Every year, thousands of students take undergraduate Creative Writing courses. Many are interested in taking one or two courses as freestanding electives out of interest and the desire to explore their own creativity, while earning credit.
For some, however, Creative Writing courses are a more vital and intentional piece of your education goals, helping you build the career and future you want. For you, we provide here some relevant guidance and information to assist in planning your UBC studies.
Note that we will often ask for manuscript samples of your writing in particular genres in order to consider placing you in a course or advise on your options, and that Creative Writing receives enormous numbers of queries about course places during active registration periods.
We recommend that you seek advice on Creative Writing options as early as you can, ideally prior to active registration periods. Students in our degree programs – the Major and the Minor –always have priority consideration for open seats, as they require these to complete their degree.
Creative Writing Options
Creative Writing offers courses and set-aside seats for students in both the media stream of the Coordinated Arts Program, and the Bachelor of Media Studies. The former have a dedicated section of CRWR 213 (New Media) each year; for the latter, we reserve sufficient seats in our CRWR 302 (Podcasting) course for all entrants to the program.
For both groups, you can apply these courses to a Minor in Creative Writing. If you are interested in learning about other Creative Writing courses applicable to media studies, please speak with the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor.
We make screenwriting options available for students in the Film Production BFA. Following completion of CRWR 206 (Introduction to Screenwriting), Film Production students who go on to take the intermediate screenwriting course, CRWR 306, benefit from a seminar group restricted to their cohort. From 306, students with a particular interest in screenwriting as part of their degree can develop their craft in the workshop setting of CRWR 356, a course that can be taken more than once for credit.
FIPR students who wish to find out about other potential options are advised to speak with the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor towards the end of their second year of full-time studies.
UBC offers a unique program in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program (MACL), jointly offered by the Departments of English and Language and Literacy Education, the Creative Writing Program, and the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies.
One thesis option for MACL students is the hybrid thesis where they produce original writing for children or young adults and are usually supervised by Creative Writing faculty. To support this option, and the program, Creative Writing sets aside seats in our Writing for Children and Young Adult courses at all levels.
Incoming MACL students are assessed via a brief portfolio, and placed in a Creative Writing class if appropriate that matches their needs. You should consult and follow the detailed instructions at the MACL site on applying for Creative Writing courses; as the options include both undergraduate and graduate options, to avoid confusion and duplication of effort, all MACL related submissions and queries should be directed to the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor.
The Interdisciplinary Studies Program allows students to build their own unique multidisciplinary Major program, leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Many Interdisciplinary Studies students select Creative Writing as either their primary or secondary category of studies, and put together a course of studies made up of upper level Creative Writing courses to earn the credit required for their degree.
However, it is important to note that even if this course selection is agreed by IDST, it does not constitute permission or eligibility to take courses for which the student does not have the prerequisites. Nor does it allow IDST students access to 400 level CRWR courses, which are restricted to students who have submitted successful applications for the Creative Writing Major.
IDST students interested in upper level Creative Writing courses for their degree should seek advice from the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor on their eligibility and options in Creative Writing.
Most graduate students are required to take electives outside their main field of study and can include upper level undergraduate courses as electives. There is often great interest in Creative Writing courses among graduate students, particularly in fields such as Journalism or Education, where there are affinities between the programs.
While we recognize that graduate students need upper level courses to receive credit, you should be mindful that our Major courses (at the 400 level) and MFA courses (at the 500 level) are intended for advanced Creative Writing students who have qualified through a highly selective process. These small workshop classes require a high standard of original writing and the ability to provide useful, informed peer feedback, so are not generally suitable for anyone with no formal Creative Writing background.
Creative Writing courses at the 300 level usually have a 200 level pre-requisite, and without that in place, it can be challenging for anyone to flourish in a class where they do not have the required technical vocabulary and knowledge.
Please seek advice from Creative Writing about options if you wish to add a Creative Writing course to your graduate program.
Many students transfer to UBC from two-year College programs, or from other universities, having studied Creative Writing at their previous college or university. UBC assesses and awards transfer credit when you are admitted; those credits are carefully assessed and are established on full consideration of the equivalence of courses between institutions.
Creative Writing is taught in varied ways at different institutions and it may be the case that your previous courses do not equate to pre-requisites for UBC Creative Writing courses.
Students transferring within BC can check the equivalency of courses through the BC Transfer Guide which also has some more general but still useful information for students transferring from outside BC.
Further questions about pre-requisite equivalences, specifically if you want to add the Creative Writing Minor to your program, or to register in a particular course, should be addressed to the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor.
Visiting students, and those planning an exchange semester or year at UBC, submit a list of courses they would like to take and that will earn them credit at their home institution; any Creative Writing requests are evaluated by the program, for pre-requisites and for suitability. We will not consider visiting students for places in our 400 and 500 level classes. Even if you qualify for a course, and are given approval, the popularity of many of our classes means that there may not be available space for you in the class, as current UBC students and most particularly our degree students must take priority in registration.
If you are on-campus and unable to register in Creative Writing courses for which you have been cleared, you can speak with the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor who can assist in finding options and registering you for other Creative Writing courses that may meet your program requirements. You can also write in advance for further information on Creative Writing at UBC, but all queries and applications should go in the first instance through your home institution’s exchange service.