AcademicsUndergraduate AcademicsCreative Writing Degree

BA in Creative Writing and Literature

Creative Writing Degree

Deepen your storytelling craft and self-awareness with our degree in creative writing and literature, turning your passion into a professional career.

Program Overview

Among colleges for Creative Writing, the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics is unique in its approach to writing as a means of social and personal transformation.

Engage in critical and creative thinking to deepen your awareness of self, others, and the world around you. Develop insights regarding your academic and creative work as well as your own well-being.

Acquire the hands-on experience, skills, and professional guidance necessary to succeed as an artist or thinker in the writing profession. 

Naropa’s creative writing program values experimentation, critical study, and authenticity.

Earn your bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature at a university where writing workshops, literary studies, and publication opportunities create a deeply integrated experience of creative expression. Engage in contemplative poetics, experimental writing, and explorations of narrative forms while studying eco-poetics, book arts & letterpress, queer literature, and the literature of psychedelics.

You already love to write. Here, you’ll grow as a writer and as a person while discovering fulfilling writing jobs. Our creative writing and literature majors go on to earn graduate degrees in the arts, publish literary works, and become teachers, editors, and communications professionals. 

Violet brush

Quick Facts

Yellow brush

Program Format

Naropa’s four-year undergraduate program in creative writing and literature redefines traditional creative writing as a journey into oneself and toward connection with others. We offer an on-campus education that allows students to develop themselves and their craft as part of a writing community.

At Naropa, we believe that the best creative writing, whether it’s short story writing, poetry, or a blend of genres, comes from deep personal introspection. We also know that engagement with like-minded communities is an essential sounding board for this kind of introspection. A college for creative writing and literature is only as strong as the writing community it creates.

A young woman in a kneeling position holding a manuscript. She is outdoors in what appears to be a garden. In the background, the brick wall of a building can be seen.

Course Spotlight

Experimental and Activist Literatures

This course introduces Black Mountain Poets, the Beats, New York School, Black Arts Movement, Language Poets, New Narrative, and Jack Kerouac School faculty work—poetic movements and writers that continue to influence Naropa’s writing landscape, innovation, aesthetics, and activism. By exploring experimental lineages, Naropa archives, as well as contemporary trends influencing the Kerouac School milieu, we participate as readers/writers/activists and invoke critical/creative awareness that informs the writing process. This creative reading and writing workshop invokes a vital space of active experimentation and culminates in a creative portfolio. 

Degree
Requirements

A Bachelor of Arts degree (120 credits) consists of a Core Curriculum (24 credits) and at least one major, as well as minors and/or elective courses of the student’s choosing.

The Creative Writing & Literature Major has a total of 36 credit hours.

Creative Writing & Literature Major Requirements

  • WRI210 Experimental and Activist Literatures (3)
  • 300-level and 400-level Writing Workshops: Choose 12 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.
    • WRI312 Poetry and Poetics (3)
    • WRI318 Writing Workshop: Long Poem (3)
    • WRI329 Writing Workshop: Contemplative Poetics (3)
    • WRI331 Writing Workshop: Creative Nonfiction (3)
    • WRI339 Writing Workshop: Flash Fiction (3)
    • WRI351–3 Summer Writing Program (2–6)
    • WRI362 Writing Workshop: Fiction (3)
    • WRI369 Writing Workshop: Narrative Forms (3)
    • WRI380 Writing Workshop: Eco-Poetics (3)
    • WRI394W Writing Workshop: Writers Practicum with Anne Waldman (1)
    • WRI395W Writing Workshop: Writers Practicum with Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow (1)
    • WRI415 Writing Workshop: Innovative Poetry (3)
    • WRI428 Writing Workshop: Innovative Fiction (3)
    • WRI440 Writing Workshop: Extended Narratives (3)
    • WRI449 Writing Workshop: Embodied Poetics (3)
    • WRI451–3 Summer Writing Program (2–6)
    • WRI456 Writing Workshop: Poetry in Theory (3)
    • WRI460 Writing Workshop: Ekphrastic Writing (3)
    • WRI490 Special Topics: Writing Workshop (3)
  • 300-level and 400-level Literature Seminars: Choose 9 Credits
    Literature seminars examine selected writers’ works, topics, or periods in literary history and require critical papers in standard academic format.
    • WRI349 Literature Seminar: Modernism and Postmodernism (3)
    • WRI355 Literature Seminar: World Traditions and Letters (3)
    • WRI441 Literature Seminar: Women Writers (3)
    • WRI448 Literature Seminar: Diaspora, Migration, and Borderlands (3)
    • WRI455 Literature Seminar: Literary Theory (3)
    • WRI457 Literature Seminar: Major Authors (3)
    • WRI491 Special Topics: Literature Seminar (3)
  • Writers in Community
    WRI417 Writing Workshop: Writers in Community (3)
  • Electives: Choose 6 Credits
    Electives can be any 300-level or 400-level course; professional development, literature seminars, or workshops/Summer Writing Program.
  • Capstone
    • COR440 Capstone II (3)

Why Choose Naropa?

Open-Genre Curriculum

Engage in creative cross-genre experimentation and experimental approaches to writing and literature. Push beyond your comfort zone to develop your creative voice with Naropa’s open-genre curriculum.

Blue brush

Award-Winning Faculty

At Naropa, award-winning faculty follow in the footsteps of literary greats such as Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics co-founders Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, and Diane di Prima, and Ken Kesey and Amiri Baraka, who taught at the Kerouac School.

Career Readiness

Naropa equips you with the skills and self-awareness for a rewarding career in writing. Students can engage in editorial work with the student-led literary magazine, Bombay Gin, delve into letterpress printing at the Harry Smith Print Shop.

Blue brush
A young man sitting in an unmade bed. He's looking at his notebook computer.

How this Program Prepares You

Creative experimentation & writing skillset development

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. 

Contemplative practice for critical reflection

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. 

Putting Theory into Action

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. 

What You'll Learn

Self-Knowledge

Study mindfulness and use your writing as a tool for looking within.

Innovation in writing

Think beyond the canon and experiment with language in your own work.

Collaborative communication

Learn to give and receive feedback in a supportive community environment.

Publishing experience

Prepare for future writing jobs as a student editor or letterpress printer.