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Course Descriptions

MFA Creative Writing Courses

CRW 230 Fiction (3)
Through both reading and writing, this class delves into considerations of elements of "style" and "voice," exploring character development, plot, dialogue, time, place, stream of consciousness, and suspension of disbelief. Type of writing may include short fiction, novel chapters, graphic novel, and speculative fiction. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 231 Poetry (3)
In this workshop, students will write their own poems with guidance, prompts, and forms given by the instructor. Student work will be shared in a workshop setting where all students participate. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 232 Writing for Screen and Television (3)
An introduction to the craft of script writing for an original motion-picture screenplay or teleplay, with emphasis on story structure, character, and the language of film. Students study produced screenplays and pilots; write exercises in character development, scene construction, dialogue, and description. Students are expected to complete first act of an original screenplay, or a treatment of two acts of an original television pilot by the end of the semester. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 233 Creative Non-Fiction Writing (3)
Creative non-fiction offers students the opportunity to explore several platforms for expression that may include memoir, essays, and articles. Students draw on public and private events to create stories, offer informed commentary, satire, and comedy. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 234 Advanced Screenwriting (3)

For those students who have taken CRW 232 or CRW 242 and would like to continue their writing in an intensive workshop, this course assumes knowledge of screenplay basics such as screenplay format, act structure, and treatments. Students will make significant progress in completing a screenplay or television pilot during the semester. Prerequisite: CRW 232 or CRW 242 or permission of the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 236 Playwriting I (3)

Study of essentials of writing for the stage.  Through reading and watching plays, classic and modern, students will learn about dramatic structure, causality, building a scene and creating characters. The course will culminate in the writing of a one-act play.  Playwriting I and II may be taken in either sequence.

CRW 240 Fiction Writing II (3)

Through both reading and writing, this class considers point of view, pacing, tone, structure, and setting. Type of writing may include short fiction, novel chapters, and graphic novel. The course will culminate in a portfolio of several chapters or stories.  CRW 230 and CRW 240 may be taken in either sequence.

CRW 241 Poetry Writing II (3)

In this workshop, students develop chapbook-length projects and poem sequences (i.e., sonnet cycles, etc.) Student work will be shared in a workshop setting where all participate. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor.

CRW 242 Screenwriting II (3)

An overview of feature film story structure and detailed instruction on creating the "blueprint" for storytelling that we call the outline.  Students will learn standard Hollywood film story structure as well as how to construct scenes with compelling action, believable reactions and escalating conflict that builds within the scene, while also elevating the stakes of the entire story.  Students are expected to complete a short film screenplay by the end of the semester.  Writing for the Screen I and II may be taken in either sequence.

CRW 243 Creative Non-Fiction Writing II (3)

In this workshop, students explore and pursue long-form non-fiction projects including memoirs and non-fiction novels. Students engage in reportage, narrativization, and interviews, in addition to developing a non-fiction book proposal. Creative Non-Fiction Writing I and II may be taken in either sequence.

CRW 246 Playwriting (3)
An introduction to the craft of writing for the stage, based on the elements of the traditional stage. Students will draw upon classical forms to create plays that are suitable for the modern theatre. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 248 Special Topics in Creative Writing (3)
Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 296 Thesis
Taken after the student has completed 24 units of course work. Preparation of thesis manuscript in conjunction with Thesis Director. Must be taken twice in subsequent semesters. May be repeated once for three units, after which with approval it may be repeated for 1 unit.

CRW 299C Publishing Seminar (3)
This seminar exposes students to the process and mechanisms associated with commercial and academic publishing across selected genres and publishing markets. Focus of the course and method of instruction determined by the instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 297A, B, C, and D Thesis Continuation (1)

Students who need a little more time to finish their theses may register for up to 4 additional one-units.

For courses in Humanities see their course offerings and descriptions.