Undergraduate English Majors may also pursue a Creative Writing concentration within the major. The Creative Writing Concentration is designed as an undergraduate course of study for students seriously considering careers as writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
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The Prairie Schooner, founded in 1927 at the University of Nebraska, is widely recognized as one of the premiere literary quarterlies in the nation. Creative Writing students often serve as interns with the magazine.
The undergraduate literary magazine, Laurus, publishes fiction, poetry, non-fiction and visual artwork created exclusively by UNL undergraduates. In addition to contributing creative pieces to the magazine, students can also apply to be one of the editors.
Undergraduates interested in the writing of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have a number of opportunities to develop those interests. Genre specific workshop courses focus on creative composition, the development of craft and technique, and rigorous revision practices based on group feedback.
The department regularly offers a sequence of 200, 300, and 400 level workshops in Creative Writing. The workshops, along with a variety of literature courses (including courses on contemporary writers), help students to expand their own perceptions and skills as writers.
Many of our undergraduates publish their writing in Laurus (the undergraduate literary magazine) and submit their work to the English department's literary contests each spring. Some also serve as interns with Prairie Schooner.
Undergraduate Creative Writing students have gone on to further study in M.F.A. and/or Ph.D. Programs in Creative Writing. Many have gone on to publish their work.
Enrolling approximately 120 students and composed of 41 graduate faculty (including 12 in Creative Writing), the Graduate Program in English at the University of Nebraska offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing. Graduates of UNL’s Ph.D creative writing program have received recognition from the Pulitzer Prize, National Endowment for the Arts, Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, New York Times Editors’ Choice, the Today Show, the New York Public Library, the National Magazine Award, and the National Poetry Series, among other distinctions, and have been published in the Paris Review, the Atlantic, Harper’s and many other magazines and journals. The UNL Creative Writing program is also home to the Prairie Schooner literary journal and the American Life in Poetry newspaper project (edited by Ted Kooser).
The Creative Writing M.A. consists of 24 hours of course work and a 6 credit creative thesis plus an oral examination. Students select a thesis committee consisting of a chair and two readers who guide them in their creative project.
For the Creative Writing Ph.D., students develop a program of course work, reading lists for the comprehensive examination, reading knowledge of a foreign language, an optional collateral field, and a creative dissertation project. In the construction of such a degree program, students are guided by a self-selected Supervisory Committee.
The Ph.D. program consists of 90 hours beyond the bachelor's degree. The usual program of studies for the Ph.D. student is 24-30 hours of course work beyond the master's, plus a maximum of 30 hours of dissertation credit. The department accepts up to 36 hours of M.A. credit as part of the Ph.D. degree.