Degree Requirements2016-2017

Narrative Nonfiction Writing (concentration only)


Michael Croley, Peter Grandbois, Jack Shuler (Chair), Margot Singer, James Weaver

Narrative Nonfiction Writing Concentration

The concentration in Narrative Nonfiction Writing—prose that combines literary attention to storytelling with sound, fact-based research, offers students from all majors a structured opportunity to gain writing experience and exposure to potential career paths in this exciting field. This concentration will prepare students to write for a wide readership across a variety of media platforms. It is firmly grounded in the liberal arts, bringing together existing courses in narrative writing and research methods, independent semester and/or summer research projects, and real world experiences, including internships and campus writing opportunities. The concentration supplements existing courses in expository and creative writing to help students from a wide range of majors integrate their academic coursework with their extracurricular and work experiences. It aims to provide the structure and faculty mentorship that will help students make those connections in a thoughtful and intentional way.

Core Course Requirements Required courses for the completion of the concentration are:

  • ENGL 221 Literary Nonfiction

  • ENGL 237 Introduction to Creative Writing

  • ENGL 384 Creative Nonfiction

  • One to three approved electives

  • At least one summer or semester-long directed research or internship

  • Group colloquia

  • At least one semester of senior research

Electives Elective courses shall be approved by the Narrative Nonfiction Writing Committee. Elective courses must provide either substantial narrative writing experience in a variety of forms or exposure to key disciplinary research methods.

Courses that are not explicitly designated as electives may be counted toward the concentration on a case-by-case basis with permission of the Narrative Nonfiction Writing Concentration Committee. Elective courses that are restricted to departmental majors will not be open to non-major narrative nonfiction writing concentrators without instructor permission.

English majors must take at least three non-English course electives and English minors must take at least two non-English course electives. Non-English majors must take at least one elective.

2016-17 elective courses include the following:

  • AS 350 Field Research Methods

  • AS 351 Survey Research Methods

  • CINE 104 Film Aesthetics and Analysis

  • CINE 328: Screenwriting

  • COMM 108: Introduction to Writing for Print and Online

  • COMM 350: Advanced Journalism

  • ENGL 310: Literature of Travel

  • ENGL 383: Fiction Writing

  • HIST 300R: History Research Seminars

  • POSC 201: Analyzing Politics

  • THTR 291: Playwriting: Form, Structure, Narrative

Summer or Semester-long Research or Internship Experience NNW concentrators must complete an on- or off-campus internship that engages with narrative nonfiction writing. For example, concentrators may pursue internships with University Communications, Denison Magazine, a local news organization, or a media-oriented nonprofit organization. Alternatively, concentrators may undertake a summer research project focused on producing a significant work of narrative nonfiction. If summer projects or internships are not feasible, concentrators may undertake semester-long directed research and/or internships instead.

All internships and research projects must be approved by the Narrative Nonfiction Writing Concentration Committee. Students requiring funding support from Denison for internships must demonstrate need, submit competitive proposal requests, and meet Career Exploration standards for ensuring high quality internships or alternative field experiences.

Colloquia Once or twice per semester, the narrative nonfiction writing concentration will sponsor colloquia designed to explore the professional world of narrative nonfiction writing. These sessions will focus on a variety of topics, such as: journalistic ethics, types of narrative nonfiction publications, writing careers and internships, how to develop a portfolio, how to build a social media platform, the role of editors and agents, etc. There will also be opportunities to meet with recent graduates, attend talks and readings given by professional writers, and go on field trips. Colloquia are mandatory for seniors (and optional for all other students) in the concentration.

Senior Research Students participating in the narrative nonfiction writing concentration must complete at least one semester of senior research. Research may be conducted in any relevant department, depending on the project.

Alternatively, an independent study undertaken during the senior year may replace senior research in cases where departmental senior research requirements preclude significant work in narrative nonfiction writing.

English majors with a creative writing emphasis will complete the required year-long senior creative writing project on a relevant topic.

Advising All concentrators will have a designated advisor chosen from the members of the Narrative Nonfiction Writing Committee.