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15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in 2024

May 15, 2024

Whether you studied at a top creative writing university or are a high school dropout who will one day become a bestselling author , you may be considering an MFA in Creative Writing. But is a writing MFA genuinely worth the time and potential costs? How do you know which program will best nurture your writing? If you’re considering an MFA, this article walks you through the best full-time, low residency, and online Creative Writing MFA programs in the United States.

What are the best Creative Writing MFA programs?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this article, let’s start with the basics. What is an MFA, anyway?

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a graduate degree that usually takes from two to three years to complete. Applications typically require a sample portfolio, usually 10-20 pages (and sometimes up to 30-40) of your best writing. Moreover, you can receive an MFA in a particular genre, such as Fiction or Poetry, or more broadly in Creative Writing. However, if you take the latter approach, you often have the opportunity to specialize in a single genre.

Wondering what actually goes on in a creative writing MFA beyond inspiring award-winning books and internet memes ? You enroll in workshops where you get feedback on your creative writing from your peers and a faculty member. You enroll in seminars where you get a foundation of theory and techniques. Then, you finish the degree with a thesis project. Thesis projects are typically a body of polished, publishable-quality creative work in your genre—fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

Why should I get an MFA in Creative Writing?

You don’t need an MFA to be a writer. Just look at Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison or bestselling novelist Emily St. John Mandel.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of reasons you might still want to get a creative writing MFA. The first is, unfortunately, prestige. An MFA from a top program can help you stand out in a notoriously competitive industry to be published.

The second reason: time. Many MFA programs give you protected writing time, deadlines, and maybe even a (dainty) salary.

Third, an MFA in Creative Writing is a terminal degree. This means that this degree allows you to teach writing at the university level, especially after you publish a book.

Fourth: resources. MFA programs are often staffed by brilliant, award-winning writers; offer lecture series, volunteer opportunities, and teaching positions; and run their own (usually prestigious) literary magazines. Such resources provide you with the knowledge and insight you’ll need to navigate the literary and publishing world on your own post-graduation.

But above all, the biggest reason to pursue an MFA is the community it brings you. You get to meet other writers—and share feedback, advice, and moral support—in relationships that can last for decades.

Types of Creative Writing MFA Programs

Here are the different types of programs to consider, depending on your needs:

Fully-Funded Full-Time Programs

These programs offer full-tuition scholarships and sweeten the deal by actually paying you to attend them.

  • Pros: You’re paid to write (and teach).
  • Cons: Uprooting your entire life to move somewhere possibly very cold.

Full-Time MFA Programs

These programs include attending in-person classes and paying tuition (though many offer need-based and merit scholarships).

  • Pros: Lots of top-notch non-funded programs have more assets to attract world-class faculty and guests.
  • Cons: It’s an investment that might not pay itself back.

Low-Residency MFA Programs

Low-residency programs usually meet biannually for short sessions. They also offer one-on-one support throughout the year. These MFAs are more independent, preparing you for what the writing life is actually like.

  • Pros: No major life changes required. Cons: Less time dedicated to writing and less time to build relationships.

Online MFA Programs

Held 100% online. These programs have high acceptance rates and no residency requirement. That means zero travel or moving expenses.

  • Pros: No major life changes required.
  • Cons: These MFAs have less name recognition.

The Top 15 Creative Writing MFA Programs Ranked by Category

The following programs are selected for their balance of high funding, impressive return on investment, stellar faculty, major journal publications , and impressive alums.

FULLY FUNDED MFA PROGRAMS

1) johns hopkins university , mfa in fiction/poetry.

This two-year program offers an incredibly generous funding package: $39,000 teaching fellowships each year. Not to mention, it offers that sweet, sweet health insurance, mind-boggling faculty, and the option to apply for a lecture position after graduation. Many grads publish their first book within three years (nice). No nonfiction MFA (boo).

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Incoming class size: 8 students (4 per genre)
  • Admissions rate: 4-8%
  • Alumni: Chimamanda Adichie, Jeffrey Blitz, Wes Craven, Louise Erdrich, Porochista Khakpour, Phillis Levin, ZZ Packer, Tom Sleigh, Elizabeth Spires, Rosanna Warren

2) University of Texas, James Michener Center

The only MFA that offers full and equal funding for every writer. It’s three years long, offers a generous yearly stipend of $30k, and provides full tuition plus a health insurance stipend. Fiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting concentrations are available. The Michener Center is also unique because you study a primary genre and a secondary genre, and also get $4,000 for the summer.

  • Location : Austin, TX
  • Incoming class size : 12 students
  • Acceptance rate: a bone-chilling less-than-1% in fiction; 2-3% in other genres
  • Alumni: Fiona McFarlane, Brian McGreevy, Karan Mahajan, Alix Ohlin, Kevin Powers, Lara Prescott, Roger Reeves, Maria Reva, Domenica Ruta, Sam Sax, Joseph Skibell, Dominic Smith

3) University of Iowa

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a 2-year program on a residency model for fiction and poetry. This means there are low requirements, and lots of time to write groundbreaking novels or play pool at the local bar. All students receive full funding, including tuition, a living stipend, and subsidized health insurance. The Translation MFA , co-founded by Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, is also two years long but with more intensive coursework. The Nonfiction Writing Program is a prestigious three-year MFA program and is also intensive.

  • Incoming class size: 25 each for poetry and fiction; 10-12 for nonfiction and translation.
  • Acceptance rate: 2.7-3.7%
  • Fantastic Alumni: Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, Sandra Cisneros, Joy Harjo, Garth Greenwell, Kiley Reid, Brandon Taylor, Eula Biss, Yiyun Li, Jennifer Croft

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs (Continued) 

4) university of michigan.

Anne Carson famously lives in Ann Arbor, as do the MFA students in UMichigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. This is a big university town, which is less damaging to your social life. Plus, there’s lots to do when you have a $25,000 stipend, summer funding, and health care.

This is a 2-3-year program in either fiction or poetry, with an impressive reputation. They also have a demonstrated commitment to “ push back against the darkness of intolerance and injustice ” and have outreach programs in the community.

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Incoming class size: 18 (9 in each genre)
  • Acceptance rate: 2%
  • Alumni: Brit Bennett, Vievee Francis, Airea D. Matthews, Celeste Ng, Chigozie Obioma, Jia Tolentino, Jesmyn Ward

5) Brown University

Brown offers an edgy, well-funded program in a place that only occasionally dips into arctic temperatures. All students are fully funded for 2 years, which includes tuition remission and a $32k yearly stipend. Students also get summer funding and—you guessed it—that sweet, sweet health insurance.

In the Brown Literary Arts MFA, students take only one workshop and one elective per semester. It’s also the only program in the country to feature a Digital/Cross Disciplinary Track.  Fiction and Poetry Tracks are offered as well.

  • Location: Providence, RI
  • Incoming class size: 12-13
  • Acceptance rate: “highly selective”
  • Alumni: Edwidge Danticat, Jaimy Gordon, Gayl Jones, Ben Lerner, Joanna Scott, Kevin Young, Ottessa Moshfegh

6) University of Arizona

This 3-year program with fiction, poetry, and nonfiction tracks has many attractive qualities. It’s in “ the lushest desert in the world, ” and was recently ranked #4 in creative writing programs, and #2 in Nonfiction. You can take classes in multiple genres, and in fact, are encouraged to do so. Plus, Arizona’s dry heat is good for arthritis.

This notoriously supportive program is fully funded. Moreover, teaching assistantships that provide a salary, health insurance, and tuition waiver are offered to all students. Tucson is home to a hopping literary scene, so it’s also possible to volunteer at multiple literary organizations and even do supported research at the US-Mexico Border.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Incoming class size: usually 6
  • Acceptance rate: 1.2% (a refreshingly specific number after Brown’s evasiveness)
  • Alumni: Francisco Cantú, Jos Charles, Tony Hoagland, Nancy Mairs, Richard Russo, Richard Siken, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, David Foster Wallace

7) Arizona State University 

With concentrations in fiction and poetry, Arizona State is a three-year funded program in arthritis-friendly dry heat. It offers small class sizes, individual mentorships, and one of the most impressive faculty rosters in the game. Moreover, it encourages cross-genre study.

Funding-wise, everyone has the option to take on a teaching assistantship position, which provides a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a yearly stipend of $25k. Other opportunities for financial support exist as well.

  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Incoming class size: 8-10
  • Acceptance rate: 3% (sigh)
  • Alumni: Tayari Jones, Venita Blackburn, Dorothy Chan, Adrienne Celt, Dana Diehl, Matthew Gavin Frank, Caitlin Horrocks, Allegra Hyde, Hugh Martin, Bonnie Nadzam

FULL-RESIDENCY MFAS (UNFUNDED)

8) new york university.

This two-year program is in New York City, meaning it comes with close access to literary opportunities and hot dogs. NYU also has one of the most accomplished faculty lists anywhere. Students have large cohorts (more potential friends!) and have a penchant for winning top literary prizes. Concentrations in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction are available.

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Incoming class size: ~60; 20-30 students accepted for each genre
  • Acceptance rate: 6-9%
  • Alumni: Nick Flynn, Nell Freudenberger, Aracelis Girmay, Mitchell S. Jackson, Tyehimba Jess, John Keene, Raven Leilani, Robin Coste Lewis, Ada Limón, Ocean Vuong

9) Columbia University

Another 2-3 year private MFA program with drool-worthy permanent and visiting faculty. Columbia offers courses in fiction, poetry, translation, and nonfiction. Beyond the Ivy League education, Columbia offers close access to agents, and its students have a high record of bestsellers. Finally, teaching positions and fellowships are available to help offset the high tuition.

  • Incoming class size: 110
  • Acceptance rate: not publicized (boo)
  • Alumni: Alexandra Kleeman, Rachel Kushner, Claudia Rankine, Rick Moody, Sigrid Nunez, Tracy K. Smith, Emma Cline, Adam Wilson, Marie Howe, Mary Jo Bang

10) Sarah Lawrence 

Sarah Lawrence offers a concentration in speculative fiction in addition to the average fiction, poetry, and nonfiction choices. Moreover, they encourage cross-genre exploration. With intimate class sizes, this program is unique because it offers biweekly one-on-one conferences with its stunning faculty. It also has a notoriously supportive atmosphere, and many teaching and funding opportunities are available.

  • Location: Bronxville, NY
  • Incoming class size: 30-40
  • Acceptance rate: not publicized
  • Alumni: Cynthia Cruz, Melissa Febos, T Kira Madden, Alex Dimitrov, Moncho Alvarado

LOW RESIDENCY

11) bennington college.

This two-year program boasts truly stellar faculty, and meets twice a year for ten days in January and June. It’s like a biannual vacation in beautiful Vermont, plus mentorship by a famous writer. The rest of the time, you’ll be spending approximately 25 hours per week on reading and writing assignments. Students have the option to concentrate in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Uniquely, they can also opt for a dual-genre focus.

The tuition is $23,468 per year, with scholarships available. Additionally, Bennington offers full-immersion teaching fellowships to MFA students, which are extremely rare in low-residency programs.

  • Location: Bennington, VT
  • Acceptance rate: 53%
  • Incoming class: 25-35
  • Alumni: Larissa Pham, Andrew Reiner, Lisa Johnson Mitchell, and others

12)  Institute for American Indian Arts

This two-year program emphasizes Native American and First Nations writing. With truly amazing faculty and visiting writers, they offer a wide range of genres, including screenwriting, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. In addition, each student is matched with a faculty mentor who works with them one-on-one throughout the semester.

Students attend two eight-day residencies each year, in January and July, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At $12,000 in tuition a year, it boasts being “ one of the most affordable MFA programs in the country .”

  • Location: Santa Fe, NM
  • Incoming class size : 21
  • Alumni: Tommy Orange, Dara Yen Elerath, Kathryn Wilder

13) Vermont College of Fine Arts

VCFA is the only graduate school on this list that focuses exclusively on the fine arts. Their MFA in Writing offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; they also offer an MFA in Literary Translation and one of the few MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults . Students meet twice a year for nine days, in January and July, either in-person or online. Here, they receive one-on-one mentorship that continues for the rest of the semester. You can also do many travel residencies in exciting (and warm) places like Cozumel.

VCFA boasts amazing faculty and visiting writers, with individualized study options and plenty of one-on-one time. Tuition for the full two-year program is approximately $54k.

  • Location : Various; 2024/25 residencies are in Colorado and California
  • Incoming class size: 18-25
  • Acceptance rate: 63%
  • Alumnx: Lauren Markham, Mary-Kim Arnold, Cassie Beasley, Kate Beasley, Julie Berry, Bridget Birdsall, Gwenda Bond, Pablo Cartaya

ONLINE MFAS

14) university of texas at el paso.

UTEP is considered the best online MFA program, and features award-winning faculty from across the globe. Accordingly, this program is geared toward serious writers who want to pursue teaching and/or publishing. Intensive workshops allow submissions in Spanish and/or English, and genres include poetry and fiction.

No residencies are required, but an optional opportunity to connect in person is available every year. This three-year program costs about $25-30k total, depending on whether you are an in-state or out-of-state resident.

  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • Acceptance rate: “highly competitive”
  • Alumni: Watch alumni testimonies here

15) Bay Path University

This 2-year online, no-residency program is dedicated entirely to nonfiction. Featuring a supportive, diverse community, Bay Path offers small class sizes, close mentorship, and an optional yearly field trip to Ireland.

There are many tracks, including publishing, narrative medicine, and teaching creative writing. Moreover, core courses include memoir, narrative journalism, food/travel writing, and the personal essay. Tuition is approximately $31,000 for the entire program, with scholarships available.

  • Location: Longmeadow, MA
  • Incoming class size: 20
  • Alumni: Read alumni testimonies here

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs — Final Thoughts

Whether you’re aiming for a fully funded, low residency, or completely online MFA program, there are plenty of incredible options available—all of which will sharpen your craft while immersing you in the vibrant literary arts community.

Hoping to prepare for your MFA in advance? You might consider checking out the following:

  • Best English Programs
  • Best Colleges for Creative Writing
  • Writing Summer Programs
  • Best Writing Competitions for High School Students

Inspired to start writing? Get your pencil ready:

  • 100 Creative Writing Prompts 
  • 1 00 Tone Words to Express Mood in Your Writing
  • 60 Senior Project Ideas
  • Common App Essay Prompts

Best MFA Creative Writing Programs – References:

  • https://www.pw.org/mfa
  • The Creative Writing MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students , by Tom Kealey (A&C Black 2005)
  • Graduate School Admissions

Julia Conrad

With a Bachelor of Arts in English and Italian from Wesleyan University as well as MFAs in both Nonfiction Writing and Literary Translation from the University of Iowa, Julia is an experienced writer, editor, educator, and a former Fulbright Fellow. Julia’s work has been featured in  The Millions ,  Asymptote , and  The Massachusetts Review , among other publications. To read more of her work, visit  www.juliaconrad.net

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Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing

3 things no one tells you before you start an Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing

Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing

There are so many things I wish I’d known before starting my Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University. Right before I started the program, I worked in the admissions department at the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia. On my breaks I would figure out ways to game the housing system to get the best apartment and examine financial aid options to supplement the tiny fellowship I’d been offered. I had money on my mind.

I was pretty clueless and spent most of my preparation time trying to figure out if I could have a mattress delivered to my unfurnished apartment on the day I moved in. I’d been assigned a Columbia MFA international student advisor (who, some years after graduation, won the Man Asian Literary Prize for his debut novel) and I’m pretty sure all I asked him over e-mail was, “How do I get out to IKEA in Elizabeth, New Jersey, from campus?”

I shouldn’t have focused so much on the life logistics and thought more about what it means to be a writer. It was a case of I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Read on to discover 3 things no one tells you before you start a creative writing MFA.

Not everyone in an Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing gets a six-figure book deal

When I first started my creative writing MFA, some of my classmates and I would sit in a basement studio in a complex where Simone Weil had once lived. We called it the Compound, and we’d talk about our writing dreams. Now, you’re probably thinking that everyone at an Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing comes from money, but most of us had taken on enormous debt and we’d done it because we had no concept of money because we’d never had any.

One of my classmates believed that if we pushed past writer’s block and finished our novels, we would all get six-figure book deals. I’m not sure where he’d gotten that misinformation about what an Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing guarantees you. We didn’t really want to disabuse him of this fact so early on—his energy was innocent and beautiful and we didn’t want him to become as jaded as the rest of us.

Deep down, we wanted so much to partake in this fantasy and live up to the idea that the Columbia MFA was a magical fiction factory. We knew about the success stories of the cohorts before ours: Wells Tower, Kiran Desai, Philip Gourevitch, Rick Moody, and Chloe Hooper.

ivy league mfa creative writing

Though one of the writers from the Compound went on to publish in The New Yorker, secure a six-figure book deal, and later win a MacArthur Fellowship, she was an outlier. (One member of our 43-person fiction cohort landed a seven-figure deal, but we’re talking lottery money—it’s not even close to reality.) The rest of us received three-figure deals from small presses and a few are still trying to publish a debut book. A writing career is really a long game.

Real writers read

The creative writing program I attended as an undergrad required work in three genres. There was no reading component aside from the weekly essay in my creative nonfiction workshop. My nonfiction professor, Lynne Bowen, ran the most organized class I have ever taken. I’m smiling as I think about her assignments and clear instructions. I learned more about the business of being a writer from Lynne than any other professor. She taught us the importance of setting and meeting deadlines.

Anyhow, due to the fact that we weren’t required to read contemporary writers in other genres, you can imagine how provincial we all sounded in these writing workshops. Most of us wrote in a way that was flat and unfinished and nothing like our own idiosyncratic voices—we mostly failed at achieving dead dude style.

I had read a lot of classic novels for my English literature major, but my engagement with living writers was limited to Margaret Atwood and young Canadian writers who I wanted to interview for my college radio show: Kevin Chong, Lee Henderson, Rebecca Godfrey, Annabel Lyon, Linda Svendsen, Zoe Whitall, Nancy Lee, Laisha Rosnau, Madeleine Thien, and Eden Robinson.

ivy league mfa creative writing

Aside from Canadian writers, at some point I read Zadie Smith because she was young and cool and a woman of colour who’d scored a big book deal and I was extremely curious to study her work and possibly emulate her. (Spoiler alert: I have never been able to come close to writing anything as extraordinary as White Teeth .)

I wrote my graduate school admissions essay on The Corrections because I have always been obsessed with gossip and scandal. Aside from this, I’d read a Jonathan Ames essay collection I’d picked up from the free bin when I interned in London at the style and culture magazine Dazed & Confused and I was obsessed with George Saunders. I’d read Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto, but really, my reading world before graduate school was very narrow.

The Columbia MFA required three craft classes a semester: it was an extraordinary amount of reading. Suddenly I was exposed to writers I’d never heard of before and I had to reevaluate my goals as a writer. I spent the hours on subway platforms after concerts reading novels, short stories, and essays. This was an apprenticeship. I began inching closer to developing my own particular writing style and voice.

Your classmates are your community, not your competition

When I was at Columbia, I used to sit in on the film program guest lectures. One day, director Peter Hedges screened his film Pieces of April , with a soundtrack featuring the Magnetic Fields. I have a really positive memory of his talk, which I’ll paraphrase to the best of my recollection. Hedges said that at the end of the program all of the film students in the room would have careers in the industry. Some of you will have very visible careers as directors , he said, while others might work in other roles behind the scenes . But every student who wanted a career in film would be part of the industry in some way.

ivy league mfa creative writing

I loved this speech. I looked around the room at all the future filmmakers. (Later, one of these students—my boss at my campus job—won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.) Success was the work, not the recognition. And everyone in that room was part of a community.

Over the years, I’ve learned scarcity can turn some people into monsters. There are writers who treat other writers like competition, but the truth is other writers are your colleagues. The most important thing to remember is that your classmates in a creative writing MFA are your community. They’re the people who will celebrate your successes and console you during your failures years down the road. As I said before, a writing career is a long game, and you need to have friends by your side as you return again and again to the blank page to create your stories and connect with readers.

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The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs [2024]

Zoë

Many people have a talent for stories, but not everyone will become a successful author. In many cases, people simply need to hone their skills – and the best MFA creative writing programs are the key.

If you have an undergrad degree and are looking for the next step in your academic adventure, you’re in luck: We’ve scoured MFA creative writing rankings to find you the best programs.

Table of Contents

The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs

1. johns hopkins university – krieger school of arts & sciences.

Johns Hopkins University

Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/ Poetry

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins is a world-renowned private research university. Their Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/Poetry is one of the best MFA creative writing programs anywhere. Students take courses and receive writing practice (in fiction or poetry) at the highest level. This MFA program also offers the opportunity to learn with an internationally renowned faculty.

  • Duration:  2 years
  • Financial aid:  Full tuition, teaching fellowship (for all students set at $33,000/year)
  • Acceptance rate: 11.1%
  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Founded: 1876

2. University of Michigan –  Helen Zell Writers’ Program

University of Michigan

Master of Fine Arts

The University of Michigan is a public research university – and the oldest in the state. Its Master of Fine Arts program is one of the best MFA creative writing programs in the country, exposing students to various approaches to the craft. While studying under award-winning poets and writers, students may specialize in either poetry or fiction.

  • Duration: 2 years
  • No. of hours: 36
  • Financial aid: Full funding
  • Acceptance rate:  26.1%
  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Founded: 1817

3. University of Texas at Austin – New Writers Project

University of Texas at Austin

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The University of Texas at Austin is a well-known public research university with around 50,000 students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. It offers one of the best MFA programs for creative writing, aiming to enhance and develop its students’ artistic and intellectual abilities.

  • Duration:  3 years
  • Financial aid:  Full funding
  • Acceptance rate:  32%
  • Location:  Austin, Texas
  • Founded:  1883

4. University of Nebraska – Kearney

UNK logo

Master of Arts

The University of Nebraska strives to provide quality, affordable education, including its online MA English program. Students can focus on four areas, including Creative Writing (which provides experiential learning in either poetry or prose).

  • Credit hours: 36
  • Tuition : $315 per credit hour
  • Financial aid :  Grants, Work-study, Student loans, Scholarships, Parent loans
  • Acceptance rate: 88%
  • Location: Online
  • Founded: 1905

5. Bay Path University (Massachusetts)

Bay Path University

MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing

Bay Path University is a private university with various programs at undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels (including women-only undergraduate programs). This creative non-fiction writing program is one of the first fully online programs in the country. No matter their location, students are able to develop their creative writing skills and knowledge – in a range of literary genres.

  • Credits:  39
  • Tuition: $775 per credit
  • Financial aid :  Federal Stafford loan, Student loans
  • Acceptance rate: 78%
  • Founded:  1897

6. Brown University (Rhode Island)

Brown logo

MFA in Literary Arts

Brown is a world-famous Ivy League university based in Providence, Rhode Island. Its two-year residency MFA in Literary Arts is designed for students looking to maximize their intellectual and creative exploration. The highly competitive program offers extensive financial support. In fact, over the past 20 years, all incoming MFA students were awarded full funding for their first year of study (and many for the second year).

  • Tuition:  $57,591  (but full funding available)
  • Financial aid :  Fellowship, teaching assistantships, and stipends.
  • Acceptance rate: 9%
  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Founded:  1764

7. University of Iowa (Iowa)

UoIowa

MFA in Creative Writing

The University of Iowa is a public university located in Iowa City. As one of the most celebrated public schools in the Midwest, students learn under established professors and promising writers during their two-year residency program.

  • Credits:  60
  • Tuition: $12,065 for in-state students, and $31,012 out-of-state
  • Financial aid :  Scholarships, teaching assistantships, federal aid, and student loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 84%
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa

8. Cornell University (New York State)

Cornell University

Cornell is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. This highly competitive program accepts only eight students annually, and just two from each concentration. Not only do students enjoy a generous financial aid package, but they also have the opportunity to work closely with members of the school’s celebrated faculty.

  • Tuition:  $29,500
  • Financial aid :  All accepted students receive a fellowship covering full tuition, stipend, and insurance.
  • Acceptance rate: 14%
  • Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Founded:  1865

9. Columbia University ( NYC )

Columbia University logo

MFA in Fiction Writing

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest tertiary education institution in New York – and one of the oldest in the country. The school offers a Writing MFA in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and literary translation. The fiction concentration promotes artistic and aesthetic diversity, with a diverse teaching staff and adjunct faculty from a wide range of diverse experience.

  • Credits:  60 points
  • Tuition:  $34,576
  • Financial aid :  Scholarships, fellowships, federal aid, work-study, and veterans’ grants.
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Location: NYC, New York
  • Founded:  1754

10. New York University (NYC)

NYU logo

New York University (NYU) is known for delivering high-quality, innovative education in various fields. Located in the heart of NYC, the institution’s MFA in Creative Writing boasts celebrated faculty from poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction backgrounds. This dynamic program fosters creativity and excellence through literary outreach programs, public reading series, a literary journal, and special seminars from visiting writers

  • Credits:  32
  • Tuition:  $53,229
  • Financial aid :  Fellowships, scholarships, and federal aid.
  • Location: NYC
  • Founded:  1886

Common Courses for MFAs in Creative Writing 

As part of your master’s in creative writing program, you’ll usually need to complete a number of compulsory courses, along with certain electives. Common courses you’ll need to take include:

  • Literary theory
  • History of storytelling
  • Genre conventions
  • Market trends
  • Marketing manuscripts to publishers
  • Thesis or dissertation

Typical Requirements for Applying to an MFA Creative Writing Program

Besides the application form and fee, most MFA in creative writing programs have standard requirements. While the following are the most typical requirements, always check with the specific program first:

Make sure your resume  includes all relevant information to showcase your interests, skills, and talent in writing.

2. Writing Sample(s)

MFA creative writing program selection committees look for applicants who are serious about writing. Therefore, they typically ask for at least one 10-20 page writing sample. The best samples showcase talent in your preferred area of writing (e.g., fiction, non-fiction). MFA poetry programs have varied sample requirements.

3. Transcripts

You’ll need to show your undergraduate degree (and possibly high school) transcript.

4. Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is usually 1-2 pages and shows your passion for writing and potential to succeed in the program.

5. Recommendation Letters

Most programs require letters of recommendation from academic or professional contacts who know you well.

Related reading: How to Ask a Professor for a Grad School Recommendation

6. GRE Scores

Some MFA programs require GRE scores (though this is not the case for all universities). If you happen to need some assistance while studying for your GRE or GMAT, be sure to check out Magoosh for easy test prep!

What Can Creative Writers Do After Graduation?

As a creative writer with an MFA, you’ll have a variety of career options where your skills are highly valued. Below are a few of the common jobs an MFA creative writing graduate can do, along with the average annual salary for each.

Creative Director ( $90,389 )

A creative director leads a team of creative writers, designers, or artists in various fields, such as media, advertising, or entertainment.

Editor ( $63,350)

An editor helps correct writing errors and improve the style and flow in media, broadcasting, films, advertising, marketing , and entertainment.

Academic Librarian ( $61,190)

An academic librarian manages educational information resources in an academic environment (such as a university).

Copywriter ( $53,800 )

Copywriters typically work to present an idea to a particular audience and capture their attention using as few words as possible.

Technical Writers ($78,060)

Technical writers are tasked with instruction manuals, guides, journal articles, and other documents. These convey complex details and technical information to a wider audience.

Writer ( $69,510 )

A writer usually provides written content for businesses through articles, marketing content, blogs, or product descriptions. They may also write fiction or non-fiction books.

Social Media Manager ( $52,856 )

A social media manager is responsible for creating and scheduling content on social media, and may also track analytics and develop social media strategies.

Journalist ($ 48,370 )

Journalists may work for newspapers, magazines, or online publications, researching and writing stories, as well as conducting interviews and investigations.

Public Relations Officer ( $62,800)

A public relations officer works to promote and improve the public image of a company, government agency, or organization. This is done through work such as: preparing media releases, online content, and dealing with the media.

Lexicographer ( $72,620 )

Lexicographers are the professionals who create dictionaries. They study words’ etymologies and meanings, compiling them into a dictionary.

Can You Get a Creative Writing Degree Online?

Yes, a number of institutions offer online master’s degrees , such as Bay Path University and the University of Nebraska. Online courses offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing you to study from anywhere – and often on your own schedule. Many students can earn their degrees while continuing with their current job or raising a family.

However, students won’t receive the full benefits of a residency program, such as building close connections with peers and working with the faculty in person. Some on-campus programs also offer full funding to cover tuition and education expenses.

Pros and Cons of an MFA in Creative Writing

Like anything, studying an MFA in Creative Writing and pursuing a related career can have its benefits as well as drawbacks.

  • It’ll motivate you to write.

Many people are talented but struggle sitting down to write. An MFA program will give you the motivation to meet your deadlines.

  • You’ll have a community.

Writing can be a solitary pursuit. It can be hard to connect with others who are just as passionate about writing. An MFA program provides students with a community of like-minded people.

  • Graduates have teaching prospects.

An MFA is one option that can help you find a teaching job at the university level. Unlike some majors that require a Ph.D. to enter academia, many post-secondary instructors hold an MFA.

  • Not always the most marketable job skills

Although an MFA in Creative Writing will provide several useful skills in the job market, these are not as marketable as some other forms of writing. For example, copywriting arguably has a wider range of job prospects.

  • It could limit your creativity.

There is a risk that your writing could become too technical or formulaic, due to the theories learned during your MFA. It’s important to know the theory, but you don’t want to let it limit your creativity.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MFA Degree in Creative Writing?

A master’s in creative writing typically takes between 2-3 years to complete. Unlike other master’s degrees’ accelerated options, creative writing program requirements require a greater number of workshops and dissertations.

Alternatives to Creative Writing Majors

There are plenty of similar majors that can set you on the path to a career in the creative writing field. Consider alternatives like an MA in English , literature, humanities, media studies, and library sciences.

Related Reading: Master’s in Fine Arts: The Ultimate Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What can i do with an mfa in creative writing .

An MFA graduate could teach creative writing at a secondary or college level. They may pursue a career in advertising, publishing, media, or the entertainment industry. They could also become an author by publishing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

Are MFA Creative Writing Programs Worth It?

Having an MFA opens doors to a range of well-paid careers (more on that above). If you’re skilled in writing – and want to make a decent living with it – an MFA program might be an excellent choice.

How Do I Choose an MFA in Creative Writing?

First, consider whether an on-campus or online MFA program is best for you (depending on your lifestyle and commitments). Another key consideration is a university with renowned authors on their teaching staff who will give you the highest levels of training in creative writing. Also, consider your preferred focus area (e.g., fiction, poetry, nonfiction) .

What Are MFA Writing Programs?

An MFA in writing or creative writing is an advanced program that teaches students the art and practice of writing. During these programs, students hone their writing skills and equip themselves to publish their own work – or pursue a career in media, teaching, or advertising.

Can You Teach with an MFA? 

Yes! Teaching is one of the many career options an MFA provides . An MFA in creative writing can qualify you to be a teacher in creative writing (in schools or the higher education sector).

Is It Hard to Be Admitted to MFA Creative Writing Programs?

MFA creative writing programs are relatively competitive. Therefore, not all applicants will get into the program of their choice. However, if you are talented and ambitious that becomes more likely. Having said that, the most prestigious universities with the best MFA creative writing programs accept a small percentage of the applicants.

What Is the Best Creative Writing Program in the World? 

A number of creative writing programs are known for their famous faculty and excellent courses, like the Master of Fine Arts in Fiction/ Poetry from Johns Hopkins and the MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University . Outside the US, the most celebrated English program is likely the University of Cambridge’s MSt in Creative Writing.

How Hard Is It to Get an MFA in Creative Writing?

An MFA is an intensive, highly-involved degree that requires a certain amount of dedication. Anyone with a passion for creative writing should find it rewarding and satisfying.

Should I Get an MA or MFA in Creative Writing?

Whether you choose an MA or MFA in creative writing depends on your own interests and career ambitions. An MFA in creative writing is ideal for anyone passionate about pursuing a career in fiction, poetry, or creative non-fiction. An MA is a broader degree that equips students for a wider range of career choices (though it will qualify them for many of the same roles as an MFA).

Can I Get Published Without an MFA?

Absolutely. However, studying for an MFA will equip you with a range of skills and knowledge that are extremely helpful in getting your work published, from honing your craft to submitting your manuscript to working with publishers.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs with a Master’s in Creative Writing?

An MFA in creative writing can help you land a range of jobs in the creative and literary fields. The highest-paying jobs for graduates with a master’s in creative writing include creative directors ($90,000) and technical writers ($78,000).

Key Takeaways

An MFA in creative writing program will hone your talents and develop the skills you need to become a successful writer. The best MFA creative writing programs will give you incredible knowledge of the field while developing your practical skills in fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

The acceptance rate for the best MFA writing programs is fairly low, so it’s crucial to understand the requirements well and prepare thoroughly. To help you with your application, check out our guide to applying to grad school .

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Lisa Marlin

Lisa Marlin

Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.

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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.

body_columbia

#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.

body_brown-1

#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.

body_nyu

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.

What's Next?

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 .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

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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Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program

Unlock your creative potential and hone your unique voice.

Online Courses

11 out of 12 total courses

On-Campus Experience

One 1- or 3-week residency in summer

$3,220 per course

Program Overview

Through the master’s degree in creative writing and literature, you’ll hone your skills as a storyteller — crafting publishable original scripts, novels, and stories.

In small, workshop-style classes, you’ll master key elements of narrative craft, including characterization, story and plot structure, point of view, dialogue, and description. And you’ll learn to approach literary works as both a writer and scholar by developing skills in critical analysis.

Program Benefits

Instructors who are published authors of drama, fiction, and nonfiction

A community of writers who support your growth in live online classes

Writer's residency with agent & editor networking opportunities

Personalized academic and career advising

Thesis or capstone options that lead to publishable creative work

Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation

Customizable Course Curriculum

As you work through the program’s courses, you’ll enhance your creative writing skills and knowledge of literary concepts and strategies. You’ll practice the art of revision to hone your voice as a writer in courses like Writing the Short Personal Essay and Writing Flash Fiction.

Within the creative writing and literature program, you will choose between a thesis or capstone track. You’ll also experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person.

11 Online Courses

  • Primarily synchronous
  • Fall, spring, January, and summer options

Writers’ Residency

A 1- or 3-week summer master class taught by a notable instructor, followed by an agents-and-editors weekend

Thesis or Capstone Track

  • Thesis: features a 9-month independent creative project with a faculty advisor
  • Capstone: includes crafting a fiction or nonfiction manuscript in a classroom community

The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.

First, you’ll register for and complete 2 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Getting Started

We invite you to explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.

A Faculty of Creative Writing Experts

Studying at Harvard Extension School means learning from the world’s best. Our instructors are renowned academics in literary analysis, storytelling, manuscript writing, and more. They bring a genuine passion for teaching, with students giving our faculty an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.

Bryan Delaney

Playwright and Screenwriter

Talaya Adrienne Delaney

Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Our community at a glance.

80% of our creative writing and literature students are enrolled in our master’s degree program for either personal enrichment or to make a career change. Most (74%) are employed full time while pursuing their degree and work across a variety of industries.

Download: Creative Writing & Literature Master's Degree Fact Sheet

Average Age

Course Taken Each Semester

Work Full Time

Would Recommend the Program

Professional Experience in the Field

Pursued for Personal Enrichment

Career Opportunities & Alumni Outcomes

Graduates of our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Program have writing, research, and communication jobs in the fields of publishing, advertising/marketing, fundraising, secondary and higher education, and more.

Some alumni continue their educational journeys and pursue further studies in other nationally ranked degree programs, including those at Boston University, Brandeis University, University of Pennsylvania, and Cambridge University.

Our alumni hold titles as:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Director of Publishing
  • Senior Research Writer

Our alumni work at a variety of leading organizations, including:

  • Little, Brown & Company
  • New York University (NYU)
  • Bentley Publishers

Career Advising and Mentorship

Whatever your career goals, we’re here to support you. Harvard’s Mignone Center for Career Success offers career advising, employment opportunities, Harvard alumni mentor connections, and career fairs like the annual on-campus Harvard Humanities, Media, Marketing, and Creative Careers Expo.

Your Harvard University Degree

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Creative Writing and Literature.

Expand Your Connections: the Harvard Alumni Network

As a graduate, you’ll become a member of the worldwide Harvard Alumni Association (400,000+ members) and Harvard Extension Alumni Association (29,000+ members).

Harvard is closer than one might think. You can be anywhere and still be part of this world.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

Our Tuition (2023–24 rate) $3,220 per course
Average Tuition of Peer Institutions $4,330 per course
Average Total Cost $38,640

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid . Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

What can you do with a master’s degree in creative writing and literature?

A master’s degree in creative writing and literature prepares you for a variety of career paths in writing, literature, and communication — it’s up to you to decide where your interests will take you.

You could become a professional writer, editor, literary agent, marketing copywriter, or communications specialist.

You could also go the academic route and bring your knowledge to the classroom to teach creative writing or literature courses.

Is a degree in creative writing and literature worth it?

The value you find in our Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program will depend on your unique goals, interests, and circumstances.

The curriculum provides a range of courses that allow you to graduate with knowledge and skills transferable to various industries and careers.

How long does completing the creative writing and literature graduate program take?

Program length is ordinarily anywhere between 2 and 5 years. It depends on your preferred pace and the number of courses you want to take each semester.

For an accelerated journey, we offer year round study, where you can take courses in fall, January, spring, and summer.

While we don’t require you to register for a certain number of courses each semester, you cannot take longer than 5 years to complete the degree.

What skills do you need prior to applying for the creative writing and literature degree program?

Harvard Extension School does not require any specific skills prior to applying, but in general, it’s helpful to have solid reading, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills if you are considering a creative writing and literature master’s degree.

Initial eligibility requirements can be found on our creative writing and literature master’s degree requirements page .

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) at Harvard University is dedicated to bringing rigorous academics and innovative teaching capabilities to those seeking to improve their lives through education. We make Harvard education accessible to lifelong learners from high school to retirement.

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The 10 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

The talent is there. 

But the next generation of great American writers needs a collegial place to hone their craft. 

They need a place to explore the writer’s role in a wider community. 

They really need guidance about how and when to publish. 

All these things can be found in a solid Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree program. This degree offers access to mentors, to colleagues, and to a future in the writing world. 

A good MFA program gives new writers a precious few years to focus completely on their work, an ideal space away from the noise and pressure of the fast-paced modern world. 

We’ve found ten of the best ones, all of which provide the support, the creative stimulation, and the tranquility necessary to foster a mature writer.

We looked at graduate departments from all regions, public and private, all sizes, searching for the ten most inspiring Creative Writing MFA programs. 

Each of these ten institutions has assembled stellar faculties, developed student-focused paths of study, and provide robust support for writers accepted into their degree programs. 

To be considered for inclusion in this list, these MFA programs all must be fully-funded degrees, as recognized by Read The Workshop .

Creative Writing education has broadened and expanded over recent years, and no single method or plan fits for all students. 

Today, MFA programs across the country give budding short story writers and poets a variety of options for study. For future novelists, screenwriters – even viral bloggers – the search for the perfect setting for their next phase of development starts with these outstanding institutions, all of which have developed thoughtful and particular approaches to study.

So where will the next Salinger scribble his stories on the steps of the student center, or the next Angelou reading her poems in the local bookstore’s student-run poetry night? At one of these ten programs.

Here are 10 of the best creative writing MFA programs in the US.

University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)

University of Oregon

Starting off the list is one of the oldest and most venerated Creative Writing programs in the country, the MFA at the University of Oregon. 

Longtime mentor, teacher, and award-winning poet Garrett Hongo directs the program, modeling its studio-based approach to one-on-one instruction in the English college system. 

Oregon’s MFA embraces its reputation for rigor. Besides attending workshops and tutorials, students take classes in more formal poetics and literature.  

A classic college town, Eugene provides an ideal backdrop for the writers’ community within Oregon’s MFA students and faculty.  

Tsunami Books , a local bookseller with national caché, hosts student-run readings featuring writers from the program. 

Graduates garner an impressive range of critical acclaim; Yale Younger Poet winner Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Cave Canem Prize winner and Guggenheim fellow Major Jackson, and PEN-Hemingway Award winner Chang-Rae Lee are noteworthy alumni. 

With its appealing setting and impressive reputation, Oregon’s MFA program attracts top writers as visiting faculty, including recent guests Elizabeth McCracken, David Mura, and Li-young Lee.

The individual approach defines the Oregon MFA experience; a key feature of the program’s first year is the customized reading list each MFA student creates with their faculty guide. 

Weekly meetings focus not only on the student’s writing, but also on the extended discovery of voice through directed reading. 

Accepting only ten new students a year—five in poetry and five in fiction— the University of Oregon’s MFA ensures a close-knit community with plenty of individual coaching and guidance.

Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

Cornell University

Cornell University’s MFA program takes the long view on life as a writer, incorporating practical editorial training and teaching experience into its two-year program.

Incoming MFA students choose their own faculty committee of at least two faculty members, providing consistent advice as they move through a mixture of workshop and literature classes. 

Students in the program’s first year benefit from editorial training as readers and editors for Epoch , the program’s prestigious literary journal.

Teaching experience grounds the Cornell program. MFA students design and teach writing-centered undergraduate seminars on a variety of topics, and they remain in Ithaca during the summer to teach in programs for undergraduates. 

Cornell even allows MFA graduates to stay on as lecturers at Cornell for a period of time while they are on the job search. Cornell also offers a joint MFA/Ph.D. program through the Creative Writing and English departments.

Endowments fund several acclaimed reading series, drawing internationally known authors to campus for workshops and work sessions with MFA students. 

Recent visiting readers include Salman Rushdie, Sandra Cisneros, Billy Collins, Margaret Atwood, Ada Limón, and others. 

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)

Arizona State University

Arizona State’s MFA in Creative Writing spans three years, giving students ample time to practice their craft, develop a voice, and begin to find a place in the post-graduation literary world. 

Coursework balances writing and literature classes equally, with courses in craft and one-on-one mentoring alongside courses in literature, theory, or even electives in topics like fine press printing, bookmaking, or publishing. 

While students follow a path in either poetry or fiction, they are encouraged to take courses across the genres.

Teaching is also a focus in Arizona State’s MFA program, with funding coming from teaching assistantships in the school’s English department. Other exciting teaching opportunities include teaching abroad in locations around the world, funded through grants and internships.

The Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing, affiliated with the program, offers Arizona State MFA students professional development in formal and informal ways. 

The Distinguished Writers Series and Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference bring world-class writers to campus, allowing students to interact with some of the greatest in the profession. Acclaimed writer and poet Alberto Ríos directs the Piper Center.

Arizona State transitions students to the world after graduation through internships with publishers like Four Way Books. 

Its commitment to the student experience and its history of producing acclaimed writers—recent examples include Tayari Jones (Oprah’s Book Club, 2018; Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2019), Venita Blackburn ( Prairie Schooner Book Prize, 2018), and Hugh Martin ( Iowa Review Jeff Sharlet Award for Veterans)—make Arizona State University’s MFA a consistent leader among degree programs.

University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin’s MFA program, the Michener Center for Writers, maintains one of the most vibrant, exciting, active literary faculties of any MFA program.

Denis Johnson D.A. Powell, Geoff Dyer, Natasha Trethewey, Margot Livesey, Ben Fountain: the list of recent guest faculty boasts some of the biggest names in current literature.

This three-year program fully funds candidates without teaching fellowships or assistantships; the goal is for students to focus entirely on their writing. 

More genre tracks at the Michener Center mean students can choose two focus areas, a primary and secondary, from Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting, and Playwriting.

The Michener Center for Writers plays a prominent role in contemporary writing of all kinds. 

The hip, student-edited Bat City Review accepts work of all genres, visual art, cross genres, collaborative, and experimental pieces.  

Recent events for illustrious alumni include New Yorker publications, an Oprah Book Club selection, a screenwriting prize, and a 2021 Pulitzer (for visiting faculty member Mitchell Jackson). 

In this program, students are right in the middle of all the action of contemporary American literature.

Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

Washington University in St. Louis

The MFA in Creative Writing at Washington University in St. Louis is a program on the move: applicants have almost doubled here in the last five years. 

Maybe this sudden growth of interest comes from recent rising star alumni on the literary scene, like Paul Tran, Miranda Popkey, and National Book Award winner Justin Phillip Reed.

Or maybe it’s the high profile Washington University’s MFA program commands, with its rotating faculty post through the Hurst Visiting Professor program and its active distinguished reader series. 

Superstar figures like Alison Bechdel and George Saunders have recently held visiting professorships, maintaining an energetic atmosphere program-wide.

Washington University’s MFA program sustains a reputation for the quality of the mentorship experience. 

With only five new students in each genre annually, MFA candidates form close cohorts among their peers and enjoy attentive support and mentorship from an engaged and vigorous faculty. 

Three genre tracks are available to students: fiction, poetry, and the increasingly relevant and popular creative nonfiction.

Another attractive feature of this program: first-year students are fully funded, but not expected to take on a teaching role until their second year. 

A generous stipend, coupled with St. Louis’s low cost of living, gives MFA candidates at Washington University the space to develop in a low-stress but stimulating creative environment.

Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

Indiana University

It’s one of the first and biggest choices students face when choosing an MFA program: two-year or three-year? 

Indiana University makes a compelling case for its three-year program, in which the third year of support allows students an extended period of time to focus on the thesis, usually a novel or book-length collection.

One of the older programs on the list, Indiana’s MFA dates back to 1948. 

Its past instructors and alumni read like the index to an American Literature textbook. 

How many places can you take classes in the same place Robert Frost once taught, not to mention the program that granted its first creative writing Master’s degree to David Wagoner? Even today, the program’s integrity and reputation draw faculty like Ross Gay and Kevin Young.

Indiana’s Creative Writing program houses two more literary institutions, the Indiana Review, and the Indiana University Writers’ Conference. 

Students make up the editorial staff of this lauded literary magazine, in some cases for course credit or a stipend. An MFA candidate serves each year as assistant director of the much-celebrated and highly attended conference . 

These two facets of Indiana’s program give graduate students access to visiting writers, professional experience, and a taste of the writing life beyond academia.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

The University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program cultivates its students with a combination of workshop-driven course work and vigorous programming on and off-campus. Inventive new voices in fiction and poetry consistently emerge from this two-year program.

The campus hosts multiple readings, events, and contests, anchored by the Zell Visiting Writers Series. The Hopgood Awards offer annual prize money to Michigan creative writing students . 

The department cultivates relationships with organizations and events around Detroit, so whether it’s introducing writers at Literati bookstore or organizing writing retreats in conjunction with local arts organizations, MFA candidates find opportunities to cultivate a community role and public persona as a writer.

What happens after graduation tells the big story of this program. Michigan produces heavy hitters in the literary world, like Celeste Ng, Jesmyn Ward, Elizabeth Kostova, Nate Marshall, Paisley Rekdal, and Laura Kasischke. 

Their alumni place their works with venerable houses like Penguin and Harper Collins, longtime literary favorites Graywolf and Copper Canyon, and the new vanguard like McSweeney’s, Fence, and Ugly Duckling Presse.

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)

University of Minnesota

Structure combined with personal attention and mentorship characterizes the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing MFA, starting with its unique program requirements. 

In addition to course work and a final thesis, Minnesota’s MFA candidates assemble a book list of personally significant works on literary craft, compose a long-form essay on their writing process, and defend their thesis works with reading in front of an audience.

Literary journal Great River Review and events like the First Book reading series and Mill City Reading series do their part to expand the student experience beyond the focus on the internal. 

The Edelstein-Keller Visiting Writer Series draws exceptional, culturally relevant writers like Chuck Klosterman and Claudia Rankine for readings and student conversations. 

Writer and retired University of Minnesota instructor Charles Baxter established the program’s Hunger Relief benefit , aiding Minnesota’s Second Harvest Heartland organization. 

Emblematic of the program’s vision of the writer in service to humanity, this annual contest and reading bring together distinguished writers, students, faculty, and community members in favor of a greater goal.

Brown University (Providence, RI)

Brown University

One of the top institutions on any list, Brown University features an elegantly-constructed Literary Arts Program, with students choosing one workshop and one elective per semester. 

The electives can be taken from any department at Brown; especially popular choices include Studio Art and other coursework through the affiliated Rhode Island School of Design. The final semester consists of thesis construction under the supervision of the candidate’s faculty advisor.

Brown is the only MFA program to feature, in addition to poetry and fiction tracks, the Digital/Cross Disciplinary track . 

This track attracts multidisciplinary writers who need the support offered by Brown’s collaboration among music, visual art, computer science, theater and performance studies, and other departments. 

The interaction with the Rhode Island School of Design also allows those artists interested in new forms of media to explore and develop their practice, inventing new forms of art and communication.

Brown’s Literary Arts Program focuses on creating an atmosphere where students can refine their artistic visions, supported by like-minded faculty who provide the time and materials necessary to innovate. 

Not only has the program produced trailblazing writers like Percival Everett and Otessa Moshfegh, but works composed by alumni incorporating dance, music, media, and theater have been performed around the world, from the stage at Kennedy Center to National Public Radio.

University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)

University of Iowa

When most people hear “MFA in Creative Writing,” it’s the Iowa Writers’ Workshop they imagine. 

The informal name of the University of Iowa’s Program in Creative Writing, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop was the first to offer an MFA, back in 1936. 

One of the first diplomas went to renowned writer Wallace Stegner, who later founded the MFA program at Stanford.

 It’s hard to argue with seventeen Pulitzer Prize winners and six U.S. Poets Laureate. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is the root system of the MFA tree.

The two-year program balances writing courses with coursework in other graduate departments at the university. In addition to the book-length thesis, a written exam is part of the student’s last semester.

Because the program represents the quintessential idea of a writing program, it attracts its faculty positions, reading series, events, and workshops the brightest lights of the literary world. 

The program’s flagship literary magazine, the Iowa Review , is a lofty goal for writers at all stages of their career. 

At the Writers’ Workshop, tracks include not only fiction, poetry, playwriting, and nonfiction, but also Spanish creative writing and literary translation. Their reading series in association with Prairie Lights bookstore streams online and is heard around the world.

Iowa’s program came into being in answer to the central question posed to each one of these schools: can writing be taught? 

The answer for a group of intrepid, creative souls in 1936 was, actually, “maybe not.” 

But they believed it could be cultivated; each one of these institutions proves it can be, in many ways, for those willing to commit the time and imagination.

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ivy league mfa creative writing

College Verdict

ivy league mfa creative writing

The 10 Best MFA Programs in Creative Writing

ivy league mfa creative writing

There's no doubt that the talent is there. America has always been home to a wealth of great writers, from the early days of Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe to more contemporary authors like Toni Morrison and Bret Easton Ellis. But as any writer will tell you, becoming great takes more than just talent. It takes hard work, dedication, and a willingness to explore the craft and learn from others.

That's why a collegial environment is so important for emerging writers. A place where they can hone their skills under the guidance of experienced professionals and learn from their peers. A place where they can explore the role of the writer in a wider community. Most importantly, it is a place where they can get guidance on how and when to published their work.

The aforementioned things can all be found in a comprehensive Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree program. These programs are designed to give writers the tools they need to succeed, both artistically and professionally. And while there are many great programs out there, here are ten that stand out as being particularly strong.

Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

The talent is there. Great American writers of the next generation need a collegial place to perfect their craft. A place is needed for the exploration of the writer's role within a larger community. They would benefit greatly from some direction regarding how and when to go public with their writing. A Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree program can offer all of these things.

There are many programs out there, but not all of them are created equal. Here are some of the best MFA programs in the country, based on my own experience and research:

1. University of Iowa Writers Workshop - This is arguably the most prestigious creative writing MFA program in the country. It's certainly the oldest, having been founded in 1936 by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis. The Iowa Writers Workshop has produced some of America's most beloved and influential writers, including John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, Jane Smiley, and many others. If you want to study with the best of the best and have your work read by some of the most accomplished writers in the country, this is the program for you.

2. Columbia University School of the Arts - Columbia is another top-ranked school with an excellent creative writing MFA program. Located in New York City, one of the world's great literary capitals, Columbia provides its students with unparalleled access to publishing houses, literary agents, and magazine editors. Many of Columbia's alumni go on to successful careers as writers and editors; recent graduates include Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, and Jonathan Safran Foer.

3. University of Michigan - The University of Michigan is another excellent choice for aspiring writers. The faculty here includes some very well-known names in contemporary literature, such as Anne Tyler, Jeffrey Eugenides, Eileen Myles, and James Alan McPherson. Michigan also has a strong tradition of producing successful poets; past students include Margaret Atwood and Philip Levine. And if you're interested in getting your work published while you're still in school, Michigan offers one of the few undergraduate creative writing journals in the country, called DIAGRAM.

4. Vanderbilt University - Vanderbilt's English department offers an MFA track with a focus on poetry or fiction writing; it also has a highly regarded PhD program if you're interested in pursuing a career in academia. Vanderbilt's location in Nashville gives its students access to one of America's most vibrant music scenes; past students include Michael Chabon and Bret Easton Ellis.

5., 6., 7.: Other excellent programs can be found at UC Irvine, Boston University, Washington University in St Louis, Emory University, Ohio State University, Arizona State University

The University of Oregon's MFA program in Creative Writing

The University of Oregon's MFA program in Creative Writing is a highly respected and well-established program. The program focuses on studio-based instruction, with students working closely with faculty mentors on individual projects. In addition to coursework in poetics, literature, and other formal subjects, students have the opportunity to learn from some of the top writers in the country through the program's visiting faculty series.

Only ten new students are accepted into the program each year, so competition is fierce. But for those who are lucky enough to be admitted, the experience is sure to be transformative. If you're passionate about writing and committed to your craft, there's no better place to study than at the University of Oregon.

Cornell University's MFA Program

Cornell University's MFA program is a two-year program that offers students the opportunity to editorial train and teach writing seminars as part of their degree. The program also offers a joint MFA PhD through the Creative Writing and English departments.

MFA students have the opportunity to participate in workshop and work sessions with well known authors through several endowed reading series on campus. This is a great opportunity for students to learn from some of the best in the business and get feedback on their own work.

The Cornell MFA program is one of the best in the country, and its alumni include some of today's most successful writers. If you're looking for a top-notch creative writing program, Cornell should definitely be at the top of your list.

Arizona State University's MFA Program

If you're looking for a top-notch creative writing program, you'll definitely want to check out Arizona State University's MFA program. Located in Tempe, AZ, the program spans three years and offers a balance of writing and literature classes. Although students can focus on either poetry or fiction, taking courses across genres is encouraged.

The program has a major focus on teaching, which is funded by teaching assistantships and opportunities to teach abroad. The Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing, which is affiliated with the program, provides students professional development opportunities. The Distinguished Writers Series and Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference bring a wide variety of accomplished writers to the school's campus.

The program is committed to the students experiencing success and has a long-standing tradition of being able to boast phenomenal writers. So if you're looking for a challenging and rewarding creative writing experience, be sure to check out Arizona State University's MFA program!

The University of Texas at Austin's Michener Center for Writers

The Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin is a highly respected creative writing program. It offers a three-year degree with full funding for candidates, and provides an excellent education in various genres of writing.

The program allows students to choose two focus areas from Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting, and Playwriting. This makes it one of the most flexible and comprehensive writing programs available.

Recent events for alumni include having work published in The New Yorker, being selected for Oprah's Book Club, winning a screenwriting prize, and being nominated for a 2021 Pulitzer Prize. These are just a few examples of the success that graduates of this program have achieved.

If you're looking for a top-notch creative writing program, the University of Texas at Austin's Michener Center for Writers is definitely worth considering.

Washington University MFA in Creative Writing

There are many reasons to consider getting an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. For starters, the location is excellent. St. Louis is a great city for writers, with plenty of opportunity to get involved in the literary community and meet other writers. Additionally, the program only accepts five students per genre annually, so you'll be working closely with a tight-knit group of peers.

Mentorship is also a key feature of the program. Each student is paired with a faculty mentor who will help them develop their skills and craft throughout the duration of the program. In addition, first-year students are given full funding, allowing you to focus on your writing without stress about tuition costs.

overall, Washington University's MFA in Creative Writing program is an excellent option for anyone looking to pursue a career in writing.

Indiana University

Indiana University's creative writing program is one of the oldest and most respected in the country. The three-year curriculum provides students with a broad foundation in literary studies, while allowing them to focus on their thesis during the third year. Notable instructors have included Robert Frost and David Wagoner, and current faculty members include Ross Gay and Kevin Young.

The Indiana Review and the Indiana University Writers’ Conference are two literary institutions associated with the program. Students have the opportunity to gain professional experience through the magazine and conference. The Indiana Review is a student-run magazine that publishes fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews, while the Writers’ Conference is one of the oldest and largest student-run conferences in the country.

If you're looking for a top-notch creative writing program, Indiana University is a great choice. With a long history of excellence, outstanding faculty, and ample opportunities for professional experience, it's no wonder that so many writers have chosen to study here.

The University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers Program

The University of Michigan has a two-year creative writing program that is workshop-driven. The Helen Zell Writers Program offers a unique opportunity for students to hone their craft in a supportive and stimulating environment. The Zell Visiting Writers Series is the anchor for multiple reading, event, and contest hosted by the school. The Hopgood Awards provide an annual cash prize to Michigan creative writing students. MFA candidates have opportunities to develop their writing skills and create a public image. Michigan has produced many great authors, such as Celeste Ng, Jesmyn Ward, Elizabeth Kostova, Nate Marshall, Paisley Rekdal and Laura Kasischke. If you're looking for an MFA program that will challenge and inspire you, look no further than the University of Michigan.

University of Minnesota's MFA in Creative Writing

The University of Minnesota's Creative Writing MFA program is one of the best in the country, and for good reason. The program structure consists of coursework, a final thesis, and additional requirements such as a list literary works, writing process essay, and thesis defense in front on an audience. This ensures that students are well-prepared for their careers as writers.

In addition to the excellent academic program, the University of Minnesota also offers a number of extracurricular opportunities for students to get involved in the literary community. The Great River Review, First Book reading series, Mill City Reading series, and the Edelstein-Keller Visiting Writer Series are all part of the student experience. These events provide valuable networking opportunities and help students gain exposure for their work.

Finally, the University of Minnesota is home to the Hunger Relief benefit contest and reading, which raises money for Second Harvest Heartland. This event was established by Charles Baxter, and it has become an important tradition at the school. It's just one more example of how the University of Minnesota is committed to helping its students succeed both academically and professionally.

Brown University

Brown University's Literary Arts Program is one of the most comprehensive and unique in the country. With a wide variety of courses and workshops to choose from, as well as a Digital Media track, students can really tailor their education to their specific interests and needs. The program has produced some very successful and noted alumni, such as Percival Everett and Otessa Moshfegh, which is a testament to its quality. If you're looking for an MFA in Creative Writing that will give you the skills and opportunities you need to succeed, Brown University should definitely be at the top of your list!

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop was the first institution to offer an MFA, back in 1936. The first diploma was given to renowned writer Wallace Stegner, who later founded the MFA program at Stanford. The two-year graduate program at the university offers a balance of Writing courses along with coursework from various other departments. The students are required to write a book-length thesis in their final semester, along with taking a written exam.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop has long been considered one of the best MFA programs in creative writing. The school's MFA program was the first of its kind and many of its students have gone on to become successful writers. The program is very competitive, and only accepts a small number of students each year.

If you’re considering applying to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, here are some things you should know:

The program is two years long. You’ll take both writing and literature courses, as well as courses in other graduate departments. This will help you develop as a writer and thinker.

You’ll need to write a book-length thesis during your time at Iowa. This is a major project, and you’ll be working on it for several months.

The final semester will include a written exam. This is an opportunity for you to show what you’ve learned during your time at Iowa.

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a highly competitive program. Each year, there are more applicants than there are spots in the class. So if you’re planning on applying, make sure you put your best foot forward.

If you’re serious about becoming a writer, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop is a great place to start your journey.

In conclusion, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree program can offer many things to aspiring writers. The guidance from experienced professionals that these programs provide gives writers an opportunity to explore the craft of writing and learn about publishing their work. Of the many great programs out there, ten are listed here as standing out as being particularly strong. If you're hoping for a first-rate creative writing experience, look into one of these MFA programs.

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Creative Writing Program

Creative Writing Hero

The New School invites you to join a community of diverse writers, become part of New York City’s publishing world, and build a network of support on campus and beyond. Our prestigious MFA Creative Writing program is designed to help you develop your writing in supportive workshops and literature seminars led by an internationally recognized faculty and renowned authors.

books published annually by alumni and faculty

annual writing events, including the National Book Awards Finalist Reading

of admitted MFA students awarded merit-based university scholarships (2020–2021)

MFA in Creative Writing

MFA in Creative Writing

As an MFA student at The New School, you can choose your concentration—in Arts Writing, Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Writing for Children and Young Adults—and receive personalized faculty mentorship and faculty and peer critiques. Innovative courses in publishing and multimedia storytelling engage you in the development of literature. Popular graduate minors include Impact Entrepreneurship and Transmedia and Digital Storytelling . Or you can apply to WriteOn NYC! , a New School–funded fellowship program providing MFA students with high-quality teaching experience in area middle schools and high schools. All students benefit from evening classes and events, which enable them to work or attend responsibilities during the day while enrolled in a  full-time program.

Related Programs

Undergraduate and Non-Credit Programs

In addition to the renowned MFA in Creative Writing, The New School offers other programs and opportunities for writing students. These include noncredit courses and summer intensives, as well as an undergraduate major in the Bachelor’s Program for Adults and Transfer Students, the Writing and Democracy Honors Program, and undergraduate minors in related fields. Summer Writing Intensive Continuing Education Courses Writing & Democracy Honors Program BA in Creative Writing Undergraduate Creative Writing Courses

Faculty

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The Writer’s Life in NYC

The Writer’s Life in NYC

Creative Writing students come to The New School from across the United States and around the world to live the writer's life in New York City. Evenings with agents and editors, offered exclusively for MFA students, provide informal opportunities to meet publishing professionals.

The New School Bookshelf

We are proud to feature books recently published by The New School's Creative Writing community.

The New School Bookshelf - The Friend

Sigrid Nunez, Faculty

The New School Bookshelf - Hurricane Child

Hurricane Child

Kacen callender, mfa '14.

The New School Bookshelf - The Impeachers

The Impeachers

Brenda wineapple, faculty.

The New School Bookshelf - The January Children

The January Children

Safia elhillo, mfa '15.

The New School Bookshelf - Good Talk

Mira Jacob, Faculty and MFA '01

Events & news.

  • The Vera List Center for Art and Politics Presents New School New Books Event Series
  • Adrian Madlener, History of Design and Curatorial Studies ’18, Explores Design Through Writing and Research
  • The Vera List Center for Art and Politics Hosts Reading Room Featuring Faculty Books
  • Richard Barone, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music Faculty Member, Debuts New Book about Music Scene in 1960’s Greenwich Village
  • New Faculty Achievements from Across The New School Include Fellowships, Grants, and More
  • Alexandra Kleeman, SPE Assistant Professor of Writing, Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction

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To apply to any of our undergraduate programs (except the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs) complete and submit the Common App online.

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To apply to any of our Master's, Doctoral, Professional Studies Diploma, and Graduate Certificate programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.

2100 accredited US Universities for Graduate Programs. 400+ specializations.

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Ivy League Graduate Programs in Writing

3 Ivy League Universities offer graduate programs in Writing

Harvard University

Harvard University logo

Unlock your creative potential and hone your unique voice.

A community of writers who support your growth in live online classes.

Writer residency with agent editor networking opportunities.

Thesis or capstone options that lead to publishable creative work.

Within the creative writing and literature program, you will choose between a thesis or capstone track.

Capstone: includes crafting a fiction or nonfiction manuscript in a classroom community.

These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Most (74%) are employed full time while pursuing their degree and work across a variety of industries.

Some alumni continue their educational journeys and pursue further studies in other nationally ranked degree programs, including those at Boston University, Brandeis University, University of Pennsylvania, and Cambridge University.

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Creative Writing and Literature.

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid. Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

You could also go the academic route and bring your knowledge to the classroom to teach creative writing or literature courses.

The curriculum provides a range of courses that allow you to graduate with knowledge and skills transferable to various industries and careers.

Program length is ordinarily anywhere between 2 and 5 years. It depends on your preferred pace and the number of courses you want to take each semester.

For an accelerated journey, we offer year round study, where you can take courses in fall, January, spring, and summer.

A division of Harvard University dedicated to bringing rigorous programs and innovative online teaching capabilities to distance learners, working professionals, high school students, college students, and those seeking higher learning in retirement.

Creative Writing and Literature Master Degree Program - Harvard Extension School

  • GRE Required:  Yes
  • Research Assistantships:  864
  • Teaching Assistantships:  1388
  • Financial Aid: Register to view the details

University of Pennsylvania

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Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) and Reading Specialist Certification (Pennsylvania).

Inquiry-based master program for educators and reading specialists committed to educational change and social justice.

Qualify for the Reading Specialist Certification from the Pennsylvania Education.

Students can tailor the program to their area of interest, through selecting electives from our courses, from other Penn GSE programs, and from across the University of Pennsylvania. During fieldwork and research, students have the opportunity to work with learners from diverse age groups and cultures, building their expertise as researchers and practitioners.

Fall: 4 courses Spring: 4 courses Summer: 2 courses.

Four principles guide the program:.

The program is interdisciplinary because literacy, language, and culture interact in rich and complex ways. Literacy and language are studied from sociopolitical, cultural, psychological, historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives.

The program is inquiry-based, intended to raise questions the relationships among theory, research, policy, and practice while encouraging students to build their own theories of research and practice.

The program focuses on diversity, urban settings, and the contexts of different schools, communities, families, and cultures.

The program is committed to educational change and recognizes that educational institutions are sites in which to work for social justice, equity, and transformation.

Students can take electives from our program, electives from other programs at Penn GSE, or even courses offered elsewhere at the University.

An eleventh course is required for students without a teaching certification or one year of teaching. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for Pennsylvania Reading Specialist certification after the completion of coursework.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

The Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) is network of over 800 teacher consultants who work with teachers and other educators to explore literacy, writing, teaching, and learning in their classrooms and schools regardless of grade or discipline.

M.S.Ed.in Reading, Writing, Literacy

  • Research Assistantships:  -
  • Teaching Assistantships:  1

Cornell University

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The Creative Writing Program offers the MFA degree, with a concentration in either poetry or fiction. MFA students pursue intensive study with distinguished faculty committed to creative and intellectual achievement. Each year the department enrolls only eight MFA students, four in each concentration. The department offer a large and diverse graduate faculty with competence in a wide range of literary, theoretical and cultural fields. Every student chooses a special committee of two faculty members who work closely alongside the student to design a course of study within the broad framework established by the department.

Students participate in a graduate writing workshop each semester and take six additional one-semester courses for credit, at least four of them in English or American literature, comparative literature, literature in the modern or Classical languages or cultural studies (two per semester during the first year and one per semester during the second year).

MFA Program in Creative Writing

  • Research Assistantships:  1320
  • Teaching Assistantships:  1455

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248 universities offer the Master's program in Writing.

Which one best suits your need?

Columbia University in the City of New York

Columbia University in the City of New York logo

Online submission of letters of recommendation is required.

Letters submitted after this date may not be reviewed.

Creative Materials vary by concentration.

This may be paid by credit card (Visa and MasterCard only) when submitting an application online by check or money order, mailed with your materials, made out to Columbia University, drawn on a U.S. bank and denominated in U.S. dollars only. We cannot accept postal money orders. Applicants should be sure to write the program and, if applicable, the concentration to which they are applying on the check or money order if the check is that of an individual other than the applicant, the applicant full name must be included as well. Application fees are nonrefundable and cannot be waived no application can be processed without the application fee.

All materials included in a School of the Arts application become the property of Columbia University. The School of the Arts will not return any submitted creative materials. Applicants should note that the School is not responsible for the transportation and safekeeping of materials submitted for review applicants send all materials at their own risk.

Applicants may only submit one (1) Film MFA application per year.

Autobiographical essay: Four to six double-spaced pages. (Tell us something yourself and your background, artistic experiences, creative influences, and professional objectives.).

Dramatic Writing Sample: A log line must be included. No than 10 pages. Must be in screenplay format and must contain dialogue. This can be a complete short screenplay or the first ten pages of a screenplay. It must be original it may not be an adaptation, except of your own work in another form. Please do not submit writing in prose form and no theatre plays. The story cannot be the same as the one in your feature film treatment or your optional video submission.

You may change the gender of any character in these prompts, but do not change ages or relationships.

Feature film treatment: On one double-spaced page for a film you might wish to write, direct or produce based on your application concentration. The treatment must concisely relate a complete dramatic story sufficient to sustain a feature-length film, including major characters and plot developments and a clear statement of the resolution. The story cannot be the same as the one in your dramatic writing sample or your optional video submission. You must state the genre of your treatment and a log line. On a separate page, please state the genre, major characters and a log line for the film. On a separate page, please state the genre, major characters and a log line for the film. A log line is one or two sentences that describe the protagonist(s) and the story of the film.

You may use subjects of any genders or ages, and any locations and props, etc. that you have available to you. Elaborate production expense is NOT the goal of this part of the application. You may shoot on any format.

Dramatic Writing Sample: Please submit a short sample of your original screenplay or teleplay writing up to ten pages in length. Our preference is that you submit a 'complete' short script that has action and dialogue, than one character, and a beginning, middle and end.

Film Prompt: Read the following openings, choose one and imagine the scene that might follow it. The scene you write must include both dialogue and description. It should be no less than two and no than three pages long. You may change the gender of any character in these prompts, but do not change ages or relationships. Must be in screenplay format.

Feature Film Treatment: On one double-spaced page for a film you might wish to write, direct or produce based on your application concentration. The treatment must concisely relate a complete dramatic story sufficient to sustain a feature-length film, including major characters and plot developments and a clear statement of the resolution. The story cannot be the same as the one in your dramatic writing sample or your optional video submission. You must state the genre of your treatment and a log line. On a separate page, please state the genre, major characters and a log line for the film. A log line is one or two sentences that describe the protagonist(s) and the story of the film.

Feature film treatment: On one double-spaced page for a film you might wish to write, direct or produce based on your application concentration(depending upon the concentration you will be applying to). The treatment must concisely relate a complete dramatic story sufficient to sustain a feature-length film, including major characters and plot developments and a clear statement of the resolution. The story cannot be the same as the one in your dramatic writing sample or your optional video submission. You must state the genre of your treatment and a log line. A log line is one or two sentences that describe the protagonist(s) and the story of the film.

Creative Producing applicants must ALSO submit a current resumé.

Film MFA Writing for Film Television TBD.

In addition to the Required Creative Materials listed on this page, ALL applicants must submit the following:.

Admissions Creative Materials - School of the Arts

  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
  • Research Assistantships:  Register to view the details
  • Teaching Assistantships:  Register to view the details

What kind of scholarships are available for Graduate Programs in Writing?

We have 3 scholarships awarding up to $9,500 for Masters program in for Writing, targeting diverse candidates and not restricted to state or school-based programs.

Scholarship nameAmountCredibility
$6,000High
$3,000High
$500High

Find scholarships and financial aid for Writing graduate programs

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Creative Writing and Literature

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Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in Creative Writing & Literature will develop skills in creative writing and literary analysis through literature courses and writing workshops in fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and nonfiction. Through online group courses and one-on-one tutorials, as well as a week on campus, students hone their craft and find their voice.

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Stony Brook University

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The MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literature accepts applications for admission on a rolling basis, but to be considered for funding, you must apply by January 7.

All applicants for the summer and fall semester should apply by May 1 . Spring semester applicants should apply by October 15 .

International applications may not apply for spring or summer admission, only fall, and only as a full-time student. The international deadline for all fall admissions is January 15 .

How to Apply for the MFA

Application Form Instructions. Please use SUNY Stony Brook Graduate School’s online application . Create an account to begin a new application.

  • In the program drop-down menu, please choose Creative Writing and Literature--MFA.
  • Only admissions to fall semester will be considered for funding.
  • Indicate whether you are applying as a part-time or full-time student. Only full-time applications received by January 1 will be considered for funding.
  • Interested in the Manhattan Track? Type “Manhattan Track” in the “Specialization” line.
  • Even though the application will ask, you do not need GRE scores. 
  • You will need email addresses for the writers of your letters of recommendation. See below for more information.

Additional Documents to Upload. Be prepared to upload the following:

  • A statement of purpose discussing your reasons for study, your evolution as a writer, and your reading life. This should be one to two pages, the length of a good letter.
  • A writing sample . Admission to the program is based primarily on the evaluation of your creative writing. Your sample may be in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, scriptwriting, or a combination of genres. Please send up to 10 pages of poetry, single-spaced, or 25 pages of prose, double-spaced, with your name on every page. Send your best work, and disabuse yourself of any requirement to submit the maximum number of pages if they are not all of equally high quality. Please prepare a cover sheet for your writing sample, listing your address, phone number, e-mail address, genre(s), and title(s) of your submission.
  • A résumé or C.V.   This document can be combined with your statement of purpose into one upload. 

Letters of Recommendation.  Your three letters of recommendation should be from writers, professors, or writing professionals who are familiar with your work. They do not necessarily need to be professors from whom you took undergraduate courses. We've received wonderful recommendations from leaders of informal workshops at libraries, from long-time fellow members of writing groups, from teachers in continuing education programs, and from writers conference faculty. Whomever you choose to write for you, the application system will email your recommenders with a link and instructions to upload their letters. If you are using Interfolio for your letters of recommendation, please have the dossier emailed to Peggy Grigonis, our Departmental Coordinator, at  [email protected]

Official Transcripts . Finally, you will need to have an official transcript from any undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended. Electronic official transcripts should be sent to Office of Graduate and Health Sciences Admissions, at [email protected] . Hard copy official transcripts should be sent to the Graduate and Health Sciences Admissions office at:

If you have your school(s) send your hard copy official transcripts to you, do NOT open the envelopes. The unopened envelopes should be sent  to the address above.

Please send your items via a service that provides tracking.  If it is close to the submission deadline,  a courier such as FedEx or DHL, is recommended as these couriers will deliver directly to the Office of Graduate and Health Sciences Admissions. Items mailed using the US Postal Service (USPS) are delivered first to the University’s Central Receiving Office, which can cause the package to arrive at the Graduate Admissions Office after the intended date of receipt.

Eligibility

Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and, except in special circumstances, have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale. It’s fine to have an undergraduate degree in an area outside of the humanities. A candidate with outstanding promise in creative writing but a less-than-stellar academic transcript may be admitted on a conditional basis.

Stony Brook Southampton is part of the State University of New York (SUNY). As of Fall 2023, tuition is $471/credit for New York State residents and $1020/credit for non-residents. A New York resident who takes a full-time load of three courses for 12 credits would pay $9,177.90 for the semester, inclusive of fees and health insurance.  The Office of Student Financial Services  has more detailed breakdowns of tuition scenarios. 

The cost compares favorably to any number of writing programs charging up to five times as much. Unless you are getting fully funded somewhere, our rates are pretty hard to beat. Or maybe going full-time to an MFA program doesn't work in your life. You can take just a course or two each semester. Many programs don't allow a part-time option. But we offer a cost-effective way to incorporate only as much high-quality and rigorous writing instruction as your full-time life can accommodate.

Out-of-state residents pay more, but if you are accepted to the program, you will  establish residency in New York State, a process that takes one year, and you'll pay the in-state rate going forward.

Teaching Assistantships/Graduate Assistantships 

In lieu of a couple fully-funded spots, we award a number of  partial Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to our incoming students. All applications for full-time study in the Fall term are considered, provided that the application is submitted by January 7. These GA/TA awards are extremely competitive. In 2019-2020 2 students were fully funded and 14 were partially funded.

A partial TA/GA offer comes with a 50% tuition scholarship and academic-year stipend of approximately $13,000, as well as subsidized health insurance and an 8-10 hour/week workload. A full TA/GA offer, while rare, comes with an academic-year stipend of approximately $26,000, a 15-20 hour/week workload, full tuition waiver and subsidized health insurance. Students in good standing can expect to have their funding renewed for their second year, when they teach creative writing courses to Stony Brook undergraduates.

Recipients of funding offers who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook may be eligible for the  Turner Fellowship . Those with outstanding academic promise may be eligible for the Graduate Council Fellowship . These fellowships award an additional $30,000 over the course of three years to their recipients, along with tuition waiver and stipend. We have a high rate of success in identifying candidates for these prestigious awards. Every year since 2015 we have had Turner and GCF fellows among our cloudy trophies hung.

Other Financial Support

All of our students receive partial scholarships to the Southampton Writers Conference.

The Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction, Jody Donohue Poetry Prize and Joseph Kelly Prize in Creative Writing are   cash prizes of $500-$1,000 each awarded to incoming MFA in Creative Writing students of exceptional promise in fiction, poetry and/or creative nonfiction. All applicants, both full- and part-time, are eligible. Winners are chosen based on their application writing samples and will be notified in their acceptance letters.

From time to time, our program is able to raise additional funds that we can distribute to our deserving students in the form of prizes, service awards, or scholarships for current students. For example, this past year we added the Sally Martell Award of $1,000 for mid-career, returning women students.

To favor one incoming student over another, by awarding assistantships or prizes, runs counter to our philosophy that we are all in this together, faculty and students alike, struggling with the extraordinarily difficult work of putting words together. If you earn admission to our program, with funding or without, we guarantee that you will be treated with the same respect as every other member of our community.

Applicants are also encouraged to explore opportunities for external funding independent of our program's limited resources. For more information on other types of financial aid, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid Services at (631) 632-6840.  

For More Information

The fine print about transfer credits, international students, and other admissions arcana is revealed in the Graduate Bulletin .

Or contact us:

MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literature Chancellors Hall, Room 238 Stony Brook Southampton 239 Montauk Highway Southampton, NY 11968 Phone: (631) 632-5030 Fax: (631) 632-2576 E-mail: [email protected]

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Admissions - MFA in Creative Writing

The 2023-2024 Graduate Admissions Application is now OPEN! https://grad.ucdavis.edu/apply  

The deadline to apply to our program is January 5, 2024

Graduate Studies'  Applications Page  covers most campus-level admissions questions, but feel free to contact our graduate program staff for more details and specific guidance. Applications are reviewed once all supporting materials have been received. For more information about your application status, please check online or contact our graduate program staff.

Application Requirements:

  • Writing sample
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal History & Diversity Statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable
  • Copies of transcripts
  • Application Fee (2023-2024 cycle): $135 for U.S. and $155 for international applicants
  • Admissions Requirements and Eligibility  as set by UC Davis Graduate Studies
  • Writing sample in your preferred genre 

Either ten to twelve poems or up to thirty pages (double-spaced) of prose. Hybrid-form work must not exceed thirty pages.

To apply for admission to our Creative Writing MFA program, you are encouraged to include, as a writing sample, your very best creative writing.  Typically, two—or at the most three—genres exist in a graduate Creative Writing program: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction.  At UCD, we think of genre as a useful thing to consider… but we do not think of the various genres—however many you would like to list—as necessarily unmixable modes.    

For us, the value of a piece of writing is better gauged directly—by what it says to its readers, and by what that saying does to those readers—rather than by its successful or unsuccessful identification with one or another of the historically certified genres.  This is not to say that we don't believe in genre, or in the usefulness of plumbing each purported genre's history; it is to say, rather, or  to notice…  that the border between one genre and another is not so much a Great Wall as a small fence.

  • Please highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specialization and career goals; and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Davis.
  • Personal History and Diversity Statement

The University of California Davis, a public institution, is committed to supporting the diversity of the graduate student body and promoting equal opportunity in higher education. This commitment furthers the educational mission to serve the increasingly diverse population and educational needs of California and the nation. Both the Vice Provost of Graduate Education/Dean of Graduate Studies and the University of California affirm that diversity is critical to promoting lively intellectual exchange and the variety of ideas and perspectives essential to advancing higher education and research. Our graduate students contribute to the global pool of future scholars and academic leaders, thus high value is placed on achieving a diverse graduate student body to support the University of California’s academic excellence. We invite you to include in this statement how you may contribute to the diversification of graduate education and the UC Davis community.

The purpose of this essay is to get to know you as an individual and potential graduate student. Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education.  

This essay should complement but not duplicate the content in the Statement of Purpose. Your Personal History and Diversity Statement must be entered directly into a text box in the application, and has a 4,000 character limit including spaces.

  • Three letters of recommendations
  • Letters should be from professors or other persons situated to speak about your potential for graduate Creative Writing study. You might also think of potential letter-writers in terms of their ability to speak to your participation in a dedicated community.
  • Applicants must submit TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores unless they have earned or will be earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from either a regionally accredited or foreign college/university which provides instruction solely in English. See the  English Language Requirement  section for details. 
  • Transcripts
  • Transcripts are required from each post-secondary institution you have attended.   Copies or unofficial transcripts are allowed. If admitted, you’ll be required to send official transcripts for every institution listed on your application.
  • Application fee
  • The application fee is set by the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies. The application fee for the 2023-2024 cycle is $135 for domestic students and $155 for international students, payable online. Waivers of this fee are only available to participants in  one of several graduate preparatory programs .  The MFA program has no ability to grant application fee waivers. 

Application FAQs :  https://grad.ucdavis.edu/admissions-process-overview

We aim for a class of 10 to 12 writers, hoping for a balance between genres. The writing sample is the most important part of your application; the committee is looking for high quality work in the applicant’s genre of choice.  All students in the MFA program at UC Davis take at least one workshop outside their primary genre, so you need not apply to a second genre in order to have access to it as a student.

The committee makes admissions and financial aid decisions simultaneously.  We offer a limited number of first-year funding packages; all second year students have access to full funding.

For the Fall 2021 cohort, we received 137 applications, admitted 16 (13 initial applicants and 3 waitlisted applicants), and 11 of those students will be joining us in the Fall.

  • Funding your MFA

At UC Davis, we offer you the ability to fund your MFA. In fact, all students admitted to the program are guaranteed full funding in the second year of study, when students serve as teachers of Introduction to Creative Writing (English 5) and receive, in exchange, tuition and health insurance remission as well as a monthly stipend (second year students who come to Davis from out of state are expected to establish residency during their first year). We have a more limited amount of resources – teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and out of state tuition wavers – allocated to us for first year students, but in recent years, we’ve had excellent luck funding our accepted first years. We help students who do not receive English department funding help themselves by posting job announcements from other departments during the spring and summer leading up to their arrival. We are proud to say that over the course of the last twenty years, nearly every incoming student has wound up with at least partial funding (including a tuition waiver and health insurance coverage) by the time classes begin in the fall.

We have other resources for students, too – like the Miller Fund, which supports attendance for our writers at any single writer’s workshop or conference. Students have used these funds to attend well-known conferences like AWP, Writing By Writers, and the Tin House Conference. The Davis Humanities Institute offers a fellowship that first year students can apply for to fund their writing projects. Admitted students are also considered for University-wide fellowships

For additional information, please contact:

Sarah Yunus [email protected] Department of English Graduate Program Coordinator for the MFA Program in Creative Writing (530) 752-2281

xScholarship

The Top 15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

There are many creative writing MFA programs in the US available to help students hone their skills. Creative writing skill is something innate, hence, we are many creative writers. Nonetheless, it is necessary to get a collegial experience in creative writing to further hone your abilities. Thus, this will also aid you to know they do and don’t involve in writing, including proper writing standards. So, you will explore a writer’s role in a wider community. You will also learn how and when to publish.

Furthermore, a good creative writing MFA program gives creatives a good space to focus completely on their writings. Thus, you’d be able to complete a lot of writing work during this period and also, learn the proper literature needed in writing. Our group of professionals has however created this article to help you understand some of your recent queries which include;

  • Is it worth getting an MFA in creative writing?
  • Are there good Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US?
  • How many MFA writing programs are there in the US?
  • What should I do after my MFA?
  • Does Harvard have a creative writing program?
  • Can I become a professor with an MFA?
  • What is the full form of MFA?

We’ve carefully answered these questions herein and also provided you with a resource full list Of the best creative writing MFA programs in the US. We also included some of the pros and cons of creative writing to help you better your technical skills.

So, you are required to carefully read through this article to get the most out of it.

The Top 15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing goes far beyond ordinary writings like journalistic, academic, professional, or technical forms of writing. A creative write-up has easy identification by the emphasis on creative crafting in the write-ups. Also, character developments and the usage of literary tropes with several conventions of poetry. Looking at the nature of our definition you can also consider feature stories as creative writing. Although, they fall under journalism as they focus on narrative and character development. You will also find fictional and non-fictional works in the category of creative writing.

However, creative writing has its divided into fiction and poetry classes in academic settings. Creative write write-ups are usually original works that imitate pre-existing genres like crime and horror. Technically, any original composition can be creative writing. So, writing for the screen and stage screenwriting  and playwriting often have their separate learning moments. Although, they fit under the creative writing category as well.

You may also want to read about the Top 15 Best Film Schools in the World

What are Creative Writing MFA Programs?

We’ve created a good understanding of creative writing, so to further explain creative writing MFA programs let’s expand MFA. Thus, MFA is an acronym for “Master of Fine Art”. Hence, the creative MFA program includes obtaining a master of a creative writing degree. Getting this degree will offer you access to colleagues, mentors, and a better future in the writing world. It is usually a three years degree.

So, the creative writing MFA program is designed for students committed to pursuing n I’m proven writing career. You will learn intensive courses on literature, language, and writing. Thus, it is one of the most common terminal degree programs for those interested in literary arts. Whenever you graduate from MFA in creative writing program, you can work as a manager, editor, and writer in various fields of business and marketing . You can also qualify for a teaching career in literature or writing at the college level. More so, workshops in MFA programs will prepare you for publishing.

However, some MFA programs are offered online. Thus, here on Xscholarhsip, we have provided some free online courses for you in creative writing see them here

Although, physical class is required for students to gain crucial viewpoints. Due to physical workshops and lectures. You don’t necessarily need to have come from literature or English background to enroll in a creative writing MFA program. But, you need to have a strong passion for writing to excel. You’d be required to submit written samples of your work during the application process to an MFA creative writing program. They can vary from fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or creative write-ups. So, once admitted, you can choose from the genre of focus and partake in intensive seminars and workshops.

Why Attend Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US?

There are a plethora of reasons to undertake creative writing MFA programs in the US. Reports show that creative writers with MFA degrees in the US make a mean salary of about $50,000 to $75,100 per year. Thus, studying Creative Writing MFA programs in the US eventually turns out to be very lucrative.

Also, there is a great demand for creative writing as it involves a lot of creativity and good imaginative mindsets. Meanwhile, there is a lot of opportunity in creative writing MFA programs in the US. You’d be able to build your network and connect with dignitaries that will contribute to your career growth.

Additionally, you will have a plethora of foods and lifestyles to explore. Also, the climatic condition in the US is highly favorable to support a better academic experience.

You will find this article about 20 High Paying Careers for Creative Personalities interesting

Top 15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

We have provided a detailed list of Creative Writing MFA programs in the US you can choose from to take a study. Note that there we didn’t apply any particular ranking order to this list. But solely the best institutions accredited by the rightful agencies.

#1. Cornell University

Cornell University is an Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Established in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White have one of the best Creative Writing MFA programs in the US.

Consequently, the department of English in this best graduate school for creative writing is in charge of the MFA/Ph.D. Program in Creative Writing. Also, creative writing here is small and very selective.

#2. Brown University

Brown University also has a strong reputation for its Creative Writing MFA program. It is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island founded in 1764. Meanwhile, the MFA program in creative writing at Brown is handled in the department of Library arts.

You can see more about Brown University , including its acceptance rate, admission process, tuition, etc. Just visit the link below.

#3. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan a public research university in Ann Arbor has also gained strong recognition in its Creative writing MFA programs. Established in 1817, the school has an acceptance date of about 29%. So, you have a bit of a higher chance of getting admitted if you meet the necessary criteria.

Actually, this institution is one of the best accounting schools in the world and has a graduation rate is 91%.

#4. Boston University

Boston university is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the school has a longing history of affiliation with the United Methodist Church. Boston University has over 3,900 faculty members and over 33,000 student body.

However, the creative writing program in this school is small and intense taking only one year to complete. Hence, students in this best school for creative writing in the world, do a summer-semester Translation Seminar.

#5. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia founded in 1819 has a reputation as one of the best research schools in Charlottesville Virginia. Thus, the creative writing MFA program here takes two years to complete.

Also, this top school for creative writing has an acceptance rate of 30% and a graduation rate of 94% of students. You can get more information about the school via the school website.

#6. New York University

New York University is a private research university based in New York City. Actually, this best graduate school for creative writing was founded in 1831. Also, the creative writing program is located in the heart of Greenwich Village.

Besides, the acceptance rate in this top creative writing school in the world is 32% while the graduation rate is 85%. The  s tudent-faculty ratio is 9:1.

#7. The University of Texas

Well, the University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas that was founded in 1883.

Actually, the Michener Center for Writers hosts an MFA in Writing Program this is the best writing school for creative writing majors. Thus, creative writing here is a three-year, full-time residency program.

You can check out this amazing article on Top 10 Free Online Courses in Creative Writing

#8. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University founded in 1876 is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Actually, this institution has its name after its first benefactor, Johns Hopkins.

Meanwhile, the MFA in Fiction and Poetry is in this top school for creative writing in the world known as The Writing Seminars. Actually, this is a two-year residency program.

#9. University of Nebraska

The MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha consists of several writing seminars and resourceful classes. The program covers a total of 60 credits taken over two years. Also, students have to select either adult or YA fiction, poetry, writing for stage and screen, or creative nonfiction as their focus genre.

Students will undergo made-up lectures, classes, workshops, and individual conferences with faculty. Hence the courses have the dedication to the advanced stylistic craft of the student’s chosen genre.

Applicants must submit a statement of purpose as well as a writing sample, which has varying criteria based on the student’s intended genre.

#10. Oregon State University

The MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University is a low-residency program, with intense coursework.

The curriculum focuses on both craft and the history of literature, with an understanding that literary imagination is vital to humanity.

#11. Eastern Kentucky University

Anyone who has earned an undergraduate degree can enroll for MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Kentucky University. Hence, the program will help you improve your creative writing abilities in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Graduates are ready for careers in teaching English, composition, and creative writing programs at the college level. Even pursue professional writing careers.

If you want to apply, you must submit a statement of purpose and a 15-20 page creative writing sample. Also, you have to have a bachelor’s degree in English.

#12. University of Iowa

This school is a public research university in Iowa City, Iowa founded in 1847. Thus, the University of Iowa is the most aged and the second-largest university in the state.

The school’s Creative writing program has one of the best majors which is a two-year residency program.

#13. Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte’s MFA in Creative Writing is a low-residency program. Here, students study the writing of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or writing for stage and screen.

We recommend you visit the official school link of the Queen’s University of Charlotte to know more about the school.

#14. University of California–Irvine

This university is a public research university in Irvine, California. Thus, this school provides 87 undergraduate degrees and 129 graduate and professional degrees.

Meanwhile, you can get the MFA in Writing at the English Department at the University of California Irvine. The course is a three years program in the school. Thus, you’d be learning different concepts and theories relating to several writing styles.

#15. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas at Monticello designed their MFA in Creative Writing to prepare students with advanced creative thinking skills. Also, with the ability to communicate ideas in a technologically literate way.

There is also a priority on the significance of writing in today’s global society, with culturally-informed and sensitive values at the core of the program’s goals.

Also Read: 10 best Creative Writing Scholarships

A creative writing MFA program in the US is sure a great way to improve your skills and recognition as a creative writer. Thus, we hope you carefully checked through our list of creative writing MFA programs in the US. If you didn’t, then revisit the lost above and check for one of the best schools that will help you grow your writing skills.

Meanwhile, if you have any further questions relating to creative writing MFA programs in the US, feel free to ask us via our several platforms. We are at your beck and call to provide you with the right answer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

A master’s in creative writing provides a foundation of theory and form along with workshops to develop your skills and hone your craft. Whether you are looking to get published or to advance your career, an MFA in Creative Writing will help you develop your voice and become a more proficient writer.

With well over two hundred MFA programs in the United States, choosing which ones to research, much less apply to, can be a daunting prospect.

After the MFA course, any student can get placed in the MFA course placements(if it exists in their institution). Some of the best jobs for MFA graduates are: Art Teacher. Art Director. Graphic Artist/Designer. Photographer. Art Director. Graphic Artist/Designer. Photographer. Creative Director.

Yeah, Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in Creative Writing & Literature in harvard will develop skills in creative writing and literary analysis through literature courses and writing workshops in fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and nonfiction.

Also known as “The Writing University, the University of Iowa is the premier college for aspiring authors. Founded in 1847, the university is famous for its Iowa Writers Workshop and Nonfiction Writing program.

MFA in this context means the master of fine arts

To become a professor at a university level, graduates of MFA programs usually need to have published at least one book and have plenty of teaching experience.

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Fully Funded PhD Programs in Creative Writing

ivy league mfa creative writing

Last updated February 1, 2022

As part of my series on  How to Fully Fund Your PhD , I provide a list of universities that offer full funding for a PhD in Creative Writing. PhDs in Creative Writing can lead to a career as a university teacher, professional writer, and more.

Fully funded PhD programs in Creative Writing are those that offer a financial aid package for full-time students that provides full-tuition remission in addition to an annual stipend or salary for the duration of the program, which is usually 3-6 years. Full funding usually comes in the form of an assistantship, with the expectation that students will teach or complete research in their field of study. Not all Creative Writing PhD programs offer full funding to their doctoral students, which is why I recommend researching the financial aid offerings of all the potential PhD programs in your academic field, including small and lesser-known schools both in the U.S. and abroad.

In addition to listing fully funded PhD and Fully Funded Master’s programs, the ProFellow database also spotlights external funding opportunities for graduate school, including fellowships for dissertation research, fieldwork, language study, and summer work experiences.

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University of Cincinnati, PhD in Creative Writing (Cincinnati, OH): Every Ph.D. student has the opportunity to teach creative writing, with many also teaching literature classes. Most students are funded by teaching, with two or three at a time funded by editorial work at The Cincinnati Review, and others funded in their dissertation year by college- or university-level fellowships. 

Florida State University, PhD in Creative Writing (Tallahassee, FL): The majority of students in the Graduate English Program receive support in the form of a teaching assistantship. Ph.D. students receive a four-year assistantship but are eligible to apply for a fifth year contingent on satisfactory progress. Teaching assistants are provided with a stipend, a tuition waiver, and a health insurance subsidy. For 2020-21, the stipend amounts were $16,200 for PhDs. The FSU Graduate School offers several fellowships and awards.

University of Houston, PhD in Creative Writing and Literature (Houston, Texas): Through the Department of English the Creative Writing Program offers teaching assistantships to Ph.D. students. Ph.D. students can receive a teaching assistantship for 5 years. Starting salary for a PhDs is $20,104/9 months. As part of the assistantship, students are awarded either a Graduate Tuition Fellowship, which remits tuition, or a Creative Writing Program Fellowship, which covers the cost of tuition and the University will pay up to 50% of the costs of medical insurance.

University of Illinois, PhD in Creative Writing (Chicago, IL): Accepted doctoral students are normally awarded six years of departmental funding via a teaching assistantship. The Graduate College and the Department both offer a number of fellowships and awards in varying amounts for graduate students. Limited amounts of travel funding are available through the Department and the Graduate College.

University of Nebraska, PhD in Creative Writing (Lincoln, NE): Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. or M.F.A. are eligible for up to 5 years of funding as Teaching Assistants. The TA stipend was $17,640.00 plus tuition remission and health insurance. The stipend for Research Assistants is $13.155.00 plus tuition remission. Each year the English Department awards several fellowships to graduate students.

University of New Brunswick, PhD in Creative Writing (Fredericton, Saint John): PhD students at UNB are eligible to compete for $19,420 of assistantship funding per year for four years (2019-2020), providing academic progress is satisfactory.

University of Southern California, PhD in Creative Writing and Literature (Los Angeles, CA): Students admitted to the Ph.D. program in Creative Writing and Literature receive financial support and assistance in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships, which include full tuition remission, year-round health and dental benefits, and a stipend at the current rate.

Texas Tech University, PhD in Creative Writing (Lubbock, TX): When students apply to the onsite PhD program, they are automatically considered for funding. The funding for incoming students consists of a teaching position with a competitive stipend—guaranteed $20K/year for four years with opportunities to apply for a fifth year of funding—and significant tuition and fee waivers.

Ulster University, PhD in Creative Writing (Northern Ireland): The University is proud to be able to regularly offer scholarship awards to support PhD study for applicants from across the globe.  These scholarships generally pay full tuition fees and provide a tax-free maintenance grant of over £15,000 per year.

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What is the best Ivy League school for studying a creative writing research degree?

Hi there. I’m from Scotland and I’ve applied to do a research degree at Edinburgh and Glasgow University. I was considering applying as an international student at the same time if I managed to get a good mark on my MPhil. Can I ask what the best Ivy League school is for studying creative writing? I would also be interested in the possibility of distance learning if that was possible with any of them. Also, what are the differences between Yale, Harvard and Princeton?

If anybody could help it would be much appreciated.

I’m not sure exactly what you are asking:

When you say that you have applied to do a ‘research degree’, do you mean a PhD?

And if so, are you asking which of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia or the University of Pennsylvania has the best PhD in creative writing?

For a start, Harvard, Yale and Princeton do not offer a PhD in Creative Writing- only in English, with no formal creative writing specialization. Princeton has strong creative writing courses for undergraduates, which graduate students can sit in on (space permitting).

Graduate school prestige and rankings are really different than undergrad (both in the UK and the US). The choice is more about the specific program and researchers than about the institution. I know of a recent Cambridge grad who turned down a Cambridge PhD in favor of Nottingham- b/c the world expert in her specialty is there. At grad level, that will matter in a way that it doesn’t at undergrad.

Hi Collegemom, thanks for your reply.

Yes I was talking about a PhD, they are called research degrees back here. Glasgow and Edinburgh University both have PhD’s in Creative Writing. I’m kind of disappointed they don’t have them at the Ivy League’s. I was particularly interested in Yale, Princeton or Harvard.

@jamsie101 The english graduate programs of the Ivies are ranked as follows on USnews:

Columbia/Princeton/Penn/Yale

I do not think that Dartmouth offers a graduate degree in english.

That is one piece of info and is not definitive. I do not think that any of the ivies offer PhDs specifically in creative writing. however i am sure in all of the programs you would have the chance to take creative writing courses.

why are you limiting it to the “Ivy” schools? Creative writing is a very niche topic at the graduate school level and there are extremely well-thought of programs that are NOT at one of those 8 schools. This is not my area of expertise, but I am aware of Iowa; I did a quick search and found this (somewhat dated) list: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/08/the-best-of-the-best/306049/

Thanks for replying donnaleigh. It’s just that I have been researching Yale and it is a university I have a lot of interest in. I’ll certainly have a look at the link you sent me.

If you’re looking for distance learning from an Ivy League school - one of the very best (and free) online courses is ModPo from Penn: https://www.coursera.org/learn/modpo A fabulous course in modern poetry. But @donnaleighg is right - what you’re looking for is an MFA in Creative Writing, and the most prestigious programs are not necessarily at Ivy League universities. Also, on that link posted you’ll find ‘low-residency’ programs which might suit your needs. As a writer at the grad level, you should be looking at faculty foremost - not the institution.

As others have suggested, if you are looking at graduate creative writing degrees in the United States, the cast of leading characters is quite different from undergrad programs–for example, as somebody already noted, the University of Iowa is a top-notch program. It can also depend on what specifically you want to write–the top programs will be different for poetry, fiction, and dramatic writing.

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MFA in Creative Writing

I'm not sure if this is the right board for this. If it is not I apologise in advance.

I've recently completed a BA, and since my ambition is to become a writer of some sort I have been deliberating pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing.

I've been researching it a bit and it seems there are pros and cons, and they seem to depend on the individual. The cost factor is a big issue for me, I'm not sure if it would be worth it.

I've also head the remark that MFAs are an American fad that rich yuppies tend to flock towards, is there any truth to this?

Do you guys think getting an MFA is worth it?

One more question: does getting an MFA from a university that is not best of the best hinder any opportunities? Similar in the way employers for law firms look for ivy league grads

Ps I'm Australian if that makes any difference.

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  4. MFA in Creative Writing Update: Time and Perspective

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  6. MFA in Creative Writing: Michael Heiss

COMMENTS

  1. Ivy League Schools that Offer an MFA in Creative Writing

    Creative writing MFA programs at Ivy League schools give aspiring writers the opportunity to work closely with world-class academics. These elite schools' admissions policies range from highly-selective (eight students per year) to being open to anyone with a bachelor's degree and demonstrated ability.

  2. 15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in 2024

    4) University of Michigan. Anne Carson famously lives in Ann Arbor, as do the MFA students in UMichigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program. This is a big university town, which is less damaging to your social life. Plus, there's lots to do when you have a $25,000 stipend, summer funding, and health care.

  3. 3 things no one tells you before you start an Ivy League MFA in

    Not everyone in an Ivy League MFA in Creative Writing gets a six-figure book deal. When I first started my creative writing MFA, some of my classmates and I would sit in a basement studio in a complex where Simone Weil had once lived. We called it the Compound, and we'd talk about our writing dreams. Now, you're probably thinking that ...

  4. The 10 Best MFA Creative Writing Programs [2024]

    Its Master of Fine Arts program is one of the best MFA creative writing programs in the country, exposing students to various approaches to the craft. While studying under award-winning poets and writers, students may specialize in either poetry or fiction. 3. University of Texas at Austin - New Writers Project.

  5. The 12 Best Creative Writing Colleges and Programs

    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 ...

  6. Creative Writing and Literature Master's Degree Program

    Through the master's degree in creative writing and literature, you'll hone your skills as a storyteller — crafting publishable original scripts, novels, and stories. In small, workshop-style classes, you'll master key elements of narrative craft, including characterization, story and plot structure, point of view, dialogue, and ...

  7. The 10 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

    University of Oregon (Eugene, OR) Visitor7, Knight Library, CC BY-SA 3.0. Starting off the list is one of the oldest and most venerated Creative Writing programs in the country, the MFA at the University of Oregon. Longtime mentor, teacher, and award-winning poet Garrett Hongo directs the program, modeling its studio-based approach to one-on ...

  8. The 10 Best MFA Programs in Creative Writing

    Washington University MFA in Creative Writing. There are many reasons to consider getting an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. For starters, the location is excellent. St. Louis is a great city for writers, with plenty of opportunity to get involved in the literary community and meet other writers.

  9. Creative Writing, M.F.A

    The M.F.A. fiction specialization at Brooklyn College is a two-year course that maintains an enrollment of 30 students. While every member of the ongoing and visiting faculty works according to their methods, we are united in our conviction that newer writers need a balance of encouragement and serious, thoroughly considered feedback.

  10. MFA in Creative Writing Programs Guide

    MFA in Creative Writing Program Guide. Whether focusing on poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, a creative writing degree prepares students for a multitude of career options. Spanning two years, a master of fine arts (MFA) program trains you to become a skilled writer, communicator, and editor who can receive and apply feedback effectively.

  11. Creative Writing MFA Program in New York

    Our prestigious MFA Creative Writing program is designed to help you develop your writing in supportive workshops and literature seminars led by an internationally recognized faculty and renowned authors. 40+ books published annually by alumni and faculty. 60+ annual writing events, including the National Book Awards Finalist Reading ...

  12. Fully Funded MFA Programs in Creative Writing

    Here is the list of 53 universities that offer fully-funded MFA programs (Master's of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing. University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL): Students admitted to the MFA Program are guaranteed full financial support for up to 4-years. Assistantships include a stipend paid over nine months (currently $14,125), and full payment ...

  13. 2024

    4 Ivy League universities offer graduate programs in Writing: Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Columbia University in the City of New York. ... The Creative Writing Program offers the MFA degree, with a concentration in either poetry or fiction. MFA students pursue intensive study with distinguished faculty ...

  14. Creative Writing and Literature

    Division of Continuing Education. Students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program in Creative Writing & Literature will develop skills in creative writing and literary analysis through literature courses and writing workshops in fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and nonfiction. Through online group courses and one-on-one tutorials, as ...

  15. 2024 Colleges With Great Writing Programs

    This Ivy League, private school guarantees students housing for all four years on campus in Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighborhood in New York City. Read More » Tuition and Fees

  16. Admissions

    MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literature Chancellors Hall, Room 238 Stony Brook Southampton 239 Montauk Highway Southampton, NY 11968 Phone: (631) 632-5030 Fax: (631) 632-2576 E-mail: [email protected].

  17. Compare Online MFA In Creative Writing Programs

    In-State | $223.28. Out-of-State | $533.53. Credits to Graduate: 45. Central Washington University's MA in professional and creative writing can be completed fully online or in person. You can choose a concentration in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, in which you'll also complete a final portfolio.

  18. Admissions

    Hybrid-form work must not exceed thirty pages. To apply for admission to our Creative Writing MFA program, you are encouraged to include, as a writing sample, your very best creative writing. Typically, two—or at the most three—genres exist in a graduate Creative Writing program: Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction.

  19. The Top 15 Best Creative Writing MFA Programs in the US

    Brown University. Brown University also has a strong reputation for its Creative Writing MFA program. It is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island founded in 1764. Meanwhile, the MFA program in creative writing at Brown is handled in the department of Library arts.

  20. Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No ...

    Can anyone name me any respected authors with an MFA in creative writing? I sure can. People have mentioned David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Safran Foer, Junot Diaz, and Michael Chabon. ... If you want to talk about, say, a 2 year MFA at an Ivy League school, that would cost just over $100,000.

  21. Fully Funded PhD Programs in Creative Writing

    Starting salary for a PhDs is $20,104/9 months. As part of the assistantship, students are awarded either a Graduate Tuition Fellowship, which remits tuition, or a Creative Writing Program Fellowship, which covers the cost of tuition and the University will pay up to 50% of the costs of medical insurance. University of Illinois, PhD in Creative ...

  22. What is the best Ivy League school for studying a creative writing

    If you're looking for distance learning from an Ivy League school - one of the very best (and free) online courses is ModPo from Penn: ... But @donnaleighg is right - what you're looking for is an MFA in Creative Writing, and the most prestigious programs are not necessarily at Ivy League universities. Also, on that link posted you'll ...

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    Online writing education from Ivy League faculty. At IvyWrite, whether you're struggling with an essay, thesis, proposal, or upcoming SAT/ACT, our experienced faculty will work with you to create a tailored learning plan to improve your writing. We teach beyond the test, so the test becomes easy.

  24. MFA in Creative Writing : r/AskLiteraryStudies

    Yes, since the MFA does nothing for your employment prospects and produces a kind of writer that is only able to survive in high culture, it tends to be frequented by white rich yuppie types, or at least white "comfortable" types. The lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity in MFA programs is a widely discussed topic.