Shape and Share Your Story
Next start date
October 4, 2016
Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, whose books include powerful examinations of his experience in a Nazi concentration camp, once said, “I write to understand as much as to be understood.” Autobiographical writing gives us a unique opportunity to delve deeply into our own lives in order to better comprehend them, and to share the honest and intimate details of our journey with others.
This three-course certificate program will allow you to explore the art of autobiographical storytelling and the mechanics of writing a book-length memoir or collection of essays. You’ll discover your true voice and material as you learn the secrets of compelling dialogue, vivid description and story structure. Embark on the enriching and cathartic process of telling the story of your life.
Those interested in finding their true story and writing and publishing their memoir.
Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in writing workshop or work experience.
If you're not a native English speaker, you’ll need to have advanced English language skills to participate in this program. To learn more, see English Language Proficiency Requirements.
To enroll in this program, international students must have a visa that permits study in the United States. This program does not enable students to obtain or maintain F-1 visa status. For more information, see Admission Requirements for International Students.
You must have access to a computer, and we recommend a high-speed Internet connection.
You earn the certificate by regularly attending class and successfully completing all required courses. For more information, see Completing Your Program.
Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.
Generating Memoir Material
Organizing Your Material
Polishing Your Material
Certificate in Memoir Writing
Approved by the UW Department of English.
Download the application form (PDF)
Apply online, or submit an application packet that includes:
We’re currently accepting applications and will be reviewing them in the order they’re received. We’ll accept applications until the program closes.
We’ll contact you within two weeks of receiving your application materials to let you know if you’ve been accepted to the program.
If you’re accepted, we’ll send you details about your first-term course, including information on paying your course fee. Your course fee is due two weeks before the first class.
With the exception of the one-time application fee, certificate program fees are charged on a quarterly basis. Payment is due when you register.
Course fees do not include any costs for class materials such as textbooks and software.
Drops, Withdrawals & Refunds
Attend class in person at one of our convenient locations. You’ll engage face to face with your classmates and instructors as part of a highly interactive curriculum. An online learning management system may be required to access some course materials and assignments.
Our special blended programs combine the convenience of online study with the vibrancy of in-person classes for a unique learning experience.
Not available for this program
Enjoy the flexibility of online learning, which allows you to participate in class activities, assignments and discussions on your schedule, from anywhere. Experience cutting-edge technology and a supportive, diverse learning community.
UW Professional & Continuing Education Excellence in Teaching Award, 2009
Pushcart Arts Prize Nominee
Dive into more complex writing topics such as different types of storytelling and the five-focus plot structure. Consider the nuances of character, language and voice in your work.
Discover powerful research tools to help illuminate your family’s historical journey and learn how to assemble the information into a compelling narrative.
Explore the foundational elements of literary short stories and novels — including character development, narrative voice, themes and point of view. Discover how to bring your own creative ideas to life.
Learn how to tell real-life stories with creativity and clarity. Develop your voice and hone your ability to write quality nonfiction for a variety of audiences and publication types.