An online bachelor's degree program in creative writing is perfect for students interested in learning how to write in a variety of genres. Programs teach students how to pay attention to their audience when writing and how to change their tone based upon who their reader may be. Students also learn how to develop characters, settings, and dialogue to depict a detailed story. The industry with the highest level of employment for writers is advertising and public relations, while the industry that pays the highest is independent writers, artists, and performers. Writing is a specialized but widely-applicable skill that can translate into a variety of careers.
Choosing a Program
In order to obtain a creative writing bachelor's degree online, students have to complete relevant courses in creative writing, the English language, literary theory, fiction writing, poetry writing, playwriting, philosophy, and public speaking. Courses give students the skills they need to become better, more versatile writers. Students learn different techniques for analyzing genre, style, tone, structure, and literary form. They also learn how to work with a variety of genres including screenwriting, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama.
A variety of concentrations exist in creative writing programs including nonfiction, fiction, poetry, literature, publishing and distribution, scriptwriting, transmedia writing, and writing for films. Since there are so many different facets of creative writing, students are able to choose the one they are most interested in. Despite their concentration, students will still take courses in a variety of other genres to become experienced and well-rounded writers.
Graduation requirements for a bachelor's degree in creative writing vary between schools. Some schools require a capstone project where students use the skills and knowledge they have learned to create a final product. Other schools require a thesis or portfolio. Theses allow students to write extensively on a topic in their preferred genre, while portfolios are a compilation of pieces a student has created.
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Online Bachelor's in Writing Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Writing Programs
1University of Central Florida
With a main campus in Orlando and 12 other locations across the state, the University of Central Florida also hosts over 80 entirely online degrees and certificates. The school's BA in English – creative writing attracts learners who wish to leverage their passion for literature and language to pursue careers in the arts and humanities. The program equips students with the skills necessary for careers in copywriting, editing, publishing, and journalism.
Learners in UCF's 120-credit creative writing bachelor's degree read and produce works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and scriptwriting while discussing literary theory and applying it to their own writing. The creative writing track requires 36 credits, beginning with nine credits of foundational writing theory courses. The curriculum also includes 12 hours of literary history courses and 15 hours of restricted electives, which must include four writing workshops of different levels and one creative writing elective. Students must also take one and a half years of an approved foreign language at the undergraduate level, or prove fluency by examination.
Online learners have access to course-specific video tutorials and online consultations with writing tutors, in addition to receiving support from a “success coach” from admission to graduation. Admission requires an application and official transcripts from all institutions previously attended proving a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. If the applicant is applying with fewer than 60 college credits, they must submit a high school transcript with ACT/SAT writing scores. If the applicant has earned 60 or more credits, they must demonstrate completion of two college-level English composition classes and two college-level math classes with a grade of “C” or better.
The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
2 Indiana University–Bloomington
With eight campuses across the state, Indiana University offers over 100 degrees and certificates entirely online. The school's bachelor's in English, technical and professional writing is a degree completion program that prepares graduates with strong reading and comprehension skills in addition to outstanding composition ability. With a particular focus on technical and professional writing, the program strengthens learner's competencies in critical thinking, persuasive argument, and communications. The program curriculum also ensures that students have an understanding of how to properly use grammar and interpret literature.
Classes include studies in augmentative and science writing, literature, and advanced writing techniques. These courses build proficiency in language usage, emphasizing clarity, accuracy, and style, all of which employers value. Graduates can enter a variety of careers once they complete their coursework, including journalism, teaching, and marketing. Of course, they can also decide to pursue professional fiction or nonfiction writing. Some graduates opt to continue their education in either a graduate program or law school.
Applicants to this bachelor's of writing program have previously earned some college credits and wish to finish their degree. The university's Credit Transfer Service is an online tool that allows applicants to enter information about courses completed at other institutions for a general sense of how they will transfer to IU. An IU academic advisor can then validate the accuracy of this projection and explain how the credits apply to the writing program specifically.
IU's online application is short; it takes about five minutes to complete. Tuition may vary depending on students' state of residence. In addition, the university assesses a distance education fee for online courses that supports student services and academic program development.
Indiana University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3 Missouri State University
The BS in professional writing at Missouri State University develops students' writing skills while strengthening their technological abilities, both of which are applicable to careers in writing, publishing, editing, and production.
All students must complete MSU's general education requirements, which generally comprise 45 credits. These include studies in math, communications, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. Students must apply to the professional writing program prior to completing 75 credit hours. MSU advises students interested in this degree to initially declare an English major, so that they can be paired with an advisor who is familiar with the program requirements. Upon gaining acceptance into the program, students complete major requirements which comprise 36 credits and include courses in English with an emphasis on scientific and technical editing, grant writing, and online writing. Furthermore, MSU requires a public affairs capstone experience for this bachelor's degree in writing. The capstone experience is fulfilled by three courses: career focus in professional writing, advanced technical writing, and a technical writing internship. Students must also select either a minor or second major.
Admission to this MSU program requires a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better or a GPA of 2.75 or better for the most recent 30 credits earned. Learners must declare professional writing as their major, complete the admission requirements, and complete the department's application form. This process allows the university to list the student as a pre-major until they satisfy graduation requirements. MSU also offers financial aid and scholarships. The latter vary by amount and requirements, but several specifically target professional writing students and English majors.
Missouri State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Home to more than 33, 000 students, the University of Iowa offers a bachelor of applied studies with a creative writing emphasis. The 120-credit degree builds learners' skills in written communication with required courses in strengthening English vocabulary, novel writing, and creative writing. Students also complete three creative writing elective courses, such as playwriting, poetry writing, the art of revision, or sentence structuring.
Designed for students who have already earned an associate degree from an accredited institution, the university's 120-credit bachelor's degree in creative writing begins with 19 credits of core courses in rhetoric, quantitative/formal reasoning, social sciences, business/management, and values, society, and diversity. Then, students must complete at least three of the five available 12-credit distribution areas: humanities, communication and arts, natural sciences and math, social sciences, and professional fields. At least six of the 12 credits in each distribution area must come from higher level courses. Online learners then begin the 18 credit hours of creative writing emphasis coursework.
Applicants to UI's creative writing bachelor's degree online must have earned 60 hours or more of transferable college credit (including career and technical education credits) with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better if completed at an Iowa community college, or a 2.5 GPA or better for students who attended a community college outside of Iowa. Once admitted, all students receive an academic advisor who helps them develop a plan of study to meet their academic and professional goals.
The University of Iowa is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers a BA in professional and technical writing for learners who wish to strengthen their skills in writing and rhetorical literacy. The program's coursework develops students' competencies in writing, document design, and editing through a 120-credit program. Online learners can choose one of two concentrations to further specialize in a specific area: nonfiction or technical writing. Upon program completion, graduates often pursue careers in education, website development, publishing and editing, and, of course, writing.
University standard core courses comprise 18-21 credits and include classes in fine arts, history, and social sciences. Then, students take 14 credits of college core classes in science, mathematics, and the humanities. UA's bachelor's of writing also requires 21 credits of program-specific foundational courses, including document design, persuasive writing, and editing for usage, style, and clarity. Learners then choose one of the two available concentrations: nonfiction or technical writing. Each concentration requires an additional 15 credits. Those who select the nonfiction concentration take courses in research, publishing, and grant writing, while those in the technical writing concentration learn about legal writing and reasoning, technical communication, and business writing. The program also requires demonstrated proficiency in a second language.
Applicants must submit an official high school transcript, college transcripts from any institutions previously attended, and either SAT or ACT scores. Tuition rates are the same regardless of state of residence and military and veteran students are eligible for a tuition discount. Applicants may be eligible for scholarships based on their admission exam score and/or high school grades. The university determines award eligibility based on each student's application.
The University of Arkansa is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
The BA in English writing at the University of Colorado Denver prepares learners to clearly communicate their thoughts through writing. In addition to building skills in planning and research as well as critical and creative thinking, students develop time management and independent work capabilities. These skills prove helpful in attracting employers and supporting professional development throughout one's career.
One of the leading online bachelor's degree programs in creative writing, CU Denver offers a small 17:1 student-faculty ratio, which permits robust, thoughtful interactions with professors and classmates. Students can either enroll fully online or opt to blend online and on-campus courses. Major topics include storytelling in literature and film, multimedia composition, and business and technical writing. In addition, the university's Experiential Learning team connects learners to internships and study abroad opportunities that complement their coursework and professional goals.
This degree requires 120 credits, 39 of which students must earn within the major. Of these, at least 27 credits must be upper-division classes. Students cannot count courses taken on a pass/fail basis towards major requirements. Core classes outside of the English major explore subjects like social sciences, natural/physical sciences, and the humanities. The university also mandates demonstrated proficiency in math and writing, which students can earn through coursework or examination. UC Denver offers a discounted tuition rate for out-of-state students who are enrolled exclusively in online courses. To receive this discount, students must submit an application no later than the Monday prior to the first day of classes.
The University of Colorado is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7 West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
Earning a Regents BA in the professional writing area of emphasis at West Virginia University allows working adults to earn their degree without putting their careers on hold. Designed to meet the needs of students who have been out of high school for four years or more who must balance professional obligations with their academic pursuits, WVU awards credits for work and life experiences, making it easier for learners to meet the graduate requirements in the most cost- and time-efficient way possible.
WVU's bachelor's of writing curriculum begins with courses familiarizing students with the theories behind drafting business and technical documents while actively applying lessons learned. Coursework helps students understand the role of writing in a variety of professional contexts and articulate specialized information for both technical and non-technical audiences. Moreover, learners develop visual design skills in graphics and page layout that help them bring their writing to life.
In total, students must earn 120 credits. Prerequisites include two courses in composition and rhetoric while required classes cover editing, humanities computing, and multimedia writing. Additionally, the degree requires a professional field experience as a capstone activity prior to graduation. A field supervisor helps students plan this experience and evaluates their performance along with faculty. Learners must complete a minimum of 39 upper-division courses, which they may take in any relevant subject area.
Applicants should submit high school or previous college transcripts showing a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above. WVU offers start dates for this program in spring, summer, and fall semesters.
West Virginia University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8Indiana University East
Students who wish to earn an online bachelor's degree in writing at one of the country's most respected institutions can pursue the BA in English with a technical and professional writing emphasis at Indiana University East. The program deepens learners' ability to communicate effectively and think critically, skills imperative to success in the modern workplace. Furthermore, students learn to leverage various media when expressing ideas, which allows them to keep pace with technology while successfully integrating it into their academic and professional endeavors.
IUE's program is a degree completion program, meaning the school expects applicants to transfer in at least 60 credits from another accredited institution and complete 60 credits (or 20 classes) at IUE for a total of 120 credits. Most learners complete their IUE requirements over two calendar years that include summer sessions, collaborating with an advisor to design a plan of study. Classes include literary interpretation, American fiction, grammar and usage, digital writing, and history of the English language. IUE also requires a senior seminar and a course in advanced composition.
Graduates must have earned a GPA of 2.0 or better in all English composition coursework; the school does not accept any grades below a “C” in major courses towards graduation requirements. Those who wish to apply must submit an application in addition to college transcripts from all institutions previously attended. Those transferring to IUE from another campus within the Indiana University network may complete the online Intercampus Transfer Application.
Indiana University East is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9 Central Washington University
The bachelor's in English: professional and creative writing at Central Washington University combines liberal arts foundations with classes that specialize in creative, business, technical, and professional writing in addition to publishing and editing. A 74-credit degree program, this bachelor's degree in writing helps learners develop the skills necessary to keep pace with workplace and global demands, which necessitate outstanding communication, critical thinking, and analytical abilities.
An interdisciplinary program, this degree provides students flexibility when it comes to selecting courses that not only fulfill degree requirements, but also align with their professional interests and goals. Students must complete 32 credits in major courses, such as principles of English studies, writing for publication, and introduction to creative writing. They must also complete coursework in literature, linguistics, and film studies as well as approved electives. CWU requires students to either enter the program with two years of high school foreign language experience, or complete at least one year during their undergraduate coursework.
CWU accepts students from all states into its online programs with the following exceptions: Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, and Missouri. Non-resident students who live in the U.S. pay the same tuition as resident Washington students with the help of non-resident waivers. Attaining the waiver requires submitting a Free Application for Student Aid and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. Applicants interested in the non-resident waiver should contact CWU's financial aid office for more information.
Central Washington University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
10Nicholls State University
Located in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Nicholls State University offers a BA in English with concentrations in creative writing, writing, and rhetoric. Organized around core classes through NSU's English program that deliver instruction in necessary fundamentals before students specialize in concentration areas, this creative writing bachelor's degree builds the kinds of communication skills that employers value. The ability to articulate ideas in writing easily translates to an array of career options and graduate studies. Professions that graduates may ultimately enter include television broadcasting, journalism, editing, publishing, and script writing. Graduates also often decide to either teach or pursue a professional degree, such as law.
In addition to core and required classes, NSU students enroll in electives that complement their chosen 18-credit concentration. These courses may include topics in British literature and an array of literary genres, including poetry, fiction, and film. A mandated capstone course requires students to reflect on lessons learned throughout the program and plan for their post-graduation careers or further study.
NSU's online courses provide flexibility and convenience thanks to an eight-week course format. Students can continue to work full-time as courses are offered asynchronously with no set login times and learners can access coursework when it's convenient for them. Most online students earn the degree in three years and transfer students can receive credit for their previous coursework, enabling them to complete their degree even faster. Admission requires an application, which NSU generally processes within one week, as well as ACT scores and high school and college transcripts.
Nicholls State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
11Robert Morris University–RMU Online
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Robert Morris University offers an interdisciplinary, fully online BA in English with a concentration in writing. Regarded as one of the country's leading bachelor's degree in writing programs, this 120-credit degree helps learners develop their writing skills to enter the workforce, advance their current career, or pursue additional studies once they graduate.
Students explore the linguistic, rhetorical, and technological facets of writing in an array of media and genres. In addition to core and English department requirements that together comprise 51 credits, program enrollees complete classes covering the history of the English language as well as writing creative fiction and nonfiction prose, poetry, and drama. They then complete the required 27 credits in the major by choosing from a variety of major courses, such as children's literature, Shakespeare, and myths. The writing concentration further requires 18 credits of coursework, including options like writing drama, instructional media design, and writing practices and theories. The program also includes 24 credits of open electives, allowing students to explore career-specific topics, including copy editing, document design, and media management.
RMU provides several writing-related extracurricular opportunities for students who would like to get involved outside of classwork. For instance, they can contribute to the university's literary magazine or newspaper, participate in its chapter of the International Society of English Majors, and attend annual state, regional, and national conferences. Furthermore, the university helps connect online students to internships for practical experience. Program applicants must have graduated from high school and submit official college transcripts from all institutions previously attended, showing a GPA of 2.0 or better. Each of those institutions must complete RMU's transfer college history form to support the admissions application.
Robert Morris University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
12 Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
The BA in creative writing and English at Southern New Hampshire University ranks among the best online bachelor's degree programs in creative writing in the nation. Focusing particularly on nonfiction writing, the program examines various writing styles and subject matter, including essays, memoirs, autobiographies, and travel articles. Students strengthen their research skills while learning how to critically reflect on their work as they develop their own voice. In addition, learners gain deeper insights about publishing and the writing industry, all of which prepare them for careers in the field.
A comprehensive program that promotes collaboration with faculty and peers, this SNHU degree requires classes in literary theory, humanities, and Shakespeare as well as in introductory through advanced nonfiction writing. Learners must also take public speaking, U.S. history, and philosophy classes as part of the 120-credit degree. Upon completion of the program, graduates are able to analyze literary forms across genres and produce their own creative works in these genres, including an advanced portfolio that showcases their workshop training and helps launch their professional career.
SNHU offers some the most competitive tuition rates in the country, including a significant discount for military members and veterans as well as the spouses of those on active duty. Admission requires an application and the school does not charge an application fee. SNHU accepts transfer credits from other accredited institutions. The university offers six start dates per year, which adds to the convenience and flexible scheduling many online learners seek.
Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
13 National University
La Jolla, California
The bachelor's in English with a concentration in creative writing at National University offers rigorous instruction as learners develop the ability to create and critically revise publishable works in at least two contemporary genres. The program emphasizes analytical thinking as well as strong oral and written communication skills by delivering instruction in composition, language, and literature. Graduates of this bachelor's degree in creative writing are equipped to enter careers in teaching, advertising, and publishing or they may opt to continue their education in either graduate or professional school.
The degree requires coursework in American literature, literary theory, and Shakespeare. All learners must complete prerequisite classes that introduce them to literature as well as deliver instruction in subjects like fiction writing, screenwriting, and poetry. Students discuss the works of major writers, explore literature within the context of its historic genres, and identify approaches to literary interpretation. The creative writing concentration requires additional upper-division literature classes as well as offering studies in contemporary fiction and poetry. The eight-credit concentration also teaches students how to offer peer critique through constructive suggestions for improvement.
NU accepts and reviews applications for admissions throughout the year so that those accepted can begin classes the time that's most convenient for them. Those without prior college credits in English and/or math must complete NU's free ACCUPLACER evaluation. Those without an associate degree or at least 90 transferable credits must have either graduated from high school or passed a high school level proficiency exam.
National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
14Point Park University
Founded in 1960, Point Park University is a liberal arts school situated in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, PA. Point Park hosts 4,000 students across its 100 undergraduate and graduate programs, with a majority of them completing coursework online. The school offers a fully online BA in writing for screen and media that emphasizes storytelling across film, television, and internet platforms. Graduates of this program are prepared to be content creators in fields such as journalism, public relations, social media management, and advertising, among others.
The 120 credit bachelor's degree in writing provides a foundation for engaging a fast-paced, cutting-edge career. Students complete general coursework in the humanities, mathematics, science, creative writing, and psychology, while major courses include intro to cinema, intro to screenwriting, story analysis, and writing for television. Electives are offered in public relations writing, social media practices, and writing for the multimedia and web, while the degree culminates with a senior capstone project in which students draft a professional quality screenplay.
To gain admission, prospective students must submit an application, high school transcripts, a creative portfolio, and complete an interview with a faculty member. Courses are delivered via Blackboard, and courses run on eight-week schedules. Tuition rates are the same for all students, regardless of their location, with nearly 90% of the student body receiving some type of financial aid.
Point Park University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
15West Virginia State University
Institute, West Virginia
Originally founded in 1891 as a historically black college university, West Virginia State University now boasts a diverse population of nearly 4,000 students across its 29 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The school also offers one master's degree and six bachelor's degrees fully online, including the bachelor of arts in English -- technical writing. Students in this 120 credit degree program develop their critical reading and analytical thinking skills, while practicing a business-minded approach to writing. Graduates of this online bachelor's degree program in writing land successful careers in a variety of industries, including as editors, copywriters, public relations specialists, and communication professionals.
Students complete approximately 35-40 credits of general education coursework, while the remaining 80 credits feature a blend of electives, cognate courses, and core english classes. The latter category includes topics such as technical writing, practical english and grammar, digital literacies, information design, introduction to desktop publishing, and technical report writing. Courses are delivered via Moodle, and online students have access to online technical support, tutoring services, the library, and academic support.
To gain admission, students must submit an application, transcripts, and standardized test scores. Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previous institutions, and may apply up to 72 credits toward their degree. Tuition rates are the same for all online undergraduate students, regardless of residency.
West Virginia State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Online Bachelor's in Writing Careers
Understanding how to communicate through writing is a very important skill in many different careers. Graduates could work in communications, creative or technical writing, or as an editor or proofreader. Below are three potential careers for recent graduates.
Author: Authors create written content including books, magazines, plays, movies, television scripts, and blogs. Many authors work on a self-employed or freelance basis. They may work in an office setting with other writers or from the comfort of their own home by themselves.
- Median Annual Salary: $61,240
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Technical Writer: Technical writers create how-to guides, instruction manuals, articles, and other types of documents that assist in making complex technological information easier for people to understand. Many technical writers work in computer and technology industries.
- Median Annual Salary: $69,850
- Projected Growth Rate: 11%
Editor: Editors use their knowledge of language to revise the writing of others. They read, plan, and review writing to offer suggestions on how to enhance the content. They also correct errors in grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. Most editors work in an office setting, but some may be home-based remote workers.
- Median Annual Salary: $57,210
- Projected Growth Rate: 0%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics