Major in Creative Writing

Daniel Tysdal teaches a creative writing class

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live."

-- Joan Didion

Does your love of literature go beyond scholarship? Are you an aspiring author who wants to add a practical, hands-on component to your university education? Then you've come to the right place: UTSC is the only campus at UofT where you can earn a Major in Creative Writing. Our dedicated faculty take a workshop-based, experiential approach to the study and practice of the literary arts. This means that while you learn how classic and contemporary authors pursue their craft, you also take the exciting first steps towards building your own writing practice.

Our Major program places a particular emphasis on professionalization and how to make your way as a writer in the real world. Our teaching faculty are active and award-winning writers themselves, and the program stream culminates in a practical seminar on "Creative Writing as a Profession." You will also benefit from working each year with a new Writer-in-Residence, and you will have the opportunity to connect with our close-knit and active creative writing alumni network, including recent graduates who have already had their work published.

As a creative writing student you will be part of a vibrant undergraduate community, and have access to a jam-packed calendar of readings, talks, festivals, and other events (just scan our Events page to see what's happened in the past and coming up in the future). You can also participate in C.O.W. (our creative writing club), enter contests, and get published in the UTSC arts journal Scarborough Fair.

There is no better place to immerse yourself in the literary arts than Toronto, the heart of Canada's publishing industry. Join UTSC's growing community of creative writers, and learn how to make your own literary mark on the world.

Here is a route map for navigating the Creative Writing Major (you can expand the map by right-clicking or option-clicking):

route map for navigating the Creative Writing Major

How to Apply to the Major in Creative Writing

Students may apply to the Major in Creative Writing after they have completed ENGA03H3 and have accumulated a minimum of 4.0 credits. Students typically apply at the end of their first year.

To apply, applicants must complete two steps:

1. Applicants must request entry to the program on ACORN during the application period as outlined below.

2. Applicants must submit a portfolio for adjudication during the application period as outlined below.

The Portfolio:

The portfolio must be 15-20 pages of the applicant’s best writing in poetry, fiction (either short stories or selections from a longer work), and/or creative non-fiction. Portfolios may include work completed in ENGA03H3 and/or work completed prior to admission to UTSC. The portfolio must be accompanied by a brief letter of application (1–2 pages) addressed to the Program Advisor in Creative Writing. The letter should discuss the applicant’s experience as a writer, their future goals in the creative writing program, and a work of literature that has inspired them.

Application Periods:

There are two application periods for the Creative Writing Program, one in March/April for students applying at the end of the Winter session (Round 1), and one in June/July for students applying at the end of the Summer session (Round 2). Students should visit the Office of the Registrar website for the exact dates of these periods, and make sure to apply on ACORN and submit their portfolios by the end of these periods. (Please note: Creative Writing is considered a “limited enrolment program.”)

How to Submit Portfolios:

Portfolios and letters should be submitted as one document to by the end of the chosen application period. (Don’t forget: applicants also need to request entry to the program on ACORN by this deadline.)

Students who are not successful in their first attempt are eligible to apply again. These students must submit a new portfolio and letter of application by the deadlines outlined above.

A Note on Creative Writing Course Enrolments:

Creative Writing courses at UTSC are usually workshop-based and capped at 20 students. Enrolment is prioritized for students who have taken the prerequisites and are already enrolled in either the Minor or Major in Creative Writing.

That said, there is occasionally room in our courses for students who are not studying creative writing intensively. If you are a non-first year student who is not enrolled in the program but would like to apply for a B-level Creative Writing course, please submit a course-specific portfolio (including your student number). Here are the details and contacts:

ENGB60 Creative Writing: Poetry I: Email 5-10 pages of poetry to Please note if you are applying for the F or S term.

ENGB61 Creative Writing: Fiction I: Email 5-10 pages of fiction or other prose writing to  Please note if you are applying for the F or S term.

ENGB63 Creative Writing: Non-Fiction I: Email 5-10 pages of non-fiction, fiction, or other prose writing to

To start your creative writing journey at UTSC:

If you are a first-year student and/or new to Creative Writing, your first step should be to enrol in ENGA03H3 Introduction to Creative Writing. This is the prerequisite for entry into the Creative Writing program. Most students take this course in their first year, and then apply for entry to the program once they’ve completed it.

If you have any questions, please email: We are happy to help and look forward to receiving and reading your work!


Program Requirements

Students in the Major must complete 7.5 credits as follows: 

1. 3.0 credits:

ENGA03H3 Introduction to Creative Writing

ENGB60H3 Creative Writing: Poetry I

ENGB61H3 Creative Writing: Fiction I

ENGB63H3 Creative Non-Fiction I

ENGD95H3 Creative Writing as a Profession

ENGC86H3 Creative Writing: Poetry II or ENGC87H3 Creative Writing: Fiction II or ENGC88H3 Creative Non-Fiction II

2. 2.0 credits to be selected from: 

ENGC04H3 Creative Writing: Screenwriting

ENGC05H3 Creative Writing: Poetry and New Media

ENGC06H3 Creative Writing: Writing for Comics

ENGC08H3 Special Topics in Creative Writing I

ENGC24H3 Creative Writing: The Art of the Personal Essay

ENGC86H3 Creative Writing: Poetry II (if not already counted as a required course)

ENGC87H3 Creative Writing: Fiction II (if not already counted as a required course)

ENGC88H3 Creative Non-Fiction II (if not already counted as a required course)

ENGC89H3 Creative Writing and Performance

ENGD22H3 Special Topics in Creative Writing II

ENGD26Y3 Independent Studies in Creative Writing: Poetry

ENGD27Y3 Independent Studies in Creative Writing: Prose

ENGD28Y3 Independent Studies in Creative Writing: Special Topics

3. 2.5 Additional credits in English

Note: A maximum of 1.0 credit in creative writing courses may be taken at another campus.

For more details on program requirements, visit the UTSC Calendar. Questions about the program should be directed to Professor Andrew Westoll ( 

Interested in learning more about how our courses are structured and how you might develop your own path through your Minor in Creative Writing? Visit our Routes and Threads page.