Hone your creative writing skills in the Writing and literature degree program.

Writing & Literature

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Writing and Literature Degree Program Overview

Writing is a powerful means of knowing—as a practice it forces us to see, to make, and to reflect. In the midst of a culture that increasingly uses language to manipulate and deaden our experience of being human, becoming a good writer—of a poem or an essay or a memo—can be a challenge. This program provides a way for writers to explore many kinds of writing and literature and work on both expressiveness and craft in a supportive community.

The design of the writing and literature major is based on several crucial assumptions. One is that writers need to be readers—avid and incisive readers. Therefore, most courses in the major combine the study of literature with the practice of both creative and critical writing, and students are required to take specific courses that emphasize reading skills and critical approaches to literature. Our curriculum encourages students to investigate texts from a global perspective that includes both "popular" and "classical" literature.

Another assumption is that today, more than ever, writers often need to practice in more than one genre. The major offers a number of craft courses in non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, and is designed to provide breadth of experience as well as depth. As students move into advanced courses, they may focus on one genre, such as poetry or screenwriting, or work across genres. Self-designed learning activities may be substituted for electives in order to give students the opportunity to add depth and refinement to their craft or to experiment with the boundaries between genres.

Writing is a way into the world—both a means of thinking and communicating. At Burlington College we expect students to learn to write in clear and reasoned prose, even as they may be working on wild experiments or exploring intuitive connections between images or writing a comic screenplay. All students learn researching skills and ways to transform information and ideas into thoughtful writing. Regular faculty and visiting writers are practicing writers and scholars, and readings and publishing opportunities happen on a regular basis. Required internships also encourage students to explore how they can be "writers in the real world."

Graduates of the program often go on to further study and/or careers in teaching, publishing, the non-profit sector, and media. Those who combine writing with other disciplines, such as integral psychology, the arts, or film, can pursue careers such as expressive arts, Web publishing/design, screenwriting, or counseling.

Writing and Literature Degree Requirements:

All students are required to complete an upper-level internship in the major; typical placements include settings such as museums, newspapers, magazines, libraries, arts programs, and schools. Each student also undertakes a 6-credit capstone Degree Project in the last two semesters to produce a substantial piece of creative work accompanied by a reflective essay that explores technical, aesthetic, personal, and social contexts of the work.

Every Bachelor of Arts degree candidate must complete Burlington College's General Education requirements and earn 120 credits to achieve a degree. The following course requirements are specific to the Writing and Literature major. Other coursework may be substituted with permission of academic advisor. All courses are 3-credits unless otherwise noted.

Intermediate Level (200) Required Courses: 12 credits
WAL/220 - Creative Writing
WAL250 - The Art of Reading: Introduction to Literature
WAL283 - World Literature I: A Textual Exploration of Humankind
WAL284 - World Literature II: A Textual Exploration of Humankind

Electives: 6 credits
WAL201/301 - Poetry Seminar
WAL202/302 - Poetry: Presentation and Performance
COR/WAL203 - The Beats: Pull My Daisy
COR205 - Great Ideas: Exile
WAL210/310 - Short Fiction: A Critical and Creative Approach to Stories
COR213 - How to Tell a Story
WAL225 - Ordinary Lives: Writing About Others
WAL226 - Writing for New Media
CIN/WAL240 - Introduction to Screenwriting

Upper Level (300) Required Courses: 6 credits
WAL331 - Search and Research: Academic Writing
COR337 - Ways of Seeing: Art, Literature, and Film Criticism

Electives: 9 credits
WAL201/301 - Poetry Seminar
WAL202/302 - Poetry: Presentation and Performance
WAL210/310 - Short Fiction: A Critical and Creative Approach to Stories
WAL332 - Creative Nonfiction
WAL333 - Memoir and Autobiography
CIN/WAL340 - Writing the Feature I
CIN/WAL342 - Writing the Feature II
FIN/WAL346 - Words and Images
WAL 353 - Gothic Literature and Film
TPS369 - Standing on Earth: The Agrarian Vision of Wendell Berry
WAL370 - Shakespeare's Crack'd Mirror
COR376 - The Avant Garde: Paradoxes of Modernism
Or other approved coursework, such as Guided Independent Studies, Tutorials, etc.

Action Learning Seminar and Internship: 3 credits
Degree Project I & II: 6 credits


General Education Requirements

  • Demonstration of proficiency in academic computing
  • Vision and Revision (or assessment of writing sample)
  • Research and Reflection

Evidence of proficiency in the four fundamental learning skills 

  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Researching

3 credits in each of the following areas of the liberal arts 
  • Creative Expression
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Media Literacy
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Responsible Action
  • Scientific Thought
  • Social Awareness
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This program provides a way for writers to explore many kinds of writing and literature and work on both expressiveness and craft in a supportive community.