English-Creative Writing

Follow your passion for writing with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing

The Creative Writing major at Loras College offers extraordinary depth and range, together with the kind of close, sustained faculty mentoring which is only possible at a small college. Students choose from introductory and advanced courses in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction, along with specialized courses in Screenwriting; Nature Writing; Fantastic Fiction; Writing for New Media; Writing as Social Action; Rhetoric & Political Engagement, Grant & Proposal Writing; and Revision, Editing & Publishing.

Our Creative Writing majors are introduced to rigorous critical reading  in Literary Studies, sharpen their analytical skills in Literary Criticism, and choose several courses from the whole history of English and American literature, in all genres, and from selected courses in Irish, Canadian, Russian, and World literatures. Many also choose a second major in English Literature to deepen their literary knowledge. (The Bauerly-Roseliep Scholarship is awarded each year to the graduating senior who most excels in both majors.) Students with an interest in writing for purposes of social and political engagement can also minor in Rhetoric & Public Writing.

Learn About Our Major in Creative Writing

Student Experience

Creative Writing majors are actively engaged on campus and beyond. A student editorial staff edits and publishes Catfish Creek: A National Undergraduate Literary Journal. Our students present their scholarly and creative writing on campus at the college’s annual Legacy Symposium, and, along with students from other colleges, at the annual Streamlines Undergraduate Language & Literature Conference. Many of our students also publish their writing in The Limestone Review, the college’s annual journal of scholarship and creative writing.

Many Loras English and Creative Writing students also land internships at local newspapers and publishing houses, including McGraw-Hill and Kendall Hunt. Many study abroad in Ireland for a semester in connection with the Irish Studies program, or write for and edit The Lorian (the Loras College newspaper). And many participate in the Loras Players theater troupe, including their annual performance of student-written one-act plays.

Learn More

Every student will have an opportunity to have their work published in The Limestone Review. The top submissions are granted a $100 Alpha Award, and entered in the Delta Epsilon Sigma national undergraduate writing competition.


English is a valuable and marketable major. Students learn to write and speak well, to think critically, to collaborate with others and to understand diversity. These skills are important in any career, and Loras English graduates work in a wide range of fields.

Career preparation flexibility is also enhanced by the ability to combine English with other majors and minors in a four-year program. Loras English graduates’ accomplishments include the following:

  • Nationally acclaimed, Tony-Award winning playwright
  • Correspondent for Los Angeles Times; head of National Public Radio News; Dean of Columbia Journalism
  • School Founder and executive director of Posada Community Center, Pueblo, Colorado
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, John Carroll University
  • Nationally acclaimed, Shelley Memorial Award-winning poet
  • Vice President for Advancement, Lewis University
  • Principal, Johnsburg High School, Johnsburg, Illinois
  • Head of Legal Services, Dubuque, IA
  • Science Editor for msnbc.com
  • Earthforce, a nonprofit devoted to environmental education
  • Professor of English, Marietta College
  • Public Relations and Social Media Manager, Loras College
  • Content Producer at NogginLabs; Founder and Fiction Editor of Knee-Jerk literary magazine
  • Production Director and Managing Editor with Guerrero Howe Custom Media; Contributing Writer for
  • Paste Magazine and Alarm Press
  • National Fulbright Scholar; International Student and Scholar Advisor, UW-Platteville
  • Developmental Editor, McGraw-Hill

Other common careers: Law, business, advertising, teaching, academia, publishing, journalism, magazine writing and editing, public relations, library science, technical writing, and many more.


May Term offers unique opportunities to focus exclusively on a single course for a three-week term. May courses are particularly experiential, taking students out into the community or engaging them in other hands-on activities. Some May Term courses travel internationally or domestically, and some stay right here in Dubuque, IA.

Sample English May courses include:

  • Writing the Midwestern Landscape: Students combine digital photography with nature writing in Midwestern winter landscapes. The instructor leads students on snowshoeing hikes at Mines of Spain and Swiss Valley nature reserves as part of the writing process. Students’ photo-essay projects have included environmental issues related to the Mississippi River, historical studies of Native Americans and miners in the area, and more.
  • Poetry in Performance: An in-depth study of lyric poetry for students who want to approach the subject in an experiential way. Students develop their understanding and appreciation for poetry by doing close readings of poems, writing creative and critical essays based on these close readings, and making poetry physically part of themselves through memorization and performance. They learn to read aloud and recite poems in a way that develops their expressiveness and other public speaking skills. Topics include the application of fundamental topics in poetics, including imagery, trope, lineation, syntax, tone, sound, prosody, and the concepts of speaker and addressee.
  • Native Voices, Native Lives: This experiential learning course engages students in reading, writing and reflecting upon a variety of Native American voices and experiences (Cherokee, Navajo, Lakota, Dakota, Ojibwe, Pah-Ute, Spokane, Ho-Chunk, etc.). Students immerse themselves in the novels, short stories, myths, poetry, and oral histories of Native American people, in order to expand and deepen their understanding of cultural voice. Students spend the second week learning directly from native people as the class travels to experience tribal history and culture first hand. Students’ final projects integrate the texts and experiences of the course into a researched and reflective product. Daily discussions, journaling, and mini-service projects in the community are part of the overall on-site learning experience.
  • Witchcraft in Early Modern British Literature: This course immerses students in the literary and cultural depiction of witchcraft and those accused of it in early modern Britain. Students read and discuss primary texts (ranging from Shakespeare plays to early modern tracts on witchcraft) and secondary texts (historical research). The course’s experiential component is a witch trial reacting game.
  • Ireland in Film: This course surveys a wide-range of Irish-themed films in order to develop a deeper understanding of modern Irish cultural identity. Major thematic areas explored in the course include representations of the Irish West, the political struggle for independence, the role of Catholicism in Irish society, and the status of minority groups such as the Irish travelers and the urban working class in Ireland. Students debate the selections for, and plan, an Irish film festival.
  • Bleak House in Context: An in-depth study of a major British novel and author: Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. Students read the novel in context: in the installment form (available in the Special Collections of the Loras College library), alongside other Victorian publications and cultural artifacts, and through “contact” with the Victorians via role play. The course simulates the Victorian methodology of reading narratives in serial format. Students generate a class e-periodical which involves assuming the “roles” or voices of particular Victorian figures as found through their wider reading in the Special Collections resources of All the Year Round and Household Words (both journals edited by Dickens), the Newgate Journal and other Victorian texts. They also present their research, role play, and reading experiences in the display cases outside the Special Collections room.


Loras College English majors continued their long history of success in the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Undergraduate Writing Competition.  Loras writers have won or received Honorable Mention for 27 straight years.


Loras College students Anna Speltz (’15) (Minneota, Minnesota), Nora Zerante (’15) (Chicago Heights, Illinois), Holly Klein (’15) (Dubuque, Iowa), Megan Redmond (’15) (Bernard, Iowa) and Molly Cain (’14) were the only undergraduate team accepted to present at the 2015 Annual Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) conference Phoenix, Arizona in February 2018.

The students presented “ Rooted in Collaboration: Engaging Middle School Students through Poetry,” a collaborative poetry unit that they planned and taught at Washington Middle School in Dubuque, Iowa in the fall of 2013 as a part of their English Methods course, taught by Hilarie Welsh, Ph.D., assistant professor of education.

“The conference was an incredible opportunity to be inspired by some of the most accomplished thinkers and leaders in the education field,” said Speltz. “I came away from the conference with new ideas to apply to my current student teaching experience and better understanding of some of the discussions that are currently relevant in the education field. Presenting in and attending other sessions at the conference helped me to see myself as a contributor in those discussions.”

The team’s presentation shared how they used a required pre-service teachers’ course to collaboratively create and present a six-lesson poetry unit to a middle school honors class, showing the advantages of student-centered strategies and social justice themes, as well as the motivation created through the use of classroom texts and theories. An important component of the presentation was the students’ desire to encourage questions and discussion about the strengths, limitations and potential implications of their collaborative project.

“Dr. Welsh encouraged us to submit a proposal to the conference. Without her support and encouragement, we never would have even considered the opportunity,” explained Speltz.

The Association of Teacher Educators was founded in 1920 and is an individual membership organization devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education both for school-based and post-secondary teacher educators. ATE members represent over 700 colleges and universities, over 500 major school systems, and the majority of state departments of education. The ATE office is located in the Washington DC area where it represents its members’ interests before governmental agencies and education organizations. In addition, ATE has representatives on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Student Learning Outcomes


Student Learning Outcomes – English: Creative Writing
1. Demonstrate critical reading skills required to articulate a persuasive and insightful close reading, and a persuasive and insightful formal or structural analysis of a literary text (Goal #1 is common to all Literature and Creative Writing majors).
2. Demonstrate the rhetorical skills required to make a persuasive and insightful written argument using evidence from a literary text. (Goal #2 is common to all Literature and Creative Writing majors).
3. Demonstrate the ability to write aesthetically interesting original works of creative writing.
4. Demonstrate, through their writings, a clear understanding of genre conventions and literary techniques, such as structure, plot, character, setting, point of view, dialogue, imagery, metaphor, symbolism, rhetoric, or prosody;
5. Demonstrate control of structure and form (unity, coherence, balance, emphasis)
6. Effectively revise and edit their own work for technical, stylistic, and grammatical effectiveness;
7. Orally articulate their composition and revision processes, and explain how the study of literature and individual authors provides them with models and an understanding of literary conventions and traditions which informs their own writing.


View Highlighted Courses

Poetry Writing
An introductory workshop course in the art of writing poetry, and an introduction to poetics. Students will develop techniques for writing vivid descriptions and figures of speech, using precise diction, achieving rhythm and other pleasurable sound effects, deploying the energy of syntax, choosing rhetorical moods for emotional effect, and writing satisfying endings.

A writing workshop focusing on the creation, critique, and revision of an original screenplay in this case, for a short film. This will involve learning the industry-appropriate format and terms and learning the conventions of writing in screenplay form. ENG 371 also carries a critical component, in which students will analyze the themes, techniques, and style of a particular multi-credited screenwriter, and analyze the structure and strengths/weaknesses of an already-produced short film.

Nature Writing
An advanced-level workshop course in nonfiction nature writing. Students write in various subgenres of creative nonfiction, and also study technique  and theme in contemporary nonfiction nature writing.

English Practicum: Literary Journal Editing & Production
This course is an experiential learning practicum wherein students will contribute to the production of a nationally-read, undergraduate-only literary journal. Students will take part in every aspect of the publishing process: solicitation, selection of submissions, ordering, layout, proofing, and final publication. Catfish Creek is a unique opportunity for students to experience the publishing process from the other side of the submissions queue. Instructor permission required.

View All English Courses

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major in English – Creative Writing or a minor in English. 

Degree Requirements

Division of Language & Literature
Kate McCarthy-Gilmore, Ph.D., Chair

Major Requirements for English Creative Writing
Minor Requirements for English

Related Majors & Minors
English Literature Major
Irish Studies Minor
Rhetoric and Public Writing Minor
Spanish Major
Spanish Minor

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a English Creative Writing degree?”

As an English Creative Writing major, you will be prepared for a variety of interesting careers.

  • Creative writing
  • Teaching
  • Screenwriting
  • Journalism
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Political writing
  • Freelance writing
  • Technical writing
  • Magazine writing
  • Grant writing
  • Broadcast media
  • Digital media
  • Consulting
  • Advertising
  • Law

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

English Department Newsletter

The Loras College English Newsletter is intended to connect alumni of Loras College’s Language and Literature division with their peers, faculty and students. The newsletter provides updates and information on alums, current student achievements and experiences, faculty recognition, program developments and recent news.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. Scholarships, grants and special awards are offered to all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for schlarships and financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and review our financial aid resources for detailed information, scholarship opportunities and much more.

Meet Our Professors

Kate McCarthy-Gilmore, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish
Chair, Division of Language & Literature
563.588.7808 | Kate.McCarthy-Gilmore@loras.edu
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Naomi Clark, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Director of Writing Center
563.588.7402 | Naomi.Clark@loras.edu
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William Jablonsky, M.F.A.
Associate Professor of English
563.588.7499 | William.Jablonsky@loras.edu
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William (Will) Kanyusik, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
First Year Director
563.588.7727 | William.Kanyusik@loras.edu
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Kevin Koch, Ph.D.
Professor of English
563.588.7536 | Kevin.Koch@loras.edu
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James (Jim) Pollock, Ph.D.
Professor of English
563.588.7225 | James.Pollock@loras.edu
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Susan Stone, Ph.D.
Professor of English
563.588.7185 | Susan.Stone@loras.edu
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Erin VanLaningham, Ph.D.
Professor of English
563.588.7200 | Erin.VanLaningham@loras.edu
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