English: Creative Writing

The College

Creative writing at ASU is a vibrant program staffed by award-winning poets and fiction writers who work closely with you as you develop your voice and style, and as you learn the history and range of contemporary American writing in many forms. Our students participate in internships with literary publications (see https://barretthonors.asu.edu/sites/default/files/honors_theses_in_creat...); they can join in a mentorship program that connects them to students in ASU's prestigious MFA program (https://piper.asu.edu/students/mentoring); and many go on to graduate study, to careers in the arts, and/or in education, or they apply their critical thinking and reading skills in a wide range of fields (from astrobiology to nonprofit administration to tech leadership…). Any Barrett student who is considering a concentration in Creative Writing should contact the lead FHA.

Download Guidelines: File the_creative_writing_thesis_at_asu.docx

Faculty Honors Advisors

Sally Ball

Thesis/Creative Projects: 

A thesis is an extended creative project usually completed in close study with a core faculty member in the creative writing program. For a thesis in fiction, professors typically expect the student to write and revise between 30-50 pages of prose, and in poetry, professors typically expect the student to write and revise 14-21 pages of poetry. The culminating event for honors thesis students is the Defense: all students present an excerpt of their work in a formal reading, approximately 6-8 poems or 5-10 pages of fiction; that presentation is followed by a discussion with the committee that raises questions about specific aspects of the thesis (related both to subject matters and to technique/formal choices...).

Group projects: Writers band together—this has been true forever!—to start publishing ventures, to collaborate (with each other, with visual artists, with composers, with engineers), or to reach out into the larger community (in service of the art, in service of the community itself...). ASU CW welcomes projects in which this kind of collegial and/or interdisciplinary vision brings students together and enlarges our experience of the literary arts.

When a creative project is complete, the student will have a body of work large enough to serve as a work sample in a graduate school application.

Thesis students test their commitment to writing outside the classroom, which is different from the workshop environment (and more closely resembles the general experience of a writer’s life...). The creative writing thesis both cultivates a student’s independence and also enables a close working relationship with the faculty mentor. Creative writing theses abide by BHC's requirements for who can serve on committees, contact the lead FHA for advice about forming your committee (you can do this before or after you have secured a director).

Academic Preparation: 

Most students accepted for creative writing theses are enrolled in the concentration in creative writing within the English major, have passed portfolio review, and taken at least one 400-level course in their genre (fiction or poetry). More information can be found here.

Other Honors Opportunities: 

All creative writing courses *may* accommodate honors contracts, and all creative writing faculty work regularly and enthusiastically with honors students. We ask that you approach your professor early in the term to discuss whether a project is possible and what form it might take, and to establish a work schedule, plan, and deadlines.

Honors contracts may be for 1-8 hours of instruction, as determined by the professor in consultation with the student. In poetry, the writing usually involves no more than three pages of new poems in response to outside readings and/or a short paper responding critically to a selection of poems decided upon by student and professor. In fiction, the writing usually involves a single short story and/or a short paper responding critically to a selection of fiction decided upon by student and professor.