B.F.A. or B.A. concentration in Creative Writing

The study of Creative Writing immerses you in great literature and the art of generating your own fictions, poems, essays, plays, and screenplays. Through it, you come to know the elements of the writer’s craft and the imaginative energy of the writer’s life.

 As you study Creative Writing, you will experiment with different creative forms, skills, styles, and devices; develop a distinctive creative voice and style across literary genres; gain advanced aptitudes in a specific genre; and discover the value of writing expertise across a wide variety of mediums, contexts, and professional settings. Holistically, a BFA or BA concentration in Creative Writing will enable you to:

  • Read closely, critically, and with an aptitude for innovation
  • Write clearly, eloquently, and artfully
  • Know a rich range of literary terms, forms, genres, periods, theories, and writers
  • Study creative genres in distinct historical, cultural, biographical, formal, and theoretical contexts
  • See how writing and literature can enrich, complicate, and transform the human experience
  • Produce original writing projects

The BA degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing (36 cr.) is ideal for students who want to hone their writing skills while double majoring or minoring in at least one other discipline. Students who concentrate in Creative Writing often add second majors or minors in Art, Theatre, or Music; Art History; Psychology; Communication; History, Religion, Philosophy, Political Science; Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; Race & Ethnic Studies; etc. The BA combines a thorough foundation in literary studies and critical thinking with the opportunity to specialize in a specific genre through the sequence of intermediate and advanced Creative Writing courses.

The BFA in Creative Writing (48 cr.) is designed for students who plan to pursue graduate study or careers in writing, editing, or publishing. By providing more extensive, holistic advanced training and professional development, the program prepares students to enter writing-related careers in publishing, editing, public service, or informal teaching. Culminating in the completion of a Senior Creative Writing Project, the BFA offers students the opportunity to work on their own creative manuscripts with an English faculty member throughout their senior year. 

Current students applying for the BFA program in Creative Writing will submit a portfolio of their creative work after their first or second year at Otterbein. Portfolios are due May 1 and must be submitted via email to Tess Schwarz at tschwarz@otterbein.edu. Portfolios will be reviewed by Creative Writing faculty for admission to the BFA program for the following academic year. Students will be notified of acceptance by mid-May.

Portfolio Contents & Format Guidelines

· Portfolios should have a title page with your name and your student ID number.

· Please number all of the pages except the title page, and include your last name with each page number: (“Fitzington – 2”)

· Showcase your strongest creative writing in at least one genre:


  • 5 – 10 pages of poetry
  • single-space poetry
  • start a new page with each poem

Fiction or Creative Non-Fiction

  • 6 – 10 pages for fiction or creative non-fiction
  • double-spaced prose
  • if submitting multiple pieces, start a new page with each


  • 10 – 20 pages for playwriting

If you are submitting work in more than one genre, the entire sample should total 25 pages or less.

Learn More in the Catalog

Learn more about these majors in the catalog. If you are an existing student, be sure to look at the catalog for the year you entered Otterbein.

Student Learning Outcomes University Learning Goals (KMERI*)
1. Students read broadly across a variety of periods, genres, forms, movements, cultures, and media. Knowledgeable, Multi-literate
2. Students read closely and interpretively to extract and construct meaning; attend to structures and strategies of texts; and participate in a community of readers. Multi-literate, Engaged
3. Students produce clear, graceful, fluent writing that is attuned to context, audience, purpose, and genre conventions. Knowledgeable, Multi-literate
4. Students approach inquiry by asking complex questions, analyzing component parts, and researching, using, and crediting sources effectively. Engaged, Inquisitive
5. Students engage with and expand social, political, and cultural understanding, articulating both self-awareness of cultural bias and understanding multiple and complex perspectives. Engaged, Responsible
6. Students engage creative thinking by taking risks, embracing contradictions, connecting and combining unlikely materials, and transforming knowledge. Engaged, Inquisitive
7. Students demonstrate initiative and independence in engaging experiences and contexts beyond the classroom (such as publications, internships, or other immersive literary opportunities) and becoming lifelong learners. Engaged, Responsible

*NOTE: KMERI refers to Otterbein's learning goals. It stands for KnowledgeableMulti-literateEngagedResponsible, and Inquisitive. To learn more about KMERI, visit our University Learning Goals page.