To earn a certificate, a student must complete three courses of language study, courses in “Foreign Language Across the Curriculum,” or courses in literature and culture taught in the original language. The courses must be taken after the student has demonstrated the level of competence established for the College’s language requirement. It is critical that courses presented for the certificate be taught in the original language. Study-abroad courses may be used with departmental approval.
The Center for Programs
in Contemporary Writing
The University has taken a unique approach to writing and brought many facets of writing under one academic roof. The Center is comprised of:
The Critical Writing Program
The Critical Writing Program sponsors about 90 writing seminars each semester on topics such as civilization and catastrophe, the meaning of money, rock and roll sublime, black protest poetry, losers in American history, global voices, healing narratives and documentary film. The Critical Writing Program also offers writing support to students through its Writing Center and provides training and workshops in writing for faculty, graduate students and alumni.
Creative Writing
The Creative Writing program offers writing workshops every semester in fiction, poetry, non-fiction and journalistic writing, as well as in screenwriting and playwriting. Any student may take these courses as electives. Additionally, students who are English majors can choose creative writing as an emphasis. There are approximately 90 to 100 such students in any given year, making the option one of the most popular in the English major. The program also invites visiting writers to Penn for readings and talks and sponsors a university-wide writing contest each spring.
Kelly Writers House
The Kelly Writers House is an actual 14-room house at 3805 Locust Walk on
Penn’s campus that serves as a center for writers of all kinds from Penn and the Philadelphia region at large. Each semester the Writers House hosts approximately 150 public programs and projects—poetry readings, film screenings, seminars, web magazines, lectures, dinners, radio broadcasts, workshops, art exhibits and musical performances—and about 500 people visit the House each week. They work, write and collaborate in seminar rooms, a publications room, the “hub” office, a cozy living room, a dining room, a kitchen with plenty of space for conversation and “the Arts Cafe,” the wonderfully open south-facing room that was originally the parlor.
Research can be an important component of the undergraduate experience. Indeed, one of the major advantages of being an undergraduate at a research university is the wide variety of opportunities available for scholarship. A recent survey suggests that 75 percent of College students have substantial research experience, as defined by their participation in scholarly activities in all departments and programs. The vast majority of these consider this
experience to be among the most important of their undergraduate careers.
Undergraduate research in the College encompasses a wide range of activities. In some disciplines, such as English, philosophy and history, students read original works or the primary literature and look for new connections between and interpretations of these writings. In areas such as anthropology or history of art, students study artifacts, works of art or ancient languages, gaining insights on earlier civilizations and the lives of those who contributed to them. Some students do research in biology, chemistry or psychology, seeking an understanding of genetic coding, molecular structure or animal behaviors. In most cases, students receive college credit for their research activities and scholarship and in many cases work-study funds or faculty grants provide modest stipends.