Online Creative Writing Degree Programs

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in creative writing can be completed through distance learning. Read about what you can learn in these programs and specializations you may choose, and see how online programs typically work. Schools offering Creative Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Which Creative Writing Degree Programs are Available Online?

You can pursue a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Even with online programs, most schools will require some portion of the curriculum to be completed in person. Examples might include attending colloquia or writer's workshops, completing an internship or presenting a final project or senior thesis.

Degree Levels Bachelor's and master's degrees available
Graduate Degree Distinction Master of Fine Arts focuses on the craft of writing, while the Master of Arts degree concentrates on the study of literature
Prerequisites Varies, depending upon the institution; a bachelor's degree and creative portfolio are required for admission into master's degree programs
Key Topics Non-fiction, fiction, poetry, playwriting
Distance-Learning Environment Communication is primarily through email, message boards and chat rooms

What's the Difference Between a Master of Arts (M.A.) and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)?

Generally, the study of literature is significant within the M.A. program curriculum. By contrast, the creative writing MFA is usually considered a practical degree of the arts, focusing primarily on the craft of writing. Both degrees often share many of the same required classes, but earning the MFA may take longer than earning the M.A.

Are There Any Prerequisites?

Naturally, you should already have a well-developed command of the English language if you're considering a bachelor's degree program of this nature. For admission to a master's degree program, you must already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, but it doesn't usually have to be in creative writing or a related subject. For both degrees, a portfolio of writing samples may be required - although you don't have to be a published author or work in the industry.

What Will I Learn?

During a bachelor's degree program, you'll learn the basics of effective creative writing. You'll explore voice, tone, characterization, dialogue and imagery. You'll learn how to develop dramatic scenes. Sharing your work for critique and critiquing the work of others will play a key part in the program. You'll also complete several writing exercises to expand your skills into new forms and genres. You can also choose electives in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or playwriting.

Master's programs may focus strictly on writing fiction, non-fiction or poetry. They may also allow a student to focus on one genre, like writing romance, science fiction or children's books. During these programs, you'll move beyond technical proficiency in writing to create works that are compelling and even commercial. Intensive workshops with professors and fellow students will allow you to hone your skills.

How Does Online Learning Work?

A school's online class often has the same curriculum and is taught by the same professor as its on-campus counterpart. During an online class, you obtain your lessons, submit writing assignments and take exams via the school's distance learning website. Communication with the instructor and other classmates occurs online as well, using e-mail, chat rooms and message boards. There will still likely be deadlines given for homework and other assignments.

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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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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