Courses & Programs

Fred Cooksey

Chair, English

Arts and Humanities

Donahue 385

413.552.2538 (Tel)

Elizabeth Trobaugh

Faculty, English

Arts and Humanities

Donahue 365

413.552.2365 (Tel)

David Champoux

Faculty, English

Arts and Humanities

Fine and Performing Arts 228

413.552.2364 (Tel)

English & Creative Writing

The HCC English Department has a comprehensive mission to foster a love of learning and literacy.

Through the breadth, depth, and variety of its course offerings, the English Department pursues its comprehensive mission of fostering a love of learning and literacy.

In its courses in developmental English and expository writing and research, the department helps to support first-year students and build skills in writing, reading, analysis, and critical thinking that form the cornerstone of academic study and are so important for college success. Courses in professional writing enable students to pursue individual career interests and learn the principles of clear, effective workplace communication.

A student writes in a notebook

programs

The department's Creative Writing Option – an offering not available at many community colleges – offers a rich and stimulating curriculum that allows students to pursue personal interests while working towards an associate degree in liberal arts or preparing for transfer. Students in the Creative Writing Option also have the opportunity to develop and sharpen their writing and editorial skills by participating in internships. In addition, the department offers a range of ethnically diverse upper-division courses in literature, which encourages students to encounter and appreciate major works and a variety of literary voices, genres and styles.  These courses allow students to broaden and deepen their understanding of the human experience while fulfilling core course requirements for an associate degree or preparing for transfer.

get creative


One of only a few of its kind in the country for students pursuing an associate degree, HCC's Creative Writing Option is like a major – but with the flexibility to take many different kinds of courses.

Creative Writing is a solid academic program that allows you to explore a personal interest as you follow the guidelines of a typical Associate of Arts degree. A designated faculty advisor will guide you. HCC's Creative Writing courses offer a supportive environment for beginning and experienced writers both. Students get to know each other easily in these courses, where different points of view are not only allowed, but actively encouraged. In your final semester, you will assemble a portfolio of selected work along with a personal statement about your experiences and accomplishments in Creative Writing at HCC.

Flexible & engaging

Classes in the major include creative writing, creative writing for the theater, creative non-fiction, poetry, and short story classes.

Your electives give you the flexibility to explore an interest or focus your work on a particular theme. Choose from topics in creative writing, screenwriting, website design, electronic media, art, acting, play production, or even classes like psychology, history, philosophy or criminal justice – to name just a few. What's your interest?

Want to learn more? Visit our program page for the complete curriculum.

The creative writing option could is very attractive for certain creative students. But more specifically, what kind of creative students?

  • Students who know they want to explore Creative Writing: This option gives them a framework. HCC gives them a great place to be.
  • Students who eventually want to study English or related disciplines at a four-year school: The option contains many opportunities for electives. Students can create a degree that has its own theme.
  • Students who aren't sure what they want, but have found something powerful and rewarding in creative writing: Students can take a few years to develop their voice and find a way into academia. And they'll earn an A.A. degree without locking themselves into just one career path.
  • Students interested in creative projects and events: Pulp City is HCC's student-run art and literary magazine. Students who come to HCC for the creative writing option could gain experience and strengthen the magazine – maybe even see their work published. Contact us if you'd like to see a copy.
  • Students interested in connecting creative writing to theater and other communications disciplines: HCC's Drama Club holds evenings of one-act plays each semester, in addition to special projects. The Drama Department stages at least two major productions yearly.

Student Activities runs open-mic events, talent shows, and more. HCC offers screenwriting courses, multimedia, animation – the list goes on. The Creative Writing Option is flexible enough to allow students to make it their own: You have the freedom to explore your own interests within the option's framework.

All students, regardless of their major, are welcome to attend any of the many events we hold each semester, including:

The Creative Writing Club

Have something to say? We offer HCC students a chance to express themselves via the written word. Participate in a writing workshop with peers, improve your individual writing skills, and meet new friends interested in writing poems, short stories, and other works. Throughout the year we hold a variety of related events, such as Sudden Fiction, a writing contest that invites students to use images, music, and written prompts to ignite their creative freestyle. The result of your work may be included in the HCC annual literary magazine, Pulp City.

Spoken Word Open Mics

Our open mic events include both competitive and non-competitive events, and a team poetry slam where we compete for prizes against other area colleges. 

Sudden Fiction Contest

A writing contest that invites students to use images, music, and written prompts to ignite their creative freestyle. We give you a prompt and 30 minutes to write a short piece of fiction – right on the spot. 

With the right planning, students can go on to just about any Arts & Science discipline after completing the Creative Writing Option, which fulfills all requirements of MassTransfer, the Massachusetts State College transfer compact. All three Western Mass State Colleges – UMASS, Westfield State, and MCLA – offer degrees in Creative Writing, as do many public and private colleges across the country.

Please visit our transfer section to learn more about transfer options.

The flexibility and versatility of creative writing can lead to many careers beyond novelist, playwright, or poet, including...  

  • Television
  • Film
  • Radio
  • Journalism
  • Website Design
  • Online Publishing Advertising
  • Copywriting
  • Grant Writing
  • Technical Writing Publicity
  • Public Relations Education

HCC students have a great opportunity to learn more through the merging of college and community resources."

HCC English professor Lisa Mahon


  • A male student wearing a backwards cap writes in a notebook

    creative writing showcase

    Special events are held throughout the year for English and Creative Writing students to showcase their work and push their boundaries.

  • A female student reads into a microphone

    themed semesters

    HCC partnered with public libraries in Holyoke, Northampton, Florence, Easthampton, Southampton, and Westhampton this spring to take a semester-long look at prison life in America.

    Orange is New Black

  • A female student holds a pen in class

    build skills

    Build skills in writing, reading, analysis, and critical thinking – and then take it to the next level.

Fred Cooksey

Chair, English

Arts and Humanities

Donahue 385

413.552.2538 (Tel)

Elizabeth Trobaugh

Faculty, English

Arts and Humanities

Donahue 365

413.552.2365 (Tel)

David Champoux

Faculty, English

Arts and Humanities

Fine and Performing Arts 228

413.552.2364 (Tel)