Portfolio Option in Nonfiction

Are you writing nonfiction and looking for a way to get some recognition for it? Are you intrigued by the genre but unsure whether you want to make it a focus of your program? The Portfolio option in Nonfiction may be just what you’re looking for.

The Portfolio option is NOT

  • A complete degree program OR
  • A required approach for the thesis or project.

Rather, the Portfolio option allows students in any English Department program to take certain credits and submit a collection of writing for a certificate. In some programs of study, the coursework may count toward the degree; in other programs, advisors will determine how many credits can count on the GS-6 (Graduate School Program of Study form). Just remember that completing the degree and completing the portfolio option are separate. You can submit your portfolio in the second or third semester of work at CSU or two or three semesters after you complete your degree.


Four courses in nonfiction:

  • E513C Form and Technique in Nonfiction
  • Two nonfiction workshops, chosen from:
    • E640C Nonfiction
    • E641 Writing Nonfiction (variable topics)
  • One additional course in nonfiction texts or a nonfiction thesis or project


The complete portfolio must be submitted by the eighth week of the semester you wish to receive the certificate. The portfolio should consist of a preface offering a personal and/or theoretical framework for the portfolio as well as the student’s determination of the strongest piece in the portfolio and a minimum of four pieces of nonfiction writing.

The Portfolio option in is available to English Department graduate students in all programs and to others outside the department admitted on the basis of a writing sample submitted to the English Department Committee. The option identifies faculty, courses, and students who are interested in the subject of nonfiction writing and will foster a community of shared interests across departmental programs.