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Program Details

The Certificate in Creative Writing Across Contexts (CWAC) comprises six courses (24 credits) designed to familiarize students with the practice of creative writing in different media, platforms, cultures, and social contexts. Students will learn to write in the core genres of prose, poetry, creative nonfiction, and multimodal forms; become proficient in digital publishing tools; deepen their writing by engaging critically with important cultural, environmental, and community-based issues; collaborate with peers to create literary journals, organize public readings, and gain other hands-on experience; and meet working authors, editors, and publishers. Recent visiting authors have included Souvankham Thammavongsa, Jesse Thistle, Heather O’Neill, Kathryn Mockler, and Terese Mason Pierre. 

The CWAC is open to any student at York, or to interested community members, with or without prior writing experience. Students can choose to take individual courses as electives, or else to complete all six courses to fulfill the requirements of the CWAC.

Certificate Requirements

Students in the Certificate in Creative Writing Across Contexts must complete all certificate-related courses, totalling 24 credits. These include:

  • GL/EN 2800 3.0 Introduction to Creative Writing*  
  • GL/EN 3800 3.0 Multimodal Writing 
  • GL/EN 3801 3.0 Writing the Environment    
  • GL/EN 3802 3.0 Writing Diversity: Issues in Creative Writing 
  • GL/EN 3806 6.0 Digital Media and Publishing  
  • GL/EN 4800 6.0 Writing and Community** 

*Students with demonstrated experience in Creative Writing can apply either to skip this course, or to have an equivalent course counted toward the CWAC. Please see the information below on Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).

**GL/EN 4800 6.0 Writing and Community is only open to upper-level students who have completed all or nearly all other CWAC courses.  

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Requirements

Normally, students will enter the CWAC via GL/EN 2800 3.0 Introduction to Creative Writing, which focuses on the development of fundamental skills in writing across three root genres (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction). Students with previous experience with creative writing, and who wish to have GL/EN 2800 waived as a requirement, may pursue either of the following two options:

If a student has previously completed an introductory creative writing course (such as AP/EN 2600) at an accredited university and wishes to have it (their previous introduction to creative writing) counted, and GL/EN 2800 waived as a requirement for the Certificate, they must provide evidence of successful completion with a grade of 70% (B) or higher. To submit evidence of prior credit and have it counted toward completion of the CWAC, please contact Yassin Handouleh through Academic Services acadservices@glendon.yorku.ca

Students who already have experience with creative writing and wish to have GL/EN 2800 waived as a requirement for the Certificate must demonstrate the achieved equivalency of that course’s learning outcomes by submitting an Artist Statement and Portfolio for review:

  1. Artist Statement (2 single-spaced pages): Outline your learning as a reader and a writer (emphasizing experiences in classroom and/or workshop settings and skills acquired as a writer), a discussion of your goals for study in the Certificate courses; identify at least one author or text that influences your work; explain how your writing sample demonstrates your trajectory as a writer.
  1. Portfolio: The portfolio should include original work by the applicant comprising all of the following texts: 1 short story (2000-2500 words), 1 work of creative nonfiction (2000-2500 words), and 3-5 poems (5 pages max.)

Overall, the portfolio should provide evidence of knowledge with a range of techniques, subjects, and forms as well as careful proofreading and editing, with attention to spelling and grammar when used conventionally. The portfolio should illustrate as strongly as possible the student’s original and unique style, including well-considered choices about form and content. 

The format for the portfolio should follow these guidelines: Twelve-point font and numbered pages. Fiction and creative nonfiction should be double-spaced. The format for poetry is at the writer’s discretion. The total page length for the entire portfolio should not exceed 25 pages.  

Students will be assessed with attention to the following areas: 1) Artist Statement, 2) Genres, 3) Composition Skills, 4) Originality/Inventiveness in Content, 5) Style and Voice.

Completed statements and portfolios should be submitted as a single .pdf for review by Glendon’s Writer-on-the-Grounds. Email to CWAC@glendon.yorku.ca by Monday, May 9, 2022.

How to apply

To apply to the CWAC, please contact Academic Services acadservices@glendon.yorku.ca.   

For questions about the CWAC, please contact Eric Schmaltz, Writer-on-the-Grounds cwac@glendon.yorku.ca

The CWAC is hosted by the English department


Throughout the certificate program, you’ll find a curriculum that offers a balanced and hands-on approach to creative writing. 

GL/EN 2800 3.0 Introduction to Creative Writing  

This course introduces students to the root genres of creative writing, including creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. Students will explore the core principles of each genre by studying model texts and learning to produce short stories, poems, and narrative nonfiction. 


GL/EN 3800 3.0 Multimodal Writing 

This course studies the field and practice of creative writing through the lens of multimodality, enabling students to explore how writers can expand their abilities by creating work at the intersection of genres, discourses, and media. 


GL/EN 3801 3.0 Writing the Environment  

This course enables students to study and create poetry and prose in dialogue with local and global environmental issues. In particular, this course utilizes Glendon’s unique outdoor green spaces to encourage students to write with a sense of their positionality within the immediate environment. 


GL/EN 3802 3.0 Writing Diversity: Issues in Creative Writing 

This course studies the field and practice of creative writing through the lens of diversity with an emphasis on recent and ongoing discussions and debates.  


GL/EN 3806 6.0 Digital Media and Publishing  

This experiential course gives students the opportunity to develop skills in writing, editing and digital production that will allow them to design and produce a digital arts and culture magazine. 


GL/EN4800 6.0 Writing and Community  

This course engages students with two distinct literary communities: the smaller, intimate personal community of their peers, and the larger, national and international community of published authors, through participation in literary workshops, events, and critiques of submitted material. 

Students studying together.

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