What Are the Top Schools Offering Graduate Degrees in Writing?

A graduate degree program in writing can prepare you for work in many areas, including literature, journalism or communications. Learn about three top schools that offer these programs. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For In A Graduate Writing Program?

Top schools should let you tailor your program around a specific genre, such as poetry, nonfiction or fiction, as well as encourage creative freedom by letting you take courses outside your concentration. Through a top school, you might get to attend writing workshops, visit literary conferences abroad or publish your work in well-known publications. Your professors should not only be recognized for their teaching, they should be notable writers who belong to professional organizations and/or have received literary prizes and awards. You also might look for schools that have produced recognized graduates who have written books or been published in major magazines, journals and newspapers.

If you're a doctoral student, check to see if your school's graduates teach English, literature or writing courses at well-known universities. Top schools also might offer assistantships, fellowships or teacher training to prepare you to become a college writing instructor.

Three Top Writing Schools

Brown University in Providence, RI

Brown University was ranked as having the 12th best college newspaper by The Princeton Review in 2015. Also in 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Brown the 14th best national university. The writing program at Brown offers concentrations in fiction, poetry and digital language arts. You'll get to attend writing workshops and customize your program through courses in multiple concentrations. Some professors have won awards for poetry, short stories and books.

  • Master of Fine Arts in Literary Arts

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

Known for offering the first journalism degree in the world, Cornell University was founded in 1865 and is associated with 41 Nobel laureates. U.S. News & World Report ranked it as the eighth-best graduate English program in 2013. Featuring small class sizes and generous funding for students, Cornell offers both master's and doctoral programs that include:

  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English Language and Literature
  • Joint MFA/Ph.D. in Creative writing and English Language and Literature

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #13 graduate school for English in 2013 and as the #10 national university in 2015, Johns Hopkins University offers a program with specializations in science and medical writing, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Graduates of the program have published numerous books, and their articles have been featured in some of the country's most prestigious magazines, journals and newspapers. The school's instructors have also earned literary awards and prizes for their published works.

  • Master of Arts in Writing
  • Graduate Certificate in Science Writing

Ten Schools That Offer Graduate Writing Degrees

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Bennington College 4-year, PrivateBennington, VT
University of Mississippi 4-year, PublicOxford, MS
Sarah Lawrence College4-year, PrivateBronxville, NY
Georgia State University4-year, Public Atlanta, GA
Brigham Young University4 year, Private Provo, UT
University of Iowa4-year, PublicIowa City, IA
University of Oregon4-year, PublicEugene, OR
University of North Carolina-Greensboro 4-year,Public Greensboro, NC
University of California-Irvine4-year, Public Irvine, CA
American University4-year, Private Washington, DC

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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