Creative writing

Wayne State's English department is home to undergraduate and graduate programs in creative writing. Although they exist within the walls of a public research university, our programs belong to Greater Detroit's vibrant community of artists and writers. We encourage connections between our classrooms and the city visible through their windows.

From introductory courses to graduate seminars, we encourage cross-pollinationthe exchange of ideas and influences across literary genres and aesthetic schools and across the differences of identity, culture and experience reflected in the Wayne State student body, among the most diverse in the nation.

Students work with local literary organizations like InsideOut Literary Arts, 826 Michigan and the new Detroit chapter of City of Asylum. Some have worked as editorial interns at Wayne State University Press. Some edit or contribute to our student literary journal, The Wayne Literary Review.

We offer an assortment of fellowships, scholarships and awards for undergraduate and graduate students.

Meet our creative writing faculty

Undergraduate studies in creative writing

In undergraduate courses, students study multiple genres reading exemplary works, learning about elements of craft and aesthetic tendencies in modern and contemporary literature as they generate and revise their own original poetry and prose. We offer introductory and advanced workshops in fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction, along with seminars that combine the practice of creative writing with literary study.

The most introductory course we offer is English 2800: Techniques of Imaginative Writing, but the prerequisite for all upper-level creative writing courses is English 3800: Introduction to Creative Writing. Our most advanced course, English 6800: Advanced Creative Writing, is graduate level and to gain entrance, undergraduates must complete the necessary prerequisites and obtain the permission of the instructor by submitting a brief writing sample: several poems, several pages of prose. Undergraduates majoring in English may specialize in creative writing by following the course sequence.

Minor in creative writing

The creative writing minor allows students to focus their studies in reading and writing poetry, fiction and other creative forms.

For more information and guidance, please contact either the English department's undergraduate advisor or the coordinator of creative writing.

Creative writing undergraduate coursework

All creative writing minors and all English majors who wish to specialize in creative writing are required to take English 3800, a prerequisite for all 5000-level creative writing courses. Visit the Undergraduate Bulletin for a complete set of course descriptions.

  • ENG 2800: Techniques of Imaginative Writing
  • ENG 3800: Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENG 3810: Poetry Writing
  • ENG 3820: Fiction Writing
  • ENG 4992: Honors Project
  • ENG 5695: Topics in Writing and Publishing
  • ENG 5860: Topics in Creative Writing
  • ENG 5870: Poetry Writing Workshop
  • ENG 5880: Fiction Writing Workshop
  • ENG 5885: Topics in Creative Non-Fiction Writing
  • ENG 6800: Advanced Creative Writing

Graduate studies in creative writing

Wayne State University offers a master's in English with a creative writing track. Our graduate writing program combines an artistic apprenticeship with advanced literary study and culminates with a creative thesis, a chapbook of poems, a collection of stories or essays and a significant portion of a novel or memoir. Students who don't wish to leave a job or interrupt a career are welcome. Nearly all of our workshops and advanced creative writing courses are regularly offered in the evening.

M.A. vs. M.F.A.

The master's (M.A.) can be an advantageously flexible degree. Because it is not a terminal degree, graduates from our program who wish to may pursue other degrees that are terminal, including the M.F.A. Some come to our program in hopes of beginning or finishing a first book. Some come to produce a nationally competitive portfolio with which to apply to M.F.A. programs or complete coursework that might be credited toward a Ph.D. Our program has also prepared students for careers outside academia, in professional writing, journalism and publishing. For most, the program is valuable in itself. During your four semesters at Wayne State, you study and practice a literary art in a community of equally devoted writers under the expert guidance of distinguished poets, novelists and essayists.

Multi-genre and cross-genre study

Most M.A. students specialize in one of three genres - fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction but many of our writing workshops, seminars and craft courses are multi-genre by design. We believe that writers of prose benefit from the study of poetry, poets from the study of prose and we invite students to experiment in different genres or to blur the boundaries between them.

Creative nonfiction

In addition to poetry and fiction, Wayne State invites graduate students to specialize in Nonfiction. Nonfiction specialists are invited to experiment with and study the genre in all of its variety. They may work in the personal essay, memoir, literary journalism, lyric essay, narrative essay or any of the many species of prose encompassed by the term "nonfiction." We also welcome students interested in such genre-blurring forms as documentary poetry and auto-fiction.


We offer an assortment of fellowships, scholarships and awards. The most generous for creative writers is the Daniel Keyes Graduate Scholarship in Creative Writing. Supported by a gift from the family and estate of author Daniel Keyes, an alumnus of our writing faculty, the scholarships fund three incoming masters students: one specializing in poetry, one in fiction and one in nonfiction. Qualified M.A. students may also apply to work as instructors in our undergraduate composition program. All graduate students and applicants are invited to apply for administrative or teaching assistantships by contacting the director of graduate studies and filling out the English Graduate Admissions and Funding Application Form.

Creative writing graduate coursework

M.A. candidates in creative writing take a multi-genre workshop taught on rotation by the creative writing faculty, giving students the chance to work closely with different professors. These workshops help students generate and revise the new work that they will subsequently shape into a thesis. Additional coursework can include craft courses in a single genre (poetry, fiction, nonfiction), seminars in modern or contemporary literature and graduate-level courses outside of creative writing.

Candidates for the master's in creative writing are expected to take English 6800 Advanced Creative Writing in three out of their four semesters of coursework. They may take no more than two courses at the 5000 level. For graduate-level offerings in disciplinary fields of English outside of creative writing or course descriptions, please consult the Graduate Bulletin.

  • ENG 5695 Topics in Writing and Publishing
  • ENG 5860 Topics in Creative Writing
  • ENG 5870 Poetry Writing Workshop
  • ENG 5880 Fiction Writing Workshop
  • ENG 5885 Topics in Creative Non-Fiction Writing
  • ENG 6800 Advanced Creative Writing
  • ENG 7800 Seminar in Creative Writing