2019 Best Master's in Creative Writing Online Programs

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These five colleges are top-ranked for their online master’s degrees in creative writing, based on affordability and the reported median salary of graduates. With an annual tuition of just $16,464, the University of Denver ranks #1 for its M.A. in creative nonfiction, dramatic writing, fiction, and poetry. Graduates boast a median salary of $103,250. National University is ranked #2 with a tuition rate of $12,900 and a median alumni salary of $79,863.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Find an Online Degree:
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 University of Denver $16,464 $103,250
#2 #2 National University $12,900 $79,863
#3 #3 Western New England University $15,216 $74,200
#4 #4 Southern New Hampshire University Online $15,048 $70,212
#5 #5 Tiffin University $10,000 $52,700
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $16,464
  • Median Salary: $103,250
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of Denver’s master’s in creative writing program can be taken entirely online, and the classes are asynchronous, meaning there is no designated time to log in. No GRE or GMAT is required. The master’s program consists of 48 credit hours (12 courses); the course can be completed in as few as 18 months, or take up to five years. The five core courses include concepts, practices, and professionalism; genres; workshops; professional research; and capstone courses, in which the student explores a problem of practice in his/her field of study. The four concentration courses focus on creative writing, essays, and memoirs. An academic advisor helps each student select the electives that align with the student’s career and personal goals.
 

  • Annual Tuition: $12,900
  • Median Salary: $79,863
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
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The first fully online Master of Fine Arts program in the country, National University’s master’s in creative writing combines at-home work with online seminars and workshops to develop and hone skills in creative nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting. Students are expected to focus on one genre but must take seminar workshops in different genres to expand their scope of knowledge in reading and writing. And changing horses in the middle of the stream is allowed; it is easy for students to switch genres if they wish. Courses are accelerated, and students take one course at a time. Workshop courses are two months long, and electives are one month. A recent survey found that 36 percent of graduates were teaching at a two- or four-year college in composition or creative writing.
 

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $15,216
  • Median Salary: $74,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Benefit from the experience of those who have already succeeded. Western New England University’s mentors and visiting writers have published works of literary fiction, poetry, nonfiction essays, young adult and middle-grade literature, memoir, and literary criticism. The two-year, 48-hour curriculum is a combination of online learning and four short-term, intense residency sessions of five days each. The master’s program incorporates workshops, classes, courses, consultations, and conferences to cover all aspects of fiction and creative writing. And the low student to faculty ratio of 5:1 means a lot of individual attention, advice, and direction for each student. The course begins with a residency (July or January), and by the end, each student produces a substantial manuscript of original work in fiction. Candidates should possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.
 

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $15,048
  • Median Salary: $70,212
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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In Southern New Hampshire University’s online master’s program, students study many well-known, published authors in order to sharpen and perfect their own creative writing skills. Concentrations include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting. The master’s program can be completed in as few as 15 months, with two courses per 10-week term. The program is 100 percent online, and students have 24/7 access. No GRE or GMAT is required. Students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are eligible for provisional acceptance, and some may be required to take Introduction to Graduate Studies. Whether the student’s career trajectory is aimed at business, marketing and communications, publishing, education, or journalism, SNHU graduates are well-equipped to position themselves comfortably in the world of writing.
 

  • Annual Tuition: $10,000
  • Median Salary: $52,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The online 15-week master’s program for creative writing at Tiffin University begins in January, May, and August. Students choose six concentration courses from subjects such as teaching college English, short stories, novels, poetry, genre writing, performance writing, genre fiction, western drama, and more. Aesthetics and literary theory are also explored. The total curriculum is 30 hours. This program is ideal for those who plan to pursue a terminal degree program in creative writing after completing their Master of Humanities, or those who wish to teach creative writing at a two-year college. The course equips students to enter fields such as editing, education, freelance writing, journalism, public assistance, public relations, advertising, and technical writing.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

Online Master's in Creative Writing Overview

The most common type of online master’s degree is the Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. An online MFA program offers workshops, provides more in-depth feedback than bachelor’s programs, and exposes students to a myriad of other writing styles. It also often prepares graduates to teach the craft to others at the collegiate level. The preferred method of learning for this program is “low-residency”, meaning that the majority of the work is completed online, but once or twice a year students convene for a week to attend live intensive seminars.

Many programs take two to three years to complete, require 36 to 70 credit hours, and call for a completed creative writing thesis upon graduation. Traditionally, the programs offer concentrations in poetry and fiction, with select programs now offering coursework in media related fields. For admission, students need to hold a bachelor’s in any area of study—though a degree in a communications or writing-related field is favorable—have a 2.0 to 3.0 minimum GPA, and obtain a satisfactory GRE score. Many individuals that hold this online degree go into publishing, communications, copywriting, teaching, and authoring.

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