School Rankings for Writing OpenCourseWare

Looking for a low-cost way to improve your writing? You can find free online writing courses from top colleges and universities through OpenCourseWare (OCW). Read on to learn about OCW writing offerings from top-ranked schools. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

#1 Purdue University

Sample writing courses and resources:

  • MLA Formatting and Style Guide
  • APA Formatting and Style Guide
  • Creating a Thesis Statement
  • Developing an Outline
  • Avoiding Plagiarism

With more than 200 free resources for writers, the Online Writing Lab (OWL) from Purdue University is easily one of the best OpenCourseWare sites on the web. Resources include articles, tutorials and how-tos to help you improve your grammar knowledge and writing skills.

#2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sample writing courses:

  • Writing on Contemporary Issues
  • Expository Writing
  • Writing and the Environment
  • Writing and Experience
  • Introduction to Technical Communication

The free writing courses offered through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focus on the techniques and traditions of different types of writing. Courses include text, videos and audio and are divided into four broad categories: creative writing, exposition and rhetoric, science writing and technical communication.

#3 Open University

Sample writing courses:

  • What is Good Writing?
  • Writing What You Know
  • Start Writing Fiction
  • Approaching Prose Fiction
  • Approaching Poetry

The U.K.'s Open University offers a number of free writing courses that cover everything from fiction writing to essay writing. Courses are mainly text-based and very comprehensive. For added convenience, courses are labeled as beginner, intermediate or advanced, so it's easy to find the best program for your needs.

#4 Utah State

Sample writing courses:

  • Introduction to Writing: Academic Prose
  • Intermediate Writing: Research Writing in a Persuasive Mode
  • Technology for Professional Writers

Utah State University's English Department only offers three free writing courses online, but they are all very good. The first is an introduction to academic prose, the second explores research writing and the third focuses on developing the technical skills needed by professional writers. Each course includes text, images and other multimedia elements.

#5 News University

Sample writing courses:

  • Beat Basics and Beyond
  • 100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better
  • Conquering Writer's Block
  • How to Use Detail in Your Writing
  • News Sense: The Building Blocks of News

News University, an initiative of the Poynter Institute, has a ton of free writing courses that are geared towards journalists. All are text-based and self-directed and include topics as diverse as grammar and style and how to cover climate change. Aspiring journalists may also be interested in their technical courses on topics like basic HTML programming for 'non-geeks' and how to develop innovative ideas.

#6 New Jersey Institute of Technology

Sample writing courses:

  • Technical Writing
  • Proposal Writing
  • Professional and Technical Editing

The writing classes at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) are ideal for aspiring technical and scientific writers. They cover the core principles of technical writing, persuasive style for competitive proposal writing and editing strategies for technical documents.

#7 University of Notre Dame

Sample writing courses:

  • First Year Composition

The University of Notre Dame requires all of its incoming students to take a First Year Composition course through the University Writing Program. Recent versions of this course are often posted on their OCW site. Notre Dame is currently offering 'Bridging the Gap: Community and the Rhetoric of Idealism,' which uses community building as a theme to help students develop rhetorical writing skills.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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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  • Johns Hopkins University

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