Faculty reading a book with students in library

Creative Writing

Learn to express yourself creatively with the written word and craft new ideas and new worlds that inform, inspire, and entertain.

Why Study Creative Writing?

As a creative writing major at USD, you will learn the craft of writing in multiple genres through a hands-on, action-based approach that builds writerly skills in reading, craft and technique, and creative process. Our faculty members–all published writers–challenge students to experiment and take chances, to learn from the critiques of their classmates and professors, and embrace the process of revision. At USD, you can explore writing classes in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and publishing. You also have opportunities to read your work at public events, publish your work, participate in the editing of a student-run magazine, and help manage an independent literary press. Our students graduate with marketable skills in professional writing, editing, marketing, and teaching. Many pursue graduate work.

As a creative writing major at USD, develop real world professional skills while also learning the art of writing.

Degrees & Offerings

English: Creative Writing Specialization (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A creative writing specialization allows an English major to extend the tradition of strong and imaginative creative storytellers, poets and creative nonfiction writers who have honed their skills at USD. Our faculty include novelists, poets, creative nonfiction and short-story writers and a South Dakota Poet Laureate. Students work in small, intimate classes on their own creative work while also gaining a firm grounding in literature and literary criticism.

Creative Writing

  Vermillion Main Campus

A minor in creative writing allows you to combine your imaginative interests in writing with your primary major area. This minor pairs well with any Arts and Sciences majors allowing students to work with published writers to develop literary craft and artistic skills across a wide range of genres including poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Program Details






Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

The Department of English offers opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in the operation of two periodicals and a literary press. South Dakota Review, a quarterly journal, publishes both creative and critical work for a national audience. Undergraduate students may assist English graduate students and faculty in the editorial and circulation duties associated with this publication.

The Vermillion Literary Project holds open-mic reading events, an annual writers festival and produces an annual anthology of local fiction, poetry and artwork entitled the Red Coyote. Undergraduate students participate in all of the group's activities. Astrophil Press produces award-winning books of literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Undergraduate students may help graduate students and faculty in management of this influential independent publishing enterprise.

Students who excel at writing can become a paid peer writing consultant at USD's Writing Center, which offers help in all areas of writing for USD students. Writing consultants receive training to assist students with any task that includes writing, including essays, reports, theses, short stories, resumes and cover letters. Working as a writing consultant gives you experience as a critical reader, proofreader and editor--all skills that will serve you in a future career.

Academic Support and Resources

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of English. For example, you may be interested in joining Vermillion Literary Project to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests. Also, Alpha Mu Phi is USD's local chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta international English Honor Society. Students inducted into our chapter hold flash fiction contests, sponsor a little free library in the Vermillion community and present research and creative work at the national Sigma Tau Delta conference.

Get Involved

Thomas and Alice Gasque Study-in-Britain Scholarship 

English students interested in traveling abroad are encouraged to apply for the the Gasque Study-in-Britain Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a USD undergraduate with a grade point average of 3.2 or higher, with special preference given to English majors, for the purpose of studying in Great Britain.

Apply Now

Departments & Facilities

Our faculty are experts in their fields, bringing practical experience in writing, communication and inspirational thinking.
Carson Sehr outside holding Vermillion Literary Project books


Investigate and gain insight into how we understand ourselves and communicate through stories, poetry and other narratives. Cultivate your ability to read and write and think about complex issues with the Department of English.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Department of English. The USD English faculty are award-winning, engaged researchers and creative scholars working within a supportive department community dedicated to providing students with diverse learning opportunities.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Darlene Farabee

Darlene Farabee



16th & 17th C British Literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member duncan barlow

duncan barlow



Fiction Writing, Horror Literature, Publishing
Bio Image for Faculty Member Prentiss Clark

Prentiss Clark

Associate Professor


American Literature
pete dexter smiling.

Pete Dexter

Writer in Residence
Bio Image for Faculty Member John Dudley

John Dudley

Dean-Col of A&S


American Literature
Literary Naturalism
Bio Image for Faculty Member Paul Formisano

Paul Formisano

Director of Writing


Environmental Humanities/Composition
Regional Lit.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kenneth Green

Kenneth Green



Composition Theory
Grant Writing
English Grammar
Bio Image for Faculty Member Benjamin Hagen

Benjamin Hagen

Associate Professor


Modernist fiction/poetry
Literary criticism/theory
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julie Kelderman

Julie Kelderman



Second Language Acquisition
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kevin Magee

Kevin Magee

Bio Image for Faculty Member Cheyenne Marco

Cheyenne Marco

Senior Lecturer


Creative Writing
Great Plains Literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member Leah McCormack

Leah McCormack

Assistant Professor


Creative Writing (Fiction & Nonfiction)
Bio Image for Faculty Member Martin McGoey

Martin McGoey



Composition instruction
Bio Image for Faculty Member Joseph Raiche

Joseph Raiche

Senior Lecturer


Composition, American Lit,
Taylor Swift
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Ann Robertson

Lisa Ann Robertson

Associate Professor


18th & 19th C British Literature, Science, Culture
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michelle Rogge Gannon

Michelle Rogge Gannon

Director-Writing Center


Writing and introductory literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lee Roripaugh

Lee Roripaugh

Editor-South Dakota Review, Professor


Creative Writing (Poetry, CNF, Fiction)
Bio Image for Faculty Member Skip Willman

Skip Willman

Associate Professor


Contemporary Literature
Critical Theory

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