Professor R. Smith, Chair
The mission of the creative writing department at Belhaven University is to train student writers to examine the world from a biblical perspective and to engage the world for Christ through their gifts for writing. In the program, students learn to cultivate the writing life as a high calling and to use writing as a tool for unraveling the mysteries of creation and human experience. Overall, the department imparts a biblical understanding of creativity in general and creative writing in particular, focusing on God’s gift of language to humans as one means of subduing creation and, thus, fulfilling the “cultural mandate” found in Genesis 1:28.
Practically speaking, the program seeks—through a variety of activities such as writing workshops, literature courses, applied experiences, and internship opportunities—to produce disciplined wordsmiths who write clearly, concisely, correctly, and creatively.
Graduates of the program will be qualified to pursue graduate study and careers in in many fields. Current alumni are young-adult novelists, university press editors, middle- and high-school teachers, independent booksellers, public relations consultants, graphic designers, filmmakers, teachers of English as a second language, art administrators, advertising copywriters, small-business owners, and even occupational therapists and public health experts. Most importantly, graduates will be writers who are equipped both to look at and speak to the world from a biblical perspective.
The creative writing department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and a minor in creative writing.
The BFA in creative writing includes the following requirements (55 hours):
Creative writing majors may take CWR 482: Special Topics Writing Workshop up to two times if the topics for each workshop are different.
Creative writing majors must complete 6 hours of cross-cultural studies through one of the following options:
The minor in creative writing includes the following requirements (21 hours):
Creative Writing Honors Program: The following courses in the major may be taken as honors courses: CWR 211, CWR 304, CWR 305, CWR 306, CWR 307, CWR 324, CWR 325, CWR 482, THE 210, THE 410, and THE 412.
For honors designation, the BFA student in Creative Writing must complete 18 hours of honors courses in the major:
Enrollment in the creative writing major or minor requires an ACT score of 22 or higher in reading and English. Further, all applicants must submit a portfolio of at least twelve to fifteen pages of creative writing to the department chair for evaluation. Thus, all admits to the program are juried. Students who do not initially meet the department’s entrance requirements may be admitted provisionally. The performance of provisionally admitted students will be reviewed after two semesters, resulting in one of the following outcomes: cleared for continuation in the program without provisional status, cleared for continuation with provisional status and further review after one year, not cleared for continuation.
All majors and minors in the writing program will submit a portfolio during their sophomore year for evaluation by creative writing faculty. Based on the quality of this portfolio, students will be cleared for continuation in the writing program or counseled concerning other major or minor options.
For graduation, each creative writing major and minor must produce a senior thesis (a substantial creative work in one of the following genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or scriptwriting) and successfully defend that work before a faculty panel. A public reading of the thesis is also required. In addition, each senior must write and defend a research paper (1) explaining his or her philosophy of aesthetics and composition and (2) linking their aesthetic philosophy to important developments in the history of both traditional and biblical aesthetics.
Creative writing majors also will gain hands-on, career experience through 120 hours of internship field placement and completion of CWR 495: Mission and Calling for Writers.
By graduation, creative writing students should demonstrate the following skills and abilities:
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