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393869: Creative Writing Certificate Capstone

  • Fall 2023
  • Section 1
  • 3 Credits
  • 10/04/2023 to 12/12/2023
  • Modified 09/22/2023

Meeting Times

This course takes place fully online. Weeks begin on Wednesday and end on Tuesday.


This course satisfies the final requirement for Certificate in Creative Writing candidates by providing a structured environment in which to engage in activities that help writers move from workshop feedback reliance toward self-directed writing and revision. Students articulate a personal course goal that aligns with their larger goals as a writer, then craft a plan to reach it by the end of the course. Independent work on creative projects is supported by class discussions focused on professional development and guest speakers who illuminate different aspects of a writing life. By the end of the course, students will reach their independent writing goal and complete a series of written assets that help them transition to a writer’s life.


Students will:

  • Articulate a personal course goal that aligns with your purpose as a writer
  • Gain insight into how to make writing a permanent part of your life
  • Explore your personal approach to writing and why it matters to you
  • Reflect on your growth as a writer while planning for your future
  • Discover basic assets writers use to further their careers


By the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Identify short-term and long-term goals for your writing with action plans to reach them
  • Articulate what makes your approach to writing unique for personal and professional contexts
  • Develop assets and materials that identify you as a professional writer in the field
  • Employ advice and insight from field professionals


There are no required books for this course. 


There are 100 points possible in this course.


Graded Activities


40 points

Writing assignments

Assignment guidelines and criteria will be posted each week. Submissions that respond effectively to the assignment prompt will receive full credit. Posts or work that do not fulfill the criteria will lose points, all the way up to receiving no credit at all.

30 points

Participation in weekly discussions and class meetings

Students should attend all class meetings/guest speakers and participate fully in discussions as assigned.

30 points

Final Portfolio

At the end of the course, you will turn in a portfolio of final drafts of materials developed over the prior ten weeks. Please note there is no workshopping of your creative work in this course; the course goal is to help you become self-directed and more self-sufficient with revision work.

Grading Philosophy 

It can be challenging to assign grades in a course where students take creative risks, push themselves artistically, and generally work outside their comfort zones. For that reason, grades do not reflect artistic decisions you make in your writing. Instead, you are graded on how effectively you met the criteria of the assignment (the prompt).

Grade Disputes 

If you believe a grade has been posted in error, or has been calculated unfairly, please contact me through Canvas messaging to discuss your perspective. If our conversation doesn't satisfy you, you may contact the Director of the Arts department for additional review.






90 – 100 points



80 – 89 points



73 – 79 points



72 points or less



Course Policies

Inclusivity Statement

I strive to create a workshop environment that is supportive and tailored to the needs of students in a given class, mindful of the ways in which the writing workshop has traditionally reenforced inequities. 

My approach seeks to acknowledge rather than ignore the identitarian aspects of language, writing, and publishing, working with students to champion their authentic voices in our societal context. This context includes racism, sexism, colonialism, xenophobia, ableism, and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, and my hope is for the writing work students are doing to address and combat these -isms, explicitly or implicitly.

My own context is white, able- & male-bodied, and middle class, with invisible identities as a gay and genderqueer person, as someone who has lived as an immigrant, and as a full-time artist with the attendant day-to-day financial instability.

My courses are project-based, and students are graded on setting and achieving their own project goals. As your instructor, one of my roles is to set readings, and I will do my best to ensure that these are intersectional and represent a range of voices, as well as invite you to share your own outside reading. 

I also have an obligation to ensure the workshop environment is inclusive. Class discussions around student work are tailored to directly address authorial intent, and students giving critique are asked to assume the role of an editor who has solicited this piece for publication, and is there to support it in reaching its audience as intended. 

I am eager to listen and support in case of conflict between students, and welcome all feedback for myself, understanding that I will have blind spots beyond my lived experience. Students may come to me with concerns, and a third party Student Affairs Officer is also available as desired ([email protected]).

Access to Modules

Modules will become available on Wednesdays. Please do not post or turn in assignments before the first day of the module (Wednesday). If you have special circumstances, please contact me via Canvas messaging before working ahead in this course.

Attendance and Participation

Weekly attendance in this courses is required. If there is an emergency or you have a commitment you can't change, let me know in advance. Make sure you still turn in your assignments, workshop feedback, etc on time.

Good participation is demonstrated through regular and thoughtful contributions to the weekly discussions, writing workshops, and in class exercises. I expect timely and professional communication with both fellow students and myself throughout the quarter.  

Late Work

All late work requires my approval to receive credit. This means we must have a conversation before the assignment is late. Work that is not turned in receives no credit. Work turned in late without permission receives no credit. Work that is turned in early in anticipation of an absence will receive full credit.

Discussion posts and responses to students submitted after the deadlines will not receive credit.

Technology Issues

In the event of technology failures, students must send assignments as attachments to me through Canvas messaging before the deadline. I will then post it into the forum on your behalf.

Please also contact Canvas Support to address the technology issue. You can reach Instructure for general Canvas Support by clicking on Help (located on the menu to the left) or you may reach the UCLA Extension Learning Support Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays, at [email protected].

Scope of Work for Instructors 

Each Writers’ Program instructor has signed an agreement to teach the curriculum in their course, following a syllabus of their own design with approval by the Writers’ Program director. Instructors are never obligated to read, review, critique, respond to, or otherwise address student work that has not been developed for their course or in response to specific assignments in their course. Individualized instruction like this falls into the categories of Consultation and Mentorship, which are separate services your instructor can provide through special arrangement with the Writers’ Program.

Underage Students 

As UCLA's principal provider of continuing education, the majority of UCLA Extension courses are designed for the post-baccalaureate professional-level student. Enrollment is therefore reserved for adult students 18 years of age and older. All minors who enroll in a Writers’ Program course are subject to withdrawal and refund of enrollment fees.

The Writers’ Workshop

Instruction in the Writers’ Program follows the guidelines established by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) guidelines for the teaching of creative writing, which include a “challenging writers’ workshop” as a hallmark. They define this as

…a seminar in which students critique one another’s work under the mentorship of an accomplished writer-teacher. The workshop is writing intensive, offering each student multiple opportunities for submission and revision of creative work. (AWP)

This method of instruction is considered the gold standard for developing writers at all levels of expertise, and workshopping is a key learning tool in nearly every course offered by the Writers’ Program. Workshopping teaches you to read and respond to written work from a variety of perspectives, and hearing critique of your own writing will help you understand how successfully your work achieves your goals. Every student is expected to participate fully in workshopping activities as defined by and guided by Writers’ Program instructors.

Capstone Course and Your Certificate Completion

The Capstone is the culmination of your Creative Writing Certificate. Once you have completed the course and final grades are submitted by your instructor, the Writers’ Program will reach out to you with confirmation on the completion of your certificate and information about how to participate in graduation. No action is required on your part upon completion of the course. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Writers' Program at [email protected]

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to academic dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or behavioral misconduct, such as theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others, harassment, or disruption of the learning environment.

All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition and includes the use of material generated wholly or in part through the use of artificial intelligence (except when the use of AI has received prior authorization for assessment as a reasonable accommodation for a student’s disability, or when the use of AI is a specified part of the coursework, e.g. data science or user experience). Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Student Rights & Responsibilities Policy and to report concerns.

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information, please visit Accessibility and Disability Services.


The interim grade Incomplete (I) may be approved for a student who has completed the majority of the course requirements, with passing quality (grade C or higher), but is unable to complete a small portion of the coursework by the course end date for good cause. For courses in which an Incomplete may be allowed, approval by the instructor of record and the academic program director is required. The Incomplete grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to petition for an Incomplete by emailing the appropriate academic program department at least one week before the end of the course. The Program Department will initiate the petition process once the email is received.
  • The student, the instructor, the CE/Program Director, and the program staff must complete the petition prior to the final course meeting or before the quarter end date. This process can take up to one week to complete. 
  • The instructor will approve or deny the request. The instructor will provide details on what the student needs to accomplish in order to complete the course, as well as a due date for submitting completed work. The due date cannot exceed the end of the ensuing quarter when a final grade must be reported or the Incomplete lapses to the grade “F,” “NP,” or “U.” Visit UCLA Extension Grading Scale for more information.  

An Incomplete allows the student to complete only work that is outstanding and does not allow prior completed work to be retaken or resubmitted.

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, 1145 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. For more information, please view the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence.

Additional Items

Protecting Privacy and Data During Live Instruction

Live meeting sessions for this class, when applicable, are being conducted over Zoom. As the host, the instructor may be recording live sessions. Only the host has the ability to record meetings, no recording by other means is permitted. Recorded sessions will be posted in the Videos area of this class unless otherwise notified. Due to privacy, recordings are not available for download and are only accessible via Canvas for the duration of the class. If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, do not turn on your video and/or audio. If you also prefer to use a pseudonym instead of your name, please let the instructor know what name you will be using so that the instructor knows who you are during the session. To rename yourself during a Zoom meeting, click on Participants, click on your name, click on More, click on Rename. If you would like to ask a question, you may do so privately through the Zoom chat by addressing your chat question to the instructor only (and not to ""everyone""). Additionally, chat may be used and moderated for live questions, and saving of chats is enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact the instructor via Canvas Inbox.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement between Zoom and UCLA Extension, the data is used solely for this purpose and Zoom is prohibited from re-disclosing this information. UCLA Extension also does not use the data for any other purpose. Recordings will be deleted when no longer necessary. However, recordings may become part of an administrative disciplinary record if misconduct occurs during a video conference.

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students have access to courses via Canvas for an additional 30 calendar days after the course end date listed in the syllabus (the first 14 days are full access; the rest are read-only).
  • Students are encouraged to download/print content throughout the duration of the course and before the additional 30-day access ends. No further access is possible after the course becomes unavailable.

    To download all your assignment submissions in Canvas, please refer to the online support guide. for more information or contact Canvas Support via the help menu within Canvas.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Academic Technology and Learning Innovation
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 9 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:

Campus Safety Escorts

For students taking classes held on the UCLA campus and in and around Westwood Village, the UCLA Police Department provides a free walking escort service every day of the year from dusk until 1 a.m. Community Service Officers (CSOs) are available to walk students, faculty, staff members and visitors to and from anywhere on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the village apartments. CSOs are uniformed students who have received special training and are employed by the UCLA Police Department. To obtain an escort, please call (310) 794-9255 and allow 15 to 20 minutes for your escort to arrive. For complete information, see UCLA Evening Escorts.


Course calendar and related activities
When Module Title Notes
Week One
Introductions and Expectations of the Class

Lesson Topics:

  • Student and instructor introductions
  • Course expectations
  • Overview of course projects and final portfolio

Activities / Assignments:

  • Review the sample “paths and packages” for your Personal Action Plan. Write a 1-2 page essay describing your goals for yourself as a writer, your writing career, and/or how writing could be part of your life.
  • Introduce yourself on the “Student Introductions” module by Saturday and responds to all other students by Tuesday.
Week Two
Personal Action Plans

Lesson Topics:

  • Personal Action Plan guidelines and expectations

Activities / Assignments:

  • Participate in the “Personal Action Plan” discussion module. Post by Saturday and reply to at least two students by Tuesday
  • Final Personal Action Plans due Tuesday
Week Three
Establishing your identity as a writer // Writing while busy

Lesson Topics:

  • When to call yourself a writer
  • Overview of essential assets for writers
  • Author Photos

Read / Watch:

Activities / Assignments:

  • Make progress on your Personal Action Plan
  • Identify a photo you can use as an author photo, or take one using the advice in our readings

Guest Speaker: Balancing writing and living

Week Four
The long bio, the short bio, and everything in between // Writing communities and literary citizenship

Lesson Topics:

  • The author’s bio: what is it and why do you need it?

Read / Watch:

Activities / Assignments:

  • Write a long, short, and micro bio for use in things like an author website, a social media account, or readings and events. Post your bio by Saturday and provide feedback to 2 writers by Tuesday.
  • Make progress on your Personal Action Plan

Guest Speaker: Speaker on writing communities/writing groups/literary citizenship

Week Five
The synopsis // Social media for writers

Lesson Topics:

  • What is a synopsis and when will I use it?
  • Using social media responsibility and strategically as a writer

Read / Watch:

Activities / Assignments:

  • Write a synopsis of a work you’re focusing on in this course. Post a draft by Saturday and respond to at least 2 students by Tuesday.
  • Make progress on your Personal Action Plan

Guest Speaker: Using social media as a writer

Week Six
The curriculum vitae and writer’s resume // Dealing with feelings of competition and failure

Lesson Topics:

  • What is a CV? How is it like a resume? How is it not like a resume?

Read / Watch:

Activities / Assignments:

  • Draft a CV or Writer’s resume
  • Make progress on your Personal Action Plan

Guest Speaker: Compare = despair

Week Seven
Artist’s Statements // Fellowships and residencies

Lesson Topics:

  • What is an artist’s statement and why is it important?

Read / Watch:

Activities / Assignments:

  • Draft a brief artist’s statement and post it by Saturday. Provide comments to two other students by Tuesday.

Guest Speaker: Fellowships and residencies

Week Eight
Agents, querying, and the business of writing // Contests, prizes, and submissions

Lesson Topics:

  • When do I need an agent? How do I find one?

Read / Watch:

  • The Author/Agent Partnership from WP NOW (online video)
  • Query letter best practices
  • Guest speaker

Activities / Assignments:

  • Write a draft query letter and post it by Saturday. Respond to two students by Tuesday.
  • Make progress on your Personal Action Plan

Guest Speaker: Submission, rejection, and evaluating opportunities/avoiding scams

Week Nine
Reflecting on your creative and professional growth // Conferences and networking

Lesson Topics:

  • What are your strengths? What are your areas for improvement?

Read / Watch:

  • Guest speaker

Activities / Assignments:

  • Draft a reflective essay and submit it to your instructor by Tuesday.
  • Close out major work on your Personal Action Plan.

Guest Speaker: What to expect from conferences; how to make good connections with other writers

Week Ten
The Final Portfolio and last words of advice

Lesson Topics:

  • What does it mean to live a writing life?

Read / Watch:

  • Guest speaker

Activities / Assignments:

  • Submit your Final Portfolio and Personal Action Plan Report by the last day of class.

Guest Speaker: A writing life