Independent Study

Independent Study in Creative Writing 

The Independent Study in Creative Writing is a for-credit opportunity for students to complete a creative project outside the bounds of the workshop, supervised by a member of the Creative Writing faculty. 


You must be a declared Creative Writing Minor, Journalistic Writing Minor, or English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration in order to apply for an Independent Study in Creative Writing.

Before you apply, it is a good idea to consider the following:
  • Which courses (in any department) have prepared you for your Independent Study?
  • Is there a course being offered at Penn that might serve as a good home for the project that is at the heart of your Independent Study?
  • If not, can you articulate how working independently, rather than in a course environment, will serve your creative and intellectual goals?
  • How will you manage your own time, workflow, and goals for your project, without the scaffolding of a course, especially a Creative Writing workshop?
  • What are your goals for the Independent Study? These can be both concrete—to finish a screenplay, a novella, a suite of poems, etc.—and broad—to steep yourself in a particular field of study, to hone an intensive creative practice, to immerse yourself in a particular creative form, etc.
Here are the steps to apply for an Independent Study:
  • Give your Independent Study a title. This will be your course title. Your title can be descriptive, or it can include the title of your project. Examples:
    • Independent Study: Poetry Writing
    • Independent Study: Shark Bite
  • Write a 150-word paragraph describing the goals of your Independent Study. This will be your course description.
  • Invite a member of the faculty to advise your Independent Study by sending them your course title and description and confirming their availability in the semester you would like to study.
  • Once your advisor has confirmed that they are available to advise you, email your course title and description and the name of your advisor to the Director of the Creative Writing Program requesting approval for the Independent Study.
  • If your Independent Study request is approved, you will receive a registration form to be signed by you, your advisor, and the Director of the Creative Writing Program.
Further details and deadlines:
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but we strongly advise you to submit your application before Advance Registration begins.
  • Registration forms (for accepted applications) should be submitted during Advance Registration, if possible. Forms are also accepted during the Add period. Forms submitted after the Add period ends cannot be accommodated.
  • The Independent Study appears on your transcript as a one-credit course that counts toward the Creative Writing Minor, the Journalistic Writing Minor, or the Creative Writing Concentration.
  • The Independent Study is subject to the same terms as any other course, including the Drop and Withdrawal deadlines.
  • If you would like to discuss your project or discuss finding an advisor, please contact the Director of the Creative Writing Program.
  • For information about the Creative Writing Honors Program, in which students enroll in an Independent Study supervised by their thesis advisor, please visit this page.
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