Bachelor of Arts

Writing and Literature

Writing is a powerful means of knowing—as a practice it forces us to see, to make, and to reflect. In the midst of a culture that increasingly uses language to manipulate and deaden our experience of being human, becoming a good writer—of a poem or an essay or a memo—can be a challenge. This program provides a way for writers to explore many kinds of writing and literature and work on both expressiveness and craft in a supportive community.

The design of the writing and literature major is based on several crucial assumptions. One is that writers need to be readers—avid and incisive readers. Therefore, most courses in the major combine the study of literature with the practice of both creative and critical writing, and students are required to take specific courses that emphasize reading skills and critical approaches to literature. Our curriculum encourages students to investigate texts from a global perspective that includes both “popular” and “classical” literature.

Another assumption is that today, more than ever, writers often need to practice in more than one genre. The major offers a number of craft courses in non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, and is designed to provide breadth of experience as well as depth. As students move into advanced courses, they may focus on one genre, such as poetry or screenwriting, or work across genres. Self-designed learning activities may be substituted for electives in order to give students the opportunity to add depth and refinement to their craft or to experiment with the boundaries between genres.

Writing is a way into the world—both a means of thinking and communicating. At Burlington College we expect students to learn to write in clear and reasoned prose, even as they may be working on wild experiments or exploring intuitive connections between images or writing a comic screenplay. All students learn researching skills and ways to transform information and ideas into thoughtful writing. Regular faculty and visiting writers are practicing writers and scholars, and readings and publishing opportunities happen on a regular basis. Required internships also encourage students to explore how they can be “writers in the real world.”

Graduates of the program often go on to further study and/or careers in teaching, publishing, the non-profit sector, and media. Those who combine writing with other disciplines, such as transpersonal psychology, the arts, or film, can pursue careers such as expressive arts, Web publishing/design, screenwriting, or counseling.

All students are required to complete an upper-level internship in the major; typical placements include settings such as museums, newspapers, magazines, libraries, arts programs, and schools. Each student also undertakes a 6-credit capstone Degree Project in the last two semesters to produce a substantial piece of creative work accompanied by a reflective essay that explores technical, aesthetic, personal, and social contexts of the work.

Every Bachelor of Arts degree candidate must complete Burlington College’s General Education requirements and earn 121 credits to achieve a degree. The following course requirements are specific to the Writing and Literature major. Other coursework may be substituted with permission of academic advisor. All courses are 3-credits unless otherwise noted.

Intermediate Level: 18 credits
Required (12 credits)
WAL220 Creative Writing
WAL250 The Art of Reading: Introduction to Literature
WAL283 World Literature I: A Textual Exploration of Humankind
WAL284 Survey of World Literature II

Electives (6 credits)
CIN240 Intro to Screenwriting
HUM205 Great Ideas
HUM288 Women's Lives
MAC210 Civic Journalism
WAL201 Poetry Seminar I
WAL202 Poetry: Presentation and Performance
WAL203 The Beats: Pull My Daisy
WAL210 Short Fiction: World of Stories II
WAL233 Memoir and Autobiography I

Upper Level: 24 credits
Required (6 credits)
HUM360 Ways of Seeing: Art, Literature, Film

Electives (9 credits)
CIN340 Screenwriting: Writing the Feature I
CIN342 Screenwriting: Writing the Feature II
CIN343 Adaptation
HUM305 Cultural Encounters
HUM376 The Avant-Garde: Paradoxes of Modernism (1885-1950)
WAL301 Poetry Seminar II
WAL302 Poetry: Presentation and Performance II
WAL310 Short Fiction: World of Stories II
WAL332 Creative Non-Fiction
WAL370 Shakespeare

Or other approved coursework

Internship and Degree Project: 9 credits
ACT303 Action Learning Seminar I
DEG450 Degree Project I Seminar
DEG451 Degree Project II Seminar

Total: 42 credits