2016-2017 Catalog


Writing-Intensive Seminars:

Most departments require a single junior-year seminar that includes a considerable amount of writing. The final product is read by more than one professor. A grade of B- is usually required, depending on the department. Fulfillment of the requirement is met through additional coursework when the grade in the seminar is not satisfactory.

Writing Across the Major:

Some departments have deemed all upper-division courses writing intensive. A few departments require more than one writing-intensive course in order to complete the Second Stage Writing Requirement in the major. An average grade of B- is generally required, depending on the department. See department chair for specifics.

Creative Writing:

It is recommended that students interested in creative writing choose a major or minor that will provide them background in literature. Of special interest is the Writing Emphasis in the English and Comparative Literary Studies department. The College believes that it is essential to understand a tradition of literature and authorship in order to become a writer oneself. There are also offerings in various creative arts at the College that would support such an emphasis. Students interested in journalistic writing should consider the importance of intellectual background and training available in the different programs in the humanities, arts, sciences, and social sciences. Students also have the opportunity to take independent studies in creative writing, and in special cases, to elect Senior Year Honors Projects in writing. Specific courses that address creative writing include ENGL 380 (Creative Writing), WRD 286 (Principles of Journalism II), WRD 301 (Creative Non-Fiction), WRD 401 (Writing Across the Curriculum), FREN 343 (Theory and Practice of Translation), THEA 201 (Alternative Voices in American Theater), and THEA 380 (Playwriting). Writers also are invited regularly to English creative writing classes and to the Intercultural Community Center, events that are open to the campus at large.

Additionally, every other year a Remsen Bird Visiting Artist gives classes and/or workshops on campus. In the last few years the English Department has sponsored several literary Honors Projects in writing. 

In the last few years the English Department has sponsored several literary conferences with invited guests; the department also sponsors a literary contest with prizes for fiction, poetry, and short drama, and provides support for The Occidental Review, a literary magazine edited by students. Students also have the opportunity to work on the student newspaper, to join literary clubs, and to elect an internship course under the direction of a faculty member. Internships, arranged with the help of the Career Development Center, have included work at the Mark Taper Forum, the Getty Art Institute, the Huntington Library, the Minority Training Institute, and Dreamworks.

Students at Occidental also have the opportunity to hear distinguished writers on campus; guests in the last several years have included Alice Walker, bell hooks, Walter Mosley,Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Sandra Cisneros, Amy Tan, Anna Deavere Smith, Maya Angelou, and Gish Jen. The Los Angeles area offers opportunities to hear many other writers at Vroman Bookstore, Beyond Baroque, Skylight Books, and Dawson Books, among others.