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The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs [2024]


Many people have a talent for stories, but not everyone will become a successful author. In many cases, people simply need to hone their skills – and the best MFA creative writing programs are the key.

If you have an undergrad degree and are looking for the next step in your academic adventure, you’re in luck: We’ve scoured MFA creative writing rankings to find you the best programs.

Table of Contents

The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

1. johns hopkins university – krieger school of arts & sciences.

Johns Hopkins University

Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/ Poetry

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins is a world-renowned private research university. Their Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/Poetry is one of the best MFA creative writing programs anywhere. Students take courses and receive writing practice (in fiction or poetry) at the highest level. This MFA program also offers the opportunity to learn with an internationally renowned faculty.

  • Duration:  2 years
  • Financial aid:  Full tuition, teaching fellowship (for all students set at $33,000/year)
  • Acceptance rate: 11.1%
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Founded: 1876

2. University of Michigan –  Helen Zell Writers’ Program

University of Michigan

Master of Fine Arts

The University of Michigan is a public research university – and the oldest in the state. Its Master of Fine Arts program is one of the best MFA creative writing programs in the country, exposing students to various approaches to the craft. While studying under award-winning poets and writers, students may specialize in either poetry or fiction.

  • Duration: 2 years
  • No. of hours: 36
  • Financial aid: Full funding
  • Acceptance rate:  26.1%
  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Founded: 1817

3. University of Texas at Austin – New Writers Project

University of Texas at Austin

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The University of Texas at Austin is a well-known public research university with around 50,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. It offers one of the best MFA programs for creative writing, aiming to enhance and develop its students’ artistic and intellectual abilities.

  • Duration:  3 years
  • Financial aid:  Full funding
  • Acceptance rate:  32%
  • Location:  Austin, Texas
  • Founded:  1883

4. University of Nebraska – Kearney

UNK logo

Master of Arts

The University of Nebraska strives to provide quality, affordable education, including its online MA English program. Students can focus on four areas, including Creative Writing (which provides experiential learning in either poetry or prose).

  • Credit hours: 36
  • Tuition : $315 per credit hour
  • Financial aid :  Grants, Work-study, Student loans, Scholarships, Parent loans
  • Acceptance rate: 88%
  • Location: Online
  • Founded: 1905

5. Bay Path University (Massachusetts)

Bay Path University

MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing

Bay Path University is a private university with various programs at undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels (including women-only undergraduate programs). This creative non-fiction writing program is one of the first fully online programs in the country. No matter their location, students are able to develop their creative writing skills and knowledge – in a range of literary genres.

  • Credits:  39
  • Tuition: $775 per credit
  • Financial aid :  Federal Stafford loan, Student loans
  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Founded:  1897

6. Brown University (Rhode Island)

Brown logo

MFA in Literary Arts

Brown is a world-famous Ivy League university based in Providence, Rhode Island. Its two-year residency MFA in Literary Arts is designed for students looking to maximize their intellectual and creative exploration. The highly competitive program offers extensive financial support. In fact, over the past 20 years, all incoming MFA students were awarded full funding for their first year of study (and many for the second year).

  • Tuition:  $57,591  (but full funding available)
  • Financial aid :  Fellowship, teaching assistantships, and stipends.
  • Acceptance rate: 9%
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Founded:  1764

7. University of Iowa (Iowa)


MFA in Creative Writing

The University of Iowa is a public university located in Iowa City. As one of the most celebrated public schools in the Midwest, students learn under established professors and promising writers during their two-year residency program.

  • Credits:  60
  • Tuition: $12,065 for in-state students, and $31,012 out-of-state
  • Financial aid :  Scholarships, teaching assistantships, federal aid, and student loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 84%
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa

8. Cornell University (New York State)

Cornell University

Cornell is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. This highly competitive program accepts only eight students annually, and just two from each concentration. Not only do students enjoy a generous financial aid package, but they also have the opportunity to work closely with members of the school’s celebrated faculty.

  • Tuition:  $29,500
  • Financial aid :  All accepted students receive a fellowship covering full tuition, stipend, and insurance.
  • Acceptance rate: 14%
  • Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Founded:  1865

9. Columbia University ( NYC )

Columbia University logo

MFA in Fiction Writing

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest tertiary education institution in New York – and one of the oldest in the country. The school offers a Writing MFA in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and literary translation. The fiction concentration promotes artistic and aesthetic diversity, with a diverse teaching staff and adjunct faculty from a wide range of diverse experience.

  • Credits:  60 points
  • Tuition:  $34,576
  • Financial aid :  Scholarships, fellowships, federal aid, work-study, and veterans’ grants.
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Location: NYC, New York
  • Founded:  1754

10. New York University (NYC)

NYU logo

New York University (NYU) is known for delivering high-quality, innovative education in various fields. Located in the heart of NYC, the institution’s MFA in Creative Writing boasts celebrated faculty from poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction backgrounds. This dynamic program fosters creativity and excellence through literary outreach programs, public reading series, a literary journal, and special seminars from visiting writers

  • Credits:  32
  • Tuition:  $53,229
  • Financial aid :  Fellowships, scholarships, and federal aid.
  • Location: NYC
  • Founded:  1886

Common Courses for MFAs in Creative Writing 

As part of your master’s in creative writing program, you’ll usually need to complete a number of compulsory courses, along with certain electives. Common courses you’ll need to take include:

  • Literary theory
  • History of storytelling
  • Genre conventions
  • Market trends
  • Marketing manuscripts to publishers
  • Thesis or dissertation

Typical Requirements for Applying to an MFA Creative Writing Program

Besides the application form and fee, most MFA in creative writing programs have standard requirements. While the following are the most typical requirements, always check with the specific program first:

Make sure your resume  includes all relevant information to showcase your interests, skills, and talent in writing.

2. Writing Sample(s)

MFA creative writing program selection committees look for applicants who are serious about writing. Therefore, they typically ask for at least one 10-20 page writing sample. The best samples showcase talent in your preferred area of writing (e.g., fiction, non-fiction). MFA poetry programs have varied sample requirements.

3. Transcripts

You’ll need to show your undergraduate degree (and possibly high school) transcript.

4. Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is usually 1-2 pages and shows your passion for writing and potential to succeed in the program.

5. Recommendation Letters

Most programs require letters of recommendation from academic or professional contacts who know you well.

Related reading: How to Ask a Professor for a Grad School Recommendation

6. GRE Scores

Some MFA programs require GRE scores (though this is not the case for all universities). If you happen to need some assistance while studying for your GRE or GMAT, be sure to check out Magoosh for easy test prep!

What Can Creative Writers Do After Graduation?

As a creative writer with an MFA, you’ll have a variety of career options where your skills are highly valued. Below are a few of the common jobs an MFA creative writing graduate can do, along with the average annual salary for each.

Creative Director ( $90,389 )

A creative director leads a team of creative writers, designers, or artists in various fields, such as media, advertising, or entertainment.

Editor ( $63,350)

An editor helps correct writing errors and improve the style and flow in media, broadcasting, films, advertising, marketing , and entertainment.

Academic Librarian ( $61,190)

An academic librarian manages educational information resources in an academic environment (such as a university).

Copywriter ( $53,800 )

Copywriters typically work to present an idea to a particular audience and capture their attention using as few words as possible.

Technical Writers ($78,060)

Technical writers are tasked with instruction manuals, guides, journal articles, and other documents. These convey complex details and technical information to a wider audience.

Writer ( $69,510 )

A writer usually provides written content for businesses through articles, marketing content, blogs, or product descriptions. They may also write fiction or non-fiction books.

Social Media Manager ( $52,856 )

A social media manager is responsible for creating and scheduling content on social media, and may also track analytics and develop social media strategies.

Journalist ($ 48,370 )

Journalists may work for newspapers, magazines, or online publications, researching and writing stories, as well as conducting interviews and investigations.

Public Relations Officer ( $62,800)

A public relations officer works to promote and improve the public image of a company, government agency, or organization. This is done through work such as: preparing media releases, online content, and dealing with the media.

Lexicographer ( $72,620 )

Lexicographers are the professionals who create dictionaries. They study words’ etymologies and meanings, compiling them into a dictionary.

Can You Get a Creative Writing Degree Online?

Yes, a number of institutions offer online master’s degrees , such as Bay Path University and the University of Nebraska. Online courses offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing you to study from anywhere – and often on your own schedule. Many students can earn their degrees while continuing with their current job or raising a family.

However, students won’t receive the full benefits of a residency program, such as building close connections with peers and working with the faculty in person. Some on-campus programs also offer full funding to cover tuition and education expenses.

Pros and Cons of an MFA in Creative Writing

Like anything, studying an MFA in Creative Writing and pursuing a related career can have its benefits as well as drawbacks.

  • It’ll motivate you to write.

Many people are talented but struggle sitting down to write. An MFA program will give you the motivation to meet your deadlines.

  • You’ll have a community.

Writing can be a solitary pursuit. It can be hard to connect with others who are just as passionate about writing. An MFA program provides students with a community of like-minded people.

  • Graduates have teaching prospects.

An MFA is one option that can help you find a teaching job at the university level. Unlike some majors that require a Ph.D. to enter academia, many post-secondary instructors hold an MFA.

  • Not always the most marketable job skills

Although an MFA in Creative Writing will provide several useful skills in the job market, these are not as marketable as some other forms of writing. For example, copywriting arguably has a wider range of job prospects.

  • It could limit your creativity.

There is a risk that your writing could become too technical or formulaic, due to the theories learned during your MFA. It’s important to know the theory, but you don’t want to let it limit your creativity.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MFA Degree in Creative Writing?

A master’s in creative writing typically takes between 2-3 years to complete. Unlike other master’s degrees’ accelerated options, creative writing program requirements require a greater number of workshops and dissertations.

Alternatives to Creative Writing Majors

There are plenty of similar majors that can set you on the path to a career in the creative writing field. Consider alternatives like an MA in English , literature, humanities, media studies, and library sciences.

Related Reading: Master’s in Fine Arts: The Ultimate Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What can i do with an mfa in creative writing .

An MFA graduate could teach creative writing at a secondary or college level. They may pursue a career in advertising, publishing, media, or the entertainment industry. They could also become an author by publishing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

Are MFA Creative Writing Programs Worth It?

Having an MFA opens doors to a range of well-paid careers (more on that above). If you’re skilled in writing – and want to make a decent living with it – an MFA program might be an excellent choice.

How Do I Choose an MFA in Creative Writing?

First, consider whether an on-campus or online MFA program is best for you (depending on your lifestyle and commitments). Another key consideration is a university with renowned authors on their teaching staff who will give you the highest levels of training in creative writing. Also, consider your preferred focus area (e.g., fiction, poetry, nonfiction) .

What Are MFA Writing Programs?

An MFA in writing or creative writing is an advanced program that teaches students the art and practice of writing. During these programs, students hone their writing skills and equip themselves to publish their own work – or pursue a career in media, teaching, or advertising.

Can You Teach with an MFA? 

Yes! Teaching is one of the many career options an MFA provides . An MFA in creative writing can qualify you to be a teacher in creative writing (in schools or the higher education sector).

Is It Hard to Be Admitted to MFA Creative Writing Programs?

MFA creative writing programs are relatively competitive. Therefore, not all applicants will get into the program of their choice. However, if you are talented and ambitious that becomes more likely. Having said that, the most prestigious universities with the best MFA creative writing programs accept a small percentage of the applicants.

What Is the Best Creative Writing Program in the World? 

A number of creative writing programs are known for their famous faculty and excellent courses, like the Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/ Poetry from Johns Hopkins and the MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University . Outside the US, the most celebrated English program is likely the University of Cambridge’s MSt in Creative Writing.

How Hard Is It to Get an MFA in Creative Writing?

An MFA is an intensive, highly-involved degree that requires a certain amount of dedication. Anyone with a passion for creative writing should find it rewarding and satisfying.

Should I Get an MA or MFA in Creative Writing?

Whether you choose an MA or MFA in creative writing depends on your own interests and career ambitions. An MFA in creative writing is ideal for anyone passionate about pursuing a career in fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. An MA is a broader degree that equips students for a wider range of career choices (though it will qualify them for many of the same roles as an MFA).

Can I Get Published Without an MFA?

Absolutely. However, studying for an MFA will equip you with a range of skills and knowledge that are extremely helpful in getting your work published, from honing your craft to submitting your manuscript to working with publishers.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs with a Master’s in Creative Writing?

An MFA in creative writing can help you land a range of jobs in the creative and literary fields. The highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master’s in creative writing include creative directors ($90,000) and technical writers ($78,000).

Key Takeaways

An MFA in creative writing program will hone your talents and develop the skills you need to become a successful writer. The best MFA creative writing programs will give you incredible knowledge of the field while developing your practical skills in fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

The acceptance rate for the best MFA writing programs is fairly low, so it’s crucial to understand the requirements well and prepare thoroughly. To help you with your application, check out our guide to applying to grad school .

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Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 12 best creative writing colleges and programs.

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best creative writing programs reddit

Finding a dedicated creative writing program at a school you're excited about can be a real challenge, and that's even before you start worrying about getting in. Nonetheless, there are some great options. In order to help you find the best school for you, this list rounds up some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States .

The Best Creative Writing Programs: Ranking Criteria

You should never take college rankings as absolute truth —not even the very official-seeming US News ones. Instead, use these kinds of lists as a jumping-off place for your own exploration of colleges. Pay attention not just to what the rankings are but to how the rankings are determined.

To help with that, I'll explain how I came up with this highly unscientific list of great creative writing colleges. I started by narrowing my search down to schools that offered a specific creative writing major. (If you don't see a school you were expecting, it's likely because they only have a minor.)

In ranking the schools, I considered five major criteria:

  • #1: MFA Ranking —If a school has a great graduate creative writing program, it means you'll be taught by those same professors and the excellent graduate students they attract. Schools with strong MFA programs are also more likely to have solid alumni networks and internship opportunities. However, many schools with great undergrad programs do not offer MFAs, in which case I simply focused on the other four options.
  • #2: General School Reputation —The vast majority of your classes won't be in creative writing, so it's important that other parts of the school, especially the English department, are great as well.
  • #3: Extracurricular Opportunities —One of the key advantages of majoring in creative writing is that it can provide access to writing opportunities outside the classroom, so I took what kind of internship programs, author readings, and literary magazines the school offers into consideration.
  • #4: Diversity of Class Options —I gave extra points to schools with a variety of genre options and specific, interesting classes.
  • #5: Alumni/Prestige —This last criterion is a bit more subjective: is the school known for turning out good writers? Certainly it's less important than what kind of education you'll actually get, but having a brand-name degree (so to speak) can be helpful.

The Best Creative Writing Schools

Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of schools! The exact numbering is always arguable, so look at it as a general trend from absolutely amazing to still super great, rather than fixating on why one school is ranked #3 and another is ranked #4.

#1: Northwestern University

Northwestern's undergrad creative writing program boasts acclaimed professors and an unparalleled track record of turning out successful writers (including Divergent author Veronica Roth and short-story writer Karen Russell).

Outside the classroom, you can work on the student-run literary journal, intern at a publication in nearby Chicago, or submit to the Department of English's yearly writing competition . The university is also home to a top journalism program , so if you want to try your hand at nonfiction as well, you'll have plenty of opportunities to do so.

#2: Columbia University

Like Northwestern, Columbia is home to both a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school (plus one of the best English departments in the country), so you have a wide range of writing-related course options. Columbia also benefits from its location in New York City, which is bursting at the seams with publishing houses, literary journals, and talented authors.

best creative writing programs reddit

#3: University of Iowa

The University of Iowa's big draw is the infrastructure of its graduate Writers' Workshop, which is often considered the best MFA program in the country.

As an English and Creative Writing major here, you'll take classes from great young writers and established professors alike, and get to choose from a wide range of topics. This major provides transferable skills important for a liberal arts major with a creative focus. You'll also have access to the university's impressive literary community, including frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and the acclaimed literary journal The Iowa Review .

#4: Emory University

Emory is renowned for its dedicated undergrad creative writing program , which draws the very best visiting scholars and writers. Students here have the chance to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors, study a range of genres, compete for writing awards and scholarships, and work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project.

#5: Oberlin College

A small liberal arts school in Ohio, Oberlin offers very different advantages than the schools above do. You'll have fewer opportunities to pursue writing in the surrounding city, but the quality of the teachers and the range of courses might make up for that. Moreover, it boasts just as impressive alumni, including actress and writer Lena Dunham.

#6: Hamilton College

Hamilton is another small college, located in upstate New York. It's known for giving students the freedom to pursue their interests and the support to help them explore topics in real depth, both inside and outside the classroom. Hamilton's creative writing program takes full advantage with small classes and lots of opportunities to intern and publish; it also has one of the best writing centers in the country.

#7: Brown University

Brown's Literary Arts program offers one of the top MFAs in the US as well as an undergraduate major . For the major, you must take four creative writing workshops and six reading-intensive courses, which span an array of departments and topics, from music and literature to Middle East studies and Egyptology.

best creative writing programs reddit

#8: Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University has an excellent creative writing MFA program, lots of super specific class options, and a number of scholarships specifically earmarked for creative writing students. This school’s undergraduate English program also offers a concentration in creative writing that allows students to specialize in a specific genre: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. If you’re interested in exploring your potential in a specific writing genre, Washington University could be a great pick for you.

#9: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT might not be a school you generally associate with writing, but it actually has an excellent program that offers courses in digital media and science writing, as well as creative writing, and provides plenty of guidance on how graduates can navigate the tricky job market.

Not to mention the school is located in Cambridge, a haven for book lovers and writers of all kinds. Though it probably isn’t a good fit for students who hate science, MIT is a great place for aspiring writers who want to build writing skills that are marketable in a wide range of industries.

#10: University of Michigan

University of Michigan is one of the best state universities in the country and has a top-notch MFA program. This school’s undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications give students crucial practice in both building a writing portfolio and articulating their interest in creative writing to an audience who will evaluate their work. If you're looking to attend a big school with a great creative writing major, this is a fantastic choice.

#11: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins is another school that's known more for engineering than it is for writing, but, like MIT, it has a dedicated writing program. As a major here, you must take not only courses in prose, poetry, and literature, but also classes on topics such as philosophy and history.

#12: Colorado College

Colorado College is a small liberal arts school known for its block plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. The creative writing track of the English major includes a sequence of four writing workshops and also requires students to attend every reading of the Visiting Writers Series.

Bonus School: New York University

I didn't include NYU in the main list because it doesn't have a dedicated creative writing major, but it's a great school for aspiring writers nonetheless, offering one of the most impressive creative writing faculties in the country and all the benefits of a Manhattan location.


How To Pick the Best Creative Writing School for You

Just because Northwestern is a great school for creative writing doesn't mean you should set your heart on going there. (The football fans are completely terrifying, for one thing.) So where should you go then?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at creative writing programs to help you determine the best school for you:

Does It Have Courses You're Interested In?

Look at the course offerings and see whether they interest you. While you can't predict exactly what classes you'll love, you want to avoid a mismatch where what you want to study and what the program offers are completely different. For example, if you want to write sonnets but the school focuses more on teaching fiction, it probably won't be a great fit for you.

Also, don't forget to look at the English courses and creative writing workshops! In most programs, you'll be taking a lot of these, too.

What Opportunities Are There To Pursue Writing Outside of Class?

I touched on this idea in the criteria section, but it's important enough that I want to reiterate it here. Some of the best writing experience you can get is found outside the classroom, so see what kind of writing-related extracurriculars a school has before committing to it.

Great options include getting involved with the campus newspaper, working on the school's literary journal, or interning at the university press.

Who Will Be Teaching You?

Who are the professors? What kind of work have they published? Check teacher ratings on Rate My Professors (but make sure to read the actual reviews—and always take them with a grain of salt).

If you're looking at a big school, there's a good chance that a lot of your teachers will be graduate students. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: a lot of the best teachers I had in college were graduate students. Just take into consideration what kind of graduate program the school has. If there's a great creative writing MFA program, then the graduate students are likely to be better writers and more engaged teachers.

What Are the Alumni Doing Now?

If you have a sense of what you want to do after you graduate, see if any alumni of the program are pursuing that type of career. The stronger the alumni network is, the more connections you'll have when it comes time to get a job.

What About the Rest of the School?

Don't pick a school for which you like the creative writing program but dread everything else about it. Most of your time will be spent doing other things, whether hanging out in the dorms, exploring off campus, or fulfilling general education requirements.

Many schools require you to apply to the creative writing major, so make doubly sure you'll be happy with your choice even if you aren't accepted to the program.

What's Next?

Are you sure a creative writing major is the right fit for you? Read our post on the pros and cons of the major to help you decide what path to take in college.

For more general advice about choosing a college, check out our complete guide to finding the right school for you. Some major factors to consider include deciding whether you're interested in a small college or a big university , an in-state or out-of-state institution , and a public or private school .

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Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.

Find a home for your poems, stories, essays, and reviews by researching the publications vetted by our editorial staff. In the Literary Magazines database you’ll find editorial policies, submission guidelines, contact information—everything you need to know before submitting your work to the publications that share your vision for your work.

Whether you’re pursuing the publication of your first book or your fifth, use the Small Presses database to research potential publishers, including submission guidelines, tips from the editors, contact information, and more.

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MFA Programs Database

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Our MFA database includes essential information about low- and full-residency graduate creative writing programs in the United States and other English-speaking countries to help you decide where to apply.

Adelphi University

Poetry: Jan-Henry Gray, Maya Marshall Prose: Katherine Hill, Igor Webb

Albertus Magnus College

Poetry: Charles Rafferty, Paul Robichaud Fiction: Sarah Harris Wallman Nonfiction: Eric Schoeck

American University

Poetry: Kyle Dargan, David Keplinger Fiction: Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Stephanie Grant, Patricia Park Nonfiction: Rachel Louise Snyder

Antioch University

Poetry: Victoria Chang Prose: Lisa Locascio

Arcadia University

Poetry: Genevieve Betts, Michelle Reale Fiction: Stephanie Feldman, Joshua Isard, Tracey Levine, Eric Smith Literature: Matthew Heitzman, Christopher Varlack, Elizabeth Vogel, Jo Ann Weiner

Poetry: Genevieve Betts, Michelle Reale Fiction: Stephanie Feldman, Joshua Isard, Tracey Levine, Eric Smith

Arizona State University

Poetry: Sally Ball, Natalie Diaz, Eunsong Kim, Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Safiya Sinclair Fiction: Matt Bell, Jenny Irish, Tara Ison, Mitchell Jackson, T. M. McNally Creative Nonfiction: Sarah Viren

Ashland University

Poetry: Aria Aber, Dexter Booth, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Adam Gellings, Tess Taylor, Vanessa Angélica Villareal

Fiction: Kirstin Chen, Brian Conn, Edan Lepucki, Sarah Monette, Nayomi Munaweera, Vi Khi Nao, Naomi J. Williams, Kyle Winkler

Nonfiction: Cass Donish, Kate Hopper, Lauren Markham, Thomas Mira y Lopez, Lisa Nikolidakis, Terese Mailhot, Kelly Sundberg

Augsburg University

Poetry: Jim Cihlar, Michael Kleber-Diggs Fiction: Stephan Eirik Clark, Lindsay Starck Nonfiction: Anika Fajardo, Kathryn Savage Playwriting: Alice Eve Cohen, Carson Kreitzer, TyLie Shider Screenwriting: Stephan Eirik Clark, Andy Froemke

Ball State University

Poetry: Katy Didden, Mark Neely Fiction: Cathy Day, Sean Lovelace Nonfiction: Jill Christman, Silas Hansen Screenwriting: Rani Deighe Crowe, Matt Mullins

Bard College

Mirene Arsanios, CA Conrad, Hoa Nguyen, Christopher Perez, Cedar Sigo, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Roberto Tejada, Monica de la Torre, Simone White

Bath Spa University

Poetry: Lucy English, Carrie Etter, Tim Liardet, John Strachan, Samantha Walton, Gerard Woodward Fiction: Gavin James Bower, Celia Brayfield, Alexia Casale, Lucy English, Nathan Filer, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Samantha Harvey, Philip Hensher, Steve Hollyman, Emma Hooper, Claire Kendal, Kate Pullinger, C.J. Skuse, Gerard Woodward Nonfiction: Celia Brayfield, Richard Kerridge, Stephen Moss Scriptwriting: Robin Mukherjee

Poetry: Lucy English, Carrie Etter, Tim Liardet, Gerard Woodward Fiction: Gavin James Bower, Celia Brayfield, Nathan Filer, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Samantha Harvey, Philip Hensher, Claire Kendal, Kate Pullinger, Gerard Woodward Nonfiction: Richard Kerridge, Stephen Moss

Bay Path University

Mel Allen, Leanna James Blackwell, Jennifer Baker, Sari Botton, Melanie Brooks, María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado, Áine Greaney, Shahnaz Habib, Jessica Handler, Ann Hood, Susan Ito, Karol Jackowski, Yi Shun Lai, Anna Mantzaris, Meredith O’Brien, Lisa Romeo, Kate Whouley

Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College

Current Faculty: Poetry: April Bernard, Michael Dumanis, Randall Mann, Craig Morgan Teicher, Mark Wunderlich Fiction: Monica Ferrell, David Gates, Manuel Gonzales, Amy Hempel, Jill McCorkle, Elizabeth McCracken, Deirdre McNamer, Stuart Nadler, Katy Simpson Smith, Taymour Soomro Nonfiction: Eula Biss, Jenny Boully, Hugh Ryan, Clifford Thompson, Peter Trachtenberg

Binghamton University

Poetry: Tina Chang, Joseph Weil Fiction: Thomas Glave, Leslie L. Heywood, Liz Rosenberg, Jaimee Wriston-Colbert, Alexi Zentner Nonfiction: Leslie L. Heywood

Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University

Poetry: Julie Hensley, Young Smith Fiction: Julie Hensley, Nancy Jensen, Robert D. Johnson Nonfiction: Nancy Jensen, Robert D. Johnson, Evan J. Massey

Boise State University

Poetry: Martin Corless-Smith, Sara Nicholson, Taryn Schwilling Fiction: Mitch Wieland (Director), Anna Caritj Creative Nonfiction: Clyde Moneyhun

Boston University

Poetry: Andrea Cohen, Karl Kirchwey, Robert Pinsky Fiction: Leslie Epstein, Jennifer Haigh, Ha Jin

Boston University—MFA in Literary Translation

Odile Cazenave, Margaret Litvin, Petrus Liu, Christopher Maurer, Roberta Micaleff, Robert Pinsky (advising), Stephen Scully, Sassan Tabatabai, J. Keith Vincent, William Waters, Anna Zielinska-Elliott

Bowling Green State University

Poetry: Abigail Cloud, Sharona Muir, F. Dan Rzicznek, Larissa Szporluk, Jessica Zinz-Cheresnick Fiction: Joe Celizic, Lawrence Coates, Reema Rajbanshi, Michael Schulz

Brigham Young University

Poetry: Kimberly Johnson, Lance Larsen, Michael Lavers, John Talbot Fiction: Chris Crowe, Ann Dee Ellis, Spencer Hyde, Stephen Tuttle Nonfiction: Joey Franklin, Patrick Madden

Brooklyn College

Poetry: Julie Agoos, Ben Lerner Fiction: Joshua Henkin, Madeleine Thien Playwriting: Dennis A. Allen II, Elana Greenfield

Brown University

Poetry: Sawako Nakayasu, Matthew Shenoda, Eleni Sikelianos, Cole Swensen Fiction: Colin Channer, Laird Hunt, Karan Mahajan, Jacinda Townsend Cross Disciplinary & Digital Language Arts: John Cayley, Thalia Field, Sawako Nakayasu

What to Know About Creative Writing Degrees

Many creative writing degree recipients pursue careers as authors while others work as copywriters or ghostwriters.

Tips on Creative Writing Degrees

A student sitting beside the bed in bedroom with her coffee cup and writing on the note pad.

Prospective writing students should think about their goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals. (Getty Images)

Many people see something magical in a beautiful work of art, and artists of all kinds often take pride in their craftsmanship. Creative writers say they find fulfillment in the writing process.

"I believe that making art is a human need, and so to get to do that is amazing," says Andrea Lawlor, an author who this year received a Whiting Award – a national $50,000 prize that recognizes 10 excellent emerging authors each year – and who is also the Clara Willis Phillips Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

"We all are seeing more and more of the way that writing can help us understand perspectives we don't share," says Lawlor, whose recent novel "Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl" addresses the issue of gender identity.

"Writing can help us cope with hard situations," Lawlor says. "We can find people who we have something in common with even if there's nobody around us who shares our experience through writing. It's a really powerful tool for connection and social change and understanding."

Creative writing faculty, many of whom are acclaimed published authors, say that people are well-suited toward degrees in creative writing if they are highly verbal and enjoy expressing themselves.

"Creative imaginative types who have stories burning inside them and who gravitate toward stories and language might want to pursue a degree in creative writing," Jessica Bane Robert, who teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Clark University in Massachusetts, wrote in an email. "Through formal study you will hone your voice, gain confidence, find a support system for what can otherwise be a lonely endeavor."

Read the guide below to gain more insight into what it means to pursue a creative writing education, how writing impacts society and whether it is prudent to invest in a creative writing degree. Learn about the difference between degree-based and non-degree creative writing programs, how to craft a solid application to a top-notch creative writing program and how to figure out which program is the best fit.

Why Creative Writing Matters and Reasons to Study It

Creative writers say a common misconception about their job is that their work is frivolous and impractical, but they emphasize that creative writing is an extremely effective way to convey messages that are hard to share in any other way.

Kelly Caldwell, dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, says prospective writing students are often discouraged from taking writing courses because of concerns about whether a writing life is somehow unattainable or "unrealistic."

Although creative writers are sometimes unable to financially support themselves entirely on the basis of their creative projects, Caldwell says, they often juggle that work with other types of jobs and lead successful careers.

She says that many students in her introductory creative writing class were previously forbidden by parents to study creative writing. "You have to give yourself permission for the simple reason that you want to do it," she suggests.

Creative writing faculty acknowledge that a formal academic credential in creative writing is not needed in order to get writing published. However, they suggest, creative writing programs help aspiring authors develop their writing skills and allow space and time to complete long-term writing projects.

Working writers often juggle multiple projects at once and sometimes have more than one gig, which can make it difficult to finish an especially ambitious undertaking such as a novel, a play for the screen or stage, or a well-assembled collection of poems, short stories or essays. Grants and fellowships for authors are often designed to ensure that those authors can afford to concentrate on their writing.

Samuel Ace, a published poet and a visiting lecturer in poetry at Mount Holyoke, says his goal is to show students how to write in an authentic way that conveys real feeling. "It helps students to become more direct, not to bury their thoughts under a cascade of academic language, to be more forthright," he says.

Tips on Choosing Between a Non-Degree or Degree-Based Creative Writing Program

Experts note that someone needs to be ready to get immersed in the writing process and devote significant time to writing projects before pursuing a creative writing degree. Prospective writing students should not sign up for a degree program until they have reached that sense of preparedness, warns Kim Todd, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and director of its creative writing program.

She says prospective writing students need to think about their personal goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals.

Aspiring writers who are not ready to invest in a creative writing degree program may want to sign up for a one-off writing class or begin participating in an informal writing workshop so they can test their level of interest in the field, Todd suggests.

How to Choose and Apply to a Creative Writing Program

In many cases, the most important component of an application to a writing program is the writing portfolio, writing program experts say. Prospective writing students need to think about which pieces of writing they include in their portfolio and need to be especially mindful about which item they put at the beginning of their portfolio. They should have a trusted mentor critique the portfolio before they submit it, experts suggest.

Because creative writing often involves self-expression, it is important for aspiring writing students to find a program where they feel comfortable expressing their true identity.

This is particularly pertinent to aspiring authors who are members of minority groups, including people of color or LGBTQ individuals, says Lawlor, who identifies as queer, transgender and nonbinary.

How to Use a Creative Writing Degree

Creative writing program professors and alumni say creative writing programs cultivate a variety of in-demand skills, including the ability to communicate effectively.

"While yes, many creative writers are idealists and dreamers, these are also typically highly flexible and competent people with a range of personal strengths. And a good creative writing program helps them understand their particular strengths and marketability and translate these for potential employers, alongside the more traditional craft development work," Melissa Ridley Elmes, an assistant professor of English at Lindenwood University in Missouri, wrote in an email.

Elmes – an author who writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction – says creative writing programs force students to develop personal discipline because they have to consistently produce a significant amount of writing. In addition, participating in writing workshops requires writing students "to give and receive constructive feedback," Elmes says.

Cindy Childress, who has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana—Lafayatte and did a creative writing dissertation where she submitted poetry, says creative writing grads are well-equipped for good-paying positions as advertising and marketing copywriters, speechwriters, grant writers and ghostwriters.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual compensation for writers and authors was $63,200 as of May 2019.

"I think the Internet, and writing communities online and in social media, have been very helpful for debunking the idea that if you publish a New York Times Bestseller you will have 'made it' and can quit your day job and write full time," Elmes explains. "Unless you are independently wealthy, the odds are very much against you in this regard."

Childress emphasizes that creative writing degree recipients have "skills that are absolutely transferable to the real world." For example, the same storytelling techniques that copywriters use to shape public perceptions about a commercial brand are often taught in introductory creative writing courses, she says. The ability to tell a good story does not necessarily come easily to people who haven't been trained on how to do it, she explains.

Childress says she was able to translate her creative writing education into a lucrative career and start her own ghostwriting and book editing company, where she earns a six-figure salary. She says her background in poetry taught her how to be pithy.

"Anything that we want to write nowadays, particularly for social media, is going to have to be immediately understood, so there is a sense of immediacy," she says."The language has to be crisp and direct and exact, and really those are exactly the same kind of ways you would describe a successful poem."

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25 Best Graduate Creative Writing Programs

If you’re interested in a creative writing career, this might arguably be one of the best times in history. A glance on the Internet, especially on social media sites, shows a growing demand for content. This means a demand for advanced writing skills, and other creative skills.

​ Are you planning to enhance your creative writing skills? Consider taking one of the best creative writing graduate programs . To get you started on your degree search, we’ve put together this list of best graduate writing programs . In fact, most of these are no- or low-residency creative writing programs. This includes colleges offering an online master’s degree (or hybrid) in Creative Writing.

A creative writer ay find themselves with a number of different career opportunities. Creative writers may write content, go into advertising, be a screen writer or go into publishing just to name a few options in this field.

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

Western new england university, graduation rate, acceptance rate.

Western New England University

One of the best creative writing MFA programs is offered by Western New England University (WNE, est. 1919) is a low-residency program (College of Arts and Sciences). This is a 48-credit, hybrid MFA in Fiction, but enables a comprehensive study of all aspects of fiction. Students at this top creative writing school will undertake a mix of:

  • craft classes
  • individual conferences
  • manuscript consultations
  • special topics courses
  • workshops in creative writing

For the residencies, these immersive, week-long gatherings are comprised of:

  • discussions

Four of these must be taken. The summer ones are held on-campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, with the winter ones either in the Berkshires or Dublin, Ireland. Those applying for the MFA program will need an undergraduate degree (please check with WNE for GPA requirements).

As one of the best creative writing MFAs , WNE’s Creative Writing MFA provides a mentored approach to education. To ensure students get the one-on-one attention they deserve, the program maintains the student-faculty ratio at 5:1. Faculty mentors and visiting writers are all published authors — many award-winning — covering several forms and genres, including:

  • Literary Criticism
  • Literary Fiction
  • Non-Fiction Essays
  • Young Adult and Middle-Grade Literature

The MFA is particularly well-suited to creative writers with a strong interest in craft and who want to master critical elements, such as:

  • sentence craft
  • story shaping
  • voice development

Key courses in the creative writing program include:

  • Fiction Workshop
  • Special Topics in Creative Writing
  • The Craft of Fiction
  • Type: Private, non-profit
  • Location: Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Cost: $44,112
  • #students: 3,673
  • #grads: 1,121
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Has housing?: Yes
  • Programs: Associates through doctorate level, plus certificates

Lesley University

Graduate rate:, acceptance rate:.


Lesley University (LU, est. 1909) offers a unique, low-residency, hybrid MFA in Creative Writing that will be attractive to writers seeking to explore new boundaries in their craft. LU’s best masters in creative writing requires 49 credits for completion, including a thesis and graduating seminar presentation. Students must also complete five residencies — two per year plus an exit one — in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Each nine-day residency involves:

There is also an exciting opportunity for a 12-day residency in Wales at the Dylan Thomas International Summer School. To qualify for admission into the MFA, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree (please check with LU for GPA requirements).

If you’re looking for one of the best poetry MFA or screenwriting MFA programs , this just might be it. Available genres for Lesley’s MFA in Creative Writing are:

  • Graphic Novels and Comics
  • Non-Fiction
  • Writing for Stage and Screen
  • Writing for Young People

While creative writers will select one genre, they will work with award-winning writers across several of these categories. This underlies the unique interdisciplinary aspect of the program. In addition to encouraging students to explore other genres, LU’s MFA allows them to incorporate other disciplines, as well. For example, students can work with faculty in Art and Design or Arts and Social Sciences to examine how their writing combines with such complementary fields as:

  • art therapy
  • visual arts

Graduates of LU’s low-residency Creative Writing program have pursued careers as:

  • playwrights
  • screenwriters

Several creative writers have become teachers in writing programs at prestigious universities. Key courses for this MFA include:

  • Craft and Reflection
  • Creative Writing
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Cost: $40,230
  • #students: 4,200
  • #grads: 2,339
  • Programs: Bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificates

Spalding University

Graduation rate:.

best creative writing programs reddit

Spalding University (SU, est. 1814) offers one of the best graduate creative writing programs in the country. Their low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing. This 65-credit hybrid degree provides the choice of six concentrations:

  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Playwriting
  • Screenwriting
  • Writing for Children and Young Adults

Students must complete five 10-day residencies, which are comprised of:

The residencies in Louisville, Kentucky, take place in spring and fall. The international ones are held in the summer. After each residency, students undertake a semester of independent study that is primarily focused on honing one’s writing abilities and writing process but is supported by reading and critical analysis. A thesis and the Graduation Residency complete the program. To qualify for admission into this creative writing program, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree (please check with SU for GPA requirements).

Spalding’s Writing MFA is a high-value program that offers an intriguing combination of:

  • academic rigor
  • affordability
  • flexibility

As the world’s first certified compassionate university, SU’s promise of a supportive, non-competitive community seems very real. Additionally, SU takes pride in teaching students how to be successful creative writers amidst the other responsibilities of their daily lives and continues to provide support for alumni after graduation. Key courses for the creative writing students include:

  • Advanced Independent Writing and Reading – Emphasizing the Research Project
  • Intermediate Independent Writing and Reading in Creative Writing
  • Introductory Independent Writing and Reading in Creative Writing

Additional: SU also offers a low-residency Master of Arts (MA) in Writing with tracks in: Creative Writing; and Professional Writing. This 35-credit hybrid degree can be completed in a year. Graduates can then pursue career goals or proceed directly into SU’s MFA.

  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Cost: $39,325
  • Religious affiliation: Roman Catholic (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
  • #students: 1,596
  • #grads: 741
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte (Queens, est. 1857) offers one of the best creative writing masters programs through the College of Arts and Sciences. This hybrid program requires 52 credits for completion and includes a thesis and a capstone project. While this is essentially a Master’s of creative writing focusing on publishing and editing, students can specialize in one of four genres:

  • Creative Nonfiction

They must take four weeks of residencies selected from two track options. On-Campus Residencies are seven-day sessions held in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the start of each semester. International Residences are annual, culturally rich, 14- or 15-day affairs in one of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; or Santiago, Chile. A final, on-campus Graduating Residency is also required. To qualify for admission into the MFA, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent creative writing experience. (Please check with Queens for GPA requirements.)

The Queens’ Creative Writing MFA is for:

  • published writers
  • those who want to be published
  • those who want to teach at colleges or universities

The creative writing program provides the:

  • inspiration and support of a writing community
  • the personalized attention of a dedicated instructor
  • the private time needed to write and think

Queens also has opportunities to help graduates achieve their career dreams. This includes an Annual Alumni Weekend with craft seminars, publishing panels, and, every other year, top agents and senior editors from major magazines and publishing houses. There’s also Queens’ Book Development Program. It pairs applicants with a senior editor from a major publisher. Key course options for this MFA include:

  • Dramatic Writing Workshop
  • Guided Reading in Creative Writing
  • Poetry Tutorial
  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Cost: $38,480
  • Religious affiliation: Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • #students: 2,338
  • #grads: 668
  • Programs: Bachelor’s and master’s level degrees, plus certificates

Harvard University

Harvard University

Through its Harvard Extension School, Harvard University (Harvard, est. 1636) has one of the best Creative Writing masters programs. While Harvard’s is not an online MFA in creative writing, it is partly online and is called the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies in the field of Creative Writing and Literature. This 48-credit, low-residency, hybrid degree has the choice of a capstone or thesis track. Primarily taken online, the ALM has a single residency requirement comprising three weeks of study. It starts with a week-long masterclass on-campus and a weekend connecting with agents and editors. The additional two weeks of writing classes and final writing assignment can be done either online or on-campus. To qualify for admission into the ALM, students need a Bachelor’s degree and then must take two required graduate courses at Harvard, earning a minimum grade of B in each one.

Harvard’s Creative Writing and Literature ALM focuses on helping students gain a mastery in creative writing and literary analysis. Graduates will be able to write in multiple genres, including:

  • Dramatic Writing

Students gain advanced creative writing skills in:

  • characterization
  • description
  • point of view
  • story and plot structure

They will also be able to assess literature as both creative writers and scholars. In addition to the acknowledged quality of a Harvard education, the ALM provides students with connection, camaraderie, and support. Many graduates in creative writing go on to careers in:

  • advertising
  • fundraising

Key ALM courses and options include:

  • Advanced Fiction – Writing the Short Story
  • Global Environmental Literatures
  • Writing a Nonfiction Book
  • Cost: $35,760
  • #students: 30,391
  • #grads: 21,864

Ashland University

Ashland University

Ashland University (AU, est. 1878) offers a low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. This is a 45-credit, hybrid degree featuring nine credits of in-residence course work and 36 credits of online study (including a full-semester thesis). The in-residence courses take place during a two-week summer workshop (with seminars and readings) held at AU’s Ashland, Ohio, campus. Three separate workshops/ residencies must be completed. Students have the incredible option to do one of their residencies in Paris. The final residency will feature their thesis defense. Students can choose a degree track in one of three genres:

  • Fiction (literary and science fiction/ fantasy)

To qualify for admission, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a GPA over 2.75.

Ashland’s approach to its Creative Writing Master’s program is one of mentored learning. No more than five students are assigned to a single faculty mentor, each of whom is a published author. During residencies, students can also build their own dynamic writing communities with fellow students. Other program benefits for a creative writer include creating a full-length manuscript in one’s chosen genre and having the chance to qualify for graduate assistantships in teaching or publishing. Key courses in this creative writing program include a:

  • Summer Residency

Those obtaining a graduate teaching assistantship will undergo a Pedagogy Track with two additional courses — Composition/ Rhetoric Pedagogy and Supervised Teaching — and teach as many as five online undergraduate composition courses.

  • Location: Ashland, Ohio
  • Cost: $35,415
  • Religious affiliation: Brethren Church
  • #students: 4,447
  • #grads: 1,299
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Arcadia University


The top-value Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing at Arcadia University (Arcadia, est. 1853) is a 39-credit, hybrid program. This creative writing program offers two genre choices: Fiction; or Poetry. Students must complete three separate week-long residencies involving:

  • community building
  • discussions with local or visiting writers
  • faculty advisor meetings
  • writing exercises

The first and third residencies are held on-campus in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The second is a study-abroad opportunity in Edinburgh, Scotland, which adds area tours to the activities list. For this MFA’s thesis requirement, students must produce a full-length manuscript in their chosen genre — and work with their advisor to create a plan to get that manuscript published.

Arcadia’s high-quality Creative Writing program is designed to prepare students for a career in:

Potential employment settings for creative writing graduates include:

  • advertising agencies
  • colleges/ universities
  • corporations
  • governments
  • healthcare organizations
  • media outlets
  • non-profits

Among the creative writing program highlights are:

  • award-winning faculty
  • large amounts of online content and connections
  • weekly workshops with asynchronous discussion and reviews from instructors and peers
  • regular, personal contact between students and faculty

Key course options for the MFA include:

  • Craft of Contemporary Fiction
  • Fiction Practicum
  • Poetry Workshops
  • Type: Private, nonprofit
  • Location: Glenside, Pennsylvania
  • Cost: $31,005
  • Religious Affiliation: Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • #students: 3,300
  • #grads: 1,286
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

University of Nebraska Omaha

University of Nebraska

The low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO, est. 1908) is a 60-credit, hybrid program. Students can choose from one of six genres:

  • Young Adult

Those wanting to specialize in a second genre can apply for an additional semester of study. In addition to a thesis requirement, students must complete:

  • a craft paper
  • a series of critical essays
  • an internship

As for the residencies, students must complete five of them, including the final one where they will present their thesis and deliver a craft lecture. Held twice a year at a retreat in Nebraska City, Nebraska, each residency features:

  • craft discussions
  • an individual conference with one’s faculty mentor

UNO’s low-residency Creative Writing MFA is designed for writers seeking a literary career. The program allows for a personalized course of study under the guidance of a dedicated mentor, who is an accomplished (often award-winning) writer. That personalized plan will determine the critical development, reading, and writing a student will undertake each semester. During each residency, students form a supportive community with their single-genre workshop group. Then, through Special Topic Workshops and future residencies, they’ll also get to interact with all the other MFA students and study multiple genres. Key course options for the creative writing program include:

  • Fiction Seminar
  • Playwriting or Screenwriting Seminar
  • Poetry Seminar
  • Type: Public
  • Location: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Cost: $30,840
  • Affiliation: University of Nebraska System
  • #students: 15,892
  • #grads: 3,124

Bay Path University

Bay Path

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Bay Path University (BPU, est. 1897) is a fully online program. To graduate, students must complete 39 credits, including six for their thesis. In addition to their core courses, creative writing students must choose from one of three tracks:

  • Narrative Medicine

Each track provides for an internship or practicum opportunity. Also, while this MFA is a no-residency program, BPU does have the option for a week-long Summer Writing Seminar in Ireland, which currently features Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. New students can enter the MFA in January, May, or September. To qualify for admission, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their English and Writing classes.

​Students in Bay Path’s online MFA will gain a deeper understanding of creative non-fiction as a unique genre and learn what it takes to write publishable work based on their own experiences or the personal stories of others. Other benefits include:

  • being mentored by award-winning writers
  • gaining real-world experience and connections
  • obtaining peer feedback in writing workshops

Creative writing program graduates can pursue careers in various fields, including:

  • public relations

Popular job titles include:

  • grant writer
  • scriptwriter

Key courses in BPU’s MFA include:

  • Reading and Writing about Culture, Race, and Identity
  • Travel and Food Writing for Publication
  • Writing Contemporary Women’s Stories
  • Location: Longmeadow, Massachusetts
  • Cost: $30,225
  • #students: 3,224
  • #grads: 1,429

Drexel University

Drexel University

The low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing at Drexel University (DU, est. 1891) is a 45-credit hybrid program. This MFA focuses on a Fiction concentration with opportunities to gain skills and understanding in other genres. (The program also previously offered a Screenwriting Track. Please check with DU about its availability.) Students must complete three separate five-day residencies. The first and third are at Drexel’s campus in Philadelphia, the second is in New York. Each residency has career development and writing mastery components. However, the second one helps set DU apart. In that Professional Residency, students form connections with:

Those applying for admission into the creative writing program must have a Bachelor’s degree (please check with DU for GPA requirements).

As one of the top MFA creative writing programs in the country, Drexel’s Creative Writing MFA was designed to develop writers who can create work worthy of being published and understand what it takes to be published. Students will be mentored by acclaimed authors, learn from award-winning writers, and get feedback from fellow students. Drexel also provides a rare opportunity to connect one’s creative writing to civic engagement activities. These experiences include:

  • studying how to create grassroots change while in Haiti
  • writing about the natural world while in Equatorial Guinea
  • creating entertainment for terminally ill children
  • telling the stories of hospice patients, incarcerated men and women, and military veterans.

Key courses in this creative writing program include:

  • Fiction Writing Packet Exchange
  • Fiction Writing Workshop
  • Reading as a Writer (Genre Authors)

Tuition is currently at a special rate and may increase in each new semester. We’ve estimated total cost based only this special 50% off per-credit rate, available at time of publication.

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Cost: $30,195
  • #students: 23,589
  • #grads: 8,973

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU, est. 1932) has a fully online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. This 48-credit creative writing degree offers the choice of four genre fiction tracks:

  • Contemporary
  • Speculative

SNHU’s program culminates with a three-course thesis where students create a full-length novel or story collection of publishable quality. Prior to that, creative writing students study the craft of writing and incorporate what they learn into their own writing. They also explore the publishing process to better understand the practical side of being a successful author and marketing one’s work. To qualify for admission into the MFA, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

SNHU’s Creative Writing MFA is one of the few fully online top creative writing MFA programs and even fewer focused on genre fiction. What gives it even better value is its unique and beneficial career-building components. Specifically, students can choose from one of two built-in certificates: Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching of Writing; or Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing. That means creative writing graduates will be better prepared to teach at the college and university level or be ready to pursue professional writing opportunities in today’s marketing-oriented, project-driven economy. Key courses for the creative writing program include:

  • Advanced Studies in Genre Literature
  • Finding and Reaching an Audience
  • The Business of Writing

Additional: SNHU also offers two other creative writing programs for graduate students. The low-residency Mountainview Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Fiction or Nonfiction is a 60-credit, hybrid degree. Meanwhile, the 36-credit Master of Arts (MA) in English and Creative Writing is a fully online program.

  • Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Cost: $30,096
  • #students: 134,345
  • #grads: 22,746

Converse University

Converse University (CU, est. 1889) — formerly Converse College — offers a low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. This 48-credit hybrid degree comprises five separate nine-day residencies and four mentoring semesters. Residencies incorporate seminars, workshops, and lectures and are held twice a year on CU’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, campus. The Graduating Residency completes the program and features a thesis defense. Students can focus on one of three genres:

Those choosing Fiction can specialize in Young Adult Fiction. Alternatively, students in any genre can specialize in Environmental Writing. Those wanting to further broaden their career horizons can choose the Second Genre Emphasis. This adds 12 credits to their creative writing degree requirements, plus an additional residency and mentoring semester. To apply for admission into the MFA, students must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

The non-traditional format of CU’s Creative Writing MFA utilizes the mentor-apprentice relationship to help students develop advanced writing skills and a relevant understanding of contemporary literature and craft. This educational style also means students can personalize their course, project, and reading list selections. Additional program benefits include:

  • faculty mentors who are award-winning writers
  • free room and board during residencies for full-time students
  • publishing opportunities through the Clemson-Converse Literature Series

Recent graduates have won numerous writing awards and secured book deals with major and top independent publishers. Key course options in this MFA include:

  • Craft Topics in Environmental Writing
  • Craft Topics in Young Adult Fiction Writing
  • Poetry Writing

NOTE: According to the creative writing program site, room and board is provided included with tuition and fees to enrolled MFA students for both the summer and winter residencies. Summer accommodations are on-campus; winter accommodations are at local hotels.

  • Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • Cost: $29,952
  • #students: 1,377
  • #grads: 640

Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon

Eastern Oregon University (EOU, est. 1929) offers a low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. This 60-credit, hybrid degree has both a thesis and a practicum requirement. While students must select a primary genre for their thesis, they will study several genres, including:

  • Graphic Novels

Students who want to specialize in a second genre can stay an additional year to do another thesis. For the ecologically inclined, EOU’s MFA has a Wilderness, Ecology and Community concentration. Either way, every student will have a unique nature experience through the summer residencies, which split time between a Wallowa Lake retreat and EOU’s campus in La Grande, Oregon. Students must complete three separate two-week residencies comprised of:

  • craft seminars
  • panel presentations
  • writing workshops

The final residency features their thesis presentation.

EOU’s low-residency Creative Writing MFA follows a cohort model to help create a tight-knit, collaborative group of fellow writing students. At the same time, as the program is designed for working professionals, students will be able to study at their own pace to ensure they can balance their commitments. An additional benefit of EOU’s creative writing program is the hands-on experience provided through a variety of experiences during the practicum including:

  • administrative
  • service learning
  • teaching opportunities

Key course options for the creative writing program include:

  • Literary/ Film Themes
  • Special Topics in Writing
  • Themes in Writing/ Rhetoric
  • Location: La Grande, Oregon
  • Cost: $29,880
  • Affiliation: Oregon University System
  • #students: 2,853
  • #grads: 267
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Programs: Associates through master’s level degrees, plus certificates

West Virginia Wesleyan College

West Virginia Wesleyan

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC, est. 1890) is a low-residency program. This 49-credit, hybrid degree requires a thesis and a critical essay. Students must also complete five total residencies — comprising craft seminars, readings, and workshops — with the last one centered on their thesis interview and presentation. Summer residencies are on-campus in Buckhannon, West Virginia, with the winter ones in Blackwater Falls State Park. (An Ireland MFA Residency is also an option.) Students must choose from one of three genre tracks:

For those wanting to study a second track, a Cross-Genre Concentration is available. It adds 12 credits, a residency, and a semester to the creative writing program’s original completion requirements.

Wesleyan’s low-residency Creative Writing MFA follows a student-centered model that is designed to replicate the flow of a writer’s life. Program participants can maintain their regular lives while learning to become dedicated writers in balance with those commitments. Students work one-on-one with a variety of accomplished faculty mentors. At the same time, everyone is part of a welcoming, supportive writing community. Study and coursework are focused on mastering craft and technique, along with the development and furtherance of the writer’s mind.

  • Location: Buckhannon, West Virginia
  • Cost: $26,729
  • Religious affiliation: United Methodist Church
  • #students: 1,066
  • Programs: BMDC Bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees, plus certificates

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University (LU, est. 1827) offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing that can be taken online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format. This 48-credit, creative writing MFA includes a thesis requirement and combines craft and literature classes with writing workshops to help students grow as writers and expand their literary knowledge and analytical abilities. With the fully online option, there are no residency requirements. Additionally, students can customize their degree outline, selecting courses across several genres and literary areas, or choosing an emphasis in:

To apply for admission, students must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

The University of Denver also offers a Ph.D. in English & Literary Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing.  Students will choose either a “poetry” or “prose” track.  Poets &Writers ranked the University of Denver as one of the best creative writing programs MFA in the country.

LU’s MFA in Writing is designed as a fully flexible option that fits the needs, interests, and schedules of all its students. Lindenwood aims to remove the barriers that may be stopping someone from pursuing their educational and career goals. Along with career resources, peer support, and networking connections, an additional benefit of this MFA is the chance to be an editorial assistant with the program’s annual literary journal. Graduates of LU’s MFA can pursue both employed and self-employed positions, achieving such job titles as:

  • marketing writer
  • staff writer
  • technical writer

As this MFA is a terminal degree, graduates can also teach at the college and university level. Key course options for this MFA include Focused Scriptwriting Workshop and The Personal Essay and Memoir.

  • Location: Saint Charles, Missouri
  • Cost: $24,960
  • Affiliation: Lindenwood University System
  • #students: 7,382
  • #grads: 2,660

Wilkes University

Wilkes University

Wilkes University (WU, est. 1933) offers two connected, low-residency creative writing graduate degrees — the Master of Arts (MA) in Creative Writing and the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. The 30-credit MA offers seven tracks:

  • Documentary Film

Four, eight-day, on-campus residencies are required, including a capstone one. (WU also has a “weekender” option where each residency is broken down into four consecutive weekends during the semester.) The MFA is the continuation of WU’s MA program. It requires an additional 18 credits and one more residency. MFA students will revise their MA thesis for publication or production, or start a new project based on the thesis. They will also complete a full-term internship in teaching or publishing. Those applying for the MA should have a Bachelor’s degree, but it’s not essential. Those applying for the MFA must have completed the MA program and earned a 3.5 GPA in every course.

Wilkes’s low-residency Creative Writing MA and MFA programs focus on writing craft and the business of writing. That real-world integration is what makes it unique. Every MA thesis is read by an agent, editor, publisher, or producer who provides detailed feedback and a personal meeting. Meanwhile, MFA internships give students real-world experience and connections. Also, WU’s MA and MFA teach students how to:

  • live, think, and work as writers
  • connect with audiences
  • pitch ideas to editors, publishers, or producers

The proof? Hundreds of graduates have had their works published or produced. Countless others have become:

  • book reviewers
  • PR directors
  • video game scriptwriters

Key courses and options for the MA include:

  • Drafting Project in Fiction
  • Genre and Context in Publishing
  • Writing Plays

Key courses and options for the MFA program include:

  • Literary Analysis
  • Revision Term
  • Writing in Education/ Publishing Internship
  • Location: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Cost: $24,180
  • #students: 4,680
  • #grads: 2,329
  • Programs: Bachelor’s through doctorate level degrees

University of Texas at El Paso


The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP, est. 1914) offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing that can be taken entirely online. The MFA program requires 48 credits for graduation, including six for a thesis. While there are no residency requirements for this degree, adventurous students can select the low-residency option and travel to a different international city every summer. Past host cities have included London, Madrid, and Paris. The program itself is built around a mix of: writing workshops, literature courses, form and theory explorations covering various genres and forms. For their thesis, students will select either: Fiction or Poetry. To qualify for admission into the MFA program, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree and ideally a minimum 3.0 GPA.

UTEP’s MFA program is one of the few fully online Creative Writing MFAs in the United States and the only bilingual one. While classes are taught in English, students have the option to submit assignments in Spanish. Career-wise, the main focus of this high-quality program is preparing graduates for careers as published writers and/ or teaching creative writing at colleges and universities. This MFA program has a strong literary focus and foundation. In addition to academic ability, it favors talented and driven writers with distinct, developing, or new voices, and those with cultural and social awareness. Key course options for the MFA program include:

  • Advanced Screenwriting
  • Forms and Techniques of Fiction
  • Storytelling – Film and Literature
  • Location: El Paso, Texas
  • Cost: $23,520
  • Affiliation: University of Texas System
  • #students: 24,879
  • #grads: 3,762

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo

The low-residency Master of Arts (MA) in Creative Writing at Saint Leo University (SLU, est. 1889) is a 36-credit, hybrid program. Students can choose from one of three degree tracks:

SLU is also said to have the only MA program that offers a track specialization in War Literature and Writing for Veterans — a uniquely relevant and poignant option in today’s world. Overall, the program combines creative writing and literary studies personalized to each student’s goals. The MA’s eight-day residency is held on-campus in St. Leo, Florida, each summer. Students must attend three of these. To be eligible for admission to the MA, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.25 GPA.

SLU’s low-residency MA in Creative Writing is a flexible option for working adults who dream of writing memorable works of fiction or becoming notable essayists, memoirists, or poets. Other students use this MA to advance their professional careers or use it as a foundational step to pursuing terminal degrees in fields such as:

  • creative writing

Whatever one’s goals or dreams, SLU provides a dedicated faculty mentor (a published writer of national recognition) to help guide you. You will also have the regular feedback and community of your fellow writing students. Key courses and options for the MA include Foundations in Fiction and Theory and Practice of Creative Writing.

  • Location: Saint Leo, Florida
  • Cost: $23,400
  • Religious affiliation: Catholic Church (Order of Saint Benedict)
  • #students: 9,832
  • #grads: 2,887

Concordia University-Saint Paul


Concordia University-Saint Paul (CSP, est. 1893) offers a fully online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. This 36-credit program features 11 courses plus a thesis. CSP’s MFA program helps students hone their creative writing skills while also developing the ability to read and assess literature across three genres:

Students will develop their creative writing skills through craft and workshop courses while studying different literary forms, genres, and topics via literature and research courses. To qualify for admission, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

CSP’s MFA in Creative Writing is well-suited to the needs of working adults. In addition to being fully online, year-round admission is possible. Classes are held once a week, and each course takes only seven weeks to complete. Students will have the chance to work with several published authors throughout their degree and gain the skills and perspectives needed to produce publishable work. This will allow them to pursue a career as a professional writer in a variety of different fields. As such, CSP’s Creative Writing MFA is suitable for those who want to become writers and those who are already writers but want to expand their career potential. Key courses in this MFA program include:

  • Studies in the Craft of Creative Writing
  • Researching and Writing About Literature
  • The Culture of Writing, Editing, and Publishing
  • Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Cost: $18,900
  • Affiliation: Concordia University System
  • Religious affiliation: Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
  • #students: 5,585
  • #grads: 2,007

Central Washington University

Central Washington

Central Washington University (CWU, est. 1891) offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Professional and Creative Writing that can be taken entirely online or in a multi-modal (hybrid) format. This MA requires 45 credits for completion. There is no thesis requirement, but students must complete an end-of-program Portfolio course. There are also no defined degree tracks, allowing students to customize their course of study based on their career goals and interests. Plus, with CWU’s 10-week quarter system, this well-ranked creative writing program can be completed in as little as four quarters. To qualify for admission, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA (check with CWU about its current GRE requirements).

​CWU’s Professional and Creative Writing MA is designed to help graduates successfully navigate a new world economy that emphasizes learning and adapting over knowing. By combining creative and professional writing with critical thinking skills, the program can benefit students seeking several different career outcomes. This includes students who need upgraded writing skills to advance in their careers, professional and creative writers who want to make themselves more marketable and pursue expanded opportunities, and students who need advanced writing abilities to pursue additional graduate programs. Others choose this MA to satisfy a personal dream of becoming a creative writer while continuing their established careers. Key courses and electives include:

  • Advanced Poetry Writing
  • Professional Writing with New Media
  • Studies in Rhetoric
  • Location: Ellensburg, Washington
  • Cost: $17,469.15
  • #students: 11,174
  • #grads: 656

Mississippi University for Women

Mississippi University for Women

The low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women (MUW, est. 1884) is a 48-credit hybrid program. Much of the degree can be completed online, including a thesis, form and literature courses, and writing workshops. Workshops are available in:

  • Translation
  • Writing for New Media

The MFA’s residency requirements comprise two Short Residencies and two Full Residencies. Short Residencies are five-day masterclasses that occur at different times of year but are often scheduled to coincide with major on- and off-campus events, such as the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium. Full Residencies occur in late May and are nine to 10 days of workshops, seminars, and readings. To be eligible for admission to the MFA program, students must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA.

MUW’s Creative Writing MFA program is designed for working adults. It is built to be both affordable and flexible. Students can customize their course of study, selecting classes in as many or few genres as they wish. (Residencies already ensure students gain a broader understanding and perspective by providing cross- and mixed-genre experiences.) Students can also tailor their selections to fit specific career goals, adding Residencies, Internships, and Literary Magazine Production experiences. The Full Residencies offer a strong career focus with professional topics that include:

  • publishing and self-publishing
  • writing for the web
  • working with an agent
  • creative writing pedagogy (teaching strategies for various environments)

Key course options for this MFA program include:

  • Early Women Writers
  • Medieval and Renaissance Narratives
  • The Professional Writer
  • Location: Columbus, Mississippi
  • Cost: $17,343.10
  • #students: 2,704
  • #grads: 286

University of Houston Victoria


The University of Houston-Victoria (UHV, est. 1973) offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing that can be taken entirely online or in a low-residency, hybrid format. The degree requires 36 credits for completion, including six for a thesis. Students can choose the regular Creative Writing path or a specialized Concentration in Applied Literary Translation. Students can study any genre for the regular path but must select one for their thesis:

The main focus of the MFA is on developing one’s writing skills and understanding the literary form. However, several electives are available to help tailor the degree towards a student’s interest in literature or publishing. Those applying for the MFA program will need an undergraduate degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA on their last 60 undergraduate credits. (GRE scores may be required for those with a lower GPA; check with UHV to confirm.)

UHV’s online Creative Writing MFA program can be an affordable option that provides graduates with several potential career opportunities. While the program was created to help students pursue their dreams of becoming published authors, it also prepares them for nearly every writing career option. That means graduates can also pursue more practical jobs, including in

  • literary translation

Additionally, since UHV is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), students can integrate a Latino literature and cultural element into their studies and writing. Key courses and electives for the MFA include:

  • Form and Poetics
  • Graduate Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Publication Design

UHV’s online Creative Writing MFA can be an affordable option that provides graduates with several potential career opportunities. While the program was created to help students pursue their dreams of becoming published authors, it also prepares them for nearly every writing career option. That means graduates can also pursue more practical jobs, including in:

  • Location: Victoria, Texas
  • Cost: $16,840.08
  • Affiliation: University of Houston System
  • #students: 4,922
  • #grads: 1,409
  • Programs: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees

Tiffin University


Tiffin University (TU, est. 1888) offers a fully online Master of Humanities (MH) with a Creative Writing Concentration. It places third in our list of best online creative writing graduate programs.

This 30-credit degree allows students to understand and develop their abilities in several genres and compositional forms, including:

  • Genre and Performance Writing
  • Screenplays
  • Short Stories

The program combines a humanities foundation with hands-on writing experience and an academic study of selected genres and forms. The culmination is a capstone project, which requires each student to research a chosen area of interest and produce either a creative project, a portfolio project, or a thesis. To be eligible for admission to the MH, applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a preferred GPA of 3.0.

Tiffin’s online Master’s in Creative Writing is designed as a flexible, affordable graduate program option. With multiple start dates and a mix of seven- and 15-week courses, students can enter the program when it suits them and finish their degree in just 18 months. The primary focus of the MH is preparing graduates to pursue a variety of creative writing careers. Creative writing majors can become:

  • content writer
  • freelance writer
  • screenwriter
  • video game writer

Some graduates go on to teach at the high school or community college level. Others use the MH as the foundation to pursue advanced graduate degrees. Key courses and options for the MH include:

  • Creative Writing – The Novel
  • Creativity and Its Development
  • Critical Thinking and Reading
  • Location: Tiffin, Ohio
  • Cost: $16,500
  • #students: 2,933
  • #grads: 739

University of Arkansas at Monticello

best creative writing programs reddit

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM, est. 1910) is a fully online program. This program, which comes in second in our list of the best writing graduate programs , is the most affordable of the creative nonfiction MFA programs in this review article.

To graduate, students must complete 48 credits, including six for their thesis. The MFA offers three genres to choose from:

The core of the program features workshop courses that foster high-level skills in critical thinking and literary analysis while ensuring a mastery in creative writing. This focus is supplemented with multiple electives to allow students to tailor the program to best suit their interests and goals, including pursuing independent areas of study. To be eligible for admission to the MFA program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

UAM’s online Creative Writing MFA is meant to be both flexible and affordable. It is designed for talented, self-motivated individuals who appreciate the freedom to follow their own pace and areas of study. To ensure each creative writing student has a fuller understanding of their own genre, they will work with a different faculty mentor each semester. Creative writing majors will also take workshops in the other two genres to help give their writing a broader perspective and more unique outlook and voice. Key courses and options for the MFA include:

  • Advanced Workshop – Form and Craft
  • Magazine Edit and Design
  • Memoirs of the Mind
  • Location: Monticello, Arkansas
  • Cost: $13,262.4
  • #students: 2,855
  • #grads: 293

Western Connecticut State University

best creative writing programs reddit

Western Connecticut State University (WCSU, est. 1903) has a MFA in Creative and Professional Writing. This best low-residency master’s in creative writing wins first place in our list of best writing masters programs online.

This hybrid creative writing degree requires approximately 60 credits for completion and includes:

  • an internship or teaching practicum
  • an enrichment project

Students must also complete four separate, week-long residencies comprising discussions, lectures, and workshops. Residencies are held twice a year on the WCSU campus in Danbury, Connecticut. (There is also an optional Dublin, Ireland, residency featuring workshops in Oscar Wilde’s home and events at the Bram Stoker Festival.) For their degree, students must select a primary and secondary genre specialization. One must be creative, such as:

The other must be practical, for example:

  • Advertising Copywriting
  • Historical Biographies
  • Medical Writing
  • Public Relations
  • Technical Writing

WCSU’s low-residency MFA utilizes a student-driven mentorship model. For most courses, graduate students work with a faculty member to develop a personalized course plan. Then, there is WCSU’s practical education approach, which ensures students learn from successful creative writers across several genres and styles and apply what they’ve learned in real-world settings. This combination might be why WCSU has such a high success rate — 87 percent of graduates are full-time professional writers and/ or have published books. Key courses for this MFA program include:

  • Genre History, Criticism, and Theory
  • Reading for Writers
  • The Individual Aesthetic and Process
  • Location: Danbury, Connecticut
  • Cost: $11,344
  • Affiliation: Connecticut State University System
  • #students: 5,246
  • #grads: 606
  • Programs: Associates through doctorate level degrees, plus certificates

What can I do with a master’s in creative writing?

Creative writing programs open up a lot of potential professional opportunities including, but not limited to, the following, listed below. Note that some of these opportunities may be available without having taken a top creative writing graduate program.

  • Advertising manager
  • Arts administrator
  • Blogger – general
  • College lecturer – lower division
  • Communications director
  • Community college lecturer
  • Content writer (Web or otherwise)
  • Customer service representative (CSR)
  • Editorial assistant
  • Educator – general
  • Email marketing specialist
  • Film and television
  • Ghostwriter
  • Grant or funding proposal writer
  • Human resources
  • Instructional coordinator
  • Lexicographer
  • Market researcher
  • Marketing communications
  • Public relations specialist
  • Sales agent
  • Screenwriter
  • Social media specialist
  • Talent agent
  • Technical writer
  • Travel blogger
  • Web content manager
  • Writing consultant
  • Writing instructor

Creative writing majors who combine their master’s degree with a minor specialization or other degree can also increase their career opportunities. There are also numerous other career opportunities, particularly in arts and education, in which it can be useful to have an MFA or MA in creative writing.

How long does it take to complete and online MFA in creative writing?

Of the online creative writing degrees that are mentioned in this college review article, they range from 30 to 65 credits. How long you take depends on whether you’re enrolled full- or part-time, how many semesters a college has in an AY (Academic Year), etc. Some creative writing programs could be completed in as little as one year, plus time for creating and defending a thesis, if necessary. Longer creative writing programs might take 2-3 years.

How do I apply for an online MFA in creative writing program?

So you’re ready to apply to graduate creative writing programs! You’ll want to consider the best creative writing MFA programs. The steps you’ll take are approximately in this order:

  • Confirm that a specific graduate school is of interest to you. Call the college admission’s department if you cannot find all the details of their writing programs on their Web site or email them a message.
  • Determine the requirements for admission to the creative writing degree program and confirm that you are eligible.
  • File a FAFSA, if you plan to enroll full time and are interested in federal student loans for graduate programs.
  • Check the program application deadline(s), application fees, etc., and prepare your application.
  • Send out requests and fees for necessary transcripts.
  • Send out requests for necessary references, with instructions on where they should send their typed, signed, dated reference.
  • Complete and submit your application.
  • Wait for a response.

How much can I make with an online MFA in creative writing?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook has the role “Writers and Authors” listed as having $69,510 as the median yearly pay for 2021. However, that does not indicate potential earnings, only median actual earnings as reported by American creative writers/ authors.

When you revist the list of potential careers, above, you’ll see the possibility for earning more as a creative writer. Factor in the possibility of writing content for yourself, on your own Web site (or scripted for your YouTube channel), monetized in one or more of multiple ways including affiliate marketing. Maybe you can set up the latter in addition to having a professional creative writing career (salaried or freelance). All of these combined will potentially exceed the aforementioned median salary.

How do I start a career in creative writing?

Begin by identifying the kind of creative writing career you want. The list of job titles above can help you get started. Once you know where you want to go to get a quality education, creating the plan and steps needed to get there becomes easier.

Next, focus on the foundational steps for the creative writing process listed below. These can help every writer build the career they want:

  • Seek feedback

Create your opportunity

  • Study marketing

Stay social

  • Be bold and innovative

Practice creative writing

Do your daily creative writing practice. You always hear athletes talk about staying ready. Practice helps you stay ready for when your opportunity arrives. Plus, when you get into the habit of writing purposefully every day, the quality of your work improves, and so does your productivity and efficiency. You will also learn to be more succinct with your writing while still conveying what you want to communicate.

Build your network and be active within it. Let your contacts know when you’re looking for work, and what types of writing work you’re suited for. Your network can’t help if they don’t know that you need help.

Seek feedback on your creative writing

Create a MasterMind Group (an advisory board) to provide feedback on your writing and marketing efforts. Depending on your current network and comfort level, the group can be comprised of other writers and/or people from different industries and professions.

Volunteer your creative writing talents

Volunteering is a great way to gain creative writing experience and expand your network, all while giving something back. Most non-profits need help in many areas, including a variety of writing-related tasks. Plus, if they hold charity events, you might meet key figures in your community. And, what better way to introduce yourself and your work to local luminaries than by helping promote their favorite cause. While some experienced writers say not to give your work away free, when it comes to non-profit group opportunities, think of your effort as an investment both for yourself and the non-profit.

If you’re not getting the opportunities you want — make your own! With all the DIY tools and platforms available, don’t wait for someone to give you a chance. You can:

  • launch your own blog
  • create a YouTube channel to showcase your scripts
  • publish your own collection of poetry
  • pen a series of essays on the latest hot-button topic
  • write your own sports analysis or celebrity gossip column

Beyond these DIY methods, user-generated content platforms like Medium or Quora are also great options. They allow you to reach large audiences and gain valuable feedback. Some of them also have earning opportunities for writers, sometimes based on the response of readers.

Study marketing to boost your creative writing

Even authors with publishing contracts have to know how to self-promote. Learning basic marketing skills can help you launch and grow your career. At a minimum, create your own website and online portfolio, and make sure the content there is optimized for search engine rankings.

Learn how to use social media. It’s a critical way to:

  • promote your name
  • build a following
  • garner attention for your work

You can also network there. It’s not always the best creative writer that gets hired; it’s often the one people know about and whose work they are familiar with.

Be bold and innovative in your creative writing

Leverage past experiences. This includes writing about what you know. If you’ve had another career or have experience in other fields, write about that or pitch this as an article idea to an industry publication.

While being bold, don’t limit yourself to just one opportunity or path. The Internet has made it much “easier” for creative writers to make a living online, and that includes aforementioned self-starter opportunities. Find and/or create multiple opportunities for yourself, and always come up with new ideas to pitch while waiting for a response to a previous pitch.

This concludes our creative writing mfa programs.

Other Articles of Interest:

  • 30 Best Bachelor’s in Communications
  • 20 Best Video Game Design Degree Programs
  • 30 Best Bachelor’s in English
  • 20 Best Bachelor’s in Media Communication
  • 20 Best Bachelor’s in Journalism
  • 35 Best Bachelor’s in Writing
  • 30 Best PhD Programs in English
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  • Writing Tips

The 13 Best Colleges for Creative Writing Degrees

The 13 Best Colleges for Creative Writing Degrees

  • 16-minute read
  • 23rd February 2023

So, you want to pursue a creative writing degree program in the United States. Wonderful! If you are passionate about writing and you’re an avid reader, a career in fiction writing would be the way to go! When it comes to choosing the right MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program – in this case, creative writing – you might be wondering which schools have the best program. What career opportunities are there after graduation? What courses will I take in the program? What’s the admission process like?

A creative writing program will immerse you in your craft, help you develop writing discipline, and provide critical feedback on your writing. The program should also be highly reputable and produce top-quality writers.

You must decide whether you want to attend a public or a private college . This choice can be important because of student population size, tuition fees, and reputation. Private colleges will be considerably more expensive than public ones. Do you want to attend college in a small town or a big city? Is the school located somewhere that can provide ample writing inspiration? It’s important to know that some schools provide more student opportunities in their program, yet others have stronger networking connections. This distinction can be crucial once you’ve graduated from the program.

This post will highlight the benefits of a creative writing degree, including career opportunities after graduation. We’ll also discuss what you’ll need to apply. Finally, we’ll highlight our top list of creative writing schools in the United S tates. After you’ve read this post, you’ll better understand the opportunities these schools provide.

What Is a Creative Writing Degree?

A creative writing degree prepares you for a career as a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama. It’s also suitable for those wishing to enter the field of editing or publishing. The program immerses students in writing and provides valuable writing opportunities and feedback.

Career Opportunities After Graduation

Graduates usually find jobs as authors, copywriters, journalists, editors, columnists, or screenwriters. Additionally, graduates find opportunities to become editors for big publishing agencies, which work with some of the most famous best-selling fiction authors.

What Subjects Are Typically Covered?

You can expect to take plenty of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry workshops. Almost all programs provide compulsory introduction to fiction and poetry classes. In addition, you’ll likely take courses in screenwriting, medieval literature, and traditions in fiction. Finally, some courses focus on writing prompts (a daddy for writing inspiration).

Factors to Consider in Choosing a College for a Creative Writing Degree

Although the following factors will vary from college to college, you should consider them carefully:

●  Location and campus culture

●  Faculty and resources available

●  Alumni network and professional connections

●  Internships and work opportunities (internships will provide valuable work experience)

Admission Process

You should know that many creative writing degree programs are very selective. For this reason, you’ll need to prove your passion for writing and reading. First, you’ll need to apply to the college of your choice. This will mean submitting an admission essay as well as the application form. Creative writing degree programs will also want a writing sample, such as a poem or a short story. However, these don’t have to be works you’ve published.

Additionally, you’ll need to submit the following to your chosen college:

●  Referee information (must not be a friend or a relative)

●  Official transcripts

●  TOEFL or IELTS test results (if English is not your native language)

●  GRE scores

Gathering all required documentation for admission will be time-consuming, so you’ll want to get started early. Ideally, you should start applying nine months before your program begins. For example, if the program starts in August, you should begin applying in November of the previous year.

1. Northwestern University

Established in 1851, Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois (just outside Chicago). With approximately 22,000 students, it’s a private institution with a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. Professors in the creative writing program are award-winning authors. Northwestern is known for producing successful authors such as Karen Russell and Veronica Roth . It also features a top journalism program. Students in the creative writing program can get involved with the student-run literary journal, intern at a Chicago publication, or submit an entry to the yearly writing competition of the English Department.

Additionally, students can learn from talented writers at the Annual Writers’ Festival . Students can even submit their work to the school’s annual writing competition. So, if gaining professional writing experience is important, Northwestern might just be what you’re looking for! Plus, Chicago’s iconic landmarks and lakeside beaches provide robust inspiration for writers!

“My Northwestern creative workshops, where I honed my editorial skills, were instrumental in setting me down a career path in publishing.”

–  Laura Biagi, Class of 2009

2. Columbia University

Located in New York City (known colloquially as the Big Apple), Columbia was established in 1754. It’s the fifth-oldest American institution of higher learning. It has around 36,000 students, and people consider it one of the great elite private colleges in America. Like Northwestern, Columbia has a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school. Great writers have attended Columbia, including J.D. Salinger and Federico Garcia Lorca. The creative writing curriculum includes rigorous writing workshops at all levels and seminars exclusively for creative writing students. In these workshops, students produce original works of writing and submit them to classmates and professors for critical analysis. To study at Columbia is to be part of a distinguished group of like-minded writers.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, many consider New York City America’s literary capital. It’s home to major publishing houses, literary journals, picturesque parks, iconic landmarks, and talented authors from around the globe. The Big Apple has no shortage of inspiration for prospective writers!

“Before being accepted into the program, I didn’t have the confidence to critique my work seriously.”

–  Mary Mann, Class of 2015

3. University of Iowa

If you prefer to study in a location away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, the University of Iowa might be your answer! Founded in 1847, this public institution has about 31,000 students. It’s located in Iowa City, and the nearest major city is Chicago. However, studying in Iowa can provide an opportunity to go off the beaten path.

Here are some highlights of the university and Iowa City:

●  Iowa City is a designated UNESCO City of Literature.

●  The city’s annual Book Festival attracts people from across the American Midwest.

●  The MFA of the university’s nonfiction writing program has been voted number one in creative nonfiction in the United States.

●  Students have access to the university’s literary community, which offers frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and The Iowa Review , an acclaimed literary journal.

●  Tennessee Williams is an alumnus of the program.

●  Like Columbia, the University of Iowa strongly values the workshop method.

We recommend checking out this video for a deeper dive into the world of creative writing at Iowa.

4. Emory University

Emory, founded in 1836, is a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia. If you prefer a university in a warm climate, Atlanta is a good choice. Compared with cities in the northern states, Atlanta experiences mild winters, though you might get cold snaps and the odd snowfall. Emory has around 15,000 students and has an affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

Emory’s dedicated undergraduate creative writing program draws distinguished visiting scholars and writers. Other notable program highlights include:

●  Opportunities to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors

●  Faculty who are professional practitioners in the writing field

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●  Studies in a range of genres, such as fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting

●  Annual writing contests

●  Writing awards and scholarships

●  The opportunity to work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project

Students will also find writing opportunities outside the classroom in the Atlanta area. The city has several writing organizations and clubs, such as the Atlanta Writers Club , the Georgia Writers Association , and Village Writers Group.

5. Oberlin College

Founded in 1833, Oberlin is a small liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, 31 miles south of Cleveland. It has just under 3,000 students. If you’re seeking a really small school, Oberlin is worth pursuing! It’s known for the robust quality of teachers and the variety of courses in the creative writing program. Two of the courses are Plot and Structure and Race and Poetic Innovation. In addition, you’ll find a robust workshop culture at Oberlin. The downside is that the city lacks opportunities to pursue writing. However, great opportunities exist in other Ohio cities, such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Moreover, Ohio is the home of the late American novelist Toni Morrison.

It’s worth mentioning that Oberlin’s creative writing program has notable alumni, such as Lena Dunham , an actress and writer.

“I feel so consistently lucky to have such dedicated professors. Everyone I’ve worked with in the Creative Writing Program deeply cares about their students both as writers and as people. Classes are small, so you’re able to actually know and trust each other, which is important for productive workshopping.”

–  Fiona Warnick, Class of 2022

6. Hamilton College

Chartered as a college in 1812, Hamilton is in the upstate New York village of Clinton, between Syracuse and Albany. It has 2,000 students and 1,350 acres of campus space. Hamilton strongly believes in giving students the freedom to pursue their own interests, an ethos that explains why the college’s motto is “Know Thyself.”

Hamilton’s creative writing program is known for its small classes and plentiful opportunities to intern and publish. Hamilton also has one of the best writing centers in the nation. Students take courses that balance literary study with poetry and prose workshops. The program emphasizes learning to write with attentiveness to form and genre. Students write a creative project that demonstrates originality and attention to language.

If you like a creative writing school that’s “current with the times,” Hamilton has recently renovated List Hall, which houses the program. The hall features collaborative spaces for students and a new landscaped entrance.

7. Brown University

Founded in 1764, Brown is a leading research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown’s student-centered learning and deep sense of purpose make it distinct. In fact, many American high schoolers dream of studying at Brown! It has just under 10,000 students, and its literary arts program is one of the top MFAs in the United States. Students can choose one of three tracks: fiction, poetry, or digital/cross-disciplinary writing – a plus if your aim is fiction writing, for example! Although students must take certain classes, they can design much of their curriculum. Brown also provides financial aid to students in the program through a first-year fellowship. Additionally, students can teach undergraduate workshops during their second year. Brown is a special place for writers who envision new paths in fiction, poetry, and digital language arts.

8.  Washington University in St. Louis

It might surprise you that Washington University is in St. Louis, Missouri, rather than Washington, DC. Since 1853, Washington University has dared to challenge the unknown and taken great pride in its teaching, research, and service to society. The university has a renowned creative writing program with several scholarships. The undergraduate English program also offers a concentration, which allows students to specialize in a specific writing genre: fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. The program even has a special concentration in publishing! Students often find internships with companies such as Atlantic Media, Business Insider, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Washington University should be on your list if you already have a specific writing genre in mind!

9.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

You might not associate writing with an institute of technology. However, MIT has a wonderful program that features courses in digital media, science writing, and creative writing. Since its incorporation in 1861, MIT has been educating future leaders with a three-to-one student-to-faculty ratio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Apologies if you were expecting MIT to be in Boston. However, don’t let Cambridge put you off. The city is a haven for book lovers and writers from all walks of life, so you’ll find plenty of writing pursuits outside of class! And when it comes to finding work after graduation, the program provides lots of guidance for navigating the tricky job market.

10.  University of Michigan

If you’ve ever watched NCAA football, you’re probably familiar with the University of Michigan. Founded in Detroit in 1817, Michigan is ranked the third-best national undergraduate public university. The university’s main campus is in the small city of Ann Arbor, ranked the number one best small college town in America.

The University of Michigan has a top-notch MFA program. The undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications provide crucial practice in building a writing portfolio and articulating an interest in creative writing. In addition, the university has two student-run literary journals: Xylem Magazine and Fortnight Literary Press . Both publish students’ best works – an excellent way to get your writing noticed!

Screenwriter Jennifer Freides graduated from the program. “I learned to read fast, manage my time, think critically, organize my thoughts, and speak with clarity at U-M.”

With nearly 50,000 students, the University of Michigan is a top choice for those looking for a big school with a great MFA program!

11.  Johns Hopkins University

This private research university was founded in 1876 in Baltimore, Maryland, and it takes its name from nineteenth-century Maryland philanthropist Johns Hopkins. With 24,000 students, Johns Hopkins (or JHU, its more common name) ranks consistently among the most prestigious universities in the United States. Novelists John Barth and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie graduated from here, as did the famous horror film director Wes Craven.

Although people know JHU more for its engineering program, it does have a reputable writing program. Students in the program take courses in philosophy and history in addition to classes in prose, poetry, and literature. The creative writing program has journalism, the arts, and publishing internship opportunities. Additionally, short story writers might be interested in the program’s Danielle Alyse Basford Writing Prize .

Baltimore is no stranger to the literary world, as the American writer Edgar Allan Poe spent several years here. His poem The Raven is the namesake of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. You can visit the Poe House and Museum to see the writing desk and chair where Poe created some of his famous work!

12.  Colorado College

Colorado College was founded in 1874 and is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s a small liberal arts college with over 2,000 students. People know the college mainly for its Block Plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. Students will find that the creative writing track interweaves craft, imagination, and a lively literary framework. It includes a sequence of four writing workshops and mandatory attendance at the Visiting Writers Series. Attending readings at the Visiting Writers Series will deeply immerse students in the written word at Colorado College. In addition, students will find plenty of opportunities within the program, from AMC college writing contests to the student-led spoken word group, SpeakEasy. If you’re an outdoorsy writer, you’ll love Colorado Springs! It’s surrounded by picturesque hiking opportunities, including Garden of the Gods ! If you envision taking one class at a time at a small liberal arts school, you should consider Colorado College!

13.  New York University

New York University (NYU) is another prestigious university in New York City. It was established in 1831 and is currently the largest private university in the United States, with more than 11,000 students. It even has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. As mentioned, New York is the American literary epicenter. Although NYU doesn’t offer a creative writing major, it’s an excellent school for aspiring writers. You’ll still find workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Classes are small, with a maximum of 15 students, and the school has a student-edited literary journal called West 10 th . The school also offers intensive summer writing programs in Florence and Paris, so students can develop their craft while living the writer’s life in Italy or France. The faculty consists of award-winning poets, short story writers, and novelists, and many of them have received Pulitzer Prizes and NEA Fellowships. So, although NYU lacks a creative writing major, it has a fine reputation, small classes, and ample opportunities to develop your writing craft!

So, there you have our list of top creative writing schools. Let’s recap key points from our post:

●  Creative writing programs are pretty selective, so you should be genuinely passionate about reading and writing.

●  Private schools have the best reputation and small classes. However, they can be really expensive.

●  You will need to submit at least one writing sample as part of your application.

●  Creative writing programs are heavy in workshop culture.

●  New York City is America’s literary capital.

●  Most programs have literary journals where you can submit your work.

●  A faculty of professional writers will be your teachers.

●  Graduates often go on to become authors, editors, and copywriters. Getting into publishing is also a possibility.

Whichever school you choose, it must be the right fit for you! While one might be great for some people, it might not resonate with you. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to visit the school if possible. Even a virtual tour will suffice. We also suggest reaching out to current professors for more information. You can even reach out to current or past students through LinkedIn. Finally, take your time when researching schools. Got more questions about creative writing? We recommend this video !

Thanks for reading!

1. How important is location when you are considering a creative writing program?

You’ll want to prioritize a location with a vibrant literary scene rather than one with a warm climate. There should be plenty of opportunities to engage with writing in the community outside the classroom. There should also be various career opportunities within the community after graduation.

2. What is the cost of attending a creative writing program in the United States?

The cost will depend on whether the school is public or private. Public school tuition will be roughly $17,000 to $20,000 US. On the other hand, private schools will be considerably more expensive, especially Columbia and Hamilton. You can expect tuition to be between $50,000 and $69,000 US.

 3. Where can I get feedback on my college application?

Great question! We recommend leaving this to our team of proofreading experts at Proofed! They can check for grammar and punctuation errors and ensure perfect spelling. They will also ensure that the application uses appropriate academic language. Consider submitting a 500-word document for free today!

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9 Best Places to Study Abroad for Creative Writing

by Alayna O'Keefe - Last updated on September 5, 2021

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  • Top Destinations

Are you having writer’s block in your classes, or do you feel like you’re lacking the motivation to propel your writing career? Channel your energy and ideas elsewhere and study creative writing abroad! By changing your scenery, you will surely be inspired and are almost guaranteed to get those creative juices flowing again. But where are the best places to study abroad for creative writing?

study creative writing abroad

You can count on travel to get the creative juices flowing.

The opportunity to study creative writing abroad could take you around the world—and definitely out of your comfort zone. It’ll provide you with new experiences to draw ideas from, and will bring you new perspectives on things. What’s better writing inspo than sipping coffee outside a cafe, writing materials in hand, while people-watching?

Or maybe you prefer sitting at a beach, the smell of saltwater in the air. Or maybe you like being all bundled up with a view of majestic mountains through your window? Whatever your preference, there are a bunch of international creative writing programs to choose from!

Sign up for GoAbroad’s 20 Days of Travel Inspo for your daily dose of wanderlust! 

Why study creative writing abroad.

Now that we have your brilliant writer’s mind at attention, you may be wondering why traveling overseas can be more beneficial than remaining at your home campus. However, this may be obvious; writers need something to write about, and there are few things that can provide more real-world experience and inspiration than travel.

In general, studying creative writing abroad will provide you with incomparable experiences and skills. What’s even better is that you will be able to create your own custom experience and tailor classes to your own interests, all while getting to live in a cool new place!

Getting out of your comfort zone by studying abroad will push you to grow in so many ways. Living in a new place with different ways of life, and a different culture than your own, will force you to learn how to be adaptable and flexible. You will also gain new perspectives on things, and maybe it will inspire you to push your writing in a new, creative direction.

Studying creative writing abroad will provide the experience of a lifetime. So now that you know the why , let’s talk about where to study creative writing.

9 best places to study abroad for creative writing

best places to study abroad for creative writing

French cafes are basically *made* for writers.

  • Why? There are so many reasons to say oui to studying creative writing abroad in France! France offers a wide range of different programs and universities for you to choose from. From a more tactical standpoint, because there are so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find a program that’s perfect for you!
  • A country full of enchanting cities and towns (Paris is the city of love of course!), France is arguably one of the best places to stimulate your mind and your creative writing skills. From your strolls through the romantic city of Paris, to the lavender fields in Provence, rolling hills of wine country Bordeaux, and the relaxing ocean front on the French Riviera, we dare you to not feel inspired to pick up that pen and paper.
  • When? Anytime! Most universities and courses allow you to choose when is best for you: Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall terms. Typically Fall and Spring semesters are most popular for semester study abroad trips.
  • Try this program: Study or Earn Your Degree in Aix-en-Provence, France

READ MORE: Why Study Abroad in France?

2. thailand.

  • Why? Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a beautiful country full of hospitable people, great culture, and beautiful landscapes. Take a leap of faith and travel to Thailand to study abroad, where you’ll experience new foods and amazing scenery. You may even get to learn more about Buddhism and develop a whole new type of lifestyle to instill in your everyday routine.
  • You will definitely find your creative writing inspiration in this tropical paradise. From the rainforests to the beaches, and everything in between, you will have plenty of time to roam and discover new lands in Thailand’s gorgeous outdoors. You’ll also see the world through new perspectives, which means new writing inspiration.
  • When? There are a few programs offered for creative writers, but most are offered in Fall or Spring semesters. Some are also offered on a monthly basis. We recommend going at any time that is best for you!
  • Try this program: Carpe Diem Education: Southeast Asia Semester

3. Argentina

where to study creative writing

Perk up with yerba mate every morning and get to work.

  • Why? Pack your writing utensils and consider heading to Argentina to study abroad for creative writing! Argentina is known for having a combination of European and South American flare, making it a unique place rich in culture. While living abroad in Argentina, you will be able to taste all of the amazing food and experience Argentina’s love for art, all while not breaking the bank!
  • You will be able to pick between programs that are offered at both large and small universities and will have no problem in finding a program that’s right for you. Better yet, Argentina is the best place for writers and book lovers as its capital, Buenos Aires, is known to have more book shops than any other country in the world. Sounds like the perfect place to get your creative writing skills up to par!
  • When? Most universities and programs have year-round availability, so you can’t go wrong.
  • Try this program: IFSA: Future-Focused Study Abroad

4. Australia

  • Why? Boasting (mostly) warm temperatures and sun year-round, Australia is a great place to further your creative writing studies. Australia is also home to a variety of different animal species and varying landscapes (from deserts to beaches). You’ll be rushing to write all about your adventures hanging ten in the ocean, or hanging in the Outback with kangaroos.
  • Australia also welcomes thousands of international students every year where you will be able to meet individuals from all over the world, and further your professional skills and connections! There shouldn’t be much of a language barrier for most, as English is primarily spoken in Australia. As a result, you’ll assimilate to your new day-to-day more easily.
  • When? Most universities offer year-round and semester programs. However, keep in mind that seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Try this program: IES Abroad: University of New South Wales

READ MORE: Why Study Abroad in Australia?

best places to study abroad for creative writing

Clear your mind in the English countryside.

  • Why? England is famous for birthing the careers of a plethora of famous authors across decades. We can’t think of a better place to study abroad for creative writing! But if you need more convincing, we got you. England houses thousands of international students every year and its capital, London, is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
  • When studying abroad in England, you will be exposed to plenty of historical museums, castles, towns, and monuments where you’ll never be short of a history lesson. From the peaceful and ethereal English countryside, to the bustling and diverse cities, you will be able to find inspiration anywhere.
  • When? With so many quality universities and programs to choose from, you can essentially choose a program and go at any time that works for you! Just don’t forget to pack yourself an umbrella no matter when you go!
  • Try this program: ISA: Study Abroad in London, England
  • Why? There may not be a lot we have to do to convince you to study abroad in Italy—the food, gelato, history, landscapes, people... need we go on ? When studying creative writing abroad in Italy, you will never be short of inspiration and resources to help improve and grow your career.
  • Walking around Italy, no matter where you are, is like being transported back in time in one of your old history books. It’s easy to get lost in the beautiful art, history, and culture that Italy has to offer. As a creative writer in Italy, you will find yourself excited to write and learn from the moment you wake up!
  • When? You will be able to go during an academic year, or during any of the four season terms.
  • Try this program: CEA: Study Abroad in Rome, Italy

7. South Africa

where to study creative writing

If you’re inspired by incredible views, you’re in the right place!

  • Why? In South Africa, you won’t be short of good food, beautiful scenery, and hospitable people. Over the years, students from all around the world have chosen South Africa as their study abroad destination and it has become one of the top places for an international education experience.
  • For a creative writer, South Africa is an attractive study abroad location for many reasons. The wildlife, scenery, food, history, and lifestyle may differ on some levels from how you’re used to living. But, that’s what will make it a pivotal educational experience for you! South Africa is also one of so many different and diverse countries throughout the African continent.
  • When? Weather-wise, South Africa is hot to temperate year-round and there is no wrong time to go. You’ll be able to choose from a full academic year or semester program.
  • Try this program: AIFS: Study Abroad in South Africa Semester or Year
  • Why? In a country where the old mixes with the new, you will be able to draw upon some of Israel’s greatest historical lands and nuances, as well as its new, modern cities and technology. With world-renowned and high-quality educational systems, you will already know before you start your first class that you will be receiving a great education.
  • If you intend on going abroad to study creative writing, Israel has some great programs and schools to choose from. Even though it’s a small country, Israel is a place rich in history , political significance, and one that attracts people of many different backgrounds.
  • When? You can find study abroad programs in Israel during the academic year and all seasons! You can’t go wrong with any time you choose.
  • Try this program: Masa Israel Journey: Study Abroad in Israel

best places to study abroad for creative writing

Earn your degree by day and explore a new city by night.

  • Why? A country known for its rich history, and developments in the arts and mathematics (among many other things), Greece is the perfect place to study abroad where you’ll never get bored! When many think of Greece, their minds go to tall those gorgeous islands. But, there is more to Greece than its idyllic islands.
  • From the ancient ruins scattered around the country, to the mountainous region in the north, and bustling metropolis of Athens, you will find yourself always busy. As a writer, you will love Greece and find inspiration everywhere you go. With some great universities and study abroad programs, your education will be in good hands while studying in Greece.
  • When? Greece offers plenty of programs throughout the year, no matter if you prefer a semester or a whole year.
  • Try this program: College Year in Athens: Study Abroad in Greece Semester/Academic Year

Sign up for a FREE MyGoAbroad account and compare creative writing programs side-by-side!

See the world and enhance your writing skills.

Now that you may have a better understanding of where to study creative writing abroad, it’s time to start planning ! As a writer, nothing enhances and revamps your writing skills more than drawing on new experiences. And what’s better than traveling the world and living among different cultures and people to help inspire you?

No matter where you’ll go, there is a program for you where you will be able to get out of your comfort zone and grow. Although you’ll be abroad for your academics, you will also be learning how to interact with different cultures, you’ll become more adaptable, and you’ll learn so many new things about yourself and the world.

  • Talk to our FREE Online Advisor and get personalized study abroad recommendations
  • Find, compare, and save programs with a free MyGoAbroad account
  • Explore ALL creative writing study abroad programs on
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