Creative Writing

Minor in Coastal and Environmental Writing

Effective August 2020


The Minor in Coastal and Environmental Writing will offer students the opportunity to develop writing skills that explore, explain, and advocate for the environment.


Current students are understandably more focused on environmental issues than previous generations are. At a time when climate issues are pressing, this minor offers an opportunity for students to study the work of essential writers and artists while developing their own voices and adding to the greater conversation about the environment and our coastline. Students in the creative writing major and journalism minor have expressed interest in the new minor. Faculty in the sciences and the arts have spearheaded the formulation of the minor. 

Broad Educational Objectives

 The minor has two broad educational objectives:

  1. To offer courses in environmental writing to students in all disciplines.
  2. To educate students on environmental and coastal issues through the study of science and literature.

Program Evaluation and Quality Enhancement

Coordination for the minor: Department of Creative Writing. The minor would be added to the department’s annual assessment process.

Applied-Learning Component

Students will perform a community-based internship* that culminates in a writing project that will benefit the internship agency. Examples of possible projects are writing grant proposals, training manuals, newsletters, or feasibility reports, designing websites and writing web content, and producing service videos for the agency. Students must submit a project proposal in consultation with an instructor.

As part of the internship, students will conceptualize and complete a writing project, which could be investigative journalism, fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Students would submit a proposal that includes an outline of the proposed project, a goals statement, deadlines, and a reading/critique component of at least one book (or several shorter works) within the same genre. Students would work in consultation with an instructor.

*Students may complete the internship in their major department, providing that department has agency agreements with organizations whose missions would enhance student needs in the minor. This internship would not double-count as the required internship for the 21-hour Certificate in Professional Writing.

Target Audience

Young writers who are concerned about the environment, along with non-writing majors, including those in the sciences, who hope to express themselves to a larger audience.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who pursue a minor in Coastal and Environmental Writing will learn to:

  • SLO 1. Demonstrate knowledge of critical coastal and environmental issues and communicate those stories to general and specialized audiences in compelling ways.
  • SLO 2. Compose and critically evaluate diverse forms of journalism, advocacy, legal, and strategic writing relevant to coastal communities and environmental issues.
  • SLO 3. Use and hone the research, interviewing, writing, and oral-presentation skills that are emphasized through the coursework, drawing from individuals, locations and organizations in the Cape Fear region and along the Carolina coast. Research and reporting at these sites strengthens the university’s ties with the community (regional engagement), while also requiring students to draw from their educational experiences to accomplish specific workplace-related tasks (applied learning).

Catalogue Description and Course Listing

The interdisciplinary minor in Coastal and Environmental Writing provides students the opportunity to develop skills in environmental writing that is informed by the study of relevant science and literature. The curriculum is designed to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of this writing specialty through coursework from several departments, allowing students to master the fundamentals by using traditional classroom courses and applied learning. 21 credit hours: 15 hours in core courses, including 3 hours of internship; and 6 hours in electives from two broad areas of study. At least 3 of the 6 elective hours must be taken in courses at the 300–400 level. (Highlighted section revised at the direction of University Curriculum Committee, April 3, 2020.)

Requirements for the Minor in Coastal and Environmental Writing:

21 hours—15 hours in core courses, 6 hours in electives

Core Requirements:

  • CRW 204: Research for Creative Writers
  • ENG 202: Introduction to Journalism
  • EVS 195: Introduction to Environmental Sciences
    or EVS 205: Global Environmental Issues
  • OCN 250: Coasts and Society
  • CRW 498: Internship

Core hours: 15

Electives: 6 hours in Arts and Humanities/Social Sciences or Natural Sciences
(Courses eligible for the minor will be specified in the 2020-21 undergraduate catalogue.)


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.