Academics Navigation


Get a feel for the exciting variety of courses taught at Marlboro.

This is a list of courses that faculty felt was representational of the courses offered. It is not a complete list of courses, some courses are offered yearly, while others are infrequent. A course may be inspired by events or strong interests and taught only once.

Most advanced work is in the form of tutorials on specific subjects, a collaboration between one faculty member and one student or a handful of students.


Fiction Workshop
(2.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Fall 2016

Offered every fall, this class is devoted to student writing of original work in various literary genres. Most commonly, students are writing short stories or literary non-fiction, but occasionally someone may be working on a novel, week to week. Members of the class read each other's submissions extremely closely and offer critiques and suggestions during our weekly classes. The class may include exercises geared towards improving your attention to such things as character, plot, rising and falling action, voice, tone, angle of vision, and point of view. Students are expected to produce new work for class steadily and to participate in class discussions. Admission to the class is on the basis of manuscripts. May be repeated for credit. Variable credits, 2-5.

  • Permission of Instructor

Forms of Poetry
(3.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Spring 2017

An introduction to poetic form, for those who wish to develop their own skills in formal verse. Those in the class will attempt poems in a variety of forms. We will explore various principles of rhythm in organizing lines -- meter, syllable count, rhyme, free verse, refrains, prose -- and a broad range of traditional and not-so-traditional stanza structures -- sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, haiku, double-dactyls, nonce forms, and so on. The aim is not to complete polished poems, but to engage technical matters in poetry seriously through exercises and analysis. May be taken in conjunction with Poetry Workshop or independently. Prerequisite: None

Poetry Workshop
(2.00 Credits — Multi-Level)

Spring 2017

Long weekly classes devoted to an analysis and discussion of poems written for the class. Admission to the class is limited and is on the basis of manuscripts. Variable credit, 2-5, depending on the amount of work submitted.

  • Permission of the instructor, based on submitted manuscripts

Writing and the Teaching of Writing
(3.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2017

What do we do when we write, and how do we learn to do it? This is the question that will drive our inquiry into both the theory and the practice of teaching writing, and we will conduct that inquiry with an eye toward learning something not only about the teaching of writing, but also about our own writing processes. During the first third of the course, we'll read and discuss various writing "bibles," beginning (of course) with Strunk and White, and moving to some more radical statements about writing. In the second third of the course you will teach each other how to write: as a class we will design an assignment, and teach that assignment to each other. In the final third of the course, we will apply what we've learned to a different kind of writing teaching: peer tutoring. The course will involve tutoring on several levels; we'll spend a good deal of time in the latter half of the course working with each other's papers, and with those of other Marlboro students. This is not a writing seminar, so if you haven't yet passed the writing requirement, this shouldn't be the only writing course you take this semester. All participants in this course should be enrolled in at least one other course that requires frequent writing, since we will use your own writing as a basis for many of our in-class exercises. This course is a prerequisite for tutoring at Marlboro. Prerequisite: Must have passed the Clear Writing Requirement 

Writing Seminar: Crime & Punishment
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2018
Writing Seminar

Great Britain's incarceration rate is quite high by world standards: 142 of every 100,000 Britons are currently in jail. That number in China is 118 per 100,00, in France 91, in Japan 58, and in Nigeria 31. The U.S. currently imprisons almost 800 of every 100,000 citizens. In other words, one out of every 135 Americans is currently serving time in jail or prison. Nearly half of the resulting U.S. prison population -- which now numbers almost 2.5 million -- is African American, while African Americans make up only 12% of the U.S. population. And according to a United Nations study, in all the prisons in the world outside the U.S., there are currently 12 minors serving life sentences. In U.S. prisons today there are more than 2,000. In this seminar we will examine the reality of crime and punishment in the United States. We will begin by studying cases, to build a sense of the principles and practices behind criminal law and criminal sentencing. Then we will move to the deeper level: we will examine the reasoning for and against the death penalty as decisions on death penalty cases. We will then examine the criminal justice system itself, asking a simple question: How did the U.S. find itself with the highest incarceration rate in the world? How are we to judge the costs and benefits of American crime and punishment? As in any writing seminar, we will write about all of it: expect at least three major papers, culminating in a research paper of your own design, and weekly shorter writing assignments. Discussions of the text will alternate with work on writing: conferences, writing workshops and discussions of style and structure. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Writing Seminar: The Art of the Essay
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2018
Writing Seminar

Virginia Woolf describes the essay as a form that "must lap us about and draw its curtain across the world." But what, she questions, "can the essayist use in these short lengths of prose to sting us awake and fix us in a trance which is not sleep but rather an intensification of life--a basking, with every faculty alert, in the sun of pleasure?" Her answer is a simple one: "He [they] must know--that is the first essential--how to write." From David Quamman's "The Face of the Spider" to Scott Russell Sanders' "Under the Influence" to Susan Orlean's "The American Man, Age 10" to Annie Dillard's "Sight and Insight" to George Saunders' "The Braindead Megaphone," we will explore how contemporary essayists--in personal essays, nature writing, literary journalism, and science writing--look closely at everyday objects, practices, and experiences. We will analyze what makes these essayists effective, entertaining and enlightening. And, of course, we will be writing about all of this in several formats: in-class exercises and shorter assignments leading up to two 5 page papers and one 8-10 page documented essay. Peer response workshops, writing conferences and in-class work on style, revision and editing will alternate with our class discussion of the essays. Prerequisite: None

For Writing offerings, also see:

Finding Stuff: Research Methods in the Humanities
General Biology I
Introduction to Literary Genres: Spain, Latin America, Equatorial Guinea
Survey of Latin American Literature II


(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)