About the Creative Writing Conservatory

The Creative Writing Conservatory is an MFA-modeled course of study that offers students a flexible concentration of classes and writing opportunities. Student-focused and evolving, the workshops and topics present contemporary and classic works side by side to serve as examples of excellent writing. Publishing and performance opportunities are paired with craft study to develop a balanced and accomplished writing student.

Student Experience

As members of the Creative Writing Conservatory, students participate in a variety of classes, events, and opportunities—all in the pursuit of sharpening their writing skills. 

After completing a set of required classes in the fundamental areas of writing—fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic writing—students self-select their concentration through a series of required electives. Multiple workshops, literature classes, genre studies, and industry prep classes are offered each semester. In and out of class, the writer’s life is explored through exciting activities, including literary-focused field trips, seasonal play festivals, OC RYSE poetry slam, and the production of the literary magazine Inkblot.

  • “Creative Writing exposed me to a rigorous arts program and gave me freedom to explore various aspects of my craft.”
    Jade Mattias-Bell – Class of 2015
  • “The core curriculum helped me discover my passion for screenwriting, and the flexibility of classes outside of the core allowed me to take courses that seemed perfectly tailored to me.”
    Lily Williams – Class of 2017
  • “I love the workshops and sharing pieces with my teachers and peers. It’s helpful to know what is or isn’t working; I leave class feeling empowered and eager to push my work further.”
    Kadija Moulton – Class of 2016

Preparing Students for the Future

Students who graduate from Creative Writing do so with a broad knowledge of writing and literature, which can be applied confidently to both writing and non-writing related majors.

Students who pursue writing will enter university programs familiar with the workshop model and with a large body of work already completed. Such students have had up to four years of dedicated writing practice that has improved and focused their individual skill level. Students who pursue other courses of study do so as highly literate individuals. The exposure to classic and contemporary literature prepares them for a complex world in which the action of individuals is rich with significance.  

Click here for more information on our scope and sequence and curriculum. 


What are the Core Classes?

There are four classes students must complete by the end of their second year: Core Creative Non-Fiction, Core Poetry, Core Screenwriting, and Core Short Story. Each offers an overview of the form and a foundation from which students can build their own original works.

How are non-core classes chosen?

Students are given preference sheets each semester as they self-select their way through the creative writing curriculum. Students must meet certain benchmark requirements, but generally have a range of options within each category. Classes are filled by seniority, but most classes are open to all grades. Therefore, interest-level, not grade, ultimately dictates the structure of classes, helping to ensure lively interaction and discussion.

What is the Creative Writing Conservatory basement library?

The basement library houses more than 4,000 titles of fiction, poetry, screenplays, plays, and special interest non-fiction, including a healthy dose of literary biography. The library is a place where Creative Writing students congregate to relax between classes, and is also used as a classroom. It is a central hub of the Creative Writing Conservatory, located next to the Director's office in the basement of Symphony Hall.