Creative Writing—Environmental Narrative
Graduate Certificate program at NAU
This 18-credit certificate program trains students to write literary fiction and nonfiction that incorporates scientific inquiry and place-based narratives. Their published work is intended to speak to a wide audience interested in ecology, sustainability, and climate change and solutions. As the market, audience, and necessity for ecological writing grows, these students will be prepared to apply their experience and narrative skills to fill that need.
Students may work in a wide range of genres, including realism, speculative fiction, nature writing, long-form nonfiction, and lyric, braided, and poetic forms.
Note: For this certificate program, students must apply to Graduate admissions for acceptance into NAU prior to registering for courses.
**The application deadline for this program is March 31.**
Careers Accordion Open
Students incorporate contemporary environmental research into creative and literary narratives that tell stories on a human scale. They may initiate correspondence with leading researchers and gain confidence with interviewing, shadowing, and volunteering in ecological research projects. Students learn to tailor and professionally pitch their writing for multiple audiences and diverse publications.
Students will be prepared to:
- publish books, stories, essays, articles, and narrative poems in national and literary venues;
- work as program coordinators, fellowship directors, institute administrators, and conference organizers;
- teach in relevant fields;
- apply for fellowships in the environmental humanities, editorial positions at established publications, and writer-in-residence positions.
With further education, one of these paths is possible:
Students may be able to apply for positions on the tenure-track academic job market in creative writing and the environmental humanities or transfer these skills to K-12 education. With further interdisciplinary education—in political science or public administration, for example—they will be equipped to direct nonprofit organizations, community programs, grant agencies, and businesses with sustainable missions.
Overview Accordion Closed
The curriculum draws from diverse disciplines, traditions, and writing styles. The program incorporates writing workshops, literary study, and field work, culminating in a capstone writing project.
This certificate will prepare students to:
- read and respond thoughtfully and thoroughly to work by their colleagues in order to hone the critical, intellectual, and analytical skills that are crucial to success in a broad range of literary, artistic, cultural, and professional fields;
- refine skills in drafting, revising, and editing in a primary literary genre with the goal of producing a polished creative manuscript of marketable quality;
- learn the theoretical foundations and research methods in advanced literary studies, and gain expertise in specific genres, periods, and topics in the field, namely environmental-literary criticism and traditions beyond settler/Euro-American notions of place, wilderness, and ecology;
- write about the environmental forces that shape their work with better-informed scientific research and rationale;
- develop a professional presentation of an excerpt to the community in a public reading.
Details Accordion Closed
Required Courses for this 15-unit certificate program include:
FOUNDATION WRITING COURSE (3)
- 3 Units of English 531 – Climate Science Narrative
LITERATURE COURSES (6)
- 3 Units of ENG 644 – American Literature and The Environment
- 3 Units of ENG 546 – Indigenous American Literature
- 3 Units of ENG 577 – Readings in Contemporary Literature (with a focus on Indigenous epistemologies)
ADVANCED WRITING COURSES (3)
- 3 Units of ENG 624 – Topic: Environmental Rhetoric in Public Spaces
- 3 Units of ENG 676 – Creative Nonfiction Workshop
- 3 Units of ENG 509/609 — Fiction Workshop
- 3 Units of ENG 507/607 – Poetry Workshop
SCIENCE-CENTERED COURSEWORK (3)
3 Units on Global Climate Change, Science Communication, Environmental Studies, or other coursework to be selected in consultation with advisor:
- Three 1-credit Climate Science Communication courses:
- COM 540 – Introduction to Science Communication (1 unit)
- COM 541 – Data Metaphors and Visualization (1 unit)
- COM 542 – Ethics and Strategies in Science Communication (1 unit)
- ENV 595 – Global Climate Change
- Another science-related graduate course at NAU with certificate advisor approval.
FIELD WORK CAPSTONE (3)
3 Units ENG 697—Independent Study with Field Work Experience
Capstone could include amateur field work, internships, community engagement projects, or collaborative research, culminating in a 30-page writing component integrating that individualized experience into the creative narrative.
Campus Accordion Closed