The creative writing courses at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies (CAPS) are open to all students with writing skills comparable to those typically learned in English Composition 111 and 203. CAPS offers a 16-unit certificate program in Creative Writing for those who want to explore in depth, and achieve significant mastery in, the art of writing fiction or creative nonfiction.
Instructors in this program are experienced professional writers, most of whom are associated with the Washington University Graduate Writing Program and the Department of English. All of the craft courses are taught using the workshop model, with open discussion and detailed, constructive criticism of each student’s writing.
Summer Writers Institute
Each July, Washington University holds the Summer Writers Institute, a creative writing experience for writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Participants may earn 3 credits. Call 314-935-6700 for more information.
There are no formal requirements for admission to undergraduate certificates. Students should speak with an academic advisor regarding their preparation for specific certificates or courses.
US Citizenship or Eligible Noncitizen
International students interested in the certificate programs must hold a visa that permits part-time study (including F-2 and J-2 visas). Students holding F-1 visas are not eligible for these programs. Students holding a B-2 visa may be eligible if the coursework is recreational or avocational in nature.
NOTE: CAPS is designed for students with adult responsibilities who may require part-time and flexible course schedules. Current high school students and recent graduates seeking a traditional WashU college experience should apply through the undergraduate admissions office: admissions.wustl.edu.
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis and typically take three to five business days. An application is incomplete and will not be reviewed until all of the application requirements have been received or processed. Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by the following dates:
- Summer 2024: April 30, 2024
- Fall 2024: July 31, 2024
- Spring 2025: Dec. 31, 2024
Completed Application Form
The online application is available on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed and the required documents have been received.
We are here for you every step. Getting started at CAPS is easy.
1. Meet with an Advisor
- Schedule an appointment with an advisor online.
2. Start Your Application
- Applying is easy, and our advisors are here to help you find the path that fits your needs. Apply Today!
3. Plan Ahead
- Explore ways that can help you afford your education such as tuition payment methods, scholarships and financial aid.
Take a course today. Apply later.
At CAPS, students can take courses without applying to a degree program. If you are interested in taking a class to get to know CAPS, to fulfill credits, for professional development, or to follow a passion, the non-degree option is for you. Learn more.
REQUIRED COURSES: 16 UNITS
Students may specialize in fiction or creative nonfiction.
Each student will take five 3-credit, advanced-level (300 or higher) courses, including three courses devoted to mastering the craft of writing in the chosen specialty genre, one course primarily in reading and analysis of the literature in that genre, and one course in a second genre.
The student’s final course in the program will be taken for four credits, rather than the usual three, and will include a 1-credit meta-commentary assignment. This assignment requires students to step back from the particular course and describe (in 1500 words) what they have learned about the differences between and similarities among the genres investigated and how these have affected their choice of genre. Students should look at the strategies they have chosen in their writing and explain why they chose them for a particular purpose. The goals of this assignment are for students to demonstrate the skills that they have learned during the course of their certificate studies as they think about the genres they have examined and to show how these skills govern their approach to creative writing.
Students with little previous experience in creative writing are encouraged to begin with a 200-level writing course or workshop as a foundation for the more advanced courses that will count toward the certificate.
POETRY WRITING (U11 316)
FICTION WRITING (U11 317)
FICTION SEMINAR (U11 318)
NONFICTION: READING AND WRITING THE MEMOIR (U11 3151)
CREATIVE NONFICTION: WRITING OURSELVES, WRITING THE WORLD
THE ART OF THE PERSONAL ESSAY (U11 323)
FUNDAMENTALS OF NOVEL WRITING (U11 4500)
Student Success Navigators
Every CAPS student is paired with a Student Success Navigator at the time of admission to help you navigate your path and needs. We will provide you with the tools to make each moment spent on your education as valuable as possible. Students will receive:
- individual appointments with an experienced Student Success Navigator;
- career planning services to prepare you for opportunities after graduation;
- a partner throughout your journey to ensure success.
Student Success Navigators are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.