Creative Writing

Creative Thesis Information

Only English Majors may apply to write a creative thesis. It is required that students take at least three writing workshops prior to submitting their proposal.

Students who were enrolled at Reed starting in Fall 2020 through Spring 2023 must fulfill the Creative Writing Concentration within the English major. 

English majors (enrolled in fall 2023 and thereafter) who are hoping to write a creative thesis should keep in mind that proposals are screened by the Creative Writing faculty and must be approved by the English Department. The decision of whether or not to grant permission is based on the nature of the project, the writing sample, and the student’s overall performance in English and Creative Writing classes during their time at Reed.

Formats for creative theses that have been approved in the past include: a series of short stories, a series of poems, a play, and a series of creative nonfiction essays. When deciding on a creative thesis topic, the student should be realistic about the amount of quality work that can be completed in the time allotted. Each creative thesis includes an afterword, in which the thesis student discusses their writing process and further contextualizes their work in terms of its genre and artistic goals.

Students who wish to apply to write a creative thesis must submit an application via email to Adam Aristo ( by August 15. The application should include: 

  1. A 1-2 page introduction that includes the genre in which you hope to write, your past experience as a writer (in most cases this will be writing classes and workshops you have taken), and any other information relevant to your application. 
  2. A writing sample: (in poetry) 10 pages of poems; (in prose) 10-12 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction writing.

The Creative Writing faculty read all applications in a timely manner, then make recommendations to the English Department before the end of the spring semester. All applicants are notified by letter in their Reed mailboxes.

Students whose applications are accepted will submit Three distinct creative thesis topics, briefly described in 1-3 sentences (to the department faculty administrative assistant) in August prior to the start of senior year. Once the fall semester has begun, your thesis topic is decided by you and your advisor.

Typically, theses are advised by Creative Writing faculty. A Thesis Colloquium in Prose and Poetry, respectively, will be instituted if thesis numbers of five or more are approved. Thesis colloquium includes: group meetings revolving around assigned readings and technical discussions; one-on-one meetings at regular, bi-weekly intervals; and individual editing and feedback.  This culminates in a Creative Thesis document (creative work and afterword). 

Creative thesis students follow the same thesis schedule and deadlines within the Division, with the exception of the Draft deadline, even though requirements may overlap. A calendar of specific thesis due dates is sent out at the beginning of each thesis year and also can be picked up from the Division office (Psych 116).

Students accepted for creative thesis work will be asked to assemble a reading list appropriate to their thesis genre in cooperation with their thesis adviser. Such a reading list should reflect both the student's interests and needs in the genre, and might include critical as well as creative texts. Traditionally, at the end of the year, creative thesis students organize and give an on-campus reading of their thesis work.

Acceptance of a creative thesis proposal is only valid for the year in which the student applies. Any student who takes leave from the College needs to submit a new proposal upon their return in order to be considered a candidate for a creative thesis.