The Department of English and Foreign Languages offers five distinct minors.

English Minor

Adding a minor in English can serve as a powerful complement to majors in other fields, ranging from science and math to business and law to social work and education. Students in this minor engage with authors, ideas, and language across historical periods and cultures, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and hone the ability to communicate clearly and elegantly. The coursework for an English minor is highly flexible and can be tailored to a student’s individual interests, tastes, and goals. Students are required to complete 18 hours in English courses numbers 300 or above.

To declare an English minor or learn more about the minor should contact the department chair, Dr. Paul Mahaffey at

Alumnus Perspective

Cayman HoneaI’ve been in the workforce for over 11 years now, and the item on my resume that generates the most comments is my combination of a B.S. in Mathematics and minor in English. English isn’t just for avid readers! English classes teach students to think critically and comprehend the depth of written language to include setting, audience, tone, and theme: all considered valuable considerations when reviewing contracts, procedures and protocols, and other business documents. When I graduated, I added my minor to my resume because I was supposed to. Now I proudly display it because it showcases a unique ability to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data and a creative side that sets me apart from other candidates. – Cayman Honea, B.S. ‘12 Mathematics Major with English Minor

Creative Writing Minor


Creative Writing at the University of Montevallo

Join a Vibrant Writing Community
Small Seminar-Style Classes
Rewarding Assignments
Personalized Feedback
Study with Published Writers

creative writing class photo

As an integrated part of the traditional English major or as a stand-alone concentration with any other field of study, UM’s minor in Creative Writing offers students a sustained basis for cultivating their writing as an art form. Through a mix of workshops and seminars, students in the minor will explore the theory and practice of creative writing in order to foster imagination in all their written efforts. Some courses focus on multiple genres, while others focus on a single genre (poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction).

15 Credit Hours Required, including:

ENG 261 – Introduction to Creative Writing (3 hrs.)
ENG 361 – Intermediate Creative Writing (3 hrs.)
ENG 461 – Advanced Creative Writing (3 hrs.)

Choose two of the following:

ENG 361 – Intermediate Creative Writing (3 hrs. – second genre)
ENG 365 – Creative Writing: Forms (3 hrs.)
ENG 456 – The Writing Process (3 hrs.)


Qualified students in UM’s Master’s program in English may pursue a creative writing thesis option. M.A. students who complete the creative thesis work with a faculty advisor to compose an original work of creative writing (60-100 pages of fiction or the equivalent of a chapbook of 20-25 poems for poetry), as well as a critical introduction offering a contextual framework that situates their work in relation to its genre, literary influences, and artistic goals. For more information about UM’s M.A. in English, visit


Creative writing students have the opportunity to participate as contributors, readers, and editors of UM’s creative arts journal, The Tower and to attend readings and discussions with local and nationally-known authors through the Forte Festival of Creativity, the Poetry@UM Reading Series, and the BACHE Visiting Writers’ Series. Recent visiting writers have included Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Karen Bender, Ramona Ausubel, Derrick Harriell, Kim Addonizio, Alina Stefanescu, Tina Mozelle Braziel, Ashley M. Jones, Allie Rowbottom, Joseph Scapellato, Aja Gabel, Natashia Deon, Jean Guerrero, and others.


Dr. Jim Murphy (PhD University of Cincinnati) is the author of four poetry collections: The Memphis Sun (Kent State University Press), Heaven Overland (Kennesaw State University Press), The Uniform House(Negative Capability Press), and Versions of May (Negative Capability Press). His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Brooklyn Review, Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mississippi Review, Puerto del Sol, Texas Review, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly and other journals. He has also translated a chapbook of poems from Spanish, Amazonia, by Colombian American poet Juan Carlos Galeano. Learn more about Dr. Murphy’s work here.


Office: Humanities Hall 200B






Dr. Ashley Wurzbacher is the author of the novel How to Care for a Human Girl (Atria, 2023) and the short story collection Happy Like This (Iowa, 2019), which won the 2019 John Simmons Short Fiction Award and was named a National Book Foundation ‘5 Under 35′ honoree and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She received her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. Her short stories have appeared in The Sewanee Review, The Kenyon Review Online, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other magazines. She specializes in creative writing (fiction), contemporary American fiction, and feminist literature.



Office: Humanities Hall 300A

Creative Writing Students


“Creative writing at Montevallo gave me an intimate space to share my work. Workshopping everyone’s materials quickly became my favorite part of the week, as I was able to not just read stories but also hear and witness them come into being. These experiences were revelatory not just for my own writing but also my professionalization as a writer; they allowed me to think critically about what it means to be a writer inside and outside of an institution while also preparing me for my work in an MFA program and beyond.” – Levi Pulford, ’20

“The creative writing program at Montevallo provides the amazing opportunity to work with other writers on campus to get better at the craft. It is an environment full of people who all love the same thing. Because of things like the workshops, the program is extremely helpful in bettering your writing abilities!” – Adriel Vinson, ’21

“The Creative Writing program brought me out of my writing cocoon. It’s such a pleasure to be able to share my work with others, and receive valuable feedback that will allow me to make writing my forever career.” – Elliot Eguia, ’21

“The creative writing classes at Montevallo have been some of the most interesting, engaging, and diverse classes that I have taken on campus! They have helped me develop critical analytical skills, given me confidence as a communicator, and allowed me to further my writing skills and nurture my creativity. The program harbors amazing faculty and allows you the opportunity to build connections with them and form friendships with your peers.” – Madisen DeMent, ’22

“The creative writing course at Montevallo has taught me real world skills to prepare myself to continue writing after graduation. It is taught by professors who are active, published writers who know exactly what you will encounter in today’s competitive market.” – Shannon Veitch, ’22

“The creative writing program really helped me gain confidence in my work! I never thought I would love poetry until I added this minor!” – Mallory Currie, ’20


Keep apprised of UM creative writing news and events by following:

@MontevalloCW on Twitter and Facebook

@umthetower on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

Please visit for more information about The Tower.

Professional Writing Minor

The Professional Writing Minor prepares students to work in writing-intensive professions within a wide variety of workplaces. Throughout the minor, students learn skills of effective communication by approaching each writing task from a rhetorical standpoint, with an audience-centered focus. Students in this minor learn professional standards for evaluating and emulating workplace-specific expectations for style, editing, and document design.

Students who earn the Professional Writing Minor can fill an array of workplace roles, such as editor, technical communicator, copywriter, health communicator, research analyst, proofreader, grant writer, corporate communications specialist, science writer, web content developer, and—with further schooling—professor of composition and rhetoric. In completing the five courses required for the minor, students create a professional portfolio to display their skill at developing and polishing texts in many of the genres that are commonly used in professional settings.

Since every workplace values employees who exhibit strong writing skills, this minor can complement any major in the humanities, sciences, business, education, and the arts. Professors working within the minor continue to develop opportunities for students to take cross-listed courses and increase their understanding of how to write for many different audiences and contexts. Past courses have cross-listed with African American Studies, Business, Environmental Studies, and Peace and Justice Studies.

The professional writing minor is composed of 15 credit hours in the following content areas:

Required (9 hours):

  • ENG 380: Advanced Composition
  • ENG 455: Style and Editing
  • ENG 457: Professional and Technical Writing

Choose 2 of the following (6 hours)*:

  • PHIL 180: Critical Reasoning
  • ENG 301: Special Topics in Language and Literature (with approved topic)
  • ENG 302: Special Topics in Language and Literature (with approved topic)
  • ENG 456: Writing Process: Theory and Practice
  • ENG 454: Studies in Composition and Rhetoric

*Additional courses fulfilling the goals of the minor may be substituted with the approval of Dr. Cynthia Mwenja or Dr. Paul Mahaffey. ENG 454 may be repeated. Students wishing to declare this minor or who desire more information should contact Dr. Paul Mahaffey at or Dr. Cynthia Mwenja at

Cynthia Duggan Mwenja, Associate Professor in the Department of English and World Languages, received her B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College, M.A. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Mwenja specializes in Restorative Composition Practices and First-year Composition Pedagogy, with secondary interests in rhetorical analysis and professional writing.




Alumnus Perspective 

Sara Crippen“UM’s English program exposed me to a wide variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, which has prepared me to tackle all sorts of writing in and out of the workplace. My time in the English program taught me not only to write well, but to revise well and make my work the best it can be.” — Sara Crippen English B.A. with Professional Writing Minor ‘23 and current Ph.D. Candidate, Florida State University





A minor in French requires completion of 12 hours of French courses numbered 300 or above.

Latin American Studies Minor

18 hours of coursework are required for the Latin American Studies minor. Of the required 18 hours, at least 6 hours must be taken in the Behavioral and Social Sciences program AND at least 6 hours in the Foreign Language program.

Philosophy and Religion

A minor in Philosophy & Religion requires 18 credit hours in any combination of the two disciplines. Students choosing this minor are encouraged to take PHIL 110 – Introduction to Philosophy or PHIL 220 – Ethics (each of which satisfies the Humanities and Fine Arts component of the General Education curriculum) before enrolling for other courses.


A minor in Spanish requires completion of 12 hours of Spanish courses numbered 300 or above.