Frequently Asked Questions about the Creative Writing Minor

Q: Do I need any background or experience to take ENGL 218 (the introductory course in poetry and fiction writing?

A: No. ENGL 218 has no prerequisites and assumes no experience on the part of students. It's a good course for total beginners as well as students who have written in one genre but not the other; it also, of course, welcomes those who have tried both and want to develop further as writers.

Q: Do I have to officially declare the minor?

A: No. But it is to your advantage to do so. Declaring the minor gives you preference in admission to creative writing classes, secures a minor advisor for you, and enables us to keep you informed of literary events on campus. To declare the minor, you must fill out the appropriate form in the registrar's office and make your intentions known to Professor Adrienne Su (sua@dickinson.edu).

Q: How often will the required courses be offered?

A: All 200-level requirements are offered every semester. 300- and 400-level requirements will be offered at least once a year — not every semester. ENGL 317, 319, and 337 are generally offered in the fall semester; ENGL 338 and 400-level workshops are generally offered in the spring. Always check the current course schedule, however, for possible changes in a given year.


Q: Do I have to be an English major to do the Creative Writing minor?

A: No.

Q: Can courses double-count for the English major and/or distribution requirements?

A: Yes. Talk to your advisor about which courses will double-count. Don't assume.

Q: Does ENGL 218 meet the Writing-Intensive requirement for graduation?

A: No.

Q: What about study abroad? Can I transfer classes from other institutions?

A: Certain courses offered at the University of East Anglia, UK, can be counted as ENGL 218, 317, or 319 workshop credit. Courses taken at other institutions, abroad or domestically, must be approved in advance by Professor Su, Professor Perabo, or Professor Johnston.  To get a general sense of whether the course you are considering is appropriate, some guidelines are available here:

200-level creative-writing credit guidelines
300-level creative-writing credit guidelines

In every case, the final determination of credit is the decision of the faculty, so be sure to secure approval before you take the course.

Q: Can I take ENGL 218 and ENGL 317 or 319 in the same genre simultaneously? Can I take ENGL 317 or 319 and 418 in the same genre simultaneously?

A: No. No.

Q: Can I take ENGL 417, 418, or 419 even if I’m not completing the minor in Creative Writing?

A: Yes, provided there is room in the class (declared minors have priority) and you have taken the prerequisites (ENGL 218 and 317 or 319, depending on the genre in which you want to take a 400-level workshop).

Q: I understand that 300-level literature courses in English have a prerequisite of ENGL 220. Can I take ENGL 337 or 338 without having taken ENGL 220?

A: You can. For Creative Writing minors, the prerequisite for ENGL 337/338 is ENGL 101.

Q: I'm an English major. Can I count a 300-level workshop course as one of my 300-level literature courses for the English major?

A: No. Because they are workshop courses, ENGL 317 and 319 do not count toward the 300-level literature requirement in the English major. You can, however, count either ENGL 337 or 338 as one of your 300-level literature courses in the major.

Q: I'm a non-English major. My department offers only one senior seminar per year, and it might conflict with ENGL 417/418/419 in my final semester. How can I complete both my major and and Creative Writing minor?

A: Plan ahead. Talk with your major advisor as well as Professor Su, Professor Perabo, or Professor Johnston. Although ENGL 417/418/419 is a senior workshop, certain students may need to take it in the junior year to avoid make-or-break conflicts like this.