The University of Kansas continues its role as the leader in science fiction education.
I can do no greater service to teachers than to repeat the advice that I gave in
Anatomy of Wonder 4:
You should attend one of the Intensive Institutes on the Teaching of Science Fiction offered through [Gunn, Johnson, and McKitterick]'s Center for the Study of Science Fiction.

-Dennis M. Kratz, Anatomy of Wonder 5

Each year KU faculty offer many courses, workshops, and educational events in Lawrence, at the University of Kansas, and abroad. Where available, you can find the syllabus linked: As an SF scholar and educator, I see it as my duty to open-source my educational opportunities - after all, we're working to "Save the world through science fiction." Unforeseen circumstances can affect availability, but this schedule outlines my current plan.

Everyone enjoys equal access to our offerings, and we actively encourage students and scholars from diverse backgrounds to study with us.

Many courses offered by affiliated faculty are also available to be taken not-for-credit for professionalization purposes (if space is available). Click here to see my Diversity Statement.
 

 

Learn how to write SF that sells. Using the short-story form, we help you master the elements that create great stories. Since 1985.

McKitterick's annual two-week residential writing workshop helps established writers grow their skills while helping those who have just begun to publish or who need the final bit of insight or skill to master the elements that create great stories readers love and editors want to buy. Become part of a writing community: Award-winning author, SF scholar, long-time director of James Gunn's original SF research center, and Ad Astra SF Center Director Christopher McKitterick has led his workshop since 2010, and served as guest author in James Gunn's SF workshop starting in 1995.

McKitterick also invites guest authors-in-residence to expand the discussion and offer their unique perspectives. Last time we were pleased to host the inimitable Pat Cadigan as Special Guest Author-Instructor for Week Two. Previous special-guest authors have included Bradley Denton, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, and John Kessel.

Many alums build personal and professional bonds with their cohort that last a lifetime! Usually offered for professionalization, and often available for graduate credit as a courtesy to KU. Scholarships often available.

Click for more details. Click here for the full-size poster.

Apply beginning in February!

Learn how to transform your book idea into a successful project. Since 2004.

 

Award-winning author, KU Professor, and Center Associate Director Kij Johnson leads this annual two-week residential novel-writing workshop, during which attendees learn what's necessary to complete or revise the novel with an eye toward publication, generate the best possible chapters and an outline for a writer's submission packet, and build long-lasting bonds with other members of the writing community.

Click for more details.

Apply beginning in February!

Return to the scene of the crime to reinforce the lessons from your workshop, and reconnect with other alums. Since 2010.

 

This follow-up workshop to Kij Johnson's annual two-week residential writing workshop is offered to alums of that program only.

Click for more details.

Return to the scene of the crime to reinforce lessons from previous workshops, and reconnect with alums. Since 2016.

This follow-up to Chris McKitterick's annual two-week residential Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop is offered as an advanced workshop to alums of that program. Last time we were pleased to once again host the inimitable Pat Cadigan as Special Guest Author for the full two weeks, and hope to once again after the pandemic!

McKitterick's Repeat Offenders is an opportunity to work with similarly trained writers on whatever projects everyone has underway. We alternate between critique sessions and project-development sessions, with "Write Groups," daily progress check-ins, and the usual evening socializing and writing. Bring a work-in-progress that we'll collaboratively and intensively develop, maybe a couple of short pieces to critique, or just something you hope to work on or complete during your time here.

Click for more details.

Become fluent in SF by studying some of the most-influential stories that shaped the genre. Since 1975.

These annual two-week intensive courses offered by McKitterick alternate between the SF short story and novel, and are intended to give teachers, scholars, and other interested students a solid background in the development of the genre's literature.

We normalluy alternate studies between the SF short story (as in 2021) and the SF novel. Offered for professionalization and often for credit as a courtesy to KU (undergraduate or graduate).

Click the image for the poster. Click here for more details, and contact McKitterick for a recent syllabus.

 

Join award-winning SF author Chris McKitterick on a journey of exploration as we investigate how SF changes and evolves as it embraces (and is embraced by) various media forms. Since 2014.

Through readings, viewings, and other interactive experiences, this course examines science fiction across a range of media, including film, television, literature, comics, gaming, fanfic, and more. We will survey the genre's history, trace its development across multiple media as new generations of creatives have taken advantage of new tools to respond to changing social conditions, and discuss the effects that - through various media forms - SF has on today's expression of what it means to be human living through ever-accelerating change. Students write weekly responses as they read a diversity of materials, view films and other multimedia expressions, participate in discussions, explore their unique understanding and interpretation of the genre, and then create and share personal visions through multimedia responses. Offered for professionalization (or for KU undergraduate credit).

This year McKitterick offers this course in person. If the pandemic is still raging, we'll meet online for lively discussions.

Click here for more details and a version of the syllabus.
 

Join award-winning SF author Chris McKitterick as we explore the future through reading and discussing nonfiction and extrapolative work. Since 2005.

Science and technology offer countless benefits to individuals and to societies while presenting new challenges. In this course we read and discuss nonfiction and science fiction to explore the past, present, and possible future effects of science and technology on society and humankind. The only thing certain about our future is that it will be different than today! Participants write weekly reading responses, a mid-term paper, a research paper or creative work as final project, and take part in a group presentation. Everyone helps lead at least one session discussion.

Offered for professionalization, and also for KU credit: This is a capstone course for English majors, satisfies the Humanities requirement and KU Core Goal 6, and is a featured Honors course, and has usually been available for graduate students who have not used up their 600-level allotment.

In 2021, we held lively online discussions, and hope to resume in-person sessions next year.

Click here for a sample poster. Click here for more details and a version of the syllabus.
 

 

New opportunity strarting in 2018.

Kij Johnson and Chris McKitterick taught their first speculative-fiction writing Masterclass in Houston, TX, January 6-7, 2018.

Stay tuned for future opportunities!

Both Chris McKitterick (award-winning author and SF Center Director) and Kij Johnson (winner of multiple awards and the SF Center's Associate Director) offer regular-semester fiction-writing workshops, so if you're a Lawrence area spec-fic writer looking to get the most relevant feedback on your fiction from professional writers, enroll in these courses!

      Fiction Writing I and II (Johnson)      

Learn how to write powerful fiction from a multiple-award-winning author. Since 2012.

These courses introduce and advance your understanding and application of craft to the development and writing of short fiction.

While not limited to science fiction and fantasy, attention will be given to topics of special relevance to the speculative fiction, including plotting, world building, immersion strategies, and story types. Students will read and engage in discussions about short fiction of note, which will be made available online; workshop student stories through critiquing, written comments, and mark-up; develop detailed revision strategies and tools; and generate new work through exercises and as major assignments.

Instructor Kij Johnson's fantasy and SF novels and short stories have won the Sturgeon Award, World Fantasy Award, Nebula Award (three times), IAFA Award, and Hugo Award.

Text: Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern.

      Fiction Writing I (McKitterick)      

Learn how to write powerful fiction from a professional author. Since 2016.

Through applying effort, drive, and passion - and mastering the fundamentals - anyone can become a published author.

Learn how to write engaging short stories with award-winning speculative-fiction author Chris McKitterick as we cover a wide range of subjects including character, dialogue, expectations for various popular-fiction genres, idea generation, micro-writing, openings, plot, point of view, scenes, setting, structure, voice, and publication strategies. Practice self-editing by reading, critiquing, and discussing successful stories as well as each other's fiction. Students write fragments and two complete short stories, plus revise one (or submit a third story, with instructor permission) for the final project. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, magical realist, and other speculative-fiction genres all welcome (as well as non-genre fiction)!

Offered for professionalization or for KU credit.

Click here for the poster. Click here to see a version of the syllabus.
 

Become fluent in SF by studying some of the most-influential novels that shaped the genre. Since 2012.

Like McKitterick's summer version of this course, his regular-semester version also alternates between the SF short story and the SF novel.

Available for professionalization, and for KU credit (undergrad and graduate).

Click the image for the poster. Click here for more details on the class in general and links to both the short-fiction and novel versions of the syllabus.

Define and hone your scholarly approach to SF. Since 1981.

Speculative-fiction scholars need to confidently wield a variety of critical tools for research and publication in the field. Having a solid foundation in traditional and emerging critical approaches is vital for the publishing and research futures of advanced SF scholars.

McKitterick's professional and graduate seminar prepares students undertaking serious scholarship on speculative fiction. We survey the top SF scholars (Aldiss, Atteberry, Gunn, Hartwell, Kessel, Kelly, Mendelsohn, Moskowitz, Panshin, Pohl, Scholes, Suvin, Vandermeer, Wollheim, and more) and their approaches to the major SF movements (Pulps, Golden Age, New Wave, Cyberpunk, New Space Opera, African Futurism, New Weird, and more). Students read and discuss a variety of critical essays and pieces of fiction, then apply these approaches. To prepare for professional work in the field, students are encouraged to submit their papers to the important critical SF journals and present them at relevant conferences.

Available for professionalization. Originally available for KU credit as ENGL 980 until 1993 with James Gunn; available again in 2015 with McKitterick as a specially arranged course as a courtesy to KU students.

Join a philosophy professor and an SF author on a journey of exploration as we use science fiction to investigate the philosophical questions that lie at the heart of SF literature.

We hope to offer this new, interdisciplinary course for the first time soon, led by Professor John Symons, Chair of KU's Philosophy Department, and SF author Chris McKitterick, SF Center Director.

To remain vital, philosophy needs to be nourished by outside disciplines. In this course, we will use SF's "What if?" tools to explore concepts of the posthuman, death and immortality, life extension, what counts as important and real, non-anthropomorphic senses of value, and other unexplored territory.

Thought-experiments exist before experiment. Science fiction helps us think outside of traditional frameworks - and ourselves - offering new, creative engines for researchers. Class format is 13 weeks centered around various themes followed by two weeks of student presentations. Students write weekly reading responses, two papers using the techniques and craft of both philosophy and literary analysis, and a final research paper, demonstrating they have what it takes to be a philosopher. In the first half of thematic class, the instructors present materials, pose arguments, and model philosophical approaches through question, response, and so on; students bring objections and arguments, and participate in vigorous and collaborative debate. After break, we'll have more open discussion.

Check back for updates and a syllabus.

Offered for the first time in the 2013–2014 academic year, this new course for seniors and graduate students examines literature in the fantastic mode and genre, from foundational works such as Beowulf and Apuleius's The Golden Ass through modern works by China Miéville, Donald Barthelme, and others. Offered by Kij Johnson for KU credit.

This new freshman-sophomore honors seminar (taught by award-winning fantasy author Kij Johnson) studies the ways animals are used in literature, including mainstream, SF/F/H, and children's works. Offered for KU credit.

In the near future, we hope to offer the Science Fiction Youth Summer Camp, sponsored by McKitterick, Johnson, and affiliated faculty. Check back for updates. If you are interested in helping organize or participate in this event, let us know!


More to come - stay tuned!
 

 

Year-round, McKitterick and Johnson offer thesis and dissertation advising and serve on thesis and dissertation committees for MA, MFA, and PhD students studying speculative fiction literature, writing, and SF-related projects at KU. Graduate students can enroll in many programs under 600 and 800 line numbers, and under special circumstances may petition to enroll through Investigation and Conference (usually a 900 line number). We hope to offer more grad-specific courses soon.

Contact Kij Johnson or Chris McKitterick directly if you wish to work with them on your project. We are also connected with a broad diversity of affiliated faculty from other disciplines with interest in science fiction who have served on SF literature and writing committees, and might be willing to work with you, as well.

Check back soon for updates about upcoming, interdisciplinary course offerings of interest to KU students who seek to study speculative fiction or other disciplines that extrapolate about and explore the social, scientific, technological, and expressive future of our world.

If you are interested in listing your course here, let me know! Contact Chris McKitterick at cmckit.sf@gmail.com and give me your course name and number, a description, and any relevant links to syllabus or other online materials.

Last updated 5/1/2022

I believe strongly in the free sharing of information, so you'll find a lot of content - including all of my course syllabi and many materials from my classes - on this and related sites and social networks as educational outreach. Feel free to use this content for independent study, or to adapt it for your own educational and nonprofit purposes; just please credit me and link back to this website. I'd also love to hear from you if you use my materials!

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Works on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.