Certificate in Creative Writing

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Certificate in Creative Writing

Overview

The Certificate in Creative Writing at Penn LPS Online offers an innovative, collaborative course of study for those who have always wanted to learn to unlock their creativity. Each course is designed as a workshop in which you explore new ideas, tackle new writing tools, generate original insights and discover your own powers of innovation. You create, collaboratively discuss and revise your original writing with feedback from your instructors and your peers. You also engage with a range of assigned readings and multimedia that inform and grow your innovative practice.

The Certificate in Creative Writing offers both basic and advanced workshops and appeals to students new to creative writing as well as students with writing experience who want to learn new skills. Through a series of courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and screenwriting, the Certificate in Creative Writing focuses on creative writing as a form of critical thinking, as a way to reimagine audience and as a space of innovation. Taught by professionals in the field, our courses cultivate both individual and group learning, providing an overview of the field as well as deep dives into literary genres. These courses are designed for hands-on, intensive study of the subtleties and power of language.

The Certificate in Creative Writing at Penn LPS Online is a 4-course, 4 c.u.* credit program of study taught by University of Pennsylvania faculty.

You may also enroll in individual courses without committing to the entire certificate, enjoying the flexibility and expertise offered by Penn LPS Online to suit your schedule and interests.

Penn LPS Online courses in the Certificate in Creative Writing are offered on either an accelerated (8-week) or classic (12-week) schedule. Learn more about specific course dates on the Penn LPS Online Academic Calendar page.

Curriculum

Instructor: Jeff T. Johnson >
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in fall 1

The Craft of Creative Writing is designed for students who are new to creative writing or who would like to return to the fundamentals of craft. Through frequent writing assignments, assigned readings and collaborative discussions, students familiarize themselves with a variety of styles and approaches, exploring a range of literary genres including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir and journalistic prose. Students are expected to hone their skills in creative practice, to revise and take risks with their work and to cultivate their habits of close reading and peer workshop.

Instructor: Anna Strong Safford >
1 c.u.

Classic semester format, offered in fall, spring and summer

In this fast-paced introductory course, students read and discuss a wide range of modern and contemporary American poets, beginning with Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman and ending with 21st-century avant-garde poets like Tracie Morris, Caroline Bergvall and Kenneth Goldsmith. Questions central to this course include "How does experimental poetry help us understand the transition between modernism and postmodernism?" and "What is the relationship between experimental poetry and experimental teaching?" The poems and poets we study challenge students to read critically and think differently about what a poem is, about what art can be and about what poetry can teach us about reading, writing and learning. Students do not need to have any prior knowledge of poetry or poetics. The course operates primarily as a discussion. Rather than attending lectures, students participate in web-based discussions of the poems, accessible in text, audio and video formats. Requirements include active participation in the online discussion forums, in addition to five short papers, quizzes, creative exercises and a comprehensive final examination.

Instructor: Laynie Browne >
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in spring 1

Poetry Workshop is a course for students who are new to poetry or who would like to return to the fundamentals of poetry. This workshop uses frequent writing assignments, assigned readings and collaborative workshop discussions to explore various elements of poetic craft, including imagery, metaphor, line, stanza, music, rhythm, diction and tone.

Instructor: Karen Rile >
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in spring 2

Fiction Workshop is a course for students who are new to fiction writing or who would like to return to the fundamentals of fiction. This collaborative workshop uses frequent writing assignments, assigned readings and workshop discussions to explore various elements of the craft of fiction, including character, form, description, dialogue, setting, genre and plot.

Instructor: Christy Davids > 
1 c.u.

Accelerated semester format, offered in fall 2

This multi-genre, collaborative workshop is devoted to writing of and about place. Students consider place both literally—writing about the city or the landscape, for example—and figuratively—writing that engages thematically and formally with location, with displacement and with the writing process itself as a form of mapping and belonging.

Advanced Courses

Students who complete four of the five courses listed above earn the Certificate in Creative Writing. Those students are then eligible to pursue an Advanced Certificate in Creative Writing. The additional two courses listed below are available only to those pursuing the Advanced Certificate.

1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, coming fall 2019

Students are required to complete and revise the first 30 pages of a feature-length screenplay. In place of introductory lectures on story and cinema, an interactive presentation provides multimedia lectures that include sample text, images, and audio and video clips. Additional, short reaction papers encourage participation. In addition to two rounds of individual student workshop sessions, students have one-on-one meetings with the instructor conducted through video, audio or text chat. The final grade is a cumulative assessment of student performance over the course of the term, factoring in all assignments, participation in discussion threads and progress made in the revision of 30 screenplay pages.

1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in summer

Students in this course study a range of genres in creative nonfiction, including memoir, personal essay and journalistic prose. Students use frequent writing assignments, assigned readings, and collaborative peer workshops to explore various elements of prose writing, with an emphasis on voice, description, narrative structure and approaches to time.

*Academic credit (PDF) is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

 

LPS Online

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326
lpsonline@sas.upenn.edu