A major in Literature and Creative Writing prepares students for careers that require critical thinking, forceful and lucid writing, and the ability to undertake challenging research. The Literature and Creative Writing major might lead to graduate school in literature or creative writing, but could just as readily lead to graduate work in law or public policy, and to careers in journalism, publishing, international relations, advertising and media, arts administration, museum and gallery work, or work in the non-profit sector.
The major in Literature and Creative Writing offers two twelve-course tracks, one emphasizing scholarship, the other emphasizing creative work. The program is devoted to the idea that an undergraduate literature major becomes more fruitful when
literary scholarship and creative literary work enrich and inform one another.
Students in both tracks take five required courses, which explore the interplay between reading, scholarship, and creative practice: Literary Interpretation; Foundations of Literature I: Epic and Drama; Foundations of Literature II: Lyric Poetry and the Novel; Introduction to Creative Writing; and Problems and Methods of Literary Studies.
Students in the scholarship track take five scholarly electives (at least one of which must be from a list of courses dealing with “pre-modern” subjects). One of these five electives may include an additional creative writing course. Students in the creative track take three creative writing electives and two scholarly electives, which prepare them to produce a creative capstone that is informed by a scholarly perspective. Students in the scholarly track may take one additional creative writing course in lieu of a scholarly elective. All students must take one 3000-level course, one course in premodern literatures, and may count only one course with a core curriculum course number (e.g. CADT-UH 1021) for elective credit. All seniors enroll in two semesters of Capstone Seminar and Project
in addition to intensive study with a faculty mentor on the project.
The Capstone Project is a graduation requirement aimed at creating a significant piece of research and/or creative work. In Literature and Creative Writing, this project can take the form of a scholarly thesis or a creative composition. The Capstone experience culminates in a Capstone defense and the public presentation of the student project during the Capstone festival.
The Capstone Project in Literature represents the culmination of a student's work as a Literature major. It is a substantial work of written scholarship that enables a student to explore and make a scholarly contribution to areas of particular personal interest. Students are expected to work on the Capstone project throughout the senior year and, ideally, to conduct research during the previous summer. The final project should be a polished and professional example of scholarly research and writing at its best.
The Capstone Project in Creative Writing draws on the work that students have done both in Creative Writing workshops and courses in Literature. These projects may take the form of a novel; a collection of short stories, poems, or personal essays; a play; a screenplay; or a similarly substantial creative endeavor. Students are expected to work on the Capstone project throughout the senior year and, if necessary, to conduct research during the previous summer.
The Literature and Creative Writing program recommend that students complete four of their five required courses before studying abroad. Students use their first study-away semester to explore the breadth of NYU’s global liberal arts curriculum and to seek courses that complement their literary studies. Students who choose to apply for a second semester abroad should do so in consultation with their major advisor, who will help them take into account their possible capstone topic or other academic endeavors. All students planning to be away in spring of junior year should meet with the Literature and Creative Writing Program Head in the fall semester to discuss a capstone plan.
Students are encouraged to pursue language studies as a complement to the major and we recommend that, where possible, students take at least one course that focuses on the literature of the study-away site.