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English - Creative Writing

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

The Creative Writing sequence in the English major has a distinguished national reputation for encouraging alternative and hybrid forms of writing while emphasizing the study of theory and Creative Writing pedagogy.

The Creative Writing program respects and encourages innovation. Students have the opportunity to develop their talents by focusing on Creative Writing courses in their genre of choice: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or a combination. They will study literature from a diverse standpoint while learning how literary artists utilize literary theory and aesthetics.

The sequence helps students advance in their writing apprenticeships and broaden their understanding of their genre through both artistic and scholarly lenses. It encourages reading in literature generally and provides an opportunity to study language and linguistics, which enhances a student's understanding of their fundamental tools.

Why Study English - Creative Writing?

Creative Writing allows students to explore such topics as fiction, poetry and poetics, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, the novel, memoir, literary journalism, women's literature, narrative theory, memory and trauma studies, digital technologies and the African diaspora, African American literature, and oppositional/experimental poetics.

It also allows students to study popular culture in fiction, defining the black aesthetic, the relationship of music and fiction, moral philosophy as it relates to literary production, animals, animality, veganism, hybrid texts, hybrid writing, the sociology of literary production and cultural formation of literary taste, and transgeneric writing.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Accuracy, coherency and clarity in speech and writing
  • Ability to simplify and understand jargon
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Strong work ethic
  • Teamwork skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Good computer skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Developing hypothesis
  • Good presenter
  • Think independently

Being Successful in the Field

  • For careers in advertising or public relations be prepared to begin in an entry-level position.
  • A bachelor's degree in English is sufficient for many entry level positions in business and industry.
  • Appropriate teacher certification is required for public school teaching.
  • A graduate degree is required for teaching at the college or university level.
  • Develop a specialty area of interest via additional coursework and/or work experience for greater marketability within that specific career field.
  • Save samples of written work to be used for a portfolio.
  • Be prepared to be proactive, determined, assertive, and confident in order to secure freelance writing opportunities. Writers typically experience many rejections for each piece that is accepted for publication.
  • Cultivate other career opportunities in order to supplement a freelance writing income.
  • Obtain additional areas of expertise such as journalism, broadcasting, technical writing, or politics for specialized positions.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow professionals in careers of interest to learn more about their jobs.

Related Fields


  • Creative Writing- Books, Poetry, Plays, Screenplays, Scripts, Greeting Cards, Lyrics/Jingle Writing
  • Journalism- Writing/Reporting, Editing
  • Technical Writing- Science and Medical Writing
  • Freelance Writing


  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Broadcast media companies including television, radio, and the movie industry
  • Trade, professional, or consumer publications
  • Internet sites
  • Large corporations
  • Government agencies including: Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense
  • Department of State, Veterans Affairs, National Archives and Records Admin.
  • Universities and university presses
  • Technical industries
  • Self-employed/Freelance


  • Select elective coursework in a particular area of interest.
  • Write forcampus publications such as college newspapers, magazines, ordepartmental/program newsletters.
  • Volunteer to assist or tutor studentsin a writing center.
  • For technical writing positions obtain aconcentration in technical writing.
  • Take science and/or computercourses to gain knowledge about technical areas and trends.
  • Become familiar with the proposal writing and submission process involved in freelance writing.
  • Gain as much experience as possible through volunteer positions, internships, or part-time jobs.
  • Demonstrate patience and persistence in starting a career in creative writing.


  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Student Affairs
  • Academic Advising
  • Information Science
  • Non-classroom Teaching
  • Tutoring


  • Public schools
  • Private schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Language institutes, local and abroad
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Private learning centers
  • Test preparation organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations involved with literacy


  • Obtain appropriate state certification for public school teaching.
  • Earn certification to teach multiple subjects or age groups for increased job opportunities.
  • Earn a master's or doctorate degree for post-secondary teaching.
  • Plan to attend graduate school in college student personnel or information science if those are areas of interest.
  • Gain volunteer experience working with children through Big Brother/Sister programs, tutoring, summer camps, YMCA's, etc.
  • Participate in school activities such as debate or literary clubs,campus publications, or student government.
  • Get involved in roles of leadership such as resident advisor, peer mentor, student advisor, etc.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations for graduate school applications.


  • Editing
  • Advertising
  • Sales
  • Circulation
  • Production
  • Publicity
  • Marketing
  • Promotion
  • Administration


  • Trade publishing
  • Special interest magazines
  • Trade magazines
  • Association magazines
  • Sunday newspaper supplements
  • Educational publishing
  • Religious books and magazines
  • Professional and scholarly publishing
  • University presses
  • Independent publishers
  • Alternative media publishers: E-books, Audiobooks


  • Obtain an internship in the publishing industry.
  • Participate in a summer publishing institute.
  • Develop word processing, editing, and desktop publishing skills.
  • Gain additional technical skills if working in an online environment.
  • Gain experience by writing for student publications such as the newspaper, creative writing magazines, the year book, etc.
  • Conduct an informational interview with or shadow a professional in the publishing industry.
  • Look for positions with local dailies and alternative weeklies in the community.
  • Volunteer to write or edit publications with local nonprofit organizations to gain experience.
  • Develop extensive grammar and language skills. Be prepared to relocate to cities with a publishing presence.
  • Research the publishing industry to learn more about career ladders.



  • Law firms
  • Corporate legal departments
  • Government agencies
  • Public service agencies


  • Develop strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Become skillful in debate and public speaking.
  • Organize campus events, speakers, or political rallies.
  • Obtain summer or part-time work in a law firm.
  • Plan to shadow an attorney to learn more about the field.
  • Complete special training requirements for paralegal positions.
  • Attend law school and earn a JD to become an attorney.
  • Maintain an excellent grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations to gain law school admittance.
  • Plan to take the LSAT.


  • Creative Services- Copy Writing, Art Direction
  • Account Management
  • Media
  • Account Planning
  • Production


  • Advertising agencies
  • In-house agencies of large companies


  • Demonstrate talent, persistence, assertiveness, and enthusiasm. Be prepared to start in an entry-level position.
  • Obtain strong statistics background for market research positions.
  • Create a portfolio of writing and ideas showing originality and imagination for creative positions.
  • Gain knowledge of various media, contemporary tastes, and trends. Obtain experience with campus newspaper, TV, or radio.
  • Participate insales and promotions for student organizations or private businesses.
  • Complete an internship in a market research firm or advertising agency.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in business (marketing, economics,mathematics), art, or graphic design.

Public Relations

  • Account Coordination
  • Writing/Editing
  • Media Relations
  • Account Management


  • Public relations firms
  • Advertising agencies
  • In-house public relations departments
  • Trade associations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government agencies


  • Obtain internship or other relevant work experience to break into thisfield.
  • Be prepared to start at the bottom and work towards higherlevels.
  • Develop strong research skills, public speaking ability, enthusiasm, and interpersonal skills.
  • Supplement curriculum with business courses.
  • Become an effective team member by working on group projects for campus organizations.
  • Volunteer to write publications for nonprofit or student organizations.


  • Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Insurance: Claims, Underwriting


  • Business organizations including banks, real estate agencies, insurance firms, and large and small corporations
  • Retailers including department, grocery, drug, specialty, variety, and book stores


  • Obtain a business minor.
  • Gain work experience through part-time jobs, internships, or relevant volunteer work.
  • Secure leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Join student professional associations and seek leadership roles. Develop strong analytical and computer skills.
  • Gain experience as financial officer or treasurer of a campus organization.

Other Professions

  • Actor
  • Advertising Copywriter
  • Bibliographer
  • Bookstore Manager
  • Clergy
  • Columnist
  • Copy Editor
  • Critic
  • Cryptographer
  • Dramatist
  • Editor
  • Fund Raiser
  • Genealogist
  • Indexer
  • Journalist
  • Lexicographer
  • Librarian
  • Lobbyist
  • Manuscript Reader
  • Office Manager
  • Political Campaigner
  • Professor
  • Proofreader
  • Radio/Television Program Writer
  • Reporter
  • Researcher
  • Resume Writer
  • Script Writer
  • Speech Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Underwriter
  • Writing Center Director

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Jim Kalmbach  421H Stevenson Hall  (309) 438-7648 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA

2.50 with required coursework or 3.3 with no coursework required

Middle 50% GPA

2.88 - 3.60

Required Courses

Completion of the following courses with a grade of B or better (for students with GPA between 2.50-3.29):

  • Introductory-level composition (ENG 101) or Introductory-level speech (COM 110) and at least one of the following:
    • English literature (110)
    • American literature (ENG 130)
    • Children's literature (ENG 170)
    • Introduction to creative writing (ENG 227)
    • Major elective

Recommended Courses

  • Foreign language equivalent to Illinois State's 115 level
  • American and British literature courses

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Vegter  Stevenson Hall 414J  (309) 438-5783 

Middle 50% GPA

2.88 - 3.60

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Application Period

Applications are always accepted, but reviewed during September and February.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Major Requirements

Admission is based on GPA, performance in English courses at the time of application, and a well-written, persuasive personal statement.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Vegter  Stevenson Hall 414J  (309) 438-5783 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016