Best Master’s in Creative Writing (MFA) Online

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by TBS Staff Writers

Updated September 26, 2022

reviewed by TBS Rankings Team
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Best Master's in Creative Writing Online

Master's in creative writing programs are ideal for students who love writing and aspire to make a living through the craft.Creative writers build worlds, develop stories, and create characters that engage and entertain readers. Writers often choose genres and stories that relate to their own interests. For instance, a traveler may write creative nonfiction pieces about tourist locations, and writers who are interested in the American West often write western novels.

Creative writing graduates can also pursue careers in other fields. For example, they may write marketing advertisements, political speeches, or technical pieces for instructional manuals. Over half of writers and authors are self-employed.

These careers require editing, writing, and research skills. Editors must also have an understanding of genre fundamentals. To gain the necessary knowledge, students can earn a master's in creative writing online.

The following guide provides information about the top online writing programs in the country and what you can do with a creative writing degree after graduation.

Featured MFA Programs

Best Master’s in Creative Writing Programs Online

#1

The University of Texas at El Paso

School Information
Location El Paso, Texas
Admission Rate 100%
Graduation Rate 37%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Texas at El Paso hosts a top-ranked creative writing program. The MFA in creative writing builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. After earning a master's degree, candidates can also pursue careers in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants without a background in creative writing may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

The University of Texas at El Paso at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 100%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: MFA in creative writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,497

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,766

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#2

University of Nebraska at Omaha

School Information
Location Omaha, Nebraska
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online creative writing program. Individuals prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous master of fine arts in writing program. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in writing.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Experiential learning opportunities and networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

University of Nebraska at Omaha at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of fine arts in writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,558

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,440

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#3

Saint Leo University

School Information
Location Saint Leo, Florida
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 49%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's in creative writing program, offered by Saint Leo University, ranks as a top program in the field. The creative writing master's program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum emphasizes practical and theoretical approaches to creative writing. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The master's program recommends a background in creative writing for applicants.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students also attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Saint Leo University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, not-for-profit, four-year

Admission Rate: 72%

Total Online Master's Programs: 27

Program Name: Master's in creative writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,296

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,296

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#4

Central Washington University

School Information
Location Ellensburg, Washington
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 58%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Central Washington University, located in Ellensburg, enrolls master's students in its online creative writing program. The MA in professional and creative writing builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates often pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in creative writing. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. The master's program recommends that applicants have a background in creative writing.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Graduate students expand their professional networks through internships and online events.

Central Washington University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 85%

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Program Name: MA in professional and creative writing

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,582

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,449

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What Is an Online Master's in Creative Writing Degree?

A master's in writing develops research, writing, and editing skills and explores story elements in different genres. For example, poetry learners study rhyme and meter, while children's writers explore child psychology and common writing techniques. Required courses often cover character development, setting research, and publishing.

Creative writing programs often include literature courses in which learners analyze famous works for writing insights. Students also create new pieces and critique classmates' work in writing workshops. These workshops hone writing, editing, and proofreading skills and increase students' professional networks. Additional requirements may include a thesis, portfolio, or internship.

Admission requirements often include writing samples and personal statements. Ideal applicants have previous writing experience.

Choosing an Online Program

Prospective students should consider program quality and flexibility when choosing a master's in writing. Learners may prefer departments with published authors as faculty, or they may prefer a program that offers the flexibility of asynchronous courses. They should also consider concentration options, completion times, and tuition costs.

The following guide provides more tips on finding the right program.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Creative Writing Program?

Online MFA in creative writing programs usually offer concentrations in poetry, fiction writing, and creative nonfiction. Most programs include workshops and lectures on writing concepts like character building and plot development. These programs also introduce learners to different genres and often require a thesis.

Below are three common courses in online writing programs.

Master's in Creative Writing Curriculum

Literary Genres for Writers

This course covers fiction and related subgenres, such as fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. Students explore the structures and general expectations of these genres. The course may also focus on a single type of writing, such as poetry, memoir, or nonfiction.

Character Development

This course trains students to create effective, believable characters. Coursework may prioritize character realism, consistency, and psychology within the story's context. Students examine the necessary traits of major and minor characters and build a portfolio of several character outlines.

Writing a Short Story

Learners in this course study short stories and analyze elements of writing styles. Additional topics may include syntax and short story structures. Students create a short story and undergo peer review to receive feedback. Programs may offer similar classes focused on other forms of writing, like nonfiction, poetry, or television writing.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs

AWP provides an online tool that allows users to search for writing programs by location, genre, and degree. The association connects website visitors with writing contests, funding, job opportunities, and avenues to publication. Professionals can also attend the annual AWP book fair and conference or browse the online database to find other meetings.

The Authors Guild

The Authors Guild supports writers by offering panels, book launches, and book expos. Website visitors can browse contests in fiction, poetry, and translations, or they can seek out fellowships and workshops. Members receive legal assistance for book contracts, access to writing resources, and insurance against copyright disputes.

The Writer's Center

The Writer's Center offers writing workshops for specific age groups, including adults, teenagers, and children. Members can also attend book launches and an annual poetry reading. This organization offers editing and project advising and maintains a blog that covers industry topics like publication practices, genre word counts, beta readers, and author experiences.

Careers in Creative Writing

Earning a master's in creative writing online prepares students to craft creative messages for books, articles, advertisements, speeches, scripts, and social media posts. Graduates can pursue any field that involves message creation and delivery.

The best candidates for writing careers are creative and have a strong grasp on writing structure and effective communication. Creative writers should also understand research methods, work well within deadlines, and be able to accept constructive criticism from editors. Below are a few creative writing jobs that graduates can pursue.

Writers and Authors

Writers and Authorsresearch and write pieces for magazines, websites, publishing houses, and blogs, and may also create scripts for television, movies, or plays. They may write books for traditional or self-publishing in genres like fantasy, romance, mystery, and nonfiction.

Authors often polish their works based on editor critiques and may need to market their work as well. Companies usually expect writers to have a college degree and writing experience.

Median Annual Salary

$63,200

Projected Growth Rate

0%

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Creative Writing Program?

Most students can earn a master's in writing in around two years.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Creative Writing?

This degree prepares students for careers as authors, editors, reporters, and public relations specialists. Graduates can also teach creative writing at colleges.

Is a Master's in Creative Writing Worth It?

Many writing careers do not require a master's degree. However, online writing programs help students polish writing skills, which can improve their salary and career prospects.

Can I Teach English With a Creative Writing Degree?

Earning a master's in writing online qualifies graduates to teach English courses at many colleges, as an MFA is often the minimum qualification for these roles. However, some schools require a doctorate for teaching positions.

What Is a Master's in Creative Writing?

Online MFA in creative writing programs explore brainstorming, writing, and editing practices for different genres. These programs often culminate in a thesis or portfolio.

Featured MFA Programs

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