Writing - BA

  • Writing Student

  • “The writing program offers a variety of great opportunities, such as learning how to edit a magazine and writing for the school newspaper.”

    Sidney Peralta, a writing major from Bradford

    • Program Description
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    Program Contact: Dr. Nancy G. McCabe

    Do you like to write? Do you think you might like to do it for a living? Then this major may be just the write one (OK, we couldn't resist) for you. 

    As a writing major, you'll learn about many different kinds of writing: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism. And, you'll get lots of chances to write, which will make you a better writer. Submit your writing and you may get published in our literary magazine, Baily's Beads, which has been recognized several times by the prestigious Columbia (University) Scholastic Press Association as one of the best college literary magazines in the United States. Or, you can work on our award-winning newspaper, The Source. 

    You'll also get to rub elbows with professional writers. People like leading short story writer George Saunders, Pulitzer-prize finalist Lee Martin, and bestselling novelist Sena Jeter Naslund. And, you'll have an opportunity to help local schoolchildren become better writers and readers.

    When you graduate, you'll have many kinds of jobs to choose from because employers are always looking for people who write well. Our graduates work as technical writers, writing teachers, newspaper reporters and editors, songwriters and freelance writers. Others have published articles and books. Or, you can take what you have learned and go to graduate school.

    What you can do with a degree in Writing . Suggested 4-year plan of study.

    Degree Requirements

    Course requirements in the Major

    Take four courses from the following list:

    Requirements in Literature

    One course from each of the following groupings, including at least one course at the 1300 level or above

    Survey Courses

    20th-Century Courses

    Genre Courses

    Other Required Courses

    One Arts and Letters General Education course in Theatre, Music, or Visual Art 3

    Second language proficiency through and including the intermediate level (or the equivalent) - 0-9 Credits

    Total credits in the major: 39

    Creative Writing Track Requirements

    Three of the following courses, two at the 1300 level or above

    Professional Writing Track Requirements

    Three of the following courses, two at the 1300 level or above:

    General Education Program Requirements and Requirements-Variable

    (See General Education Program and General Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree under Academic Policies and Guidelines for further details.)

    Please be advised

    Please be advised that some programs or courses of study require that students complete rotations, fieldwork, internships/externships and/or teaching assignments at facilities external to the university, while other programs or courses of study may offer voluntary internships or externships at facilities external to the university. Depending on the program or course, such facilities will or may require a criminal background check, an act 33/34 clearance (if applicable), and perhaps a drug screen to determine participant qualification or eligibility. Additionally, in order to become licensed, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor, a felony, or a felonious or illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse.


    Dr. Nancy McCabe


    Director of Writing Program and Professor of Writing


    Swarts 102E

    Our writing faculty, students and alumni have published books and short story collections, as well as pieces in magazines and blogs. 


    Program Director Nancy McCabe is the author of a novel and four books of creative nonfiction. Read more about her work. Sample publications: 



    Advice About Writing


    Karen Bell teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and technical writing classes. A graduate of Edinburgh University in Scotland, she has also spent time in India as an ESL teacher. Her short story, “How to name and Claim Romance,” appeared in The Write Launch, which features short stories, poetry, essays and novellas. 

    Cheri Maxson , who teaches creative nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic writing, has written many plays, two of which have been published by national drama services. “Murder at the Malt Shop” has been produced more than 61 times around the world since its publication by Pioneer Drama Services  

    Students and alumni:

    • Sarah Ross Abernathy is a former English teacher and author of seven novels.
    • While Patricia Blakesslee was a dual writing and education major, she wrote an essay that won a fellowship in national competition to attend the Hippocampus Creative Nonfiction contest. She also sold a piece she wrote in feature writing class to Country Magazine.
    • Tyler Elias published a story, “The Boreal Spire,” in the Spring 2017 issue of Deadlights.
    • Lindy Hogsett published a cover story in Portraits magazine and was a regular paid blogger for Flock U. She uses her skills as a writing major and graphic art minor as a creative content coordinator for York Wallcoverings and their daughter company RoomMates Décor.
    • Isaac Payne received an honorable mention in the national 2017 Writers of the Future Award. He also attended the Alpha Young Writers conference in summer 2017. His story “The Art of Omens” appears in The Corvid Review.
    • Jayden Pire plans to use the organizational and writing skills he has developed as a writing major and Baily's Beads editor in his new full-time position as aquatics coordinator for the Bradford YMCA, which he will continue after graduation.
    • Jamie Lackey is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror who has worked as a magazine editor and published more than 130 short stories. Her debut novel was Left-Hand Gods, and more recently she published a collection titled The Blood of Four Gods and Other Stories.
    • Mike Miller owns a karate studio and has written martial-arts related books 


    Recent graduates have earned graduate degrees in creative writing with full funding from the University of Iowa and the University of New Orleans. Others have earned degrees in writing and publishing from Spalding University, George Washington University and the University of Maryland. 

    Former writing students publish, teach, work for magazines, make films, and use the writing, organization, and critical-thinking skills they gained from our program in a variety of other professions, including business and counseling. 

    • Roxanne Benjamin studied at Pitt-Bradford before she went on to become a writer and director of independent horror films.
    • Abigail Arnold received an MFA in fiction from the University of New Orleans, where she received full funding, and writes for a travel agency in New Orleans.
    • Mahita Gajanan participated in research for one of program director Nancy McCabe's books and while a high school student took her first two writing classes in the program. Today, she works for Time magazine.
    • Laura Kemmerer received an MA in publishing from George Washington University.
    • Jillian Polaski received an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Iowa, the premiere writing program in the country, where she received full funding. She has gone on to use the insights about people that make her writing so rich in her work as a child and family counselor.