Best Creative Writing Schools

Read about some important considerations for selecting a school with a good program in creative writing. Explore three schools with nationally ranked English and creative writing programs, and find out what degrees each school offers in this field. Schools offering Creative Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Select a Creative Writing School?

Look for programs that bring professional authors to campus. Certain schools may offer writing prizes and honors options; others might host reading series' or writing festivals. Many schools have literary magazines that students may contribute to or work on the editorial board of.

What are Three Top Creative Writing Schools?

Brown University in Providence, RI

Brown ranked #14 in U.S. News & World Report's list of the best national universities in 2015. In 2009, the university was tied for #15 for its graduate English program (www.usnews.com). Brown's creative writing MFA program was rated #4 in Poets & Writers magazine's 2012 survey (www.pw.org).

Brown's literary arts major requires completion of ten courses, including creative writing workshops. You might graduate with honors in creative writing by completing two upper-level workshop courses as well as a thesis. Students in Brown's graduate program enroll in one writing workshop and one elective course per semester. The literary arts program awards 15 creative writing prizes annually to both undergraduate and graduate students.

The International Writers Project is jointly sponsored by the literary arts program and the Watson Institute for International Studies to help writers living under repressive regimes. Twenty to forty yearly readings by well-known writers, annual literary festivals and a writers-in-residence program could enhance your educational development. You might pursue one of the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Master of Fine Arts in Literary Arts

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt tied for 15th among U.S. News & World Report's 2015 national universities. Poets & Writers magazine ranked the Vanderbilt MFA program 14th in 2012. The school tied for 26th place in U.S. News & World Report 2015 graduate English program rankings. Vanderbilt graduate Robert Penn Warren was the first U.S. Poet Laureate.

You could enroll in an undergraduate English program with a concentration in creative writing, a 4 + 1 program leading to both a bachelor's and master's degree, or an MFA program. The Gertrude & Harold Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series brings National Book Award winners to campus.

Undergraduates and MFA candidates edit the 'Vanderbilt Review' and the 'Nashville Review', respectively. MFA candidates have won prizes sponsored by the 'Iron Horse Literary Review', the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets. Vanderbilt has these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison

In U.S. News & World Report's 2015 national university rankings, UW tied for 41st place. The school is home to Poets & Writers 2012 third-ranked MFA program in creative writing. According to U.S. News & World Report, UW's graduate English program was the 17th best in 2013.

Undergraduate English students at UW can pursue a specialization in creative writing. You could work on The Madison Review, a literary journal run by undergraduate students. You could also enter competitions for Brittingham or Felix Pollak prizes in poetry. Campus reading series' have brought authors like Joyce Carol Oates and Kurt Vonnegut. The MFA program admits fiction writers in even-numbered years with poets accepted in odd-numbered years.

The Felix Reading Series is run by Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) candidates from the English Department who minor in creative writing. The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing funds fellowship opportunities for poetry and fiction writers. UW Madison offers the following:

  • Bachelor or Arts in English
  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Composition and Rhetoric

Other Top Creative Writing Schools

College/University Institution TypeLocation
University of Iowa 4-year, Public Iowa City, IA
University of Michigan 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI
University of Virginia 4-year, Public Charlottesville, VA
New York University 4-year, Private New York, NY
University of Texas 4-year, Public Austin, TX
University of California - Irvine 4-year, Public Irvine, CA
Cornell University 4-year, Private Ithaca, NY
Johns Hopkins University 4-year, Private Baltimore, MD
Boston University 4-year, Private Boston, MA
Washington University 4-year, Private St. Louis, MO

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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