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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 12 best creative writing colleges and programs.
Finding a dedicated creative writing program at a school you're excited about can be a real challenge, and that's even before you start worrying about getting in. Nonetheless, there are some great options. In order to help you find the best school for you, this list rounds up some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States .
The Best Creative Writing Programs: Ranking Criteria
You should never take college rankings as absolute truth —not even the very official-seeming US News ones. Instead, use these kinds of lists as a jumping-off place for your own exploration of colleges. Pay attention not just to what the rankings are but to how the rankings are determined.
To help with that, I'll explain how I came up with this highly unscientific list of great creative writing colleges. I started by narrowing my search down to schools that offered a specific creative writing major. (If you don't see a school you were expecting, it's likely because they only have a minor.)
In ranking the schools, I considered five major criteria:
- #1: MFA Ranking —If a school has a great graduate creative writing program, it means you'll be taught by those same professors and the excellent graduate students they attract. Schools with strong MFA programs are also more likely to have solid alumni networks and internship opportunities. However, many schools with great undergrad programs do not offer MFAs, in which case I simply focused on the other four options.
- #2: General School Reputation —The vast majority of your classes won't be in creative writing, so it's important that other parts of the school, especially the English department, are great as well.
- #3: Extracurricular Opportunities —One of the key advantages of majoring in creative writing is that it can provide access to writing opportunities outside the classroom, so I took what kind of internship programs, author readings, and literary magazines the school offers into consideration.
- #4: Diversity of Class Options —I gave extra points to schools with a variety of genre options and specific, interesting classes.
- #5: Alumni/Prestige —This last criterion is a bit more subjective: is the school known for turning out good writers? Certainly it's less important than what kind of education you'll actually get, but having a brand-name degree (so to speak) can be helpful.
The Best Creative Writing Schools
Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of schools! The exact numbering is always arguable, so look at it as a general trend from absolutely amazing to still super great, rather than fixating on why one school is ranked #3 and another is ranked #4.
#1: Northwestern University
Northwestern's undergrad creative writing program boasts acclaimed professors and an unparalleled track record of turning out successful writers (including Divergent author Veronica Roth and short-story writer Karen Russell).
Outside the classroom, you can work on the student-run literary journal, intern at a publication in nearby Chicago, or submit to the Department of English's yearly writing competition . The university is also home to a top journalism program , so if you want to try your hand at nonfiction as well, you'll have plenty of opportunities to do so.
#2: Columbia University
Like Northwestern, Columbia is home to both a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school (plus one of the best English departments in the country), so you have a wide range of writing-related course options. Columbia also benefits from its location in New York City, which is bursting at the seams with publishing houses, literary journals, and talented authors.
#3: University of Iowa
The University of Iowa's big draw is the infrastructure of its graduate Writers' Workshop, which is often considered the best MFA program in the country.
As an English and Creative Writing major here, you'll take classes from great young writers and established professors alike, and get to choose from a wide range of topics. This major provides transferable skills important for a liberal arts major with a creative focus. You'll also have access to the university's impressive literary community, including frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and the acclaimed literary journal The Iowa Review .
#4: Emory University
Emory is renowned for its dedicated undergrad creative writing program , which draws the very best visiting scholars and writers. Students here have the chance to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors, study a range of genres, compete for writing awards and scholarships, and work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project.
#5: Oberlin College
A small liberal arts school in Ohio, Oberlin offers very different advantages than the schools above do. You'll have fewer opportunities to pursue writing in the surrounding city, but the quality of the teachers and the range of courses might make up for that. Moreover, it boasts just as impressive alumni, including actress and writer Lena Dunham.
#6: Hamilton College
Hamilton is another small college, located in upstate New York. It's known for giving students the freedom to pursue their interests and the support to help them explore topics in real depth, both inside and outside the classroom. Hamilton's creative writing program takes full advantage with small classes and lots of opportunities to intern and publish; it also has one of the best writing centers in the country.
#7: Brown University
Brown's Literary Arts program offers one of the top MFAs in the US as well as an undergraduate major . For the major, you must take four creative writing workshops and six reading-intensive courses, which span an array of departments and topics, from music and literature to Middle East studies and Egyptology.
#8: Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University has an excellent creative writing MFA program, lots of super specific class options, and a number of scholarships specifically earmarked for creative writing students. This school’s undergraduate English program also offers a concentration in creative writing that allows students to specialize in a specific genre: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. If you’re interested in exploring your potential in a specific writing genre, Washington University could be a great pick for you.
#9: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT might not be a school you generally associate with writing, but it actually has an excellent program that offers courses in digital media and science writing, as well as creative writing, and provides plenty of guidance on how graduates can navigate the tricky job market.
Not to mention the school is located in Cambridge, a haven for book lovers and writers of all kinds. Though it probably isn’t a good fit for students who hate science, MIT is a great place for aspiring writers who want to build writing skills that are marketable in a wide range of industries.
#10: University of Michigan
University of Michigan is one of the best state universities in the country and has a top-notch MFA program. This school’s undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications give students crucial practice in both building a writing portfolio and articulating their interest in creative writing to an audience who will evaluate their work. If you're looking to attend a big school with a great creative writing major, this is a fantastic choice.
#11: Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins is another school that's known more for engineering than it is for writing, but, like MIT, it has a dedicated writing program. As a major here, you must take not only courses in prose, poetry, and literature, but also classes on topics such as philosophy and history.
#12: Colorado College
Colorado College is a small liberal arts school known for its block plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. The creative writing track of the English major includes a sequence of four writing workshops and also requires students to attend every reading of the Visiting Writers Series.
Bonus School: New York University
I didn't include NYU in the main list because it doesn't have a dedicated creative writing major, but it's a great school for aspiring writers nonetheless, offering one of the most impressive creative writing faculties in the country and all the benefits of a Manhattan location.
How To Pick the Best Creative Writing School for You
Just because Northwestern is a great school for creative writing doesn't mean you should set your heart on going there. (The football fans are completely terrifying, for one thing.) So where should you go then?
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at creative writing programs to help you determine the best school for you:
Does It Have Courses You're Interested In?
Look at the course offerings and see whether they interest you. While you can't predict exactly what classes you'll love, you want to avoid a mismatch where what you want to study and what the program offers are completely different. For example, if you want to write sonnets but the school focuses more on teaching fiction, it probably won't be a great fit for you.
Also, don't forget to look at the English courses and creative writing workshops! In most programs, you'll be taking a lot of these, too.
What Opportunities Are There To Pursue Writing Outside of Class?
I touched on this idea in the criteria section, but it's important enough that I want to reiterate it here. Some of the best writing experience you can get is found outside the classroom, so see what kind of writing-related extracurriculars a school has before committing to it.
Great options include getting involved with the campus newspaper, working on the school's literary journal, or interning at the university press.
Who Will Be Teaching You?
Who are the professors? What kind of work have they published? Check teacher ratings on Rate My Professors (but make sure to read the actual reviews—and always take them with a grain of salt).
If you're looking at a big school, there's a good chance that a lot of your teachers will be graduate students. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: a lot of the best teachers I had in college were graduate students. Just take into consideration what kind of graduate program the school has. If there's a great creative writing MFA program, then the graduate students are likely to be better writers and more engaged teachers.
What Are the Alumni Doing Now?
If you have a sense of what you want to do after you graduate, see if any alumni of the program are pursuing that type of career. The stronger the alumni network is, the more connections you'll have when it comes time to get a job.
What About the Rest of the School?
Don't pick a school for which you like the creative writing program but dread everything else about it. Most of your time will be spent doing other things, whether hanging out in the dorms, exploring off campus, or fulfilling general education requirements.
Many schools require you to apply to the creative writing major, so make doubly sure you'll be happy with your choice even if you aren't accepted to the program.
Are you sure a creative writing major is the right fit for you? Read our post on the pros and cons of the major to help you decide what path to take in college.
For more general advice about choosing a college, check out our complete guide to finding the right school for you. Some major factors to consider include deciding whether you're interested in a small college or a big university , an in-state or out-of-state institution , and a public or private school .
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Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. She graduated with honors from University of Chicago, receiving a BA in English and Anthropology, and then went on to earn an MA at NYU in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar, took 12 AP tests and scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and ACT.
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Have you dreamed of starting a writing career since you were a kid? If your answer is yes, then listen up!
You need more than just a natural talent for the written word to break into this industry. Choosing a robust writing or English program could be the best thing you do to kickstart your career. But with thousands of schools across the country, how do you know which one is the right pick?
Don’t stress, we’ve done the research so you can focus on writing the next Great American Novel. 😉
Here are 25 of the best US colleges for aspiring writers!
1. Emory University
There’s a good reason why Emory seems to be part of every list of writing colleges — it has both a holistic and unique approach to developing great writers. The college’s program allows you to develop your technique through intimate reading sessions with notable authors and writing contests that could seriously beef up your portfolio.
The university also has a beautiful, lush campus that’s perfect for anyone looking to meditate their way out of writer’s block. Have we mentioned that the state of Georgia is as vibrant and spirited as it gets? Whether it’s food, sports, or interesting traditions — your environment is bound to inspire you!
2. Columbia University
You wouldn’t expect anything less than a top-tier creative writing program from an Ivy League school like Columbia — so it’s a good thing the New York-based college lives up to the expectation!
Since this university has been home to big names like J.D. Salinger, Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg, be prepared for a rigorous curriculum . Columbia has intensive writing workshops, fellowships, and teaching opportunities to bring out the best in you.
On top of that, the city is filled with publishing houses and has a buzzing community of talented authors, something that you can take advantage of when you graduate!
3. Northwestern University
A faculty roster filled with acclaimed authors has solidified Northwestern’s claim as one of the finest writing college programs in the US. When you have published writers such as Sheila Donohue, Rachel Jamison Webster, and Chris Abani dissecting different literary genres and helping you perfect your craft, it’s easy (and downright exciting) to show up to early morning classes.
Getting into this undergraduate program will rely on the quality of your submitted manuscript. But once you’re in, there’s so much to look forward to, like the school’s Annual Writers’ Festival . This campus event allows students to interact with three guest writers and attend public readings, conferences, and writing classes.
4. Oberlin College
Collaboration and creativity are fostered at this small liberal arts college, where creative writing has become an independent academic discipline .
Oberlin features dozens of courses designed to help new writers flourish, no matter their backgrounds or competencies, such as race and poetic innovation , digital storytelling , and false documents . Whether you’ve loved writing all your life or found a passion for it more recently, no one will be left behind in this program.
Another upside of choosing this writing college is its RISE opportunities , which offer students access to exciting research openings, internships, and part-time jobs around the world.
5. Hamilton College
Who says small colleges won’t get you anywhere? Hamilton prides itself on being home to literary great Ezra Pound alone. But it’s the school’s emphasis on small-sized classes, where the exchange and development of ideas are heightened, that produces proficient writing majors.
The arts are truly celebrated at this writing college, with comprehensive courses tackling social and institutional hierarchies, history, and intermedia. Visit the school’s performing arts series to witness your fellow artists do their thing, whether that’s dance, music, or theater.
6. Stanford University
When you think of Stanford, a degree in research or engineering is usually what comes to mind. But surprise! The college also has an incredible creative writing program, thanks to the efforts of 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner.
Stanford’s Stegner Fellowship is a unique writing program offering 10 two-year fellowships (split between fiction and poetry) to fellows as they undergo intensive workshops to master their craft. While you won’t get a degree out of it, you will receive a stipend, and tuition is shouldered by the university.
This college’s undergraduate writing program also features three minor tracks in prose, poetry, and fiction into film, with courses like graphic novel writing, fiction into film, and young adult fiction offered each year.
7. University of Iowa
If there’s one thing that will make the University of Iowa your top choice for writing colleges, it’ll be the Iowa Writers Workshop .
This program was the first creative writing program on offer here in the US, with notable alumni like poets Dylan Thomas ( Do not go gentle into that good night ) and Robert Frost ( The Road Not Taken ). If you aren’t convinced yet, The Atlantic has called this two-year graduate degree “the best-known, most-established writing program in the country.”
This university is also filled with impressive campus opportunities that can bring color to your academic journey, such as the Summer Writing Festival and the Patient Voice Project .
8. Dartmouth College
What do Shonda Rhimes ( Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal ) and Mindy Kaling ( The Mindy Project, The Office ) have in common? Great writing careers — and the fact that they both studied at Dartmouth College.
The New Hampshire-based school created its comprehensive English and creative writing program with only one thing in mind: to help students become capable writers and build their confidence step by step.
Dartmouth has a nice selection of writing courses that differ each semester and creative writing awards , including the Sidney Cox Memorial Prize and the Academy of American Poets Prize, that undergraduates can compete for.
9. Brown University
If you want to learn screenwriting, digital and cross-disciplinary writing, and much more, Brown is the way to go! But apart from having a stellar graduate and undergraduate curriculum , Brown also boasts a vibrant literary community that provides students with a continuous stream of readings, festivals, and performances.
Its strong liberal foundation exposes emerging writers to relevant voices and perspectives in the current literary landscape. On top of that, Brown also has courses tackling new media such as political drama, electronic writing, and innovative narrative.
10. Washington University in St. Louis
Another excellent option for aspiring writers is to earn a Certificate in Creative Writing or join the MFA program at Washington University. Why? Because you could be taught by National Book Award finalists, Guggenheim Fellows, and National Book Critics Circle Award winners!
Admissions to this college writing program can be pretty competitive since they only accept five students per track (fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry). But once you’re in, you’ll become part of a close-knit community that can still be felt even after you graduate.
The campus also has plenty to offer, including a well-known student newspaper and a prime location connecting you to Forest Park and local museums, perfect for when you need a little break from your studies.
11. Johns Hopkins University
The writing program at Johns Hopkins is a hidden gem. Sure, the Maryland-based university is known for its STEM-related disciplines, but it also has a great and flexible curriculum for students looking to master storytelling through the written word.
While challenging, courses at Johns Hopkins are designed to squeeze the best out of you. This has been proven by the sea of prolific poets, novelists, and screenwriters produced by the school, namely A Nightmare on Elm Street ’s Wes Craven, Growing Up ’s Russell Baker, and Love Medicine ’s Louise Erdrich.
12. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Are you surprised that MIT has a solid writing program on top of its reputation for excellence in engineering and physical sciences? The top-tier school can also offer you the best of both worlds with its graduate program in science writing .
The curriculum introduces students to fundamental research and reporting skills as they learn how to make science accessible to the masses. This highly-selective program gives you a chance to publish science-related works, including documentaries, data visualization projects, radio shows, and long-form content.
What’s even better is that the lively Cambridge campus is a great place to arouse your creativity and quite simply write better. Plus, the 22 institutional libraries found in the city offer a good respite for literature lovers or hard-working science researchers.
13. Colorado College
Get ready for an intensive, multi-level approach to writing with Colorado College. Thanks to its innovative block plan structure , where students only face one class for three-and-a-half weeks, you will quickly master each discipline that interests you.
Feeling low on creativity? Take a walk at one of the seven national parks nearby, where you can find secluded spaces perfect for reflection and discussion (even if you’re by yourself).
14. Brandeis University
If you want to get a handle on creative writing, your work must go through the wringer so it can improve. At Brandeis, you’ll be exposed to a rigorous curriculum and a renowned writing center to help you get started.
As soon as you get into the college’s creative writing program , take advantage of one-on-one sessions with supportive graduate-student consultants. With this peer-to-peer appointment, you can get your work dissected and sort out any writing issues with your structure, style, punctuation, or syntax.
15. University of Virginia
For writers hoping to concentrate their studies on poetry or prose, the University of Virginia is a great pick. Whether you’re a full-fledged English major or a Science freshman interested in poetry, its undergraduate program can certainly accommodate you.
The college also has a stellar MFA program that accepts five students for poetry and five for prose. Apart from this school having terrific professors, graduate students receive $20,000 in fellowships or income each academic year.
Students also learn from visiting lecturers who take residence in the school for one week and offer craft talks and one-on-one manuscript consultations (where an MFA student’s work is given to visiting writers one week ahead).
16. Colby College
At Colby, students are introduced to a strong culture of writing, teaching them to be skillful and effective in multiple genres. The college’s writing program provides students with expository writing workshops, writing labs , and word references forums to build their ability to communicate thoughtfully and skillfully.
Among the impressive resources available at Colby is Farnham’s Writing Center , where great writing is fostered through peer and faculty support. Working with peer writing tutors from the brainstorming phase to the final version is bound to make you a better writer!
17. Kenyon College
Kenyon’s mission is to nurture future poets and fiction writers, and it’s certainly achieved this with notable alumni like The Fault in Our Stars ’ John Green and Seabiscuit ’s Laura Hillenbrand.
This program’s main draw is the Kenyon Review , the college’s world-renowned literary magazine that offers highly coveted workshops and internships for student writers. Each year, a select number of faculty from Kenyon also teach workshops on poetry and prose for students in the English program .
18. Beloit College
No matter how much you love writing, mastering this craft can be challenging. That’s why Beloit’s writing program is designed to support students of all kinds in their writing journey.
At the college’s writing center , tutors approach their students’ learning with the understanding and consideration that everyone has different strengths and capabilities. With this hands-on mentorship comes a range of other great learning resources, like literary journals and student publications, that give you the chance to gain practical experience outside the classroom.
19. University of Texas-Austin
This university’s three-year MFA program steals the show when it comes to creative writing. Known as the New Writers Project, this graduate-level degree only accepts a dozen students (with full funding) and hosts symposiums to connect them with editors and agents.
The New Writers Project also invites guest writers like Bluets’ Maggie Nelson, Voyager’s Srikanth Reddy, and Notes from No Man’s Land’s Eula Biss to interact with graduate students.
But if you want to spend less time concentrating on fiction, poetry, and short stories? The University of Texas-Austin’s Certificate in Creative Writing or its Honors option is for you!
20. Goddard College
Goddard College takes the gold when it comes to having a varied creative writing offering! This unconventional college writing program welcomes writers interested in screenplay writing, graphic novels, dramatic writing, libretto, speculative fiction, memoirs, and other hybrid genres.
Trusting its students’ capabilities, Goddard was the first college to offer low-residency BFA and MFA creative writing degrees. This means that students are only required to complete an eight-day residency, where they can attend one-on-one sessions with advisors or participate in literary events on campus, before being able to complete the rest of their education at home.
21. Bucknell University
Although this college also boasts courses on comedy and satire, the human impact on the environment, and prose, Bucknell is renowned for its poetry offering. The Stadler Center for Poetry hosts the annual Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, which awards deserving students full-tuition scholarships.
It also has the Philip Roth Residence Program named after Bucknell’s famous alumnus himself. Authors writing their first (or second) book are allowed to lodge in the Poets’ Cottage with a hefty $5,000 stipend as they work, but the program only lasts for four months.
22. New York University
The star-studded core faculty at NYU’s creative writing program should be enough to get you on board with this college! Imagine learning the fundamentals of writing from award-winning poets, novelists, short story writers, and memoirists such as Joyce Carol Oates, Zadie Smith, Darin Strauss, Edward Hirsch, and Katie Kitamura.
Plus, with this program, you also get a shot at Writers in New York, a prized summer program that takes place at a townhouse in Greenwich Village where the likes of E.E. Cummings, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, and Mark Twain lived and worked.
23. University of Michigan
Tagged as the best public university in the US, Michigan’s fantastic Helen Zell MFA Program exposes graduate students to several top-notch writers through a series taught by critically-acclaimed authors (who wouldn’t want to hear from Kazuo Ishiguro, Alice McDermott, Angela Flournoy, and Edward Hirsch?).
Undergraduates can also apply for admission to a creative writing sub-concentration or a minor and partake in the prestigious Avery Hopwood Awards , one of the country’s most famous student writing prizes.
24. University of Miami
For aspiring writers interested in expressing themselves in a language other than English, the creative writing program at the University of Miami’s curriculum is uniquely inspired by nearby multilingual communities. Polyglot writers are encouraged to explore literature in their own languages.
This university also welcomes double majors so that students can pursue their love for the craft on top of their other interests. Miami’s also great because this campus is jam-packed with extracurriculars that students can jump on to hone their skills. Mangrove , the school’s literary magazine, allows students an opportunity to perform their original work through hosting contests and mic nights.
25. Hamline University
Minnesota residents with a passion for writing consider this small university in Saint Paul a haven for creatives. Why? Because this college is home to the only bachelor’s degree in this field in the entire Twin Cities region (and the only one in the state offered by a private institution).
Hamline has three fine arts degrees for aspiring authors: a BFA and MFA in Creative Writing, plus a low-residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. These courses cover a range of literary genres that enable students to gain a diverse knowledge of the practice.
Writing requires dedication, passion, and a conducive environment where your talents can flourish. All the schools on this list have built outstanding creative writing programs but choosing what suits you best is important.
Make sure the school you pick can help you reach your full potential. Good luck!
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What to Know About Creative Writing Degrees
Many creative writing degree recipients pursue careers as authors while others work as copywriters or ghostwriters.
Tips on Creative Writing Degrees
Prospective writing students should think about their goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals. (Getty Images)
Many people see something magical in a beautiful work of art, and artists of all kinds often take pride in their craftsmanship. Creative writers say they find fulfillment in the writing process.
"I believe that making art is a human need, and so to get to do that is amazing," says Andrea Lawlor, an author who this year received a Whiting Award – a national $50,000 prize that recognizes 10 excellent emerging authors each year – and who is also the Clara Willis Phillips Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
"We all are seeing more and more of the way that writing can help us understand perspectives we don't share," says Lawlor, whose recent novel "Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl" addresses the issue of gender identity.
"Writing can help us cope with hard situations," Lawlor says. "We can find people who we have something in common with even if there's nobody around us who shares our experience through writing. It's a really powerful tool for connection and social change and understanding."
Creative writing faculty, many of whom are acclaimed published authors, say that people are well-suited toward degrees in creative writing if they are highly verbal and enjoy expressing themselves.
"Creative imaginative types who have stories burning inside them and who gravitate toward stories and language might want to pursue a degree in creative writing," Jessica Bane Robert, who teaches Introduction to Creative Writing at Clark University in Massachusetts, wrote in an email. "Through formal study you will hone your voice, gain confidence, find a support system for what can otherwise be a lonely endeavor."
Read the guide below to gain more insight into what it means to pursue a creative writing education, how writing impacts society and whether it is prudent to invest in a creative writing degree. Learn about the difference between degree-based and non-degree creative writing programs, how to craft a solid application to a top-notch creative writing program and how to figure out which program is the best fit.
Why Creative Writing Matters and Reasons to Study It
Creative writers say a common misconception about their job is that their work is frivolous and impractical, but they emphasize that creative writing is an extremely effective way to convey messages that are hard to share in any other way.
Kelly Caldwell, dean of faculty at Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, says prospective writing students are often discouraged from taking writing courses because of concerns about whether a writing life is somehow unattainable or "unrealistic."
Although creative writers are sometimes unable to financially support themselves entirely on the basis of their creative projects, Caldwell says, they often juggle that work with other types of jobs and lead successful careers.
She says that many students in her introductory creative writing class were previously forbidden by parents to study creative writing. "You have to give yourself permission for the simple reason that you want to do it," she suggests.
Creative writing faculty acknowledge that a formal academic credential in creative writing is not needed in order to get writing published. However, they suggest, creative writing programs help aspiring authors develop their writing skills and allow space and time to complete long-term writing projects.
Working writers often juggle multiple projects at once and sometimes have more than one gig, which can make it difficult to finish an especially ambitious undertaking such as a novel, a play for the screen or stage, or a well-assembled collection of poems, short stories or essays. Grants and fellowships for authors are often designed to ensure that those authors can afford to concentrate on their writing.
Samuel Ace, a published poet and a visiting lecturer in poetry at Mount Holyoke, says his goal is to show students how to write in an authentic way that conveys real feeling. "It helps students to become more direct, not to bury their thoughts under a cascade of academic language, to be more forthright," he says.
Tips on Choosing Between a Non-Degree or Degree-Based Creative Writing Program
Experts note that someone needs to be ready to get immersed in the writing process and devote significant time to writing projects before pursuing a creative writing degree. Prospective writing students should not sign up for a degree program until they have reached that sense of preparedness, warns Kim Todd, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts and director of its creative writing program.
She says prospective writing students need to think about their personal goals and figure out if a creative writing degree will help them achieve those goals.
Aspiring writers who are not ready to invest in a creative writing degree program may want to sign up for a one-off writing class or begin participating in an informal writing workshop so they can test their level of interest in the field, Todd suggests.
How to Choose and Apply to a Creative Writing Program
In many cases, the most important component of an application to a writing program is the writing portfolio, writing program experts say. Prospective writing students need to think about which pieces of writing they include in their portfolio and need to be especially mindful about which item they put at the beginning of their portfolio. They should have a trusted mentor critique the portfolio before they submit it, experts suggest.
Because creative writing often involves self-expression, it is important for aspiring writing students to find a program where they feel comfortable expressing their true identity.
This is particularly pertinent to aspiring authors who are members of minority groups, including people of color or LGBTQ individuals, says Lawlor, who identifies as queer, transgender and nonbinary.
How to Use a Creative Writing Degree
Creative writing program professors and alumni say creative writing programs cultivate a variety of in-demand skills, including the ability to communicate effectively.
"While yes, many creative writers are idealists and dreamers, these are also typically highly flexible and competent people with a range of personal strengths. And a good creative writing program helps them understand their particular strengths and marketability and translate these for potential employers, alongside the more traditional craft development work," Melissa Ridley Elmes, an assistant professor of English at Lindenwood University in Missouri, wrote in an email.
Elmes – an author who writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction – says creative writing programs force students to develop personal discipline because they have to consistently produce a significant amount of writing. In addition, participating in writing workshops requires writing students "to give and receive constructive feedback," Elmes says.
Cindy Childress, who has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana—Lafayatte and did a creative writing dissertation where she submitted poetry, says creative writing grads are well-equipped for good-paying positions as advertising and marketing copywriters, speechwriters, grant writers and ghostwriters.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual compensation for writers and authors was $63,200 as of May 2019.
"I think the Internet, and writing communities online and in social media, have been very helpful for debunking the idea that if you publish a New York Times Bestseller you will have 'made it' and can quit your day job and write full time," Elmes explains. "Unless you are independently wealthy, the odds are very much against you in this regard."
Childress emphasizes that creative writing degree recipients have "skills that are absolutely transferable to the real world." For example, the same storytelling techniques that copywriters use to shape public perceptions about a commercial brand are often taught in introductory creative writing courses, she says. The ability to tell a good story does not necessarily come easily to people who haven't been trained on how to do it, she explains.
Childress says she was able to translate her creative writing education into a lucrative career and start her own ghostwriting and book editing company, where she earns a six-figure salary. She says her background in poetry taught her how to be pithy.
"Anything that we want to write nowadays, particularly for social media, is going to have to be immediately understood, so there is a sense of immediacy," she says."The language has to be crisp and direct and exact, and really those are exactly the same kind of ways you would describe a successful poem."
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The 13 Best Colleges for Creative Writing Degrees
- 16-minute read
- 23rd February 2023
So, you want to pursue a creative writing degree program in the United States. Wonderful! If you are passionate about writing and you’re an avid reader, a career in fiction writing would be the way to go! When it comes to choosing the right MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program – in this case, creative writing – you might be wondering which schools have the best program. What career opportunities are there after graduation? What courses will I take in the program? What’s the admission process like?
A creative writing program will immerse you in your craft, help you develop writing discipline, and provide critical feedback on your writing. The program should also be highly reputable and produce top-quality writers.
You must decide whether you want to attend a public or a private college . This choice can be important because of student population size, tuition fees, and reputation. Private colleges will be considerably more expensive than public ones. Do you want to attend college in a small town or a big city? Is the school located somewhere that can provide ample writing inspiration? It’s important to know that some schools provide more student opportunities in their program, yet others have stronger networking connections. This distinction can be crucial once you’ve graduated from the program.
This post will highlight the benefits of a creative writing degree, including career opportunities after graduation. We’ll also discuss what you’ll need to apply. Finally, we’ll highlight our top list of creative writing schools in the United S tates. After you’ve read this post, you’ll better understand the opportunities these schools provide.
What Is a Creative Writing Degree?
A creative writing degree prepares you for a career as a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama. It’s also suitable for those wishing to enter the field of editing or publishing. The program immerses students in writing and provides valuable writing opportunities and feedback.
Career Opportunities After Graduation
Graduates usually find jobs as authors, copywriters, journalists, editors, columnists, or screenwriters. Additionally, graduates find opportunities to become editors for big publishing agencies, which work with some of the most famous best-selling fiction authors.
What Subjects Are Typically Covered?
You can expect to take plenty of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry workshops. Almost all programs provide compulsory introduction to fiction and poetry classes. In addition, you’ll likely take courses in screenwriting, medieval literature, and traditions in fiction. Finally, some courses focus on writing prompts (a daddy for writing inspiration).
Factors to Consider in Choosing a College for a Creative Writing Degree
Although the following factors will vary from college to college, you should consider them carefully:
● Location and campus culture
● Faculty and resources available
● Alumni network and professional connections
● Internships and work opportunities (internships will provide valuable work experience)
You should know that many creative writing degree programs are very selective. For this reason, you’ll need to prove your passion for writing and reading. First, you’ll need to apply to the college of your choice. This will mean submitting an admission essay as well as the application form. Creative writing degree programs will also want a writing sample, such as a poem or a short story. However, these don’t have to be works you’ve published.
Additionally, you’ll need to submit the following to your chosen college:
● Referee information (must not be a friend or a relative)
● Official transcripts
● TOEFL or IELTS test results (if English is not your native language)
● GRE scores
Gathering all required documentation for admission will be time-consuming, so you’ll want to get started early. Ideally, you should start applying nine months before your program begins. For example, if the program starts in August, you should begin applying in November of the previous year.
1. Northwestern University
Established in 1851, Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois (just outside Chicago). With approximately 22,000 students, it’s a private institution with a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. Professors in the creative writing program are award-winning authors. Northwestern is known for producing successful authors such as Karen Russell and Veronica Roth . It also features a top journalism program. Students in the creative writing program can get involved with the student-run literary journal, intern at a Chicago publication, or submit an entry to the yearly writing competition of the English Department.
Additionally, students can learn from talented writers at the Annual Writers’ Festival . Students can even submit their work to the school’s annual writing competition. So, if gaining professional writing experience is important, Northwestern might just be what you’re looking for! Plus, Chicago’s iconic landmarks and lakeside beaches provide robust inspiration for writers!
“My Northwestern creative workshops, where I honed my editorial skills, were instrumental in setting me down a career path in publishing.”
– Laura Biagi, Class of 2009
2. Columbia University
Located in New York City (known colloquially as the Big Apple), Columbia was established in 1754. It’s the fifth-oldest American institution of higher learning. It has around 36,000 students, and people consider it one of the great elite private colleges in America. Like Northwestern, Columbia has a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school. Great writers have attended Columbia, including J.D. Salinger and Federico Garcia Lorca. The creative writing curriculum includes rigorous writing workshops at all levels and seminars exclusively for creative writing students. In these workshops, students produce original works of writing and submit them to classmates and professors for critical analysis. To study at Columbia is to be part of a distinguished group of like-minded writers.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, many consider New York City America’s literary capital. It’s home to major publishing houses, literary journals, picturesque parks, iconic landmarks, and talented authors from around the globe. The Big Apple has no shortage of inspiration for prospective writers!
“Before being accepted into the program, I didn’t have the confidence to critique my work seriously.”
– Mary Mann, Class of 2015
3. University of Iowa
If you prefer to study in a location away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, the University of Iowa might be your answer! Founded in 1847, this public institution has about 31,000 students. It’s located in Iowa City, and the nearest major city is Chicago. However, studying in Iowa can provide an opportunity to go off the beaten path.
Here are some highlights of the university and Iowa City:
● Iowa City is a designated UNESCO City of Literature.
● The city’s annual Book Festival attracts people from across the American Midwest.
● The MFA of the university’s nonfiction writing program has been voted number one in creative nonfiction in the United States.
● Students have access to the university’s literary community, which offers frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and The Iowa Review , an acclaimed literary journal.
● Tennessee Williams is an alumnus of the program.
● Like Columbia, the University of Iowa strongly values the workshop method.
We recommend checking out this video for a deeper dive into the world of creative writing at Iowa.
4. Emory University
Emory, founded in 1836, is a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia. If you prefer a university in a warm climate, Atlanta is a good choice. Compared with cities in the northern states, Atlanta experiences mild winters, though you might get cold snaps and the odd snowfall. Emory has around 15,000 students and has an affiliation with the United Methodist Church.
Emory’s dedicated undergraduate creative writing program draws distinguished visiting scholars and writers. Other notable program highlights include:
● Opportunities to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors
● Faculty who are professional practitioners in the writing field
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● Studies in a range of genres, such as fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting
● Annual writing contests
● Writing awards and scholarships
● The opportunity to work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project
Students will also find writing opportunities outside the classroom in the Atlanta area. The city has several writing organizations and clubs, such as the Atlanta Writers Club , the Georgia Writers Association , and Village Writers Group.
5. Oberlin College
Founded in 1833, Oberlin is a small liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, 31 miles south of Cleveland. It has just under 3,000 students. If you’re seeking a really small school, Oberlin is worth pursuing! It’s known for the robust quality of teachers and the variety of courses in the creative writing program. Two of the courses are Plot and Structure and Race and Poetic Innovation. In addition, you’ll find a robust workshop culture at Oberlin. The downside is that the city lacks opportunities to pursue writing. However, great opportunities exist in other Ohio cities, such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Moreover, Ohio is the home of the late American novelist Toni Morrison.
It’s worth mentioning that Oberlin’s creative writing program has notable alumni, such as Lena Dunham , an actress and writer.
“I feel so consistently lucky to have such dedicated professors. Everyone I’ve worked with in the Creative Writing Program deeply cares about their students both as writers and as people. Classes are small, so you’re able to actually know and trust each other, which is important for productive workshopping.”
– Fiona Warnick, Class of 2022
6. Hamilton College
Chartered as a college in 1812, Hamilton is in the upstate New York village of Clinton, between Syracuse and Albany. It has 2,000 students and 1,350 acres of campus space. Hamilton strongly believes in giving students the freedom to pursue their own interests, an ethos that explains why the college’s motto is “Know Thyself.”
Hamilton’s creative writing program is known for its small classes and plentiful opportunities to intern and publish. Hamilton also has one of the best writing centers in the nation. Students take courses that balance literary study with poetry and prose workshops. The program emphasizes learning to write with attentiveness to form and genre. Students write a creative project that demonstrates originality and attention to language.
If you like a creative writing school that’s “current with the times,” Hamilton has recently renovated List Hall, which houses the program. The hall features collaborative spaces for students and a new landscaped entrance.
7. Brown University
Founded in 1764, Brown is a leading research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown’s student-centered learning and deep sense of purpose make it distinct. In fact, many American high schoolers dream of studying at Brown! It has just under 10,000 students, and its literary arts program is one of the top MFAs in the United States. Students can choose one of three tracks: fiction, poetry, or digital/cross-disciplinary writing – a plus if your aim is fiction writing, for example! Although students must take certain classes, they can design much of their curriculum. Brown also provides financial aid to students in the program through a first-year fellowship. Additionally, students can teach undergraduate workshops during their second year. Brown is a special place for writers who envision new paths in fiction, poetry, and digital language arts.
8. Washington University in St. Louis
It might surprise you that Washington University is in St. Louis, Missouri, rather than Washington, DC. Since 1853, Washington University has dared to challenge the unknown and taken great pride in its teaching, research, and service to society. The university has a renowned creative writing program with several scholarships. The undergraduate English program also offers a concentration, which allows students to specialize in a specific writing genre: fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. The program even has a special concentration in publishing! Students often find internships with companies such as Atlantic Media, Business Insider, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Washington University should be on your list if you already have a specific writing genre in mind!
9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
You might not associate writing with an institute of technology. However, MIT has a wonderful program that features courses in digital media, science writing, and creative writing. Since its incorporation in 1861, MIT has been educating future leaders with a three-to-one student-to-faculty ratio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Apologies if you were expecting MIT to be in Boston. However, don’t let Cambridge put you off. The city is a haven for book lovers and writers from all walks of life, so you’ll find plenty of writing pursuits outside of class! And when it comes to finding work after graduation, the program provides lots of guidance for navigating the tricky job market.
10. University of Michigan
If you’ve ever watched NCAA football, you’re probably familiar with the University of Michigan. Founded in Detroit in 1817, Michigan is ranked the third-best national undergraduate public university. The university’s main campus is in the small city of Ann Arbor, ranked the number one best small college town in America.
The University of Michigan has a top-notch MFA program. The undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications provide crucial practice in building a writing portfolio and articulating an interest in creative writing. In addition, the university has two student-run literary journals: Xylem Magazine and Fortnight Literary Press . Both publish students’ best works – an excellent way to get your writing noticed!
Screenwriter Jennifer Freides graduated from the program. “I learned to read fast, manage my time, think critically, organize my thoughts, and speak with clarity at U-M.”
With nearly 50,000 students, the University of Michigan is a top choice for those looking for a big school with a great MFA program!
11. Johns Hopkins University
This private research university was founded in 1876 in Baltimore, Maryland, and it takes its name from nineteenth-century Maryland philanthropist Johns Hopkins. With 24,000 students, Johns Hopkins (or JHU, its more common name) ranks consistently among the most prestigious universities in the United States. Novelists John Barth and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie graduated from here, as did the famous horror film director Wes Craven.
Although people know JHU more for its engineering program, it does have a reputable writing program. Students in the program take courses in philosophy and history in addition to classes in prose, poetry, and literature. The creative writing program has journalism, the arts, and publishing internship opportunities. Additionally, short story writers might be interested in the program’s Danielle Alyse Basford Writing Prize .
Baltimore is no stranger to the literary world, as the American writer Edgar Allan Poe spent several years here. His poem The Raven is the namesake of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. You can visit the Poe House and Museum to see the writing desk and chair where Poe created some of his famous work!
12. Colorado College
Colorado College was founded in 1874 and is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s a small liberal arts college with over 2,000 students. People know the college mainly for its Block Plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. Students will find that the creative writing track interweaves craft, imagination, and a lively literary framework. It includes a sequence of four writing workshops and mandatory attendance at the Visiting Writers Series. Attending readings at the Visiting Writers Series will deeply immerse students in the written word at Colorado College. In addition, students will find plenty of opportunities within the program, from AMC college writing contests to the student-led spoken word group, SpeakEasy. If you’re an outdoorsy writer, you’ll love Colorado Springs! It’s surrounded by picturesque hiking opportunities, including Garden of the Gods ! If you envision taking one class at a time at a small liberal arts school, you should consider Colorado College!
13. New York University
New York University (NYU) is another prestigious university in New York City. It was established in 1831 and is currently the largest private university in the United States, with more than 11,000 students. It even has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. As mentioned, New York is the American literary epicenter. Although NYU doesn’t offer a creative writing major, it’s an excellent school for aspiring writers. You’ll still find workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Classes are small, with a maximum of 15 students, and the school has a student-edited literary journal called West 10 th . The school also offers intensive summer writing programs in Florence and Paris, so students can develop their craft while living the writer’s life in Italy or France. The faculty consists of award-winning poets, short story writers, and novelists, and many of them have received Pulitzer Prizes and NEA Fellowships. So, although NYU lacks a creative writing major, it has a fine reputation, small classes, and ample opportunities to develop your writing craft!
So, there you have our list of top creative writing schools. Let’s recap key points from our post:
● Creative writing programs are pretty selective, so you should be genuinely passionate about reading and writing.
● Private schools have the best reputation and small classes. However, they can be really expensive.
● You will need to submit at least one writing sample as part of your application.
● Creative writing programs are heavy in workshop culture.
● New York City is America’s literary capital.
● Most programs have literary journals where you can submit your work.
● A faculty of professional writers will be your teachers.
● Graduates often go on to become authors, editors, and copywriters. Getting into publishing is also a possibility.
Whichever school you choose, it must be the right fit for you! While one might be great for some people, it might not resonate with you. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to visit the school if possible. Even a virtual tour will suffice. We also suggest reaching out to current professors for more information. You can even reach out to current or past students through LinkedIn. Finally, take your time when researching schools. Got more questions about creative writing? We recommend this video !
Thanks for reading!
1. How important is location when you are considering a creative writing program?
You’ll want to prioritize a location with a vibrant literary scene rather than one with a warm climate. There should be plenty of opportunities to engage with writing in the community outside the classroom. There should also be various career opportunities within the community after graduation.
2. What is the cost of attending a creative writing program in the United States?
The cost will depend on whether the school is public or private. Public school tuition will be roughly $17,000 to $20,000 US. On the other hand, private schools will be considerably more expensive, especially Columbia and Hamilton. You can expect tuition to be between $50,000 and $69,000 US.
3. Where can I get feedback on my college application?
Great question! We recommend leaving this to our team of proofreading experts at Proofed! They can check for grammar and punctuation errors and ensure perfect spelling. They will also ensure that the application uses appropriate academic language. Consider submitting a 500-word document for free today!
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List of All U.S. Colleges with a Creative Writing Major
Writing has been my passion practically since I learned to read in kindergarten. I would write stories about princesses and my family dog, Gansett. When it came time to look at colleges, I was set on attending one with a strong creative writing program. Ultimately, I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Writing Seminars.
Today, colleges across the country offer creative writing as a major. Because writing skills are essential for a wide range of careers, and because most curricula emphasize broad liberal arts competencies, a degree in creative writing can set you up for success in numerous fields, whether you want to be an editor or a lawyer.
Interested in majoring in creative writing? Learn which schools offer the major and what to look for in a program.
Overview of the Creative Writing Major
Creative writing is about more than spinning tales. For your major, you’ll generally need to pursue a curriculum grounded in literature, history, foreign language, and other humanities courses, along with distribution courses, if the college requires them.
Most creative writing majors must participate in workshops, in which students present their work and listen to peer critiques, usually with a certain number of advanced courses in the mix. In some cases, colleges will ask you to specialize in a particular genre, such as fiction, poetry, or playwriting.
To succeed in creative writing, you’ll need to have a tough spine, in order to open yourself up to feedback from your classmates and instructors. You may need to give readings in public — if not as an undergraduate, certainly during your career. Of course, a passion for creating is essential, too, as is a willingness to revise your work and learn from the greats and your peers.
A creative writing major opens up doors to many careers, including journalism, content marketing, copywriting, teaching, and others. Even careers that don’t center around writing often have a strong writing component: you’ll need to write reports, deliver presentations, and so on.
Some writers go on to earn an MFA, which will help you hone your craft. It’s also often a prerequisite for teaching creative writing at the college level.
What to Look for in a College as a Creative Writing Major
Published authors on faculty.
Many world-renowned authors have another claim to fame: professorships. Writers who have taught their craft include (among many others):
- Maya Angelou (Wake Forest University)
- Colson Whitehead (many colleges, including Vassar College and Columbia University)
- Stephen Dixon (Johns Hopkins University)
- Viet Thanh Nguyen (University of Southern California)
- Eula Biss (Northwestern University)
- Toni Morrison (Princeton University)
Be aware that as an undergraduate, you may not be able to learn from the greats. That’s why it’s important to look into which courses these faculty teach before you have dreams of being mentored by Salman Rushdie — who is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU.
While many schools that have creative writing majors offer fiction and poetry courses and tracks, there are some niche genres that could be more difficult to find. If you’re interested in playwriting, for example, you won’t find that at every school. Before you decide on a program, be sure it includes the genres you’d like to explore further, whether that’s flash fiction, creative nonfiction, or something else.
The core of most quality creative writing curriculum is workshopping. This means sharing your work in your classes and listening to your peers discuss and critique it. While this may sound intimidating, it can do a lot to help you hone your work and become a better writer. Look for colleges that make this the bedrock of their curriculum.
Are there opportunities to present your work, such as college-sponsored readings where undergraduates can participate? Or, perhaps the school has a great literary journal. At my school, students could submit their plays and have them performed by fellow students.
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List of All U.S. Colleges With a Creative Writing Major
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What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
No matter what major you’re considering, the first step is ensuring you’re academically comparable to students who were previously accepted to the college or university. Most selective schools use the Academic Index to filter out applicants who aren’t up to their standards.
You’ll also want to demonstrate your fit with the school and specific major with the qualitative components of your application, like your extracurriculars and essays. For a prospective creative writing major, the essay is particularly important because this is a way to demonstrate your writing prowess. Activities might include editing your school’s newspaper or literary journal, publishing your work, and participating in pre-college writing workshops.
Want to know your chances of being accepted to top creative writing schools? Try our Chancing Engine (it’s free). Unlike other calculators, it takes your individual profile into account, including academic stats and qualitative components like your activities. Give it a try and get a jumpstart on your journey as a creative writing major!
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DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
- Creative Writing
The Creative Writing Major
The Creative Writing Major is an undergraduate concentration within the English Department at Northwestern University and one of the first and finest undergraduate Creative Writing programs in the country. Its reputation is based on the accomplishments of its graduates, the generosity of its accomplished professors, and a pedagogy that creates a fruitful symbiosis between close reading and inventive writing. Award-winning authors teach poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, as well as courses that cross genres, guiding students to examine literary works as writers and encouraging them to study the best literary models. Professors and students work in a close-knit community as they write their own stories, novellas, poems and essays within the living tradition of literature.
Most Creative Writing Majors begin taking creative writing courses in their sophomore year and complete the yearlong “sequence” of study during their junior year, and some have the opportunity to complete an additional honors project before graduation (see Recommended Schedule for Prospective Writing Majors below). Students also learn from prominent visiting writers at our annual Festival of Writing in the Spring. Recent graduates of the program include MacArthur “Genius” Award Winner Karen Russell; Veronica Roth, whose bestselling novel “Divergent” was first drafted while she was a student; poet Peter Kline; and award-winning essayist Angela Mears.
Current Creative Writing faculty include Chris Abani , Brian Bouldrey , John Bresland , Averill Curdy , Sheila Donohue , Reginald Gibbons , Juan Martinez , Shauna Seliy , Charif Shanahan , Natasha Trethewey , Daisy Hernández , and Rachel Jamison Webster .
The Creative Writing program also offers two minors; the Sequence-based Minor and, for those not pursuing one of the year-long sequences, the non-application based Cross-genre Minor in Creative Writing .
See past and upcoming Creative Writing events.
Undergraduate publication opportunities
Recommended Schedule for Prospective Writing Majors
Courses for prospective creative writing majors, in a recommended order..
*Denotes courses that are REQUIRED for the Creative Writing Major
ENG 202-Introduction to Creative Writing
(can be taken in Fall quarter of Freshman year. This provides an introduction to all three genres and prepares you for our other CW courses.)
ENG 210-1,2 - English Literary Traditions or ENG 270-1,2 - American Literary Traditions
(While not required for creative writing, these are excellent background courses for writing students, and also serve as prerequisites for the English literature major.)
* ENG 206 - Reading and Writing Poetry
* ENG 207 - Reading and Writing Fiction
* ENG 208 - Reading & Writing Creative Nonfiction
(You may take 206, 207, or 208 in any order. Majors will take all three of these intro-courses.)
Students may apply to the Creative Writing Program in the Spring of your Sophomore Year or in the Spring of your Junior Year.
Some students fulfill their requirements--of 206, 207 and 208--well before the time of application to the program. If that happens, we recommend that you stay in writing practice and continue building your portfolio by taking one of our 300-level writing courses, English 306, 307, 308, or 309. Please see Juan Martinez , Director of Creative Writing, for further suggestions and help with course planning.
Initial Required Courses
All students interested in the Creative Writing Major must take two introductory writing courses--poetry (ENG 206), fiction (207), or creative nonfiction (208)--before applying to the major. Students can only apply to the major in a genre for which they've completed (or are enrolled) in its 200-level component; you can only apply for poetry after having taken or enrolling in ENG 206, for fiction after ENG 207, for creative nonfiction after ENG 208.
At the 200-level, no prior knowledge of a genre is required to enroll.
- No English Department creative writing course may be audited or taken pass/fail.
- School of Professional Studies courses offered under the titles ENG 206, 207 and 208 do not count toward any course of study within the Creative Writing program.
Admission to the Program
Admission to the next stage of the Creative Writing Major or the Sequence-based Minor in Creative Writing, the year-long 300-level advanced course sequences, is competitive. Admission to the program is granted primarily on the basis of manuscript quality and the student’s promise. An applicant may be admitted to study as a major, a minor, or a sequence-only student.
No preference in admission is currently given to those who apply to the sequences, though there are later opportunities open only to Creative Writing Majors, including participation in senior honors, one-on-one conferences with visiting writers-in-residence, and the winter senior readings series. Students may apply for admission to the sequence courses no earlier than the spring of their sophomore year.
Click here to apply . Applications are currently CLOSED.
Theory and Practice of Poetry (ENG 393), Fiction (394), and Creative Nonfiction (395):
These year-long sequences of courses ask students to pursue a rigorous program that includes explication and critical writing, imitation and modeling, close reading of literary texts, and the creation of original creative work. The sequences are arranged in three consecutive quarters.
They begin in the fall with specialized courses in the fundamental technical and rhetorical bases of each genre. Poetry students study the uses of metaphor and mode, and the theory of prosody (including both the major form of poetry in English-accentual-syllabic verse-and the minor forms, accentual, syllabic, and free verse). Fiction students consider the tenets of realism and its alternatives, and practice different approaches to style, characterization, structure, and point of view. Creative nonfiction students focus on essay forms, logical method, authorial tone, and techniques of discourse and description. In all genres, imitations and models of great writers are assigned.
The second half of the sequence in each genre is devoted to intensive writing of a longer original work-a poem of at least 120 lines or an essay or novella of 25 to 35 pages.
Note that in the event further work in fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry is desired outside the year-long sequence, ENG 206, 207, and 208 may be repeated up to two times for WCAS credit. Advanced one-quarter courses in creative writing (ENG 306, 307, 308, 309) are also offered for non-majors.
The application is available here . Applications are currently CLOSED.
Other Required Courses for MAJOR Students
In addition to the sequences, creative writing majors must take:
ENG 392 - The Situation of Writing
“The Situation of Writing,” which is typically offered in the winter quarter, investigates the writer’s relation to the culture, both currently and historically. The course addresses such questions as the relation of criticism to imaginative literature, the rise and fall of specific literary genres, the effect of the university on the production and consumption of literary works, the state of the publishing industry, and international literary contexts.
The “Third-Genre Intro” Course
English 207 or 208, whichever introductory course was not completed before application to the sequences. This requirement ensures that writing majors will have had experience reading and writing in all three major non-dramatic modes of imaginative writing.
Six 300-level literature classes
These courses must be “pure literature”; that is, courses in which the bulk of the reading is literature and not criticism or theory. They must be selected from English Department offerings ONLY:
- Two on material written prior to 1830
- Two on material written after 1830
- Two from either period
Two non-literature courses related to one another, taught in other department(s).
These courses, in areas such as history, art, classics, and gender studies, broaden the student’s background for the study of literature. These must be approved by a creative writing advisor.
Other Required Courses for Sequence-Based MINOR students
In addition to the sequences, creative writing sequence-based minors must take:
Two 300-level literature classes
- One on material written prior to 1830
- One on material written after 1830
The Cross-genre Minor in Creative Writing
Other program features.
The Annual Writers Festival gives students the chance to learn from and interact with guest Writers-in-Residence for a three-day celebration of master classes, public readings, and a panel discussion on craft. The festival is situated within the larger Evanston Literary Festival, which hosts a number of literary events throughout the city.
Writing by students at Northwestern is recognized by the award-winning student literary magazine, Helicon, and by the Department of English Annual Writing Competition , held in the spring.
Creative Writing Alumni Testimonials
-- Veronica Roth, author of the bestselling Divergent series
“I still believe our program at Northwestern is as good as any graduate program in the country. It was nice to have the opportunity when I was 19 to spend so much time reading and writing with these other writers. There was such a serious sense of purpose. That’s a testament to Brian and Sheila and the rest of the faculty. They really could create a community.” --Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and winner of a MacArthur Genius Award.
“As a Creative Nonfiction student in the Creative Writing program, I was pushed hard -- by my professors and fellow writers -- to find my voice. Not just my voice as a writer, but as a person and advocate of my life and experiences. More than anything else, I learned that I am still learning. I am still finding that voice, and always will be. I learned that this fact is okay, it is right, it is what makes me write.” --Danielle Littman, 2013 graduate.
"We're not just educating people for professional tracks; we're educating them for their lives." --Professor Mary Kinzie, Founder of the Creative Writing Program and award-winning poet.
Best Creative Writing colleges in the U.S. 2023
Creative writing is about artistically sharing emotions, thoughts, and opinions on a subject; not just relaying information. Courses include American literature, editing and proofing, fundamentals of writing, world literature, Shakespeare, screenwriting fundamentals, fiction fundamentals, writing nonfiction, and poetry writing. Creative writing covers both nonfiction and fiction, but the predominant types of creative writing are poetry and fiction, which includes novels, short stories, novellas, and flash fiction. Playwriting, screenwriting, journaling, and memoirs are other typical forms.
Students will learn how to use written language to communicate more clearly in their professional and personal lives and move beyond proficient mechanics to writing craftily in an attempt to evoke emotions and express points of view. Careers for creative writers?outside of being a creative writer?include blogger, journalist, composition teacher, copywriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. Creative writers must understand the importance of deadlines and have well-researched writing samples in order to move up the career ladder. The median annual wage of writers and authors was more than $50,000 in May 2010. Religious, professional, and civic industries employed the most writers followed by newspapers and book industries. Creative writers may also be freelance writers. Freelance writers are self-employed individuals who make a living selling their content to publishers. They may simultaneously work on multiple assignments for numerous companies depending on individual financial goals.
Best Creative Writing colleges in the U.S. for 2023
Brown University offers 3 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a medium sized, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2020, 66 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 53 Bachelor's degrees, and 13 Master's degrees.
University of Notre Dame offers 1 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large suburb. In 2020, 10 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 10 Master's degrees.
Johns Hopkins University offers 3 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 72 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 45 Bachelor's degrees, 25 Master's degrees, and 2 Certificates.
Northwestern University offers 3 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 6 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 5 Master's degrees, and 1 Bachelor's degree.
University of Virginia-Main Campus offers 1 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a small suburb. In 2020, 12 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 12 Master's degrees.
University of Southern California offers 2 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 34 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 34 Bachelor's degrees.
The University of Texas at Austin offers 2 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 12 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 7 Master's degrees, and 5 Certificates.
University of Chicago offers 1 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 25 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 25 Bachelor's degrees.
Cornell University offers 1 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 8 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 8 Master's degrees.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor offers 2 Creative Writing degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a midsize city. In 2020, 59 Creative Writing students graduated with students earning 36 Bachelor's degrees, and 23 Master's degrees.
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Best colleges for creative writing.
Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University
If you are interested in pursuing a career in writing, this guide will tell you the thirteen best colleges for creative writing.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. We’d like to update Shakespeare’s methods of achieving greatness by adding one more: attending the perfect college.
Whether your favorite twelfth-grade English teacher inspired you or you want to become the next J.K. Rowling, picking the best creative writing program is crucial to help you gain the right experience and education to enhance your writing skills and excel.
If you’re looking for good colleges for writing, read on to learn more! This guide will list the top thirteen colleges for creative writing and focus on these programs’ education, experience, and costs.
Thirteen Best Colleges for Creative Writing
To save you the worry of searching through all of the creative writing programs the country has to offer, here are the top thirteen best colleges for creative writing.
1. Brown University
If you’re wondering which school has the best creative writing program, Brown University is the top-ranked college to attend for students interested in creative writing.
Brown University’s English Department offers various courses for students to explore their interests and hone their writing skills. Students may choose to enroll in:
- English B.A. to take different types of writing courses
- Comparative Literature B.A .
- Literary Arts B.A .
Once students have completed their B.A., they can join Brown’s Literary Arts Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program, where they can specialize in their desired form of writing: fiction, poetry, digital and cross-disciplinary writing, playwriting, screenwriting, and nonfiction.
In this program, students have the opportunity to conduct their own independent study on their desired topic, which gives them excellent research and writing experience.
While this school has an amazing reputation, it is worth considering that because it is a private university, it has expensive tuition costs! Tuition and fees alone cost around $68,230 per year for undergraduate students.
If you’re interested in applying to Brown , take a look at our complete guide on how to get into this excellent school.
2.University of Iowa
Ranking second in Writing in the Disciplines , the University of Iowa is another great option to consider. This university is nationally recognized as a writing university and offers majors in English as well as English and Creative Writing.
With significantly cheaper tuition costs than the other universities mentioned, Iowa residents can expect to pay only $10,353 annually, and non-residents can expect to pay $32,316! The University of Iowa is a great college for writing if you’re on a budget.
3. Yale University
While Yale University also ranked number two in Writing in the Disciplines , it does not offer specific Creative Writing minors or majors. However, Yale offers English students the opportunity to concentrate on creative writing by taking numerous related courses .
Tuition and fee costs for Yale are $64,700 per year. To help with these costs, Yale offers financial aid, work-study, and teaching assistant positions .
4. Cornell University
Cornell University is another one of the best colleges for creative writing majors. It ranked number four in Writing in the Disciplines and allows English majors to concentrate in Creative Writing. Cornell also offers a creative writing minor .
Graduate students may also join the MFA in Creative Writing program, where they will gain hands-on experience editing and publishing fiction, poetry, essays, and more for EPOCH Magazine .
Similar to the other universities mentioned, Cornell’s tuition and fees cost $65,204 per year.
5. Harvard University
Harvard University is a prestigious school that’s on many students’ radars when they consider attending university. Tying with Cornell for the fourth spot in Writing in the Disciplines , Harvard’s prestige extends into the realm of the arts.
Harvard offers an extensive English B.A. program where students can enroll in various comprehensive creative writing courses .
In fact, there are usually no more than twelve students in each of these classes, ensuring students receive personalized teaching to really refine their writing skills and get the most out of their education. Tuition alone at Harvard costs $54,269 a year.
6. Carleton College
No list of good writing schools would be complete without liberal arts schools. Ranking number sixth in Writing in the Disciplines is the prestigious Carleton College, one of the best colleges for creative writing.
Carleton offers a B.A. in English where students can choose from a breadth of creative courses to enroll in, including a minor in creative writing . Like Brown University, it offers a specialized MFA in Creative Writing .
This college also offers courses where students can build their professional portfolios for when they graduate. Carleton College costs $65,457 in tuition and fees annually. However, Carleton offers various scholarships and aid to help students with these costs.
7. Swarthmore College
Swarthmore is tied with Carleton College for the sixth-best college for creative writing, and it was considered number three among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.
This liberal arts college offers an English B.A . and a Writing Associate program . With this English B.A., students are eligible for paid internships to produce original creative writing projects to build their portfolios and gain valuable experience. Swarthmore College costs $61,992 in tuition yearly.
8. Amherst College
Ranking #8 in Writing in the Disciplines , Amherst is another respectable school for writing majors. The college also ranks as the second school in National Liberal Arts Colleges.
This rural university offers an excellent English B.A. program that teaches students how to think critically and write well.
It also has its very own creative writing center that offers diverse creative writing courses for students. Additionally, it offers an award-winning writing program in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts. Tuition and fee cost $67,280 annually. However, Amherst offers significant financial aid based on need.
9. Duke University
Ranked ninth on our list is Duke University . Duke University offers a general B.A. in English and a creative writing minor . While it does not offer a major in creative writing, it offers various creative writing courses that English majors can take to gain more expertise in the subject.
Unlike the majority of undergraduate arts programs, Duke offers its students internships in New York. Gaining this type of experience is crucial for when you graduate and can help you land your dream job!
Tuition at Duke costs $63,450 per year. However, select students can get full-ride scholarships , which can help you get your dream degree for free!
10. Princeton University
Princeton University is one of the oldest colleges in the U.S. and consistently ranks as one of the best universities in the world. It ranks tenth in U.S. News’ Writing in the Disciplines list. Not only is Princeton a great college for writing, but it’s also ranked as the best university in the nation.
Princeton University offers an English B.A . and a creative writing program that these undergraduate students can join in combination with their B.A. In this program, students work alongside actual practicing writers to gain the most authentic knowledge and experience.
Tuition for this prestigious school is around $59,710 a year , making it one of the cheaper options on this list.
11. Columbia University
Columbia is located in the Big Apple and ranks #11 in Writing in the Disciplines.
Columbia University offers an English and Comparative Literature B.A. program with concentrations in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Literary Translation.
The Poetry concentration , in particular, is considered one of the strongest and most rigorous in the country. Columbia also offers an MFA in Writing for graduates. Columbia’s tuition costs $65,524 per academic year.
However, Columbia is dedicated to reducing students’ tuition costs and states students coming from families with annual incomes less than $150,000 are able to attend Columbia tuition-free ! According to their financial office, about 50% of all Columbia students receive grants of around $63,971.
So, if money is a major factor in your decision, rest assured you have a high chance of receiving significant grants if you attend Columbia University!
12. Hamilton College
Tying with Columbia, Hamilton College tied for the #11 spot in Writing in the Disciplines . Hamilton is one of the few universities that offers a major in creative writing and English Literature. So, if you’d rather concentrate on creative writing rather than just minoring in it, this may be the best creative writing program for you!
At this college, tuition is $65,090 per academic year. For students unable to pay these high costs, Hamilton promises to meet your full demonstrated financial need through a combination of family contributions and financial aid.
13. Agnes Scott College
Last on our list is Agnes Scott College. The college offers an English Literature - Creative Writing major filled with courses that are “characterized by frequent discussion, prioritize originality, and emphasize student-centered workshops.”
The college also runs the Agnes Scott College Annual Writers’ Festival , where writers flock to the campus to read their work and teach and talk to students. Almost every year, one writer runs a one-credit workshop for students.
Annual tuition at Agnes Scott College costs $47,820, making it one of the more affordable colleges on this list.
FAQs: Best Colleges for Creative Writing
If you’re still wondering which program is best for you, these frequently asked questions on the best colleges for creative writing majors can help you to find your answers.
1. What College Has The Best Creative Writing Program?
According to its ranking and reputation, Brown University has the best writing programs and creative writing courses.
2. What is the Best College for Aspiring Writers?
Hamilton College, the University of Iowa, and Agnes Scott College are some of the only schools offering majors in creative writing rather than just minors or courses. For those wishing to focus solely on learning how to write creatively, these universities are the best option.
3. Which Colleges Offer Writing Internships?
Duke University and Swarthmore College offer paid internship programs for their English students. Carleton College requires students to create original writing projects to build their professional portfolios, and Cornell University requires Creative Writing MFA students to edit and publish creative writing for the EPOCH Magazine.
4. What Is The Cheapest Creative Writing Program?
The University of Iowa is significantly cheaper to attend than the other best colleges for creative writing, costing only $10,353 for in-state students and $32,316 for out-of-state students. However, Columbia University offers the most extensive scholarships, as 50% of all of its students receive grants of around $63,971.
5. How Big Are Creative Writing Classes?
In general, they are relatively small compared to classes in other disciplines. For instance, each of Harvard’s creative writing courses only has about twelve students.
These small classes are great because students get to forge meaningful connections with professors (and we all know how important networking is!).
6. How Do I Decide Which Creative Writing Program Is Best For Me?
These schools are all good colleges for writing. However, the main factor you want to consider is what you wish to gain out of your program! If you want to gain a lot of hands-on experience and build your portfolio, choose a school like Duke University, Swarthmore College, or Cornell.
If you’d like to save the most money while attending university, choose a low-tuition school like The University of Iowa.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with helpful insight into the best colleges for creative writing. No matter which school you choose to attend, these thirteen schools are the very best and will truly help you kickstart your career as a writer!
As Shakespeare said, parting is such sweet sorrow. But now that you have all the information you need on the experience, education, and cost of the best creative writing programs the nation has to offer, you can pick your perfect college and program that will help you achieve greatness!
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The Best Colleges for Creative Writing
- Post author: TransferGoat
- Post published: 5 Jun 2023
- Post category: Academic Disciplines
In today’s world, where the written word holds immense power, the art of creative writing is more relevant than ever. For aspiring wordsmiths seeking to refine their craft and nurture their unique voice, choosing the right college is crucial. With numerous institutions offering creative writing programs, it can be overwhelming to identify the best one. Through extensive research, we have found that the best colleges for creative writing are, Yale, Amherst, Northwestern, Harvard, University of Iowa, Swarthmore, Brown and Columbia.
In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the realm of creative writing and unveil the top colleges. These colleges stand out for their exceptional programs, renowned faculty, and vibrant literary communities. Whether you dream of penning the next great American novel, crafting mesmerizing poetry, or exploring the intricacies of screenwriting, this article will serve as your compass to navigate the sea of possibilities. If you are thinking about majoring in English, be sure to check out our blog post on Best Colleges for English Majors .
Yale ‘s Creative Writing Program
Yale’s undergraduate program in creative writing falls under the auspices of the English Department . Yale’s creative writing program is renowned for its commitment to intellectual rigor and literary exploration. The program offers students a rich and diverse educational experience. It combines foundational coursework, specialized workshops, and close mentorship from accomplished faculty.
At the heart of Yale’s creative writing program lies its distinguished faculty. Comprising renowned authors, poets, and playwrights, these esteemed mentors bring a wealth of expertise and industry experience to the classroom. With their guidance and mentorship, students are exposed to a wide range of writing styles, genres, and techniques. These methods enable students to refine their craft and nurture their unique literary voice.
Yale’s undergraduate creative writing program places a strong emphasis on developing a solid foundation in the fundamentals of writing. Students engage in courses that explore the intricacies of narrative structure, character development, poetic forms, and the art of storytelling. This comprehensive approach ensures that students acquire a versatile skill set that can be applied across various literary genres.
Yale’s Workshop Model
Central to Yale’s creative writing program is the workshop model. The workshop model provides students with a supportive and collaborative environment for honing their writing skills. In these small, intimate settings, students share their work with peers and receive constructive feedback. This community fosters a culture of critique and growth. Through rigorous workshop discussions, students learn to analyze and appreciate the nuances of others’ work.
Yale’s commitment to fostering a vibrant literary community extends beyond the classroom. The university is home to several esteemed literary journals. Some include “The Yale Review” and “Yale Daily News Literary Magazine.” These journals provide students with invaluable opportunities to showcase their work and gain exposure to the publishing world. These platforms allow students to refine their editing and publishing skills while connecting with established literary figures and industry professionals.
Amherst College Creative Writing Program
Amherst College has established itself as a premier institution for nurturing creative minds. With a rich history dating back to 1821, Amherst College boasts a vibrant undergraduate program in creative writing. This program combines rigorous academic training with an immersive literary experience.
Amherst College offers a diverse range of courses that cater to various genres and writing styles. The open curriculum offers a range of courses, starting with introductory classes that establish the fundamentals of storytelling. It also includes advanced workshops designed to challenge and enhance students’ skills in the craft of creative writing.
Amherst Writing Center
Amherst’s Writing Center serves as a hub for fostering collaboration and intellectual exchange among aspiring writers. The center provides a supportive environment. Students can engage in peer-to-peer workshops, seek feedback on their work, and engage in discussions on the writing process. Additionally, the Writing Center hosts regular readings, open mic nights, and literary events. These opportunities create a vibrant literary community that fuels inspiration and creativity.
Amherst College takes pride in its commitment to bringing renowned writers and poets to campus through its Literary Arts Series. This series features acclaimed authors who conduct public readings, engage in conversations about their work, and offer insights into the evolving landscape of the literary world. These events expose students to a diverse range of literary voices and provide opportunities for interactions with established writers.
Northwestern ‘s Creative Writing Program
At Northwestern, the undergraduate creative writing program is housed within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences . The program provides students with a robust foundation in the craft of writing. The program’s curriculum combines workshops, seminars, and literature courses. These opportunities allow students to explore diverse genres and develop a comprehensive understanding of the literary landscape.
Northwestern University offers numerous opportunities for students to showcase their work and gain exposure to the publishing industry. The program supports various student-run literary journals, such as TriQuarterly and Helicon. The program provides a platform for students to publish their poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
Furthermore, Northwestern hosts the annual Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art Writing Prize. This price recognizes outstanding student work in art criticism. This competition allows students to engage with the visual arts and develop their skills in critical writing. These skills open doors to interdisciplinary collaboration and artistic exploration.
Northwestern is the Residential College
One unique aspect of the undergraduate creative writing program at Northwestern is the Residential College option. This opportunity allows a select group of students to live and work together in a close-knit community. In doing so students foster an environment of constant artistic inspiration and collaboration.
Residential College students have access to special workshops, mentorship opportunities, and intimate discussions with faculty members. This immersive experience not only enhances their writing skills but also nurtures lifelong friendships.
Last but not least, Northwestern University’s undergraduate creative writing program has a strong track record of producing successful writers. These individuals are known to go on to make their mark in the literary world. The program’s extensive alumni network includes award-winning authors, published poets, acclaimed playwrights, and screenwriters.
Brown ‘s Creative Writing Program
Brown offers an undergraduate program that empowers aspiring writers to explore the vast landscape of creative writing. Let’s delve into the specifics of Brown’s creative writing program and uncover the elements that make it an ideal choice for creative writers.
What sets Brown University apart is its commitment to interdisciplinary education. The undergraduate program encourages students to explore connections between creative writing and other fields of study. For example, history, philosophy, sociology, or even the sciences. This interdisciplinary approach broadens perspectives, infuses fresh ideas into writing, and fosters the development of well-rounded writers.
Brown University thrives on its vibrant literary scene, with a plethora of events, readings, and writing communities. These groups further enrich the undergraduate experience. From visiting writers and established authors sharing their insights to open mic nights and literary festivals, the campus buzzes with creative energy. Engaging with these events allows students to gain exposure to different writing styles, broaden their literary horizons, and build connections with fellow writers.
Harvard ‘s Creative Writing Program
Harvard’s undergraduate creative writing program is housed within the English Department . The English department prides itself on fostering a vibrant and intellectually stimulating literary community. The program offers a rigorous curriculum that immerses students in the art and craft of writing across various genres. Some include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting.
Central to Harvard’s creative writing program are its dynamic writing workshops and seminars. These events students engage in lively discussions, receive constructive feedback, and refine their craft. These intimate settings allow for personalized attention and foster a supportive environment conducive to creative exploration. Students have the opportunity to workshop their writing under the guidance of accomplished faculty and in collaboration with talented peers.
For students seeking to undertake a more substantial creative writing project, Harvard offers a thesis track option. This allows dedicated writers to work closely with a faculty advisor and embark on an in-depth exploration of their chosen genre. The thesis track provides a unique opportunity for focused creative work, culminating in a substantial body of writing that reflects the student’s artistic vision and growth.
The Harvard Advocate
The Harvard Advocate, established in 1866, is one of the oldest and most respected undergraduate literary magazines in the US. As a writer at Harvard, you’ll have the chance to contribute and showcase your work to a broader audience. The Advocate serves as a platform for emerging voices, nurturing literary talent and providing valuable exposure to the literary world.
Finally, Harvard University presents numerous writing prizes and fellowships, recognizing outstanding literary achievements and supporting aspiring writers. These prestigious awards provide not only recognition but also financial support and opportunities for further development. Winning a Harvard writing prize can open doors to publishing opportunities and serve as a notable credential in the competitive literary world.
University of Iowa ‘s Creative Writing Program
When it comes to creative writing, the University of Iowa stands as a legendary institution renowned for its prestigious Writers’ Workshop. Established in 1936, the Writers’ Workshop has served as a beacon for emerging writers, offering a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment for literary exploration. The undergraduate program at the University of Iowa builds upon this rich tradition, providing aspiring writers with a comprehensive education that fosters their artistic growth.
As stated, an integral part of the University of Iowa’s undergraduate creative writing program is the workshop experience. Within these intimate and supportive settings, students have the opportunity to share their work with peers and receive constructive feedback. Guided by experienced faculty, these workshops foster a vibrant community of emerging writers, providing a safe space to explore ideas, experiment with different writing styles, and gain valuable insights into the art of revision.
Why Attend the University of Iowa for Creative Writing
The undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Iowa offers a robust and dynamic curriculum designed to cultivate versatile writers skilled in multiple genres. Students have the flexibility to explore a wide range of writing forms, including fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting. The program provides a balanced mix of foundational courses and advanced workshops that challenge students to refine their skills and push the boundaries of their creative expression.
Courses such as “Introduction to Creative Writing” lay the groundwork for understanding the essential elements of storytelling, while specialized courses like “Writing Poetry” and “Writing Fiction” delve deeper into the nuances and techniques specific to each genre. Additionally, students can choose from an array of electives, allowing them to further hone their craft or explore related disciplines such as literature, screenwriting, or journalism.
The University of Iowa’s undergraduate creative writing program boasts an impressive list of alumni who have made significant contributions to the literary world. Notable writers who have honed their craft at the University of Iowa include Flannery O’Connor, John Irving, and Yiyun Li, among many others. The program’s rich history and influential alumni network open doors to publishing opportunities, fellowships, and writing residencies for its graduates, providing a strong foundation for their future careers.
Swarthmore College Creative Writing Program
Swarthmore College’s undergraduate program in creative writing is built upon a rigorous curriculum designed to develop students’ writing skills across various genres and forms. The program offers a wide array of courses that cover foundational elements of storytelling, poetic techniques, narrative structure, and the exploration of diverse literary traditions. Students have the flexibility to choose from an extensive range of elective courses, allowing them to delve deeper into their areas of interest.
The curriculum is designed to cultivate critical thinking and a deep appreciation for the written word. Courses often emphasize close reading and analysis of literary texts, fostering a nuanced understanding of the craft and encouraging students to develop their unique literary voice.
Why Attend Swarthmore for Creative Writing
Swarthmore College takes immense pride in its exceptional faculty, consisting of accomplished writers who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom. These esteemed mentors, who are themselves published authors and poets, play a vital role in guiding and inspiring students on their creative journeys.
Faculty members at Swarthmore College are deeply committed to nurturing the individual talents of their students. They offer personalized attention and mentorship, providing valuable feedback on students’ written work and encouraging them to push the boundaries of their creative expression. With their diverse backgrounds and areas of specialization, the faculty ensures that students receive a well-rounded education in creative writing.
Swarthmore College recognizes the importance of experiential learning and global perspectives in the development of creative writers. The college offers study abroad programs that allow students to immerse themselves in different cultural landscapes. This way students can gain new insights and inspirations for their writing.
Moreover, Swarthmore College encourages students to participate in internships and writing-related activities beyond the campus, providing opportunities to engage with the broader literary community. These real-world experiences not only enhance students’ writing skills but also help them build professional networks and gain a deeper understanding of the industry.
Columbia University Creative Writing
Nestled in the vibrant literary community of New York City, Columbia University’s undergraduate creative writing program has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the nation. With its rich history and commitment to nurturing emerging writers, Columbia offers an unparalleled educational experience that combines rigorous coursework, distinguished faculty, and a supportive artistic community.
Columbia’s undergraduate creative writing program offers a robust and comprehensive core curriculum designed to foster students’ creative growth and hone their writing skills. The program encompasses a wide array of courses across various genres, providing students with a well-rounded education in creative writing.
Why Attend Columbia University for Creative Writing
Students can explore foundational courses such as Introduction to Fiction Writing, Introduction to Poetry Writing, and Introduction to Playwriting. These courses lay the groundwork for developing essential writing techniques, exploring narrative structures, and crafting compelling characters.
In addition to the core curriculum, Columbia offers a multitude of specialized courses to cater to students’ individual interests. From Advanced Fiction Writing and Poetry Workshop to Screenwriting and Writing for Performance, students have the opportunity to delve deeper into their chosen genre and refine their unique artistic voice.
Additionally, Columbia University’s location in New York City offers unparalleled opportunities for aspiring writers. The city’s literary scene is bustling, with numerous literary events, readings, and open-mic nights taking place throughout the year. Students have the chance to attend author readings, engage with renowned literary figures, and immerse themselves in the vibrant literary culture that defines the city.
Columbia University’s undergraduate creative writing program offers a rigorous and enriching educational experience for aspiring writers. With its distinguished faculty, comprehensive curriculum, abundance of literary resources, and unique opportunities in the heart of New York City, the program provides students with the tools and support they need to cultivate their literary talents.
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12 Best Colleges for Creative Writing 
02.03.2023 • 11 min read
Subject Matter Expert
Learn about the top colleges for creative writing, tips on what to consider when choosing a creative writing major, and answers to frequently asked questions.
In This Article
The Best Creative Writing Programs
What to consider about college for creative writing majors, best literary colleges faqs.
Writing well is a tremendous asset in nearly every industry. In fact, one of the top skills employers look for in employees is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively through writing .
Completing a degree at one of the top colleges for creative writing can deliver more career opportunities than you may think. You could work in publishing, media, higher education, or marketing and advertising.
You can also use your storytelling and creative thinking skills to work as a freelancer. As an independent contractor, you can set your own rates and choose your work hours.
This introduction to 12 of the best colleges for creative writing majors will help you select the right program for your career goals. We’ll even tell you what to look for when comparing some of the leading literary colleges. Let’s get started!
Students who choose to enroll in a creative writing program are looking at factors like location, curriculum, and the quality of the instructors.
While many differences exist, all creative writing degree programs offer instruction in the primary literary forms:
Some schools offer instruction in additional forms, including:
When selecting a program you would enjoy, also make sure the instruction fits your learning needs.
Some schools offer seminars, resident writers, literary journals, and other perks beyond the standard workshops and courses.
The following 12 programs currently rank among the best writing programs offered in the U.S.
1. Columbia University
The Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia University boasts one of the most prestigious literary histories.
Well-known writers like J.D. Salinger, Federico Garcia Lorca, Eudora Welty, Langston Hughes, and Jack Kerouac have taken creative writing courses at the university. The roster of instructors in the undergraduate program is equally as impressive.
The program offers seminars designed for creative writers plus courses in the following writing forms:
Students also have access to a thriving School of Arts and can move on to the prestigious MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing program.
2. Emory University
The Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Emory University started more than 30 years ago. It remains one of the most reputable colleges for aspiring writers ready to start professional careers.
The university requires an application and instructor permission to enter all creative writing courses. Students can major in creative writing or participate in creative writing workshops while completing other degree programs.
The school provides writing workshops and courses in the following disciplines:
3. Brown University
Brown University is one of the leading universities for English literature and creative writing. They are also among the best colleges for writers interested in music, performance arts, and visual arts.
The Undergraduate Department of Literary Arts offers cross-disciplinary courses in all of those disciplines for students pursuing degrees in creative writing. Students can select from a diverse catalog of creative writing workshops, literature courses, independent study courses, and honors workshops.
Creative writing courses are available in the following disciplines:
4. Colorado College
Colorado College offers a creative writing track for English majors who wish to focus on creative writing. The program offers more than the typical writing workshops and seminars at some of the other best colleges for creative writing. In fact, many of the elective courses are taught by guest professors. These distinguished guests are writers themselves.
Students benefit from multiple literary resources exclusive to the college, including:
Hairstreak Butterfly Review and other magazines and publications
Visiting Writers Series
Literary publishing practicum
Student-led spoken word group (SpeakEasy)
Campus printing press studio
Fine Arts Center
Specialized library collections
These benefits make Colorado College one of the leading colleges for creative writing majors able to attend classes in Colorado Springs. The creative writing faculty includes some published authors, making it a top choice for authors as well.
5. Duke University
Duke University may offer the best creative writing program for students with a shared interest in theater and performance arts. Students have access to courses in theater and documentary studies.
The school also has a collection of writing courses, workshops, and seminars in the following writing forms:
Students at Duke have many opportunities to learn from other writers through the writers-in-residence program. The university also invests heavily in conferences, readings, and visiting speakers for the creative writing program.
6. Cornell University
Cornell University allows students to enroll as English majors with a concentration in creative writing. Students can also complete courses from the creative writing program as minors.
Writing workshops are available in the following literary forms:
The university is home to a reputable reading series where multiple published authors visit for live readings and social receptions. This college is excellent for authors interested in networking with other authors.
7. Northwestern University
Northwestern University was one of the first colleges in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate creative writing program. Today, the school has a highly competitive creative writing major . It serves as a concentration within the English department.
Students have access to workshops and courses in the following disciplines:
This university ranks as one of the best literary colleges in part because the faculty includes award-winning authors. The school hosts a Festival of Writing every spring, and students have opportunities to network with and learn from visiting writers.
8. Oberlin College
The creative writing program at Oberlin College offers a collaborative and immersive experience for writers who want the freedom to experiment.
The program focuses on workshops where students learn from one another while preparing for several literary careers. It’s a studio environment best suited to students who want to work closely with a small group of peers.
Oberlin also offers a wide variety of courses in the following disciplines:
9. Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University is home to one of the most reputable graduate programs for writing. It only makes sense they also made the list of the top colleges for creative writing undergraduate programs.
The 16-credit creative writing certificate can be taken with any bachelor’s degree major and offers students a workshop model of instruction. Students in this program learn how to become better writers by writing alongside current professional writers.
The program focuses on courses within the 3 primary forms of writing:
All creative writing courses take the form of workshops. This format allows students to read and critique one another’s work in a professional and inclusive environment. Instructors are professional writers with qualifications well-suited to guiding new writers toward lucrative writing careers.
10. Wichita State University
Wichita State University is an outstanding college for writers who want to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees from the same institution. The school offers a studio-academic Master of Fine Arts program for students studying fiction or poetry at the most advanced level.
The program allows undergraduate students to major or minor in creative writing. They have access to visiting writers, a school literary journal, and national press internships.
This program's course selection covers the 3 primary forms of writing
11. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is an excellent choice for writers interested in transferring credits from other institutions or online programs. The creative writing degree program allows students to transfer up to 90 credits and offers competitive pricing per credit hour for the remaining courses.
Unlike the other programs in this list, all courses at SNHU are virtual. SNHU is one of the best colleges for creative writing majors who value the flexibility of online classes.
Four concentration options are available for this program:
12. Boise State University
The creative writing program at Boise State University is ideal for students who want to learn from acclaimed writers with bestselling novels and prize-winning poetry collections to their credit.
The program offers theory classes with a wide range of modern writing disciplines, including speculative fiction and graphic novels. Most courses focus on the following writing forms:
Boise State is also home to the literary journal The Idaho Review and the Free Poetry chapbook series. Students may have the opportunity to work with those publications to gain experience prior to graduation.
What exactly are you looking for when comparing the finest literary colleges? Consider these factors to help you select the right programs.
You can save money on your education by completing some courses online. But make sure the credits are transferable to the school offering your creative writing program.
For example, Golden Gate University’s Degrees+ powered by Outlier allows students to take courses online at a fraction of the price of traditional college. Students can earn their associate degree and transfer their credits into over 500 different institutions to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
The best creative writing programs have a reputation for high-quality education from prestigious and trustworthy instructors. Make sure you align with the values and vision of your chosen institution.
Keep in mind many quality schools out there to look into. Take the time to do some research, ask former students, and speak with an advisor.
The top colleges for writers will offer a wide selection of courses related to writing, literature, liberal arts, history, and more. They may also give writers the chance to earn certifications to enter into lucrative careers.
An exceptional creative writing program produces successful graduates. Look at the percentage of students who complete their degree and how many go on to graduate school or successful careers in writing, editing, research, or reporting.
Can you make it to on-campus classes without neglecting other responsibilities like managing a full-time job while going to school ? Are there options to attend some or all courses online for your convenience? Figure out what your needs are and make sure you can commit to your education.
Many high-quality college programs come with a high price tag. But you can cut your college costs. Fill out a FAFSA —Free Application for Federal Student Aid—and look into grant and scholarship opportunities to get free money to help pay for school.
What can I do with a creative writing degree?
A bachelor’s degree in creative writing can prepare you for a career in technical or creative writing, reporting, editing, or proofreading. You can build a career writing everything from novels and short stories to technical manuals and marketing materials for businesses.
Several editing and reporting jobs are available to writers with a solid command of grammar and a high level of writing ability. Almost any career you may go into in the future will value your writing skills.
What is the best degree for creative writing?
Degrees in creative writing and literature are among the most popular for those interested in building careers in writing. Other excellent degree options include journalism, liberal arts, and even history.
College history programs are notorious for demanding written papers, and the knowledge gained may allow graduates to specialize in historical writing.
Studying the sciences is another lucrative career option, combining writing with specialized knowledge. As of December 2022, science writers earned an average of $63,331 per year.
Science writers may:
Edit a science journal
Research and write grant proposals
Write training material and research summaries in the medical field
Is it worth it to major in creative writing?
Being able to articulate yourself and your ideas clearly is an in-demand skill in nearly any industry. No matter if you are considering going back to school in your 40s or pursuing writing right out of high school, a creative writing degree is a solid investment.
A creative writing degree is worth the investment if you’re serious about building a new career based on writing. You can also select a minor or earn a professional certificate to hone your skills and specialize in a field of interest.
By graduating college with such a sought-after skill, you’ll set yourself up for career success.
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The Most Affordable Colleges for 2023
Cheapest Colleges for Creative Writing
All annual price data are reprinted from the U.S. Department of Education's 2022 IPEDS Survey and multi-year program estimates are made based on multiples of yearly figures. Please contact schools directly to confirm current and specific program pricing as we cannot guarantee our estimate accuracy.
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2023 Best Creative Writing Master's Degree Schools
For its 2023 ranking, College Factual looked at 154 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for creative writing students pursuing a master's degree. Combined, these schools handed out 2,996 master's degrees in creative writing to qualified students.
What's on this page: * Our Methodology
- Best Master’s Degree Schools List
Choosing a Great Creative Writing School for Your Master's Degree
Quality Overall Is Important
The overall quality of a master's degree school is important to ensure a good education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we include a college's overall Best Colleges for a Master's Degree ranking which itself looks at a host of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.
Other Factors We Consider
The metrics below are just some of the other metrics that we use to determine our rankings.
- Major Focus - How many resources a school devotes to creative writing students as compared to other majors.
- Major Demand - The number of creative writing students who choose to seek a master's degree at the school.
- Educational Resources - How many resources are allocated to students. These resources may include educational expenditures per student, number of students per instructor, and graduation rate among other things.
- Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or accredited by a recognized creative writing related body.
Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for creative writing students working on their master's degree.
More Ways to Rank Creative Writing Schools
When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings , including this Best Creative Writing Master's Degree Schools list to help you make the college decision.
Featured Creative Writing Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
MFA in Creative Writing - Online
Embrace your passion for storytelling and learn the professional writing skills you'll need to succeed with our online MFA in Creative Writing. Write your novel or short story collection while earning a certificate in the Online Teaching of Writing or Professional Writing, with no residency requirement.
MA in English & Creative Writing
Refine your writing skills and take a step toward furthering your career with this online master's from Southern New Hampshire University.
Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction
Harness your passion for storytelling with SNHU's Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. In this small, two-year creative writing program, students work one-on-one with our distinguished faculty remotely for most of the semester but convene for weeklong intensive residencies in June and January. At residencies, students critique each other's work face-to-face, meet with major authors, agents and editors and learn how to teach at the college level.
Best Schools for Master’s Students to Study Creative Writing in the United States
Below you'll see a list of the best colleges and universities for pursuing a master's degree in creative writing. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.
23 Top Schools for a Master's in Creative Writing
It's hard to beat Johns Hopkins University if you want to pursue a master's degree in creative writing. Located in the city of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University
Northwestern University is a great decision for students pursuing a master's degree in creative writing. Located in the small city of Evanston, Northwestern is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Northwestern University
It's hard to beat Columbia University in the City of New York if you want to pursue a master's degree in creative writing. Columbia is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of New York. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Columbia University in the City of New York
It's difficult to beat University of Washington - Seattle Campus if you want to pursue a master's degree in creative writing. UW Seattle is a very large public university located in the city of Seattle. More information about a master’s in creative writing from University of Washington - Seattle Campus
Notre Dame is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Notre Dame. More information about a master’s in creative writing from University of Notre Dame
Iowa State is a very large public university located in the small city of Ames. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Iowa State University
Located in the small city of Iowa City, Iowa is a public university with a very large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from University of Iowa
Located in the large city of Boston, Boston U is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Boston University
WUSTL is a large private not-for-profit university located in the suburb of Saint Louis. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Washington University in St Louis
UMN Twin Cities is a very large public university located in the large city of Minneapolis. More information about a master’s in creative writing from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Located in the city of Syracuse, Syracuse is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Syracuse University
Located in the town of Oxford, Miami University - Oxford is a public university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Miami University - Oxford
UT Austin is a very large public university located in the city of Austin. More information about a master’s in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin
Located in the midsize city of Ann Arbor, U-M is a public university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Located in the city of Cambridge, Harvard is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Harvard University
Located in the suburb of Fairfax, GMU is a public university with a very large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from George Mason University
Located in the city of Nashville, Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Vanderbilt University
NYU is a very large private not-for-profit university located in the city of New York. More information about a master’s in creative writing from New York University
Located in the town of Bowling Green, BGSU is a public university with a large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
Located in the small city of Saint Charles, Lindenwood University is a private not-for-profit university with a medium-sized student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Lindenwood University
Located in the city of Raleigh, NC State is a public university with a fairly large student population. More information about a master’s in creative writing from North Carolina State University
Emerson is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit college located in the large city of Boston. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Emerson College
NAU is a fairly large public university located in the city of Flagstaff. More information about a master’s in creative writing from Northern Arizona University
Rest of the Top Best Creative Writing Master's Degree Schools
These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Creative Writing Master's Degree Schools award.
Creative Writing by Region
View the Best Creative Writing Master's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.
Best associate degrees in creative writing, best doctorate degrees in creative writing, best bachelor's degrees in creative writing, best overall in creative writing.
View All Rankings >
Rankings in Majors Related to Creative Writing
Creative Writing is one of 4 different types of Writing Studies programs to choose from.
Most Popular Related Majors
Notes and references.
- The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
- The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ( IPEDS ) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
- Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s ( College Scorecard ).
- Credit for the banner image above goes to KOKUYO . More about our data sources and methodologies .
Compare your school options.
- English, Concentration in Creative Writing B.A. and Minor
- Department Directory
- Department of English
- Department of English Undergraduate Programs
Do you want to study creative writing?
Creative writing concentrators study and write poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction in workshops and literature classes that focus on the components of craft, questions of genre and intricacies of art. You will also have the opportunity to gain experience with publishing by becoming a contributing writer or staff member of Shoreline, Rhode Island College's literary magazine. In addition, all students, faculty and the Rhode Island Community are invited to celebrate new writing via student readings, faculty readings and our Visiting Writers Reading Series.
Interested in a creative writing?
Rhode Island College is an exclusive member of the Common Application.
Course information, program/learning goals, writing in the discipline, minor in creative writing.
Here we provide information on course requirements, course descriptions and an Academic Rhode Map for each program, a semester-by-semester plan to help you toward graduation in four years.
Academic Rhode Map English B.A. Creative Writing
General Education at RIC
All degree programs require the completion of ten 4-credit General Education courses: three core courses and seven distribution courses. The goal of General Education is to engage students in deeper study in a wide range of academic disciplines and to introduce them to the habit of inquiry essential to the academic enterprise. For program and course requirements, visit General Education .
Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:
- Analyze both verbal and visual texts from a number of genres and a variety of historical periods.
- Read texts critically and with sensitivity to the historical and cultural conditions within which they are produced.
- Demonstrate the ability to produce effective writing in a variety of critical modes, using the conventions of standard American English. In addition, students choosing to focus on creative writing will demonstrate appropriate ability in this area.
- Understand current theory and be able to employ a variety of theoretical approaches in their critical analyses.
- Incorporate secondary sources and/or traditional and nontraditional research material into the analysis of texts, using correct MLA style.
- Understand the goals of the major and assess the strengths and weaknesses of their program.
Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?
Writing is central to all aspects of the discipline of English. It is a means of thinking about texts and how writers create them, of reflecting on learning, of discovering and demonstrating new knowledge, of applying critical and creative ways of thinking to disciplinary issues and problems, of understanding oneself and the world, of developing intellectual agency and of working for social change.
Which courses are designated as satisfying the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement by your department? Why these courses?
The concentration in creative writing has the following WID courses:
ENGL 220: Introduction to Creative Writing
ENGL 371: Intermediate Creative Writing, Fiction
ENGL 372: Intermediate Creative Writing, Poetry
ENGL 373: Intermediate Creative Writing, Nonfiction Prose
ENGL 461: Advanced Workshop in Creative Writing
These courses were chosen because they represent key moments in each program where you will learn and demonstrate writing knowledge and skills. We would add, however, that virtually all courses in English, and especially those in creative writing and professional writing, are writing-intensive, where writing is assigned, taught and evaluated.
What forms or genres of writing will you learn and practice in your WID courses? Why these genres?
The range of genres or forms of writing in which you will engage and practice is too extensive to list in its entirety and depends, to a significant extent, on your chosen concentration within the major. Having said this, we offer a few examples of the writing students do in different concentrations below.
Within the literature concentration, students produce literary/cultural analysis papers that require skills of close reading and knowledge of and dexterity with applying critical and analytical approaches to texts.
Within the creative writing concentration students practice the writing skills that inform key literary genres such as fiction, poetry and nonfiction.
Within the professional writing concentration, students produce reports, proposals, analysis papers, research papers and various digital and multimodal texts.
Students in each concentration must take courses in the other concentrations, so they will range outside the genres described above to experiment with and practice a variety of academic, creative and professional genres of writing.
What kinds of teaching practices will you encounter in your WID courses?
The English Department has long prided itself on engaging in “best practices” when it comes to the teaching of writing. We will engage you in scaffolded writing assignments that initially include low-stakes or informal writing to help you make sense of challenging readings and materials; in this way you write to learn as you learn to write. You will also practice key moves in lower stakes writing assignments that inform higher stakes writing projects for midterm papers and final projects. Small group workshops and tutorials are a regular part of our practice and provide crucial feedback for effective writing. In virtually all of your courses we provide models and exemplars of the work we ask you to produce. We often hold one-on-one conferences to guide you in individual challenges and difficulties. In sum, we engage in the full-range of practices that research in the teaching and learning of writing has shown helps students learn to write well.
When you have satisfied your department’s WID requirement, you should be able to:
- Demonstrate intellectual competency, critical thinking, close reading, the ability to break large assignments into manageable pieces and the skills to revise and edit your own work.
- Use writing to problem solve, to collaborate and persuade, to reason and come to a conclusion based on reliable information and to reflect on yourself, your learning and the world around you.
- Produce writing that is guided by purpose and engages and moves an intended audience. You will, finally, know that learning to write well is a lifelong journey and that to succeed as a writer you must be adaptable and flexible, suiting your words to the situation. You will know that writing can help change the world.
Declaring a minor allows you to explore other areas of interest and make interdisciplinary connections. Minor areas at RIC complement and reinforce all major areas of study. By declaring a minor, you can set yourself apart as a candidate for job, internship and volunteer opportunities.
Minor in Creative Writing
Dr. Karen Lee Boren
- email [email protected]
- phone 401-456-4648
- Request Information
Top 20 colleges for aspiring writers.
Daily Guide to Campus Life
By Meaghan Healy Junior > English and Communications > Boston College
What will you do with a creative writing major?
Prepare for the skeptics -- a creative writing major is not for the faint of heart. If you're serious about your craft, you'll need a creative writing program that will whip your writing into shape. We've uncovered programs with reputable alumni and faculty, scholarship opportunities, inventive writing courses and thriving literary magazines. We're talking programs so exclusive they often require a manuscript application. No school can guarantee you'll be the next great American author, but these 10 will get you pretty damn close.
20. Emerson College
Every writer wants to get published. You have a solid chance of seeing your work in print at Boston's Emerson College. Their endless list of literary magazines range from screenplays to comics. To dig deeper into the writing process, Emerson's general magazines immerse their students in the learning process with on-the-job lessons in reporting, editing, copyediting, blogging and photography.
19. Colorado College
Learn from the best. Colorado College in Colorado Springs places heavy emphasis on creative writing majors studying literature in depth to prepare them for strenuous writing workshops. The department requires each student to learn the foundations of literature including the Bible. Another unique requirement of the track: taking an arts course in which students participate in the art rather than analyze. Prepare to dig out that old camera for your creative writing major.
18. Boston University
Creative writing is no mere matter at Boston University. Although the list of available classes lacks variety, taking an advanced course requires some serious commitment. Since each class only seats about ten students, you've got to show your stuff to get accepted. Poetry courses require at least five poems to be considered, while fiction courses require at least one short story. The distinguished faculty, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, the poetry editor for The New York Times and multiple notable authors, make the effort worth the experience.
17. University of California (Irvine)
If you can't make up your mind, but think you might like to study creative writing, University of California, Irvine offers a flexible program. The emphasis only requires four courses to complete the concentration and you don't even need to be an English major. On the other hand, less than half of applicants get accepted into advanced workshops to allow for more personalized and intensive work. Quality over quantity, right?
16. University of Michigan
Practice makes perfect, especially in creative writing. That's why your teachers insisted you re-write your essays five billion times. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor bleeds this mantra. You'll write and write and re-write until you've produced a manuscript by the end of your creative writing concentration. Yes, you heard right; you must work with faculty in your last term to produce a full-length work of prose. That's an assignment you won't want to leave to the last minute. We would like to think Chris Van Allsburg ( Jumanji, The Polar Express ) and Christopher Paul Curtis ( Elijah of Buxton, The Watsons Go to Birmingham , both Newberry Honor Book award winners) submitted their first children's books when they graduated.
15. Wesleyan University
At Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT you can take courses with internationally known poets such as Elizabeth Willis and best-selling authors such as Amy Bloom. If out-of-class learning experiences better satiate your creative writing urges, look no further than Wesleyan's long list of magazines and publications. You'll have a piece in at least one of the lit mags, including Unlocked, focused on sexuality through artistic expression. 14. University of Notre Dame
Think you're Pulitzer Prize or Poet Laureate material? University of Notre Dame will gladly add you to their long list of successful alumni, including Edwin O'Connor (Pulitzer Prize-winner), Samuel John Hazo (Poet Laureate) and writers including the romantic Nicholas Sparks. Notre Dame loves its creative students, evident by the host of scholarships offered just for poetry and fiction writers. Maybe you'll even find your match reading The Notebook in the dining hall.
13. Vanderbilt University
Some lucky students have secured their pen name by junior year of high school. Vanderbilt awards those students with the option of the 4+1 program, which allows you to complete a BA and MA in creative writing in five years. To develop your knowledge even more, Vanderbilt requires students study pre-1800 literature as well as ethnic literature to achieve a creative writing degree. So if you know from the start that creative writing suits you, Vanderbilt's program is hard to beat.
12. Cornell University
Cornell University in Ithaca, NY wants you to study creative writing. To show it, they award a whopping five scholarships to creative writers. They probably expect you to pay them back when you're rich and famous, like Cornell alums Pearl S. Buck, Toni Morrison, E.B. White and Kurt Vonnegut, to name a few of the prestigious authors. Not to mention Academy Award-winning screenwriter David Seidler and Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter Sidney Kingsley.
11. Hamilton College
Creativity requires that you are well-rounded. The creative writing program at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY insists that its students take more than an extensive amount of classes in literature and a foreign language. Unlike many other creative writing programs, Hamilton offers screenwriting and playwriting along with the normal fiction, poetry and nonfiction disciplines. You can even delve specifically into novel-to-film adaptations and learn how to write your own.
Go to CollegeMagazine.com to get the full list.
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Best Colleges for Creative Writing
Bookworms and aspiring writers can pursue an undergraduate degree in creative writing where they will tackle coursework covering the reading and writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as the theory and history of the craft. While becoming the next J.K Rowling, Stephen King, or George R.R. Martin may be the goal, holders of creative writing degrees end up on a variety career paths. This can include: publishing, editing, journalism, web content management, advertising, or for those who “make it” as writers—the next generation of literary superstars. Our list of Best Colleges for Creative Writing goes beyond the most famous writer-factories like the University of Iowa and Columbia University, providing you with more than 25 institutions known for their stellar programs in this field.
Click the links below for more information about each college’s creative writing program. Click here to read our methodology. Finally, note that although some of the colleges featured below do not offer a formal major in creative writing, their undergraduate offerings in this subject area are so strong that they warrant inclusion on our list.
Johns Hopkins University
New York University
Sarah Lawrence College
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Southern California
University of Texas at Austin
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin
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Los Angeles, CA •
- • Rating 3.98 out of 5 3,983 reviews
Sophomore: So far I have not started my sophomore year as I am transferring from Pepperdine University. However, from what I have heard, seen, and experienced from USC is that it gives students the opportunity to explore their creative and intellectual sides simultaneously. I recently attended a transfer orientation session and it was filled with school spirit and gave us transfer students an opportunity to connect with the school as well as with other transfers. This orientation was packed with exciting events that truly made each person who attended eager to get on campus in August. USC offers many different programs along with a variety of specific classes and clubs. I am excited to see how this year goes and I am looking forward to joining the many opportunities that USC offers their students! ... Read 3,983 reviews
- grade A+ Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 13%
Net price $26,021
SAT range 1410-1540
#26 Best Colleges in America .
LOS ANGELES, CA ,
3983 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says So far I have not started my sophomore year as I am transferring from Pepperdine University. However, from what I have heard, seen, and experienced from USC is that it gives students the opportunity... .
Read 3983 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : A+ ,
Acceptance Rate : 13% ,
Net Price : $26,021 ,
SAT Range : 1410-1540 ,
Atlanta, GA •
- • Rating 3.83 out of 5 1,590 reviews
Freshman: I have the pleasure of attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and overall, my experience has been extremely positive. Emory is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. The university boasts an impressive faculty, a plethora of academic programs, and a vibrant campus community. However, I do believe there is room for Emory to improve in a couple of areas. The administrative processes, at times, can be a bit cumbersome and bureaucratic. Streamlining these processes would alleviate some frustrations for both students and faculty. Additionally, while Emory has a multitude of extracurricular activities, there is a need for more community engagement opportunities that connect students with the surrounding Atlanta area. ... Read 1,590 reviews
Net price $28,367
SAT range 1420-1540
#36 Best Colleges in America .
ATLANTA, GA ,
1590 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says I have the pleasure of attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and overall, my experience has been extremely positive. Emory is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, and it certainly... However, I do believe there is room for Emory to improve in a couple of areas. The administrative processes, at times, can be a bit cumbersome and bureaucratic. Streamlining these processes would... .
Read 1590 reviews.
Net Price : $28,367 ,
SAT Range : 1420-1540 ,
New York University
New York, NY •
- • Rating 3.75 out of 5 5,641 reviews
Junior: To start, living on my own in the city has been an authentic experience that has helped me grow as a young adult, taking on new responsibilities and meeting different people! Overall, college is what you make it. There are so many resources and opportunities, some clearly offered and pushed, and some just found by research or who you know (so be friendly and make connections!). Regarding classes, my professors are very inspiring, with expertise and experience. With the educational aspect, you'll learn the concrete information (rules and details of a concept) by studying and reading; you have to put in your own effort if you want to learn, either on your own time out of class, or for an assignment. Discussions and work in class with the professor are more on the abstract side of things, regarding ideals and philosophies, making you think about the world around you and how you can make a positive impact. Content and work differs by class, but your education relies on your effort! ... Read 5,641 reviews
Net price $50,991
SAT range 1450-1570
#45 Best Colleges in America .
NEW YORK, NY ,
5641 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says To start, living on my own in the city has been an authentic experience that has helped me grow as a young adult, taking on new responsibilities and meeting different people! Overall, college is what... .
Read 5641 reviews.
Net Price : $50,991 ,
SAT Range : 1450-1570 ,
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Point Park University
- • Rating 3.49 out of 5 1,008
- • Rating 3.83 out of 5 1,590
- • Rating 3.82 out of 5 3,839
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA •
- • Rating 3.79 out of 5 3,818 reviews
Sophomore: The University of Iowa is a great school, especially for people interested in pursuing a career in writing like I am. There is a great variety of classes, and the campus and student environment is really great. There are also plenty of organizations and clubs to join as well, which is a great way to get involved on campus and to make friends! There are a bit too many required gen eds in my opinion, especially if you're a double major, but other than that, I love the school so far! ... Read 3,818 reviews
- grade A Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 86%
Net price $17,599
SAT range 1130-1350
#113 Best Colleges in America .
IOWA CITY, IA ,
3818 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says The University of Iowa is a great school, especially for people interested in pursuing a career in writing like I am. There is a great variety of classes, and the campus and student environment is... .
Read 3818 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : A ,
Acceptance Rate : 86% ,
Net Price : $17,599 ,
SAT Range : 1130-1350 ,
Loyola Marymount University
- • Rating 3.76 out of 5 1,735 reviews
Senior: This university has contributed to the academic, social, and communal achievements. I have acquired during the course of my stay as a student here. Loyola Marymount University is the positive, namely, cause of not only my own achievements, but my family and siblings to come as well. As a first time generation student who was not exposed to diverse environments, independent environments; LMU has created a comfortable, easily accessible environment for us! I am thrilled that my siblings will be attending LMU next year, and joining the summer program this summer, 2023! Thank you LMU for being extremely welcoming, having positively supporting staff and support groups! ... Read 1,735 reviews
- grade A minus Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 46%
Net price $40,180
SAT range 1250-1420
#142 Best Colleges in America .
1735 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says This university has contributed to the academic, social, and communal achievements. I have acquired during the course of my stay as a student here. Loyola Marymount University is the positive,... .
Read 1735 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : A minus ,
Acceptance Rate : 46% ,
Net Price : $40,180 ,
SAT Range : 1250-1420 ,
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH •
- • Rating 3.74 out of 5 4,044 reviews
Graduate Student: As a current graduate of the University of Cincinnati, I am ecstatic to share my overwhelmingly positive experience! The university's commitment to academic excellence and supportive faculty truly stood out during my time there. The diverse and vibrant campus community fostered a welcoming environment, encouraging collaboration and cultural enrichment. Cutting-edge research opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities further enriched my learning journey. UC's emphasis on practical skills and real-world applications prepared me for a successful career ahead. I am forever grateful for the lifelong friendships and professional networks I developed. Without a doubt, the University of Cincinnati is an exceptional institution that has empowered me to achieve my dreams! ... Read 4,044 reviews
Acceptance rate 85%
Net price $20,827
SAT range 1150-1350
#144 Best Colleges in America .
CINCINNATI, OH ,
4044 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Graduate Student says As a current graduate of the University of Cincinnati, I am ecstatic to share my overwhelmingly positive experience! The university's commitment to academic excellence and supportive faculty truly... .
Read 4044 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 85% ,
Net Price : $20,827 ,
SAT Range : 1150-1350 ,
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Philadelphia, PA •
- • Rating 3.6 out of 5 3,130 reviews
Sophomore: I would say the only downside is that you have to be pretty headstrong about your college career decisions. Especially with the Cooperative Education at Drexel, you are expected to stay ahead of the curve and be ready for the workforce, simultaneously keeping advisors and professors in the loop about exactly how you need to organise your classes. The great thing about it applies to students who know how to go out and get what they’re looking for and are self-reliant. I recommend making friends with your professors and being willing to work outside of the bounds of Drexel, because the system is pretty good at following your lead! ... Read 3,130 reviews
Acceptance rate 83%
Net price $26,076
SAT range 1210-1410
#152 Best Colleges in America .
PHILADELPHIA, PA ,
3130 Niche users give it an average review of 3.6 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says I would say the only downside is that you have to be pretty headstrong about your college career decisions. Especially with the Cooperative Education at Drexel, you are expected to stay ahead of the... .
Read 3130 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 83% ,
Net Price : $26,076 ,
SAT Range : 1210-1410 ,
Orange, CA •
- • Rating 3.69 out of 5 2,261 reviews
Graduate Student: Chapman was the first time I ever had a truly positive educational experience. One of the things I enjoyed about the school was how the student body is incredibly friendly, open to new experience, and almost always will lend a helping hand. For the most part, classes are smaller and professors are engaging. Almost all professors I had were really passionate about the subjects they taught and were more than willing to assist any students with questions. If you are a student with a disability, this school office of disability services is one of the best I have ever dealt with. The school's disability services goes above and beyond to make sure students feel accommodated. Aslo, Chapman is the first school that I ever had positive interactions with admin. They always wanted to see me succeed and almost always had to time to interact if you just dropped in. Overall, everyone is very kind and really just wants to see you succeed! I liked the school so much I stayed on for Grad School! ... Read 2,261 reviews
Acceptance rate 60%
Net price $40,451
#212 Best Colleges in America .
ORANGE, CA ,
2261 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Graduate Student says Chapman was the first time I ever had a truly positive educational experience. One of the things I enjoyed about the school was how the student body is incredibly friendly, open to new experience,... Aslo, Chapman is the first school that I ever had positive interactions with admin. They always wanted to see me succeed and almost always had to time to interact if you just dropped in. Overall, everyone is very kind and really just wants to see you succeed! I liked the school so much I stayed on for Grad School! .
Read 2261 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 60% ,
Net Price : $40,451 ,
Chicago, IL •
- • Rating 3.77 out of 5 3,651 reviews
Sophomore: Getting registered can be one of the most frustrating and stressful parts of returning to school. As a non-traditional student, I have had experiences at other schools that made me weary of returning. DePaul’s registration and acceptance process was a breeze! Every person that I have encountered at DePaul University has been extremely helpful and supportive. Attending DePaul University has been the best college experience that I have ever had. The staff are knowledgeable and are genuinely interested in helping the student achieve their goals. Overall my experience has been no less than awesome! ... Read 3,651 reviews
Acceptance rate 69%
Net price $31,872
SAT range 1050-1260
#213 Best Colleges in America .
CHICAGO, IL ,
3651 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says Getting registered can be one of the most frustrating and stressful parts of returning to school. As a non-traditional student, I have had experiences at other schools that made me weary of... .
Read 3651 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 69% ,
Net Price : $31,872 ,
SAT Range : 1050-1260 ,
Athens, OH •
- • Rating 3.82 out of 5 3,839 reviews
Sophomore: As a senior in high school looking at colleges, Ohio University wasn’t even on my radar. When I stepped foot on campus for my visit, I knew this was where I’d spend my next four years. OU is a beautiful college with many majors, organizations, and activities that help students with their success. The professors and administration prioritize student’s safety and ensure academic goals are met. Although you’ll never have a dull moment on campus, there are several things to do in the surrounding region. It is located in the beginning foothills of Appalachia inside the eclectic town of Athens with Strouds Run State Park, Hocking Hills, Lake Hope, and many other places and things to enjoy nearby. I am proud to call myself a Bobcat! ... Read 3,839 reviews
Acceptance rate 89%
Net price $20,496
SAT range 1070-1290
#230 Best Colleges in America .
ATHENS, OH ,
3839 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says As a senior in high school looking at colleges, Ohio University wasn’t even on my radar. When I stepped foot on campus for my visit, I knew this was where I’d spend my next four years. OU is a... .
Read 3839 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 89% ,
Net Price : $20,496 ,
SAT Range : 1070-1290 ,
California Baptist University
Riverside, CA •
- • Rating 4.13 out of 5 2,858 reviews
Junior: All throughout high school my teachers would try to hammer this perception that in college, I would be truly independent and nothing more than a number in a classroom. This couldn't be further from the truth regarding CBU. The professors here generally care for their students and show teaching is their passion. Professors remind us on the regular that they're available during their office hours and are even willing to make themselves available for us whenever we had questions. Every Professor I've had thus far has prayed for us before we take an exam, this helped me feel less stressed. Campus life is fun. Dorm life is a great way to make connections. If you're an incoming freshman, I recommend you try and live in Smith/Simmons hall. Campus always has a lot of events going on all the time. Make sure you get involved! The on-campus food is fantastic. I highly recommend El Monte. If you want something different than on-campus food, there's a great selection of food nearby campus. ... Read 2,858 reviews
- grade B+ Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 64%
Net price $23,494
SAT range 990-1210
#275 Best Colleges in America .
RIVERSIDE, CA ,
2858 Niche users give it an average review of 4.1 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says All throughout high school my teachers would try to hammer this perception that in college, I would be truly independent and nothing more than a number in a classroom. This couldn't be further from... .
Read 2858 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : B+ ,
Acceptance Rate : 64% ,
Net Price : $23,494 ,
SAT Range : 990-1210 ,
Metropolitan State University - Minnesota
Saint Paul, MN •
- • Rating 3.64 out of 5 498 reviews
Junior: Metropolitan State University is the only college I have attended and still do attend. I love that the staff at Metropolitan state care for their students. They care about people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. They care about people of all ages such as teens, those who are 25+, single fathers, and mothers as well. They provide so many services such as child care, housing, food, tutoring, and more. I know that other colleges may provide some of the same services, but with Metro I am constantly reminded that I am cared for. I love how inclusive they are and it makes me feel very welcomed. I genuinely love being a student at Metropolitan State and would recommend this college to anyone and everyone! ... Read 498 reviews
- grade B Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 67%
Net price $16,830
SAT range —
#449 Best Colleges in America .
SAINT PAUL, MN ,
498 Niche users give it an average review of 3.6 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says Metropolitan State University is the only college I have attended and still do attend. I love that the staff at Metropolitan state care for their students. They care about people of color and the... .
Read 498 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : B ,
Acceptance Rate : 67% ,
Net Price : $16,830 ,
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Prescott, AZ •
- • Rating 3.92 out of 5 686 reviews
Freshman: I've had friends take online classes before, but none of their schools compares to Yavapai College in Prescott Arizona. Not only are the teachers amazing and really give you that one on one time to ask questions and actually learn things, but they also provide you with a laptop and hotspot in case you don't have your own. Financial aid is on top of everything, making sure that you get everything filled out and submitted on time to get grants and scholarships. All of the student advisors I've had have been really helpful in helping me to decide which classes to take so that I wasn't overwhelmed and would have the time to do my best in each one. They even have dorms on campus, which I've never seen before at a community college. I'm glad I made the decision to come to this school! ... Read 686 reviews
Acceptance rate 100%
Net price $8,103
#174 Best Community Colleges in America .
PRESCOTT, AZ ,
686 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says I've had friends take online classes before, but none of their schools compares to Yavapai College in Prescott Arizona. Not only are the teachers amazing and really give you that one on one time to... .
Read 686 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 100% ,
Net Price : $8,103 ,
Missouri State University
Springfield, MO •
- • Rating 3.77 out of 5 2,159 reviews
Freshman: My experience with Missouri State University was terrific! The campus was beautiful and easy to navigate. The professors were knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects, making the classes engaging and interesting. The student body was friendly and diverse, creating a welcoming atmosphere. I particularly enjoyed extracurricular activities such as club sports and volunteer organizations. One thing I would like to see change is parking availability on campus. Finding a spot isn't easy, especially during peak hours. Overall, I highly recommend Missouri State University to anyone considering higher education. ... Read 2,159 reviews
Acceptance rate 94%
Net price $16,501
SAT range 1010-1200
#599 Best Colleges in America .
SPRINGFIELD, MO ,
2159 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says My experience with Missouri State University was terrific! The campus was beautiful and easy to navigate. The professors were knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects, making the classes... .
Read 2159 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 94% ,
Net Price : $16,501 ,
SAT Range : 1010-1200 ,
Scottsdale Community College
Scottsdale, AZ •
- • Rating 3.99 out of 5 536 reviews
Graduate Student: The campus is clean and very easy to navigate through. All my teachers were very understanding and kept the communication very clear and open. I feel blessed to have had not only great teachers but a nice well kept college close to home. From the FinAid to registration personnel all Departments were accommodating and courteous! As an older college student juggling being a mom, wife and student working full time, the classes were very accommodating. I’m sad I can’t stay here at SCC for the upcoming School year! As I got accepted at PCC for nursing. I hope to have a similar experience at PCC in the Fall 2022. ... Read 536 reviews
Net price $12,196
#254 Best Community Colleges in America .
SCOTTSDALE, AZ ,
536 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.
Featured Review: Graduate Student says The campus is clean and very easy to navigate through. All my teachers were very understanding and kept the communication very clear and open. I feel blessed to have had not only great teachers but a... .
Read 536 reviews.
Net Price : $12,196 ,
Metropolitan Community College - Nebraska
Omaha, NE •
- • Rating 4 out of 5 560 reviews
Sophomore: I love the variety of programs they offer at the price they do. It’s more affordable than a 4 year university. I like having smaller classes and being able to interact with other classmates. Having different locations to attend class is a convenient thing for me! Professors are very nice, understanding and helpful at the South and Fort campuses! I will always recommend this school to anyone who is still trying to figure out what they are want to go to school for. ... Read 560 reviews
Net price $4,916
#333 Best Community Colleges in America .
OMAHA, NE ,
560 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says I love the variety of programs they offer at the price they do. It’s more affordable than a 4 year university. I like having smaller classes and being able to interact with other classmates. Having... .
Read 560 reviews.
Net Price : $4,916 ,
Elgin, IL •
- • Rating 3.68 out of 5 262 reviews
Niche User: Located along the Fox River, the campus has ample natural beauty. If I'm being totally honest, the dorms here are average so it may be worth commuting if you live in nearby suburbs, Chicago, or southern Wisconsin. The community here is super friendly and tight-knit, it is very common that you'll find mutual connections here whether it be with students or even staff. Here at Judson, the programs that seem to receive the most attention here are music (choir or orchestra), architecture, and design. The music building is one of the nicest on campus and features many amenities. Judson's choir and orchestra departments are great and you get the opportunity to travel aboard for seasonal tours. The sports here could be better as the building needs some major renovations but it is rapidly improving as they just built a new football stadium. If you plan to play soccer or volleyball, you'll be in good hands. Overall, Judson University is a great liberal arts college, can't wait to apply! ... Read 262 reviews
- grade B minus Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 62%
Net price $18,266
SAT range 870-1130
ELGIN, IL ,
262 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Niche User says Located along the Fox River, the campus has ample natural beauty. If I'm being totally honest, the dorms here are average so it may be worth commuting if you live in nearby suburbs, Chicago, or... .
Read 262 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : B minus ,
Acceptance Rate : 62% ,
Net Price : $18,266 ,
SAT Range : 870-1130 ,
Pacific Union College
Angwin, CA •
- • Rating 3.78 out of 5 677 reviews
Junior: Numerous chances and experiences available at Pacific Union College can significantly impact a person's life. The vibrant diverse community the college produced was something I especially loved about it. My horizons and understanding of the world have been expanded by interacting with students from other origins, cultures, and perspectives. The campus was a center for intellectual stimulation, with teachers who were not only experts in their subjects but also enthusiastic about sharing their expertise with students. Even while college has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. A major problem is the rising expense of higher education, which frequently leaves students with exorbitant debt. It would be advantageous to introduce more reasonable tuition alternatives and broaden the availability of grants and scholarships in order to maintain the affordability of education for all worthy people. ... Read 677 reviews
Acceptance rate 58%
Net price $22,767
SAT range 900-1140
ANGWIN, CA ,
677 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says Numerous chances and experiences available at Pacific Union College can significantly impact a person's life. The vibrant diverse community the college produced was something I especially loved about... .
Read 677 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 58% ,
Net Price : $22,767 ,
SAT Range : 900-1140 ,
Central Washington University
Ellensburg, WA •
- • Rating 3.62 out of 5 1,586 reviews
Senior: I am an oncoming Senior at Central Washington University. This school is relatively affordable, and a small size for a public 4-year university. I am able to become close to my peers especially through the Graphic Design program I am in! I love how small the community is in this program, we all know each other and are able to help each other grow and learn. The campus is easy to navigate and the buildings are close together so it was very welcoming for a transfer student like me. The program I am in is challenging and I am excited to come back next year. Each class is helpful and targeted towards my degree. The food is pretty good, I like the marketplaces, but I wish there were some more food options. All the housing options are relatively close to the Student Union and Rec Center (where most of the food options are), the furthest dorm buildings are about an 8 minute walk. The school has high diversity rates and a high population of LGBT students, so the environment is welcoming. ... Read 1,586 reviews
Acceptance rate 88%
Net price $17,645
SAT range 930-1150
ELLENSBURG, WA ,
1586 Niche users give it an average review of 3.6 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says I am an oncoming Senior at Central Washington University. This school is relatively affordable, and a small size for a public 4-year university. I am able to become close to my peers especially through the Graphic Design program I am in! I love how small... .
Read 1586 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 88% ,
Net Price : $17,645 ,
SAT Range : 930-1150 ,
Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Minneapolis, MN •
- • Rating 3.82 out of 5 586 reviews
Alum: SO many resources because of state funding & donors, allowing non-traditional students the extra support they need. You will experience a range of beliefs & backgrounds unlike your snotty, white 4-year liberal arts schools. Cost of attendance is so cheap, and many students receive scholarships or aid. I have had personal relationships with almost all professors, small class sizes and generally well structured online courses. Amazing, niche programs like the bicycle repair, music, print-making, herbal studies, sound arts, trades, etc. The professors are amazing. I got my AA and transferred, and the level of education at my private 4-year college is the same as community college. Seriously, save your money. Go here. I love MCTC. ... Read 586 reviews
Net price $12,314
#520 Best Community Colleges in America .
MINNEAPOLIS, MN ,
586 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Alum says SO many resources because of state funding & donors, allowing non-traditional students the extra support they need. You will experience a range of beliefs & backgrounds unlike your snotty, white... .
Read 586 reviews.
Net Price : $12,314 ,
La Sierra University
- • Rating 3.53 out of 5 755 reviews
Freshman: La Sierra University has a very peaceful campus, it’s very beautiful! The counselors at La Sierra University make you feel like they are friends more then they are counselors. It’s nice to always have someone to go to. ... Read 755 reviews
Acceptance rate 66%
Net price $25,230
SAT range 880-1140
755 Niche users give it an average review of 3.5 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says La Sierra University has a very peaceful campus, it’s very beautiful! The counselors at La Sierra University make you feel like they are friends more then they are counselors. It’s nice to always... .
Read 755 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 66% ,
Net Price : $25,230 ,
SAT Range : 880-1140 ,
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles
Burbank, CA •
- • Rating 3.88 out of 5 118 reviews
Alum: New York Film Academy (NYFA) offers a comprehensive and hands-on approach to everything in the Film Industry. You will learn everything from Acting Methods to how to construct a proper resume. The Staff is absolutely wonderful when it comes to communication and any concerns you may have along the way. If you jump in 100%, you need not worry about difficult times in the Film Industry. ... Read 118 reviews
Net price $43,006
BURBANK, CA ,
118 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Alum says New York Film Academy (NYFA) offers a comprehensive and hands-on approach to everything in the Film Industry. You will learn everything from Acting Methods to how to construct a proper resume. The... .
Read 118 reviews.
Net Price : $43,006 ,
Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah, GA •
- • Rating 3.84 out of 5 3,405 reviews
Freshman: I am an incoming transfer student who is excited to work in the film and production industry. I love any school that allows creative freedom, but SCAD is on a whole different level! Every building and dorm is so nicely put together and just pops with color, that is what drew me in as well as the amount of technology available to students advanced cameras for film studios, 2 virtual production LED walls - everyone with an idea will bring it all to life. This is perfect for me, not only because I have the materials I need to make my upcoming project a success, but I can also learn how to better my writing, animating, and illustrating skills! But what I love most about SCAD is that it guarantees a student's successful future by bringing in thriving companies from around the country. For every creative person out there, SCAD is a dream, I am so excited to be part of the SCAD community and make and meet new people/friends. I hope it meets my expectations. ... Read 3,405 reviews
- grade C+ Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 81%
Net price $45,163
SAT range 1050-1240
SAVANNAH, GA ,
3405 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says I am an incoming transfer student who is excited to work in the film and production industry. I love any school that allows creative freedom, but SCAD is on a whole different level! Every building... .
Read 3405 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : C+ ,
Acceptance Rate : 81% ,
Net Price : $45,163 ,
SAT Range : 1050-1240 ,
Pittsburgh, PA •
- • Rating 3.49 out of 5 1,008 reviews
Senior: Point Park has been an extremely supportive of all my endeavors here. I initially transferred from Robert Morris, they made the transfer process incredibly easy. All resources are accessible through their website for anything really. My advisor has always been available. I have been able to form meaningful relationships with my professors and department heads, even with online classes. I really cannot think of any other school that compares in flexibility and cost. ... Read 1,008 reviews
Acceptance rate 82%
Net price $25,004
SAT range 950-1180
PITTSBURGH, PA ,
1008 Niche users give it an average review of 3.5 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says Point Park has been an extremely supportive of all my endeavors here. I initially transferred from Robert Morris, they made the transfer process incredibly easy. All resources are accessible through... .
Read 1008 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 82% ,
Net Price : $25,004 ,
SAT Range : 950-1180 ,
University of the Arts
- • Rating 3.56 out of 5 690 reviews
Alum: The professors and student body at University of the Arts are absolutely wonderful. I graduated from the animation program, and over my four years attending UArts, I learned so many invaluable things about my craft. UArts is in center city, directly on Broad Street, so there is a lot to do nearby, and the area is pretty safe. However, the administration at UArts is a mess. I had many frustrating experiences just trying to get basic information or documents, with emails oftentimes going unanswered for weeks. The staff is also not paid nearly enough for all they do, which has consistently served as an upset for myself and the rest of the student body. My experience, I would say, was positive, but there are areas of the school that require significant work and refinement. ... Read 690 reviews
Net price $25,932
SAT range 910-1140
690 Niche users give it an average review of 3.6 stars.
Featured Review: Alum says The professors and student body at University of the Arts are absolutely wonderful. I graduated from the animation program, and over my four years attending UArts, I learned so many invaluable things... UArts is in center city, directly on Broad Street, so there is a lot to do nearby, and the area is pretty safe. However, the administration at UArts is a mess. I had many frustrating experiences just trying to get basic information or documents, with emails oftentimes going unanswered for weeks. The staff is also not paid nearly enough for all they do, which has consistently served as an upset for myself and the rest of the student body. My experience, I would say, was positive, but there are areas of the school that require significant work and refinement. .
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Inspired Writers Series to Present Exciting Lineup of Acclaimed Authors
Phil Klay, (left) talks with MFA students in a writers workshop on Enders Island.
These virtual events curated by author and MFA professor Phil Klay are presented by Fairfield’s MFA in Creative Writing Program.
The Inspired Writers Series, curated by renowned author Phil Klay, is back with an exceptional lineup of distinguished writers for the 2023-24 season. This much-anticipated series will feature captivating discussions on various genres of literature, including the art of the personal essay, literary criticism, novels, short stories, poetry, journalism, and more.
These virtual events, presented by Fairfield’s MFA in Creative Writing program, will offer audiences the opportunity to engage with acclaimed authors, gain insights into their creative processes, and explore the intricacies of the written word. Each virtual event will be free to attend, but registration will be required to secure a spot.
Emily Bernard: The Art of the Personal Essay
Thursday, September 21, 2023 | 7:30 p.m.
Distinguished essayist Emily Bernard will take participants on a journey through the art of the personal essay, offering a glimpse into her unique writing style and storytelling prowess.
Ryan Ruby & Becca Rothfeld: The Art of Literary Criticism
Wednesday, November 8, 2023 | 7:30 p.m.
Join accomplished literary critics Ryan Ruby and Becca Rothfeld as they explore the intricacies of literary criticism and its role in shaping our understanding of literature.
Nathan Englander: Novels, Short Stories, and Adapting for the Stage
Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 7:30 p.m.
Bestselling author Nathan Englander will share his experiences in crafting novels and short stories, and discuss the process of adapting his work for the stage.
Tom Sleigh: Poetry, Journalism, and Conflict
Thursday, April 11, 2024 | 7:30 p.m.
Renowned poet and journalist Tom Sleigh will delve into the intersection of poetry and journalism, reflecting on how conflict and human experiences inspire his work.
The Inspired Writers Series aims to foster a love for literature and intellectual discourse, encouraging participants to explore the power of language and storytelling. Each event promises to be an enriching experience for both aspiring writers and avid readers.
Attendees will have the chance to interact with the authors through Q&A sessions, gaining valuable knowledge and inspiration from some of today's most celebrated literary voices.
Registration for each event is required to receive the event link.
To reserve a spot and learn more about the Inspired Writers Series, please visit quickcenter.com .
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Fairfield University Announces $1 Million Bank of America Grant to Support New Academic Division
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Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.
A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.
A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.
When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.
Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.
Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.
Descriptive thesis (not arguable)
While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.
This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.
Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence)
Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.
This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.
Arguable thesis with analytical claim
While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.
This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.
Arguable thesis with normative claim
Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.
This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.
Questions to ask about your thesis
- Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?
- Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?
- Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?
- Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?
- Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
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