Creative Writing
Mount Saint Mary's College

Course Descriptions

Creative Writing Workshops (15 units required)

CRW 229 Children’s Literature (1-3 units)

This course studies and produces literature for children, ranging from writing texts for picture books to drafting short stories and longer fiction for young adult readers. Focus of the course will be determined by the instructor.  May be repeated as topic varies. 

CRW 230 Fiction (1-3 units)

Through both reading and writing, this class explores elements of “style” and “voice,” character development, plot, dialogue, time, place, stream of consciousness, and suspension of disbelief. Types of writing range from short works of fiction to novel chapters. Focus and method of the course will be determined by the Instructor. May be repeated as topic varies.

CRW 231 Poetry (1-3 units)

In this workshop students will write their own poems with guidance, prompts, and forms given by the instructor. They will share their work with classmates for constructive criticism.

CRW 232 Writing for Screen and Television (1-3 units)

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 the first act of an original screenplay or a treatment of two acts of an original television pilot by the end of the semester.

CRW 233 Creative Non-Fiction Writing (1-3 units)

Creative non-fiction offers students the opportunity to explore several platforms for expression. In creative non-fiction, students draw on public and private events to create stories, satire, comedy, and offer informed commentary.

CRW 234 Advanced Writing for Screen and Television (1-3 units)

For those students who have taken CW232 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: CW232 or permission of the instructor.

CRW 246 Playwriting (1-3 units)

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.

CRW 248 Special Topics in Creative Writing (1-3 units)

May be repeated as topic varies.

Elective Courses (12 units required)

Elective courses are selected from classes offered in the MA in the Humanities Program. MFA students are required take at least one class in each of the following areas in the MA in Humanities: English, History and Cultural Studies. See MA in the Humanities (HUM) course offerings on Humanities web page.

Professional Development Courses (3 units required)

CRW 299A Approaches to Teaching (1 unit)

Provides instruction and applied practice in teaching approaches and methods. Students attend two pedagogy sessions during the semester led by the course instructor, prepare a syllabus and deliver a lecture presentation evaluated by the Teaching Assistantship (TA) Review Team. Students attend and contribute to their assigned TA class under the guidance of an assigned lead professor. Successful completion of the course depends on evaluations by the course instructor and a positive report submitted by the lead professor. The class meets for one-hour lunches on the first, third, and fifth weekends for lecture, practice and discussion.

CRW 299B Internship (1-6 units)

The internship is designed to apply Creative Writing and Humanities education to a “real world” setting. On-site experience, including MSMC campus, and participation is required. The number of volunteer hours determines the number of units earned. Each unit consists of 15 volunteer hours. Development of a professional portfolio that reflects volunteer involvement, a positive report submitted by the on-site supervisor, and a report on the experience are required at the completion of the course. Internships are selected and mutually agreed upon by student and course instructor.

CRW 299C Publishing Seminar (1 unit)

This Seminar exposes students to the process and mechanisms associated with commercial or academic publishing.

Thesis Courses

CRW 296A Creative Writing Capstone (3 units required)

Taken after the student has completed 24 units of course work, this course prepares students not only for the thesis, but also for the academic essay that precedes it.

CRW 296B Thesis (3 units required)

Required for completion of the degree is submission of a publication-ready, 100-page manuscript in one genre—fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, screen play or teleplay - —closely reviewed, edited and refined with the assistance of the student’s Thesis Committee.

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

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