Creative Writing

Creative Writing student The ability to earn a fine arts degree in Creative Writing is an unusual opportunity at the undergraduate level, one that offers you time to completely immerse yourself in imaginative writing.

Creative Writing majors take extensive coursework in the literature and theory of fiction and poetry. You’ll work closely with faculty on skills development, and participate in frequent peer workshops where student writing is shared and discussed. These dynamic classroom experiences not only shape your own writing but also let you help your fellow students improve their craft.


Why Penn State Behrend?

At Penn State Behrend, writing is not a solitary pursuit. You’ll develop your art as you also polish your professional skills. Creative Writing majors can write for The Behrend Beacon newspaper and its online and social media presence. They also staff The Roundtable Society, a student organization that sponsors readings and excursions to literary and arts events in the area. 

Most importantly, you can serve on the editorial staff of Lake Effect, the award-winning international literary journal published by the B.F.A. in Creative Writing program. You will solicit manuscripts from writers across the globe, read submissions for potential inclusion, edit the work accepted for publication, prepare the journal for publication, and market each new issue. This hands-on experience prepares Behrend graduates for careers in publishing and editorial content development.

Students also attend readings by poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction writers through the Smith Creative Writers Reading Series that brings writers of national stature to Penn State Behrend.

All Creative Writing majors complete a two-semester senior project that produces a coherent collection of writing, including a substantive critical preface. You’ll work closely with a mentoring professor on your project, which concludes with a thesis defense and public reading of your work. Students and recent graduates have published their work in some of the finest literary journals in the country, including Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Epoch, The Kenyon Review, ​The Literary Review, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Puerto del Sol, Salt Hill, Third Coast, and Western Humanities Review, and have published award-winning books with numerous presses.

The combination of the program’s rigorous curriculum, the excellent faculty, and the opportunities for hands-on learning experiences helps our students to start to find their authentic voices as contemporary poets and writers of fiction and literary non-fiction. 


Contact Dr. Tom Noyes, Program Chair of Creative Writing, with any further questions (

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