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Writing Certificate


Admission is by application only. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants do not need to be published writers, English majors, or even college graduates. The Writing Certificates are designed for people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, with varying degrees of writing experience. 

Students in the Continuing Studies program are not matriculated Stanford University students, and not all University student privileges apply to Continuing Studies students. The University reserves the right, at its discretion, to withhold registration from, or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

Admission Acceptance Deadlines

If accepted, students must begin the program in the subsequent Fall Quarter. To confirm their intent to pursue the program, students must complete the following actions by September 1:
  • Sign and return an acceptance form.
  • Enroll in the first course (OWC 101 for Novel students, and OWC 202 for Memoir students).
September 1 is also the deadline to receive a refund if a student decides to withdraw.


Students must register for their course quarter; there is no automatic enrollment. Course numbers for all of the required courses start with the OWC designation. Only students admitted into the Writing Certificates can register for OWC courses. There are multiple instructors teaching each quarter, so while a spot in the program is guaranteed to admitted students, a seat in a specific instructor’s section is first-come, first-served.

Statement of Nondiscriminatory Policy

Stanford University admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or marital status to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. Consistent with its obligations under the law, Stanford prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, marital status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in the administration of the University's programs and activities; Stanford also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

To read all University Policies, including the complete Nondiscrimination Policy, please visit our University Policies page.

Class Size

Each class section will have a class size of no more than 15 students.

Non-Native Speakers of English

Non-native speakers of English are welcome to apply for the Writing Certificates if they have the ability to write fluently and idiomatically in English. Continuing Studies creative writing courses have counted international students and non-native speakers among their participants since its beginning.

Transfer Credits

Continuing Studies does not accept transfer credits from other universities or programs. If appropriate, previous courses taken through Stanford Continuing Studies may fulfill the alternative genre requirement at the program director's discretion.