Program provides training in the art of writing through the study of aesthetics, the literary tradition, the craft and profession of publishing, and liberal arts subjects relevant to each student's needs and goals.

Earning the BFA Degree

BFA students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours of undergraduate study. This includes 63 hours in the creative writing major, along with UNCW's University Studies (general education) requirements. 

Earning the BFA Degree:
Major, Minors, Publishing, Honors

All undergraduate students at UNCW must complete at least 120 credit hours to earn a degree.

In addition to meeting UNCW's University Studies requirements for general education, candidates for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing also must complete 63 credit hours for the major. The specific courses may vary by catalogue year (the year of enrollment at UNCW). Students will find their specific degree requirements in the degree audit, accessed in Degree Works via mySeaport. For students who are accepted to the Certificate in Publishing Program, and for students who declare a minor, those classes also will show in the audit.


The Certificate in Publishing

The Certificate in Publishing is available to majors in creative writing. This hands-on publishing program enhances professional credentials for students interested in pursuing careers in book or journal publishing, or those planning to attend graduate school in a related field.

The certificate is optional. Only creative writing majors may complete the certificate, but most publishing classes are open to all UNCW students who complete the prerequisite classes (beginning with Creative Writing 201: Introduction to Creative Writing). The final class for the certificate, Creative Writing 460: Publishing Practicum, is open only to students who have been admitted to the full creative writing major.

The publishing program requires completion of at least five 15 credit hours in these courses:

  • CRW 321: Introduction to Book Publishing (required)
  • CRW 322: Editing for Publication (required)
  • CRW 323: Bookbuilding (required)
  • One of course chosen from CRW 324: Special Topics in Publishing, CRW 325: Literary Magazine Practicum (Chautauqua), or CRW 425: Advanced Special Topics in Publishing
  • CRW 460: Publishing Practicum (required)

Upon completion of both CRW 321 and 322, with grades of at least B in both courses, students who want to earn the publishing certificate must apply to the publishing program.

Enrollment in CRW 460 is permitted by application only. Students who plan to take CRW 460 must have been admitted to the full creative writing major and the Certificate in Publishing Program. In addition, they must have completed all three of the core publishing courses: CRW 321, CRW 322, and CRW 323.

Students who have questions about the publishing program should contact Emily Smith, Director of the Publishing Laboratory, at, or Michael Ramos, Assistant Director of the Publishing Laboratory, at


Students who seek information about the Honors Scholars program should consult the Honors College web site.

Contact Us

Department of Creative Writing

Phone: (910) 962-7063
Fax: (910) 962-7461

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Summer hours:
Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday, 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.