applying to the creative writing option

Creative Writing Option Applications:


Applicants to the Creative Writing option must have already declared, or be eligible to declare, the English: Language and Literature major. (The Creative Writing option is not available to Evening Degree Program students; it is available in the day program only.)

Applications for the Creative Writing option are accepted in autumn, winter, and spring quarters, and should be submitted to the Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford, by the third Friday of the quarter at 4:00pm. Applications to creative writing are not accepted in summer quarter.

Eligibility Requirements:


To be eligible to apply for the Creative Writing option, you must

  1. have already declared, or be ready to declare, the English major in the day program;
  2. have completed ENGL 283 (beginning verse writing) and ENGL 284 (beginning short story writing) or transfer equivalents.

Admission to the Creative Writing option is competitive; however, in recent quarters, between 60 and 85 per cent of applicants have been accepted.

Application Procedure:


Submit two sets of the following application materials by 4:00pm on the third Friday of autumn, winter, or spring quarter (no applications accepted in summer):

1. Undergraduate Creative Writing Option Application (two copies) Transcripts for all college work completed, both at the UW and elsewhere (these are additional sets of transcripts, separate from the transcripts you will have supplied as part of your application for the major):

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2. A Writing Sample (two copies) of 3-5 poems and 5-10 pages of fiction (preferably a complete story), double spaced:

- Review the writing sample guidelines and be sure to submit literary fiction and poetry (as opposed to genre fiction, song lyrics, spoken word, and the like).

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See our basic guidelines on writing samples. Though genre fiction in general -- and the shifting and ambiguous boundaries between genre fiction and literary fiction -- merits a much longer discussion, in a nutshell, beginning writers applying to the creative writing option in the major should steer clear of submitting as their writing samples any stories that include one or more of the following: dragons, knights, princesses in distress, private eyes investigating murders, cold war spies, spaceships, aliens, entire civilizations on other planets, gunslingers in the Old West, zombies, wizards, alternative realities, and the like. For additional information, see articles from Wikipedia and The New Yorker on genre fiction.

- Be sure to proofread carefully.


Admission decisions are based primarily on the potential a student exhibits in his or her writing sample - grades and GPAs are usually not at issue. Admission decisions are sent to applicants by e-mail, normally within two weeks of the application deadline.


Admission to the Creative Writing option is competitive; completion of the requirements above does not guarantee admission. In recent quarters, however, between 60 and 85 per cent of applicants have been admitted.

Students who are denied admission to the Creative Writing option will continue to be English majors, and may complete the requirements for the literature BA in English. They may apply for the Creative Writing option one additional time, but if they are denied admission then, they must complete the literature major or elect another major in another department.


Department of English Admission and Continuation Policy (rules for satisfactory progress)2nd window graphic
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