Writing Seminars

The Writing Seminars, distinguished by 60-plus years of teaching by prominent American writers, is characterized by its personal instruction and progressive curriculum. More than 30 introductory writing classes are offered each semester with an additional 20 seminars and workshops for majors. The department encourages internships, supports an active program of visiting writers and consultations, and emphasizes access to its faculty members. Students work primarily in fiction and poetry but may take elective courses in nonfiction prose, editorial writing, screenwriting, playwriting, and science writing. The Writing Seminars major is designed to educate students in the art of imaginative writing and equally to develop skills of communication essential in every civilization, endeavor, and vocation.

Academic Details

Overview of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Students majoring in the Writing Seminars begin their coursework with two semesters of Introduction to Fiction and Poetry. Advanced courses in fiction and poetry follow, and three writing electives and an advanced writing workshop are required as well. Students also take an interdisciplinary series of coursework in English, philosophy, and history, and must demonstrate competency in a foreign language through the intermediate level.

Honors Opportunities

Students will receive honors if they graduate with a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher in the classes required for the completion of the major.

Student Stories


Will McCance ’12 used his Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award to make Be More: the Bombers of Baltimore, a documentary exploring the city’s modern graffiti movement as an art form rather than vandalism.

David Iaconangelo ’10 used his Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship to explore the role of baseball in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela. He’s written short stories as well as nonfiction articles on the topic. To learn more about his project, visit Arts & Sciences Magazine

Writing Seminars major and theatre arts minor Remy Patrizio ’11 used funding from her Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship to write, produce and direct her play Fever Teeth, a mystical coming-of-age story. To learn more about her project, visit Arts & Sciences Magazine.

Martha Harrison ’14, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, is studying the ways the Baltimore Ravens, a professional football team, interacts with the city.  She attends all their games and has unfettered access to the team.


Devin Alessio ’14 spent the summer of 2012 at Seventeen Magazine interning in their digital department, where she ran the blogs for their website. Andrew Townson ’14, a double major in Writing Seminars and film & media studies, interned at the Festivalists, a Sydney, Australia event production company that specializes in film festivals and other media-related events. Cydney Weiner ’12 interned both semesters of her senior year as an assistant to Andrea Mitchell, the chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News in Washington, D.C.  She was hired by NBC the day classes ended.

Other Writing Seminars majors have interned at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, The Late Show with David Letterman, HBO, Oprah, William Morris Agency, HarperCollins—the list goes on!

Study Abroad

Writing Seminars majors have studied abroad in London, Oxford, and Cambridge in England; Sydney, Australia; Paris, France; Singapore; Moscow, Russia; and Barcelona, Spain.


Related Student Groups

Baltimore by Hand

Black and Blue Jay

JHU Politik

Story Pals

The Johns Hopkins News-Letter

Thoroughfare Arts Magazine

Word Planet (Johns Hopkins undergraduate literary magazine)

Writers in Baltimore Schools (WBS)

Campus & Baltimore Resources

The Writing Seminars Department hosts 3 reading series, including one dedicated to undergraduate work

The Johns Hopkins Writing Center

The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Magazine

City Paper

Style Magazine


The Hopkins Review

Majors & Minors Programs