Creative Writing and Literature Major (BA)

A Bachelor of Arts degree (120 credits) consists of Core Curriculum (30 credits) and at least one major (36–60 credits), as well as minors and/or elective courses of the student’s choosing.

The Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Literature is a 36-credit major with a curriculum that balances writing workshops and literary studies. This balance reflects the school’s conviction that creative writing, reading, and critical analysis cultivate a writer’s growth. In addition to the practice and study of writing, Creative Writing and Literature students can acquire professional skills in letterpress printing through the Harry Smith Print Shop, and publishing experience with Bombay Gin literary journal. Through Project Outreach, students develop teaching skills in local schools and institutions.

The goals of the program include guiding students throughout the process of crafting creative work—from generation to revision—and presenting students with opportunities to interpret and respond to a variety of poetic situations. The program promotes contemplative practice to develop students’ insight regarding their academic and creative work, as well as their overall well-being, and encourages students to evaluate their own assumptions and the assumptions of the discourse community through critical and creative engagement with a diversity of values. Finally, the program prepares students for potential careers as artists and thinkers by exposing them to professionals in the field and offering them guidance toward envisioning and meeting their goals.

Departmental Policies

See the JKS Policies & Procedures Manual on MyNaropa.


As the culminating requirement of the degree, each BA candidate completes a BA thesis, which includes a creative manuscript and a critical essay of original scholarly research. The creative manuscript represents the student’s best work, with a sense of progressive movement and arrangement. The critical research essay includes creative thought and a clearly articulated argument with references to authoritative secondary critical sources. The thesis examines aspects of a particular work or works of literature, using literary theory and criticism to inform and deepen the study.

Special Opportunities

In addition to publishing and teaching opportunities, students are encouraged to participate in the Summer Writing Program—a convocation of writers, scholars, translators, performance artists, activists, Buddhist teachers, musicians, printers, editors, and others working in small press publishing. In dialog with renowned practitioners, students engage in the composition of poetry, prose, and cross-genre work, as well as interarts and writing for performance. Participants work in daily contact with some of the most accomplished and provocative writers of our time, meeting individually and in small groups. When taken for academic credit, the Summer Writing Program may count as 300-level or 400-level writing workshops.

Students may deepen their learning by designing an independent study. An independent study can fulfill a literature seminar requirement only and must be supervised by a JKS core or frequent adjunct faculty member. All independent study proposals must include a minimum of five pages of critical work for each credit earned and may include a creative writing element. For more information, see the JKS Policies & Procedures Manual on MyNaropa.


Creative Writing and Literature Major Requirements

Required Courses



300-level Writing Workshops
Choose 69 Credits
Writing workshops train in various genres and include poetry, fiction, and cross-genre. Workshops require the regular submission of original work for critique, oral presentation, and editing.

300-level Literature Seminars
Choose 36 Credits
Literature seminars examine selected writers' works, topics, or periods in literary history and require critical papers in standard academic format.

400-level Writing Workshops
Choose 69 Credits

400-level Literature Seminars
Choose 36 Credits

Writers in Community

Professional Development
Choose 3 Credits
Professional Development courses connect students to a vocation and career path.


Total Credits: 36