Oberlin’s Creative Writing Program is one of few in the country that offers a major at the undergraduate level. Established here in 1975 by poet and translator Stuart Friebert, creative writing is an intense and rigorous course of study that provides instruction, studio training, and coursework in six genres: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, translation, and screenwriting.
In keeping with the liberal arts tradition, we prepare you with a broad and balanced program of study that emphasizes interconnections between various literary genres. Majors will have some interdisciplinary study through a playwriting course and courses offered by the departments of English and comparative literature.
Our faculty members are accomplished writers and poets who work closely with you to deepen reading and writing abilities and to enhance self and peer editing, analysis, and critical thinking skills.
Creative writing has a juried curriculum whereby interested students must apply for admission into the program. We base the curriculum on the view that reading is essential to a writer’s training. A required 12 hours of literature (English, translation, or world literature) and 25 hours of writing will help you develop your own voice, potential, style, and portfolio. While the program does not offer a minor, two first-year courses are open to those who wish to explore poetry and fiction writing.
Fine-tune your writing through lectures, independent projects, workshops, public readings, and reading assignments that also provide opportunities to present and discuss your work. A variety of internship opportunities and practicum allow you to gain credit for hands-on, real world work, including teaching and editorial assistantships. Some students may work at FIELD magazine, a twice-yearly journal of the best of contemporary poetry and poetics, and the Oberlin College Press, which publishes new collections of poetry by established and emerging American poets. Majors can do supervised teaching of creative writing in the Oberlin public schools, or pursue other supervised activities related to creative writing.
In addition, several campus-based publications employ student writers and welcome student submissions including the Oberlin Review student newspaper, the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, and the Plum Creek Review literary journal, among others. Majors contribute their best work to a senior anthology.
About 500 students have majored in creative writing since the Creative Writing Program began, and about 20 to 30 students graduate from the program each year. Many graduates receive fellowships and assistantships to such leading institutions as Brown University, University of Iowa, University of Virginia, and Columbia University to earn the MA, MFA, and PhD.
Those entering the workforce after Oberlin obtain writing positions in varied fields: publishing, law, teaching, government, the ministry, social work, library science, journalism, computer technology, academia, and in various expressions of the arts such as dance, drama, painting, film, and television.