2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Sep 21, 2023  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English and Creative Writing, leading to a B.A. degree

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The English and Creative Writing Major requires to students to take 12 courses in literature and creative writing. Our creative writing offerings include courses in writing fiction, poetry, plays, screenplays, criticism, journalism, and other genres, both at the introductory and the advanced level. Our curriculum is shaped around forms and genres and around social justice; students must study more than one genre of storytelling in a formal way and must also engage the writings and literary cultures of previously marginalized groups as well as more canonical texts and contexts.

Students in the English and Creative Writing Major may choose as a capstone experience/CUE either Reading for Writers or a Senior Seminar in English.



  • Living Writers (or another course must be selected in consultation with the English & Creative Writing major advisor)
  • CUE: Senior Seminar in English or Reading for Writers: Aesthetic Theory
  • At least 12 courses total in ENG (or approved cognate) including the above and: 
    • At least 5 additional courses in Literature* and 
    • At least 5 additional courses in Creative Writing,* which when taken together satisfy the Genre and Social Justice requirements as outlined in the English major:

*Literature Courses must include: At least 1 Reading X class, at least 2 literature classes at the 300-level or higher, and 2 additional literature classes.

*Creative Writing Courses must include: 2 Introductory 200-level Creative Writing classes, 2 300-level (or higher) Creative Writing classes, and one additional Creative Writing class. These 5 Creative Writing classes must include at least 1 in poetry and/or drama and 1 in prose (fiction/nonfiction/speculative fiction/etc.)

*All courses taken together must satisfy the Genre and Social Justice requirements as outlined below.


Living Writers

A signature course of the Muhlenberg English Department, this team-taught course focuses on the work of six well-known writers (of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) who visit Muhlenberg to discuss their work, meet with students, and give a public reading. The class meets as one group on a weekly basis, either for a lecture or for a presentation by one of the visiting writers, and again in sections for discussions of each writer’s work. Writers who have participated in this course include Peter Carey, Jonathan Franzen, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Andrea Barrett, Robert Pinsky, Carolyn Forche, Paul Muldoon, David Bradley, Alice Fulton, and Jay Wright.
Offered every three years.

Reading X

All English and Creative Writing majors must take at least 1 Reading X.

A set of offerings at the 200 level, the “Reading X” series, is designed for fledgling English majors and minors.  These courses are also appropriate for students seeking their HU requirement who may desire greater focus than a typical survey course provides.  The “Reading X” courses immerse students in a specific author, text, or literary topic, focusing on areas of controversy and debate in contemporary literary and cultural studies.  Reading X courses further introduce students to practical criticism; each course will represent voices in at least 3 named types of literary theory and criticism, at least one of which represents views that critique inequities in the canon, such as Race and Postcolonial Studies, Disability Studies, Gender and Sexuality Theory, and Ecocriticism. With the senior seminar, the “Reading X” courses will bookend the major with experiences of depth.

Reading X Courses (a partial list)

Forms & Genres

All English and Creative Writing majors must take at least 1 course in prose, 1 in poetry, and 1 in drama/transmedia storytelling.  These courses are marked as such in Workday and often have the form or genre in the title (e.g. Contemporary Fiction, Modern Poetry, Postwar British Drama and Film). Creative Writing courses may also be used towards this requirement (e.g. Introduction to Fiction Writing for the prose requirement,  Introduction to Poetry Writing for the poetry requirement).

Social Justice

All English and Creative Writing majors must take at least 3 designated Social Justice courses, one of which must foreground BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).

English Department Social Justice courses have significant content that foregrounds and theorizes literature from and concerns of underrepresented groups as well as the political and historical contexts that create and sustain inequity. These courses work to highlight literature and the literary study of all genders, sexualities, races, nationalities, religions, and ecological concerns that have been and continue to be marginalized in literary study. They may foreground BIPOC, women, and/or LGBTQ+ writers, or they may investigate literary engagement and complicity with systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-semitism, and ecology-destroying attitudes.

These courses often intersect with other programs on campus with prominent social justice concerns, including WST, AAS, and SUS. Like Muhlenberg’s HDGE courses, our social justice courses “aim to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of human difference and to develop the intellectual and civic skills students require for participation in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.”

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