Top Creative Writing Master's Programs

The best creative writing graduate programs help you hone your writing skills and prepare you for a career in teaching, professional writing or both. Learn about how to choose a program and explore three schools for creative writing below, including their honors and offered degrees. Schools offering Creative Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Select a Creative Writing Master's Degree Program?

Look for schools that have been recognized by Poets & Writers, a professional organization for creative writers that publishes rankings and program information for Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs. Good creative writing programs are also often associated with excellent English departments. You can also ask about placement records or check out literary prizes won by faculty and students. Many top programs boast distinguished alumni and may host frequent readings or publish their own literary journals.

What are Three Top Creative Writing Masters Programs?

University of Iowa in Iowa City

The University of Iowa (UI) was Poets & Writers' first choice for poetry, fiction and non-fiction writer training for 2012 (www.pw.org). U.S. News & World Report ranked UI's English department #32 in its list of the best graduate English programs in the country. UI's 2-year Master of Fine Arts in English program with a creative writing focus is referred to as the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the first university creative writing program in the U.S. As a student, you'll enjoy a full schedule of readings by peers, faculty and prominent visiting authors from around the world.

Graduates of the 79-year-old Workshop include six U.S. Poet Laureates and 17 Pulitzer Prize winners. The Workshop received a National Humanities Medal in 2003, making it only the second institution to receive this National Endowment for the Humanities honor. A recent graduate won a 2010 MacArthur Fellowship, the eighth alumnus to win this award. Poets & Writers ranked IU fourth in job placement. You could earn:

  • MFA in Creative Writing

University of Texas at Austin

QS World University Rankings placed UT Austin at #77 in their 2015-16 rankings. Its English department was ranked #17 in 2015, according to U.S. News & World Report. Poets & Writers rated its creative writing program eighth overall and third in postgraduate placement for 2012. Graduate students edit the Bat City Review, a nationally distributed literary journal and one of several published through the Department of English. You can also take advantage of the Michener Center for Writers, which hosts readings by drama critics, Pulitzer Prize-winning poets and novelists. Outstanding students have won prizes like the university's 2010 Keene Prize for Literature. Alumni have won Guggenheim Fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The following degree is available:

  • MFA in Creative Writing

University of Virginia in Charlottesville

The University of Virginia (UVA) was ranked tenth among graduate English programs in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 rankings. Poets & Writers ranked it seventh for creative writing and fifth for postgraduate placement for 2012. Graduates have won the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Pushcart Prize and the Prix de Rome. They have also published work listed on the New York Times notable books list. As a student in the 2-year Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, you'll have access to the many prominent writers and poets visiting campus. UVA also hosts eight literary magazines, three of which the Department of English edits. UVA offers this degree:

  • MFA in Creative Writing

Ten Other Top Creative Writing MFA Programs

College/University Institution Type Location
University of Michigan 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI
University of Wisconsin 4-year, Public Madison, WI
Brown University 4-year, Private Providence, RI
Cornell University 4-year, Private Ithaca, NY
Syracuse University 4-year, Private Syracuse, NY
Washington University 4-year, Private Saint Louis, MO
University of Minnesota 4-year, Public Minneapolis, MN
University of Oregon 4-year, Public Eugene, OR
Indiana University 4-year, Public Bloomington, IN
University of Massachusetts 4-year, Public Amherst, MA

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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