Department of English at Illinois State University

Faculty in Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Situated in a department that emphasizes interdisciplinarity, the Creative Writing Program at Illinois State University has a distinguished and national reputation for encouraging alternative and hybrid forms of writing while emphasizing the study of theory and creative writing pedagogy. We are a program that respects and encourages innovation.

We offer both undergraduate and graduate courses. Our graduate program offers emphases in Creative Writing at both the MA and PhD levels and attracts students from all over the world.

While PhD candidates can teach Creative Writing in our undergraduate curriculum, MA applicants can qualify to receive special assistantships called Sutherland Fellowships, which involve interning as editors during the first year and teaching creative writing in the second. In addition, there are several editing and desktop publishing internships to be had in the Department's Publications Unit. 

Both the MA and the doctoral degree emphasize research, theory, and studio practice. Students are encouraged to combine Creative Writing with other areas of English Studies, such as Literary and Cultural Studies, Rhetoric, and Linguistics.

In undergraduate study, students may major in English with a creative writing emphasis. Courses may be repeated for credit if the topic or content differs. Students are able to explore creative writing pedagogy and theories of creative writing genesis in addition to the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Both the Master's in English and the PhD in English Studies at Illinois State University provide creative writing options. The Master's in English requires ten courses and a creative thesis; the PhD in English Studies includes 14 courses that highlight the intersections of pedagogy, theory, writing, literature, and linguistics. The dissertation involves a critical or theoretical chapter, the creative work itself, and a chapter devoted to some aspect of creative writing pedagogy.

The Program also strongly supports three journals: Euphemism, our student creative writing journal; Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas/Nueva Escritura de las Américas; and the Spoon River Poetry Review.

For more information on the Creative Writing program at Illinois State University, please contact Kass Fleisher, area coordinator.


The undergraduate program in creative writing boasts a robust three-tier offering of courses for beginning, intermediate, and advanced writers. Students frequently take these courses as part of a creative writing emphasis in the writing minor. A student-edited literary journal, Euphemism, is also featured. Elizabeth Hatmaker, Instructional Assistant Professor, is the journal's faculty advisor.

Students have the opportunity to perform readings and to work closely with faculty in developing a portfolio or major project. Many students crossing the boundaries of academic disciplines or seeking to strengthen their study in English Education take an introductory creative writing course.

Three creative writing awards and a scholarship are open to undergraduate submissions: the Brome Creative Writing Award (outstanding senior), Tom Kuster Creative Writing Award (full-time junior, senior, or graduate student), and William Morgan Poetry Award (undergraduate English major). The application deadline for these awards is April 1.

Undergraduate Creative Writing Courses

  • ENG 227: Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENG 247.01: Intermediate Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENG 247.02: Intermediate Creative Writing: Fiction
  • ENG 247.03: Intermediate Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction
  • ENG 347.01: Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENG 347.02: Advanced Creative Writing: Prose
  • ENG 347.03: Advanced Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction
  • ENG 357: Theories of Creative Writing Genesis
  • ENG 367: Creative Writing Pedagogy

To view course descriptions for any undergraduate Creative Writing course, please check the Undergraduate Catalog.


The Master's in English allows students to concentrate in any one of a number of specialization areas, including Creative Writing.

The following Creative Writing courses are available on the graduate level:

  • ENG 347.01: Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry
  • ENG 347.02: Advanced Creative Writing: Prose
  • ENG 347.03: Advanced Creative Writing: Creative Nonfiction
  • ENG 357: Theories of Creative Writing Genesis
  • ENG 367: Creative Writing Pedagogy
  • ENG 447.01: Creative Writing Seminar: Poetry
  • ENG 447.02: Creative Writing Seminar: Prose

To view course descriptions for any graduate Creative Writing course, please check the Graduate Catalog.

For more information about the Master's in Arts, emphasis in Creative Writing, see the Master's in English page.