Writing and Literature

Welcome to Writing and Literature

Writing and Literature (W&L) is a unique, interdisciplinary undergraduate major that gives students the opportunity to study writing and literature through the integration of three forms of academic expertise: Writing Studies, Literary Studies, and Creative Writing.

By integrating these three areas of exploration, students will receive a well-rounded education in writing. Work in Creative Writing will help students develop their voice and gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s publishing environment. The close reading and criticism performed through Literary Study will help students better understand and analyze literature. Experience in Writing Studies invites students to consider the composition, circulation, and purpose of writing in professional, academic, and civic contexts. This interdisciplinary approach to writing will prepare students for a fulfilling writing life as well as a variety of careers, including professional writing, publishing, marketing, or graduate-level study.

W&L is the primary home of Creative Writing on campus, and also recognizes the symbiotic relationship between creative and intellectual work. Students in W&L will have the opportunity to work closely with College of Creative Studies faculty to develop their voice and practice the craft of creative writing. Students will also develop advanced work in the broader fields of Writing and Literature and Writing Studies by working with current UCSB faculty in departments across campus including but not limited to English, Writing Studies, Comparative Writing and Literature, the Languages, Translation Studies, and Ethnic Studies.

Students in W&L will receive fundamental grounding in the three major areas of writing and literary studies that will prepare them for more advanced and independent work in the University. Freshman and Sophomore colloquia in Literary Studies, Writing Studies, and Creative Writing will provide exposure to the forms of inquiry within these related fields and to the cutting edge research of UCSB faculty in these disciplines.

During their first two years, students will prepare for a Mid-Residency Review. There they will present a proposal of their plan for an independent project in research and/or creative writing to be submitted at the end of their fourth year as a Senior Portfolio. For this review, students will have identified a faculty advisor from CCS or the College of Letters & Science to guide their individual work. Students in the Writing & Literature major will also be encouraged to seek out opportunities for publication and undergraduate research. Senior Portfolios will give students the opportunity to showcase such accomplishments as well as the work undertaken with their faculty advisor. 

Please note that CCS requires an application that is additional to the standard UCSB application for admission.  Applications to the University of California and thus UCSB are open through the end of November. While CCS has a rolling application process, there is a priority deadline each year for primary consideration.  Application details and deadlines can be found on our How to Apply page.

NOTE: To enter into the program for Fall 2017, and for the 2017-2018 academic year, the W&L major will only be considering applications submitted by first- and second-year students at UCSB ; transfer students will be eligible to apply for Fall 2018.


The Literature Major in the College of Creative Studies was established with the creation of the College in 1967. Originally, the Major emphasized literary criticism and the close reading of literature. The newly named and revitalized Writing and Literature Program supports a broad perspective of the study of writing and literature.