Literature & Creative Writing Option

The English Major's Literature & Creative Writing Option is designed to provide a lively mix of literary and creative classes.

Every semester the Department of English offers more than forty sections representing more than two dozen different classes in literature and creative writing (see the Schedule of Classes for the current offerings and the Course Catalog for descriptions).


Foundations of Literary Study (350:308)

Survey of English Literature I (350:321)

Introduction to Creative Writing (200:201)

A four-course series in upper-level creative writing classes (subject 200, course numbers in the 300s)

Five electives


Ideally your elective classes in literature and in creative writing will support one another: the literature classes will show you what the greatest writers have achieved, and the creative writing classes will let you explore literary production from the inside.

Contemporary Literature

Creative writers will find courses in contemporary literature, especially contemporary American literature, most valuable. Consider any of these classes, and remember only two 200-level classes can count toward the major:

  • 352:211–211, Contemporary American Literature
  • 352:232, Reading Latino/a Literature
  • 350:356, Modern Caribbean Literature
  • 352:324, Latino/a Literature & Culture
  • 352:344, American Literature of the 20th Century
  • 352:362, Modern American Authors
  • 352:376, Modern American Poetry
  • 352:384–385, Topics in Modern American Literature
  • 350:386, Topics in Latino/a Literature
  • 352:396, African American Literature after 1900
  • 352:408, American Modernity
  • 352:416, Seminar in 20th-Century American Literature

Fiction Classes

If you’re focusing on writing fiction, consider any of these courses, and remember only two 200-level classes can count toward the major:

  • 350:241, Reading Fiction
  • 350:242, Reading Novels
  • 350:247, Reading Science Fiction
  • 350:349, The English Novel to 1800
  • 350:350, The English Novel after 1800
  • 350:369, The Short Story
  • 350:429, Studies in the European Novel to 1900
  • 350:430, Studies in the European Novel after 1900
  • 350:431, The World Novel to 1900
  • 350:432, The World Novel of the 20th Century
  • 350:447–448, Modern British Fiction
  • 352:363, The Novel in America to 1950
  • 352:364, The Novel in American since 1950
  • 350:374, Joyce
  • 352:420, Recent Trends in American Fiction

Poetry Classes

If you’re focusing on writing poetry, consider any of these classes, and remember only two 200-level classes can count toward the major:

  • 350:243, Reading Poetry
  • 350:342, Modern English Poetry
  • 350:355, Technique of Poetry
  • 352:300–301, American Poetry
  • 350:376, Modern American Poetry

A Four-Year Plan

This is just one way to get through the Literature Option in four years. Those going through the program at a different pace, and those who transfer into Rutgers – Newark, can adjust the timeline to suit their needs.

First Year

Take all required composition classes (including 355:101 and 355:102)

Take two core literature classes (200-level), preferably one each semester

Second Year

Finish any remaining composition requirements as soon as possible

Declare an English major in the department office on the fifth floor of Hill Hall

Take Introduction to Creative Writing (200:201) to satisfy your core requirement in Arts and Media in the fall if possible

Take the other required classes for the English major, Foundations of Literary Study (350:308) and Survey of English Literature I (350:321), as early as your schedule permits

Take one or two additional 300-level literature and creative writing classes

Third Year

This is your chance to explore your interestsTake the widest possible selection of 300-level classes in subjects 200, 350, and 352

Fourth Year

Continue the plan from the third year, taking more 300-level classes

The Fine Print

Only two 200-level literature classes usually count toward the major. Under special circumstances the department will approve additional 200-level classes. See your adviser before you register.

The required composition courses (355:101 and 355:102) ) do not count toward the English Major. Upper-level courses offered by the Writing Program (subject code 355) also do not usually count, though you can discuss your options with an adviser in the department.