The English writing major is designed to offer a challenging and productive experience for writers within the supportive atmosphere of other writers, including students, faculty, and visiting writers. Students should consider a writing major if they are seriously interested in creative writing, professional writing, or a career in editing and publishing.
All first-year students complete the IWC class in writing, what we regard as the introductory writing course. English 227: Foundations of Creative Writing is the beginning of the writing program and offers an introduction to writing fiction, poetry, and essays. The major then offers introductory practice at the sophomore and junior levels with a variety of courses, including 324: Technical Writing, 316: Business Writing, 377: Nonfiction Writing Seminar, 378: Poetry Writing Seminar, and 379: Fiction Writing Seminar. Other courses at the intermediate level that may be used toward the major include 317: Telling the Story: News Writing, 318: Telling the Story: Feature Writing, and 315: English Language, Historical & Analytical. 390: Co-op Ed gives students the opportunity to write in the world of work for credit.
At the advanced level, the department offers three writing seminars, 477: Advanced Nonfiction Writing Seminar, 478: Advanced Poetry Writing Seminar, and 479: Advanced Fiction Writing Seminar (the introduction and advanced writing seminars are paired courses meeting at the same time with the same professor—for example, 377 and 477 meet together). Before registering for these seminars, you must have taken a prerequisite course in nonfiction, poetry, or fiction as well as 227: Foundations of Creative Writing. The program finishes with a Capstone course, English 489: Senior Capstone in Writing, where students apply their practice and study with new creative work and a substantial academic project.
The variety and depth of the writing classes are intended to allow both broad and deep experience with writing. It is very important that you look forward to the completion of your writing portfolio (a major portion of which is constructed during the senior seminar) as early as possible. These portfolios are often used as application material for graduate school or as writing samples for employers. Keep all of the writing you do at Concordia!
Along with your experience in class and your portfolio, it is very important that you seek out other writing opportunities on campus early in your college career. You can write for The Concordian (newspaper); AfterWork (literary magazine); and Djembe (intercultural affairs and global studies journal). In addition, students are often part of the editorial boards of other campus publications, such as New Voices. There is a variety of work-study jobs on campus that relate to writing, and each year the English Department sponsors a creative writing contest as well.
Writing is an act of communication. What writers need most, of course, is readers. To this end, you should consider joining groups such as the English Club or a creative writing group. These groups give you the chance to meet other writers to share work, plan readings, join in excursions to events outside Fargo-Moorhead, and generally participate in the life of the local literary community.
Finally, there is no such thing as a writer who is not also a reader. The literature courses in the department are an integral part of the writing major. That is why the writing major requires you to take a minimum of four literature courses. Please take as many literature courses as possible! If you have limited options for literature courses, we recommend you especially consider classes in twentieth-century literature.
Download the writing major here.