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Why This Matters

  • THE #1 SOFT SKILL EMPLOYERS WANT

    According to Job Outlook 2019, written communication skills are the most sought-after attributes employers seek. More than 80% of employers want applicants to have these skills, placing them higher than problem-solving and teamwork skills.

  • SELF-PUBLISHING HAS GROWN 40% IN 1 YEAR

    The number of self-published print and e-books grew by 40 percent between 2017 and 2018. In 2018, 1.68 million books were self-published, and that doesn’t include traditionally published titles.

  • THERE ARE 80,000+ ENGLISH TEACHER JOBS

    Schools in the United States employ 82,900 postsecondary English teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number is expected to grow by 2% through 2029.

Our Research

We reviewed many Master of Creative Writing programs, including ones offered on-campus, online, and through both modes. Most of these degrees are Master of Fine Arts (MFA), which is considered a terminal degree in the fine arts fields.

The schools listed all have regional accreditation or national accreditation, if not both. Some of the accreditors include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Attending an accredited degree program guarantees you’ll receive a quality education and ensures your degree will be recognized by other schools and employers. Recognition is important if you decide to transfer or hope to teach at a school.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 65 hours to write this article
  • 190 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 287 education programs we compared

The Top 47 Master’s in Creative Writing Degree Programs

Best Master's in Creative Writing Degree Programs
01
Intelligent Pick
The University of Texas at El Paso
01
Best Faculty
Miami University
01
Best for Educators
Fairleigh Dickinson University
01
Best Student-Faculty Ratio
Mississippi University for Women
01
Best in the Midwest
Lindenwood University
01
Best Public Institution
Eastern Oregon University
01
Most Global Perspective
Eastern Kentucky University
01
Best Creative Writing Program
Antioch University
01
Best in the Northwest
Oregon State University - Cascades
01
Best Visiting Writers
Oregon State University
01
Best in the Mid-Atlantic
Wilkes University
01
Best for Veterans
National University
01
Best in the West
Northern Arizona University
01
Best Mentorships
University of Nebraska Omaha
01
Best in the Northeast
Bennington College
01
Best Low Residency Program
Queens University of Charlotte
01
Best for Publishing
Emerson College
01
Most Inexpensive In-State Tuition
University of Houston-Victoria
01
Best in the Southwest
Texas Tech University
01
Most Community-Centered
West Virginia Wesleyan College
01
Best for Working Writers
Western Connecticut State University
01
Best Internships
Old Dominion University
01
Best Private School
New England College
01
Best in the Southeast
East Carolina University
01
Best Non-Fiction Track
JHU Advanced Academic Programs
01
Best YA Fiction Program
Converse University
01
Best Fiction Program
Western New England University
01
Best for Novel Writers
Fairfield University
01
Most Affordable
Bowling Green State University
01
Best for Cross-Cultural Sensitivity
Institute Of American Indian Arts
01
Best for Non-Traditional Students
Pine Manor College
01
Best for Editors
Hamline University
01
Best Master's-to-Ph.D. Program
Ohio University
01
Best International Residency
Ashland University
01
Best Electives
Harvard University
01
Best Residencies
Cedar Crest College
01
Best Alumni Network
Goddard College
01
Best Concentration Options
Chatham University
01
Most Recognized Faculty
Arizona State University
01
Best for Poets
McNeese State University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

There isn’t any one path that leads to becoming a published writer, but many people find a Master of Creative Writing degree program helpful. This program gives students a better understanding of the writing process, helps them sharpen skills, and assists them with their initial networking in the publishing industry. However, even the best programs don’t guarantee a successful career as an author.

For many students, a master’s in creative writing is a practical way to land a stable job teaching. Though graduating with a degree isn’t a guarantee of employment, this degree is a qualification for many English and creative writing teaching positions.

Many creative writing programs require students to focus on a specific genre, such as fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, or poetry, but some programs are general and have no such specialization. Consider your career goals before applying, and choose a program that matches your aspirations.

Online programs can mostly be completed remotely, but they might have optional or required residencies. Consider how a residency would fit within your budget and schedule as you evaluate various program options.

What’s Next?

Here are a couple of questions to ask as you research master’s in creative writing programs:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Coursework for these degree programs may be offered either synchronously or asynchronously. The former means that students attend classes together, while the latter means students can complete work on their own schedule. Think about how each mode would fit into your schedule when you look at programs.
  • What licensing or certifications are required? Writing isn’t a field that requires licensure or certification, but there are some professional organizations that might be worth joining. Organizations tend to be focused on a particular genre, such as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Becoming a member of these organizations provides networking opportunities.

When you have a shortlist of programs, find out the application process for each. You can check which application materials are required and the deadlines by contacting the program or visiting its webpage.

Also consider how you’ll cover tuition. Check with programs to see which fellowships, scholarships, and other financial aid might be available.


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