Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing

The writing certificate introduces students to the small-group workshop format and features individual attention from published, award-winning faculty. Flexible scheduling – with courses offered evenings and weekends on Northwestern’s Chicago and Evanston campuses as well as online and in hybrid format – gives students the opportunity to balance their professional, personal and writing lives. While earning their certificate, students will likewise have the opportunity to connect with other writers at readings and events in an artistic community that extends beyond the University into Chicagoʼs vibrant literary scene.



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Complete this four-course certificate and apply your credit to Northwestern’s MA in Writing or MFA in Prose and Poetry programs.


About the Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing

Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of the certificate, students will have the knowledge, skills, and aptitude to:

  • Determine the strengths and areas for improvement in their writing, and learn how to evaluate critical feedback of their work
  • Revise work, re-think it, and re-imagine it
  • Experiment with different styles and forms
  • Read literature as a writer and a critic

Students will also be introduced to:

  • Tools for teaching creative writing, informed by current pedagogy and classroom experience
  • The vibrant literary community at the university, in the city of Chicago, and environs

Creative Writing Curriculum

Students are required to complete the following four courses to earn the certificate: 

  • 2 Writing Workshops in the genre in which they are accepted (list of available workshops below)
  • 1 Literature Course (may be any 400-level LIT Course; some 400-level IPLS courses may apply)
  • 1 Elective (may be any MCW 490 Elective Course, MCW 575 The Publishing Industry: Literary Presses and Journals, any Publishing and Professional Development Course, any additional Literature Course)

Writing Workshops

  • MCW 411 - Poetry Workshop
  • MCW 413 - Fiction Writing Workshop
  • MCW 417 - Popular Fiction Writing Workshop
  • MCS 461 - Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Literature Courses

  • LIT 405 - Topics in Literature (topics vary - see course schedule)
  • LIT 410 - Introduction to Graduate Studies in Literary and Cultural Analysis
  • LIT 480 - Topics in Comparative Literature (topics vary - see course schedule)
  • LIT 492 - Special Topics (topics vary - see course schedule)

Review curriculum details while you consider applying to this program. Current students should refer to the curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.

Creative Writing Courses

Explore Creative Writing Courses. You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Creative Writing Admission

A variety of factors are considered when your application is reviewed. Background and experience vary from student to student. For a complete list of requirements, see the Graduate Certificate Admission page.

Creative Writing Tuition

Tuition for this program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Complete details can be found on the Creative Writing Certificate Tuition page.

Registration Information for Creative Writing

Already accepted into the Graduate Certificate in program name program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible.



Creative Writing Faculty

Instructors in the Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing program at Northwestern are leading scholars and practitioners in their field. They bring real-world experiences to the classroom and engage with students on a personal level. Get to know the instructors on the Creative Writing Faculty page.

Applying Credit to the MA in Writing or MFA in Prose and Poetry Programs

Students that are interested in the option of applying their credit to the SPS MA in Writing or MFA in Prose and Poetry programs must submit an online application and submit all required application materials.

Students that elect to apply to a master's program before completing a graduate certificate will be able to count completed courses toward the applicable master's degree, but there will be no certificate conferred.

If you are interested in exploring this option, please contact the SPS graduate advising team for information on how to pursue a master's degree at SPS.

Find out more about Northwestern's Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing

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