Schools with Creative Writing Programs

Find out about the types of degrees and the coursework available in creative writing. Learn about course topics and professional organizations that provide data to help you select a school. Schools offering Creative Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Student who elect to become creative writers can enter into programs at the associate's, bachelor's or master's degree level. Myriad options exist, especially for graduate programs. Many writing jobs will require the possession of a degree.

Where Can I Find Schools With Creative Writing Programs?

Many community colleges, 4-year schools and universities offer associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs related to creative writing. Not all programs may suit your wants or needs. With this in mind, there are at least two sources that might help you locate an appropriate program.

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) is a national non-profit literary organization. It has an online database of over 400 undergraduate programs and over 300 graduate programs related to creative writing. The programs, which are presented by schools that are members of the association, are not ranked in any order.

However, AWP notes that high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs have certain characteristics, including faculty members who are published writers, an emphasis on the draft-revision process and internship opportunities in the field. Students should consider selecting a program based on this criteria as well as their own writing interests.

Poets and Writers Magazine publishes a ranked list of the top 50 Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing programs. Ranking criteria for these programs includes cost of living, program enrollment size and whether or not incoming students can receive full reimbursement for tuition costs.

What Kinds of Undergraduate Programs Are Available?

Community colleges and some 4-year schools may offer an Associate of Arts in Creative Writing or an Associate of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Some schools may give you the option of specializing in an individual genre of creative writing, such as poetry, fiction or non-fiction. Degree credits may be transferred into a bachelor's degree program.

Depending on the school, you may have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Creative Writing or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Creative Writing. B.A. programs are generally more flexible or broader-based than BFA programs, which are tightly focused on creative writing. Rarely, some schools offer a completely online B.A. program.

Typical courses you'll take in a creative writing B.A. or BFA program might include narrative theory, creative non-fiction, fiction and playwriting. You'll generally be required to participate in writing workshops and complete an internship on campus or with a local business. Participation in the publication of a school's literary magazine is often encouraged, if not required.

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees in Creative Writing?

Mesa Community College's creative writing program prepares students for transfer into bachelor's programs. The 60-credit hour program at Sinclair Community College also offers transferable credit.

  • Mesa Community College offers an Associate in Arts (A.A.) in Creative Writing
  • Sinclair Community College offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in creative writing
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in creative writing with concentrations in poetry, prose, screenwriting, and drama

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Creative Writing?

Regent University's writing program is available either online or on-campus. Antioch University's program is also available online, with curriculum in areas like classic literature, critical analysis, and contemporary literature.

  • Regent University offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in English with a concentration in writing
  • Antioch University offers an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in liberal studies with a literature and creative writing concentration
  • Goddard College offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree program in creative writing

What Will I Learn in a Master's Program?

Schools offering an MFA in Creative Writing give you a chance to participate in intensive poetry, fiction, dramatic writing or creative non-fiction workshops. A substantial amount of time is devoted to editing and critiquing pieces written by yourself as well as other students. You'll also take courses in literary analysis and teaching composition. Most MFA programs take 2-3 years to complete.

Some schools may give you the chance to become a student member of the AWP. Membership may provide you with information about employment opportunities - the association regularly updates a jobs listing page that includes academic as well as non-academic positions. You might contribute to or help publish the school's literary journal. You may need to complete an internship or work as a teaching assistant in order to graduate. Completion of a thesis is usually required as well.

Hybrid MFA programs are not uncommon. Schools might refer to this type of program as 'low-residency'. A typical hybrid program will consist of online workshops, seminars and elective courses. Depending on the school, you'll be required to spend 2-5 short residency periods on campus. During residency periods, you may participate in workshops, reading sessions, seminars or symposiums.

Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Creative Writing?

NYU's creative writing program is offered on-campus and additionally students can choose a Low Residency Writers Workshop in Paris in order to earn their degree. Temple University's program requires 33-credit hours which include poetry and fiction workshops, a special topic in creative writing, and two courses in literature.

  • New York University offers a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree program in creative writing
  • Temple University offers a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree program in creative writing
  • Northwestern University offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree program in creative writing

Do I Really Need a Formal Creative Writing Degree?

Lots of people figure they have something worthwhile to say on any number of subjects; nothing says you can't become a creative writer if you don't have an academic degree. Even Poets and Writers Magazine notes that earning an MFA in creative writing doesn't guarantee graduates successful writing careers.

However, most professional writing jobs require possession of a college degree, as noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professional writers may work for advertising companies, magazine publishers, educational groups or business organizations. Employers often prefer applicants with degrees in journalism, English or communications.

Creative writing can be studied at the undergraduate or graduate degree level. Workshops and seminars also exist, some of which might be included in degree programs.

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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