English & Creative Writing
The HCC English Department offers associate degree options in literature and creative writing.
If you love to read...
Consider the English Option, particularly if you intend to pursue a B.A. in English at a four-year institution. You'll study great works of literature – from a range of diverse sources – and you'll hone your analytical and critical skills. Click here for more info and a list of required courses.
If you love to write...
Consider the Creative Writing Option, which transfers well into four-year programs in English, Creative Writing, or any Liberal Arts area. You'll explore fiction, poetry, drama, screenplays, and creative nonfiction. Students get to know each other easily in creative writing classes, and you don't have to be in the degree option to take them. Everyone is welcome. Click here for more info on the program, the Creative Writing Club, and our literary magazine, Pulp City.
HCC's creative writing option is one of only a few of its kind in the country for students pursuing an associate's degree.
It's a solid academic program that allows students to explore a personal interest while at the same time following the guidelines of a typical Associate of Arts degree, including MassTransfer (the Massachusetts State College transfer compact). With the right planning, students can go on to just about any arts or science discipline after earning their A.A. degree with this option. A designated faculty advisor will guide them.
In their final semester, students will assemble a portfolio of representative work, along with a personal statement about their experiences and accomplishments in creative writing at HCC. This option works well for many students, including...
- 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 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 gain experience and strengthen the magazine – and maybe even see their work published. Contact us if you'd like to see a copy. HCC's Writing Group meets every Wednesday (11 a.m. – 12 noon in DON 360). Everyone is welcome at any time, including first-timers and drop-ins. Each semester, we hold spoken word open mic and flash fiction events. And we're always open to new ideas and projects.
- Students interested in connecting creative writing to theater and other communications disciplines:
- HCC's Drama Club puts on student-written one-act plays each semester, in addition to special projects. The theater department stages at least two major productions per year.
- Student Activities runs open-mic events, talent shows, and more.
- HCC offers screenwriting courses, multimedia, animation – the list goes on.
- Check the catalog for other courses that may enhance your experience here at HCC. The creative writing option is flexible enough to allow students to make it their own and explore their own interests within the option's framework.
- Students who eventually want to study at a four-year school: The option follows all the guidelines for Mass Transfer, making the transition to Massachusetts state colleges easy. In addition, we have articulation agreements with other area schools, and HCC has a close and developing relationship with the area's Five Colleges – considered among the top in the nation. The option contains many opportunities for electives, so students can create a degree with its own theme. With the right planning, a creative writing student can transition to nearly any humanities discipline.
- Students interested in starting a career: We actively recruit and support students for internships and other pre-professional projects, including positions in public relations and online publishing. What would you like to try?
- Students interested in connecting with other students: Because these classes are so supportive, people easily get to know each other. The Creative Writing Club always welcomes new members, including first-timers and drop-ins. We'd like to meet you.
Creative writing classes are for everyone at HCC! You don't have to be a creative writing major to take these classes. Each class earns you 3 "C" credits – which almost all students need for graduation.
Students who are new to creative writing are often very successful because the classes go through all the stages of brainstorming, freewriting, drafting, and editing. You get to know other students easily because everyone is always really into their writing, while at the same time being open and supportive of everyone else.
- ENG 217 Creative Writing: You'll write a little of everything – poems, short stories, plays, and creative nonfiction. This class is typically offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters in both online and on-campus formats.
- ENG 227 Creative Writing for the Theater: You'll write monologues, short plays, and skits, and you'll even write and shoot a short movie. You'll try lots of different kinds of activities and exercises in a fun and engaging way. This class is typically offered each spring semester.
- ENG 231 Creative Nonfiction: You tell true stories, but in creative ways – including personal essay, memoir, travel essay, or even literary journalism. This class is typically offered each fall semester.
The creative writing option provides a rigorous, well-rounded liberal arts education that will allow you to pursue many different degree programs in the arts and sciences. With the right planning, students can go on to just about any arts or science discipline after earning their A.A. degree with this option.
The option follows MassTransfer (the Massachusetts state college transfer compact), providing a virtually seamless path to the many four-year schools in Massachusetts. Westfield State College, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, for example, all have strong writing programs.
HCC has strong ties to some of the finest institutions in the country, including the nearby Five Colleges of UMass Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College.
Use this link to check out Massachusetts colleges. Scroll down to see them all, by category, starting with the state colleges.
pathways to top schools
HCC's Pathways program helps promising students succeed at HCC and explore transfer opportunities to selective liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith.
- Academic and personal advising
- Workshops and college visits
- Career and liberal arts majors exploration
- Assistance with the transfer process
- Information about the value of a liberal arts education
- Assistance with the financial aid process and scholarships
Participants include students of any gender of both traditional and non-traditional age, as well as veterans. There is no cost to apply or participate in the program.
- Biology & other sciences
- Liberal Arts
Programming and services are offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Students with the rich background of creative writing are prepared for many possible career paths, including:
- Grant writing/technical writing
- Feature writing
- Writing for film, television & radio
- Internet Publications
- Novelists and Poets
- Freelance Writing
- Public Relations
- Corporate Communications
- And many more...
Beyond all these, consider what writing can do for you in corporate or industrial positions. Writing is central to so many professions. Do an internet search for "what do employers look for in a new employee?" and you'll find that writing skills, creativity, and the kind of critical thinking involved in creative writing are at or near the top of the list. The most successful employees have excellent writing and communication skills, and you can develop those skills in HCC's creative writing option.
HCC students have a great opportunity to learn more through the merging of college and community resources."
HCC English professor Lisa Mahon