Area Program in Literary Prose

Program Director - Professor Elizabeth Denton, ed3m@virginia.edu

Fiction Class Picture

This area program of the Department of English allows talented undergraduate writers to pursue serious study of the craft of literary prose writing (fiction, nonfiction, hybrid forms between) within the context of the English major. The Area Program in Literary Prose (APLP) stresses not only writing but extensive reading and rigorous thinking about the nature of narrative, and it encourages exploration in corollary disciplines engaging strategies of narrative, according to each student’s individual focus.

The APLP is a two-year course of study, and admission is competitive. Students apply in the spring semester of their second year and declare a major in English, although the requirements for the APLP differ from the requirements for a standard English major; students are encouraged to double-major or minor in another discipline that relates to their literary projects and inclinations.

Because literary writing depends upon extensive close reading, students in the APLP (beyond fulfilling the pre-requisite for declaring the major) will take four upper-level English literature courses, four upper-level prose workshops, two seminars geared toward students in the program (although open to others), and an additional advanced course pertaining to the student’s specific interests, outside the English Department. In the fourth year, students will embark on a directed project that will yield a thesis (40+ pages) of original literary prose.

APLP Course Requirements:



ENGL 3810 and 3820


One pre-1800 course at the 3000 level or higher


One English literature seminar at the 4000 level or higher


Four upper-level workshops that must include both fiction and nonfiction and could also, with approval, include poetry


Two ENLP 4000-level seminars


One upper-level course in a cognate field in another department approved by the APLP director (such as, for example, MDST 3104 or ANTH 3490)


One ENLP senior thesis course


Total hours for the major


How to Apply to the APLP:

Rising third-year majors interested in the APLP must complete the required application form (which can be found in Bryan 236 or downloaded here), accompanied by a current transcript, a writing sample (a short story, novel excerpt, creative essay, etc.), a one-page personal statement, and the name of a UVA professor who knows well the student’s work and potential in a small, focused program of study. Applications are due to Director Elizabeth Denton (hard copy, in her faculty mailbox on the second floor of Bryan Hall, Room 229A) by noon on Friday, 22 March 2019.

For more information, contact Professor Elizabeth Denton, ed3m@virginia.edu