The Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing Programs

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Harvard University 81.55 3/5 9% Cambridge, MA

Founded in 1636, Harvard is an Ivy League institution located in Massachusetts and known over the world for academic excellence. Harvard’s master's of liberal arts in literature and creative writing is a hybrid program, wherein students complete coursework both online and on campus. Admission into the program requires prospective students to complete a proseminar in research methods and scholarly writing along with a creative writing course and another creative writing or literature course, all taken at Harvard.

Once admitted into Harvard's master's in creative writing program, students complete coursework in advanced fiction writing, creative writing, and literature. Additionally, they must fulfill a thesis requirement. The program’s workshop method of learning requires students to take at least three of their courses on campus. Available writing and literature course topics include Irish myths, playwriting, and suspense fiction. Students have up to five years to complete the program, and need a 3.0 minimum GPA to graduate.

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2 Lindenwood University 61.34 4/5 16% Saint Charles, MO

Located in Missouri, Lindenwood features undergraduate and graduate degrees designed to produce well-educated, responsible global citizens. The university's distance learning programs offer academic rigor, flexibility, affordability, and convenience.

Lindenwood's 48-credit master's of fine arts in writing is an accelerated program that students can complete 100% online, though some classes are available on campus. Students in this online MFA in creative writing participate in intensive craft courses, literature courses, and workshops on genres such as fiction, the novel, scriptwriting, and narrative journalism. Students are not required to declare an area of emphasis and can study multiple genres. Experienced writers who are published authors, editors, and journalists serve as instructors, and the program boasts small class sizes of no more than 14 students. Available student support services include academic counseling and financial aid. To apply for admission, prospective students must submit a writing sample and a statement of purpose.

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3 Wilkes University 61.02 4/5 14% Wilkes-Barre, PA

Serving fewer than 5,000 students, Wilkes is a small college with big impact. The Pennsylvania-based institution delivers 42 bachelor’s and 25 master's degrees rooted in the liberal arts and career preparation. Wilkes offers graduate programs online, in fields like education, nursing, and creative writing.

The university's online master's of arts in creative writing assembles a community of writers where students receive one-on-one assistance in the creative process. Faculty mentor students in a range of genres, from young adult and thriller to science fiction and playwriting. The program is distinct from other online MFA creative writing programs due to its two delivery options: the "weekender" option allows students to take their courses online with four weekend sessions per semester. Students who choose the low-residency option attend eight-day residencies on campus in June and January. The primary consideration for admission to the program is a 15-25 page writing sample.

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4 National University 53.94 4/5 73% La Jolla, CA

National prides itself on providing students with a personalized educational experience that's convenient and flexible. The California-based institution administers 120 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, offering 90 degree programs 100% online.

Among National's online degrees is the master's of fine arts in creative writing, in which students produce and refine creative work in fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry. Throughout the program, students participate in online workshops, develop constructive critiques, and engage in generative writing sessions guided by established writers. Students must produce a culminating thesis in their chosen genre with faculty mentorship. The program is ideal for those pursuing professional writing or publishing careers, those seeking to teach creative writing, or aspiring filmmakers. This MFA online creative writing program has no residency requirement. Admission requirements include a 20- to 30-page portfolio (of fiction or nonfiction), 10-20 pages of poetry, or a completed screenplay.

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5 The University of Texas at El Paso 51.24 3/5 36% El Paso, TX

UTEP is a research institution serving a very diverse student body with dynamic academic and research programs, many of which are nationally recognized. The school delivers degrees in fields like business, behavioral sciences, education, and fine and performing arts. With a catalog of 72 undergraduate and 74 master’s programs, UT-El Paso also offers a growing portfolio of eLearning options.

The university's 48-credit master's of fine arts in creative writing, designed for serious writers and those seeking to teach the craft, consists of 14 courses, all available online. In addition to workshops in genres such as fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, students take 12 credits covering topics such as the politics of narration, literary translation, history of the short story form, and pop music. To finish their MFA in creative writing online, students must complete a six-credit, book-length thesis in original fiction or poetry.

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