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What’s your story? Whether you’re just beginning to write or putting the finishing touches on your first novel, our on-campus and online writing courses offer expert instruction, individual attention, and supportive feedback at all levels, in all genres of creative writing. Please visit " The Writer's Spotlight " page to learn more about the Online Writing program.

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Covid updates. The bivalent COVID-19 booster is required for on-campus presence.

Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program

Earn Your Way In

Excel in 2 Degree Courses to Qualify for Admission

Online and On Campus

Average Course Tuition

Total Number of Courses

Develop your skills in creative writing and literary analysis.

Explore literature, fiction, screenwriting/writing for TV/playwriting, poetry, and nonfiction.

What You'll Learn

Through the master’s degree in the field of creative writing and literature you will:

Your Harvard Degree Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, field: Creative Writing and Literature.

Our Community at a Glance

Your peers in English, literature and creative writing work in a variety of writing, research, and communication industries, such as publishing, advertising/marketing, fundraising, and education (secondary and higher education).

Average Age

Average Courses Taken Each Semester

Work Full Time

Would Recommend the Program

Professional Experience in the Field

Pursued for Personal Enrichment

Admissions, Courses, and Degree Requirements

At Harvard Extension School, your admission is based largely on your performance in two specific Harvard Extension courses that you complete before submitting an application.

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

The vast array of courses available, the flexibility in schedules, the incredible faculty and teaching assistants, and the warm student community all drew me in. Before I knew it, I had taken a handful of courses and realized that I could apply for a degree program.

Read Gairik Sachdeva's Story

Bryan Delaney

Playwright and Screenwriter

Talaya Adrienne Delaney

Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Cost and financial aid.

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

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.

Learning & Connection

Deep learning springs from human connection. That’s why we work so hard to bring people together — whether in a live virtual classroom or an in-person seminar on campus.

Our approach to online learning fosters interaction without sacrificing flexibility. Each week, you’ll engage with your instructor, participate in peer discussions, and receive one-on-one support from teaching staff—all from your home or office.

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

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.

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Creative Writing

Program Overview

Associate in Arts (A.A.)

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We live in a world of language. Maybe you want to write a novel, become a poet, compose a memoir, or produce digital content. Sharpen your writing skills by practicing your craft and developing an eye for artistic expression.

Career Outlook: Writers and Authors

Written communication is essential to all industries. Writers and authors develop content for diverse audiences and deliver it through a variety of platforms. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for writing work to grow 9% by 2030. The median annual salary for writers and authors in 2021 was $69,510. While many writers are self-employed, others work at news agencies, tech companies, and in the entertainment industry.

A.A. Program Overview

Find and amplify your voice through the power of creative writing. In this program, you'll foster relationships with other artistic and literary thinkers through small classes and writing workshops. Coursework introduces you to foundational writing concepts — such as voice and diction — and lets you explore the craft of writing through literature.

The program capstone gives you an opportunity to share your work with a live audience prior to graduation.

Amanda Lynn Brockner, FLCC alumna, 2022.

"I learned a lot about myself as a writer and gained the confidence that I needed to move forward. The workshops are amazing because you're not limited to working in your genre. You get a different experience with each professor, too. The program was really the start to my own writing community."

— Amanda Lynn Brockner, '22

Collaborative Writing Workshops

Master a range of writing techniques by completing four distinct workshops. You'll engage in meaningful dialogue and revisions of your work, and experience what it's like to be part of a community of writers. Workshop courses include a general introduction to creative writing, along with a focus on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Our Creative Writing Degree is Available 100% Online

In addition to completing this degree in-person, our creative writing program is also available 100% online. For creative writing students, this involves a mix of courses that you can complete on your own time and others that allow you to workshop your writing with other students in real time from a location that works for you. Learn more about FLCC online learning .

Join Our Creative Writing Club

Dead Poets Society is a student-led club for those who are drawn to poetry, fiction, and other forms of expression. The club works closely with the Creative Writing program to host a number of literary events and activities throughout the year — including public readings, author visits, film nights, and producing a 'zine.

Edit and Produce a Literary Journal

Learn how to manage submissions, communicate with authors, and edit manuscripts for publication by working on FLCC's literary journal, isotrope .

Design and produce a literary journal from the ground up while introducing readers to new authors and their creative visions. A journal of this caliber is rare among community colleges and provides you with a unique hands-on learning experience.

Isotrope features poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and visual arts. The journal showcases emerging talent from around the world.

Check out the most recent edition online today.

Read the Latest Issue

A.A. Program Outcomes

Program learning outcomes.

Upon completion of this degree program, students will have the ability to:

Seamless Transfer Opportunities

FLCC has transfer articulation agreements with various four-year schools in the region. These partnerships allow you to transfer into a bachelor's program with full junior standing. For creative writing, these colleges include:

These schools offer bachelor's degrees in creative writing or English with a focus in creative writing:

Four-Year Career Pathways

Employers need good writers. Many journalists, lawyers, teachers, and marketing professionals have creative writing backgrounds. Prepare to enter the job market with the skills and creativity needed for success.

Creative writing graduates are well qualified to transfer into a bachelor's program or pursue careers and internships in a variety of fields, including:

Low-Cost Tuition and Scholarship Opportunities

Earn a quality education at an affordable rate. With our low cost-per-credit and general scholarship opportunities , you can maximize your potential with minimal debt. Over 75% of FLCC students receive financial awards that reduce the cost of college — or cover it completely!

The Creative Writing faculty bring a wide range of artistic expertise to the classroom. Full-time faculty hold master's degrees in English or MFAs. You'll learn from accomplished poets, novelists, and essayists who write everything from true-crime drama to young adult fiction. Each faculty member has a distinct approach to the craft of writing, which will introduce you to a variety of valuable methods and techniques.

Curriculum Requirements

Sample Schedule

Academic Resources

See Course Descriptions

View Academic Requirements and Policies

Check Next Semester's Course Schedule

Career Coach

Explore Your Career Options

Map out a path toward your future career, and discover opportunities related to this area of study.

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Jon Palzer

"To study creative writing is to immerse oneself deeply in what are arguably our greatest human gifts - language and imagination! They define our experiences and open our senses to the significance of our existence."

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International Student

Study Creative Writing at Adelphi

Programs for creative writing can be found in schools all across the country. For international students, it can be hard to even begin to narrow down their options. This article will examine some of the best places in the U.S. to study creative writing, considering the quality of writing programs in the area and the career prospects for after education.

The quality of creative writing programs doesn't depend on geographical location—the top creative writing schools aren't necessarily dependent on high-tech technology, dense population, or anything else typical of a big city. So for international students, deciding where to study creative writing in the U.S. can be a daunting task. Thankfully, even if top creative writing schools can be found anywhere, there are certain areas of the country that stand out for prospective creative writing students due to both their high number of quality programs and the heavy concentration of career opportunities in the area. Read on to find out where to study creative writing!

New York City

As the biggest city in the country, New York City may seem like a no brainer as a great place to study creative writing. Within the boundaries of the Big Apple lie some top creative writing schools, such as New York University and Columbia University . Both schools offer fine creative writing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, the city's energy and picturesque parks and landmarks have made it a source of inspiration for many writers.

Creative Writing Programs

Visit the Study in the USA School search to find schools that offer programs of study in Creative Writing.

Find Schools Now

Featured Schools with Creative Writing Programs

Adelphi University

When it comes to the options for international students post-college, New York is far and away one of the best options for anyone trying to break into the published types of creative writing— magazines, novels, etc. New York City is home to a huge number of publishing houses and magazines, from the most massive on down to the independently run. And while you certainly don't have to be near a publisher to submit your work and try to catch your big break, the networking opportunities afforded by the proximity to publishers in New York City can only help you.

Los Angeles

Like New York, Los Angeles is a hotbed of creative writing schools and work opportunities, but in a different kind of creative writing. As many international students will know, Los Angeles is the center of the United States' (and arguably the world's) film and television industry, meaning that almost anyone looking to get into screenwriting for film or television will want to end up there eventually. Elite film schools like the University of Southern California , University of California — Los Angeles , and American Film Institute all call Los Angeles home and offer prestigious coursework in screenwriting. The area even has top creative writing schools for more traditional creative writing aficionados, with schools like UC Riverside and UC Irvine presenting great options for fiction writing and more.

As mentioned above, Los Angeles will be the most likely destination for many an aspiring screenwriter after college, thanks to its place at the heart of the film and television business. In screenwriting more than in authoring novels or poetry, it is highly recommended to put yourself at the center of the action. Merely submitting your material from long distance will rarely work; success in screenwriting requires some rigorous face-to-face networking, meetings, and pitching.

Other Locations

New York and Los Angeles stand out as creative writing cities thanks to their dominance in publishing and film (respectively), both in school and work opportunities. However, make sure to stay open to creative writing schools elsewhere; after all, you can always move to one of these cities after graduation if necessary. There are great schools in some beautifully scenic areas that can inspire creativity: Colorado College up in the mountains, and the University of Iowa in the sprawling Midwest. When deciding where to study creative writing, think about the type of place you'd like to live, if there is an area within creative writing you want to pursue, and get ready to have a great creative writing education!

Learn more about studying creative writing in the USA by reading our growing article collection.

« Study Guide by Subject   « Study Creative Writing in the U.S.

Over time we will be updating this section and including more information for those who want to study creative writing in the USA and for other countries, but please feel free to post your thoughts and comments on our Facebook fan page , and also follow us and post questions through Twitter .

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Girl writing on a tablet with text Mariel Embry '22

Creative Writing Degree Online Bachelor of Arts

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Write Your Own Story 

Creative Writing Degree Program Overview

If you have a passion for storytelling and want to pursue a career using your writing talents, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing and English program can help you get on the right path.

You'll develop your writing skills alongside students from across the country, who represent an incredible range of voices and experiences. Together, you'll participate in workshops, producing work and presenting it to your peers for commentary and discussion.

"Everything I learned during my degree journey added to my understanding of how to write and boosted my creativity," said Aubrie Arnold '20 , a graduate of the creative writing program. "I now feel like I can and will write novels – I’m working on that now – and I feel like I have the correct tools to make those novels successful.”

This degree is also an attractive option for transfer students, as it offers a number of free electives.

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What You'll Learn

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How You'll Learn

At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.

Concentration Options

When you choose to study creative writing at SNHU, you have the option to stay with the general track – which gives you the flexibility to study a variety of genres – or you can opt to add one of our 4 concentrations to your degree : fiction, nonfiction, poetry or screenwriting.

Creative Writing & English (BA) - Fiction Aspiring authors and storytellers who are looking for a way to gain inspiration and foster their imaginations will find the online Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Fiction Writing to be the perfect balance of craft and critical analysis. This BA program emphasizes the craft of fiction writing and helps you develop an appreciation for all forms of fiction while honing your writing skills and philosophy of composition. You'll gain insights into publishing technologies and the industry as you enhance your fundamental knowledge of fiction writing's most crucial elements. This comprehensive program gives you a powerful understanding of plot, character development, narrative voice and other mechanics of creative writing. Studying fiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University doesn't just focus on developing your skill and technique. This program also gives you the opportunity to explore your creative boundaries, perfect your craft and dive deeper into your preferred genre. From fantasy to sci-fi and mystery to young adult, you can embrace the style of writing that you're drawn to and bring your original stories to life. The format of this BA program encourages collaboration and direct interaction with faculty and peers. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Nicholas Patterson '22 found peer interaction through writing workshops to be a favorite part of his program. "I have learned tons of new skills," he said, "but most importantly learned how to grow from constructive criticism." Career outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median 2021 salary for writers and authors was $69,510. 1 The BLS notes that a degree and publication is typically required for a full-time writing position. Writers who concentrate in fiction have career opportunities in a range of professions, including content writing, editing, copywriting, publishing, communications and more. Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Fiction Writing Workshop Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop Request Info Apply Now Creative Writing & English (BA) - Nonfiction Discover your niche with a nonfiction writing degree online at Southern New Hampshire University. Our online Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Nonfiction delves into a wide variety of styles and subjects – everything from the personal essay to autobiography, memoir, travel writing and magazine features. Our creative writing online program can help you combine research and reflection with compelling storytelling. You'll also gain insights into publishing technologies and the industry, explore your creative boundaries and develop a unique voice. A solid foundation in the broader scope of creative writing is critical to the craft of nonfiction writing. In our comprehensive nonfiction writing program, you'll acquire a powerful understanding of research, narrative voice and other mechanics of creative writing. The online nonfiction writing degree program's format encourages collaboration and ongoing interaction with faculty and peers. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Career outlook: The median 2021 salary for writers and authors was $69,510, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1 Nonfiction writers can publish in magazines, newspapers, and literary journals, as well as find career opportunities in digital content writing, social media/communications, copywriting and editing. Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Nonfiction Writing Workshop Intermediate Nonfiction Writing Workshop Advanced Nonfiction Writing Workshop Request Info Apply Now Creative Writing & English (BA) - Poetry The online Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry degree program is an opportunity for aspiring poets to find inspiration, engagement and creative collaboration with peers and faculty alike. Our specialized program enables you to hone your craft and unleash your imagination, helping you create imagery in verse. While a poetry degree is valuable in and of itself, it can also prepare you for many professional paths. You can explore careers in creative writing, advertising, journalism, publishing and advertising copywriting. Southern New Hampshire University also offers an online Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. As a student in our poetry degree online program, you'll begin taking writing courses during your first year. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Career outlook: Career paths with a BA in creative writing include work as a creative writer, advertising copywriter, journalist, publisher or poet. Writers have also found careers in communications, digital content writing and editing. Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Poetry Writing Workshop Intermediate Poetry Writing Workshop Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop Request Info Apply Now Creative Writing & English (BA) - Screenwriting Whether you have dreams of writing blockbusters, developing documentaries or working with other writers on sitcoms, the online BA in Creative Writing and English with a concentration in Screenwriting is an excellent way to hone your writing skills and put your passion to work. The classes in this specialized online screenwriting degree are based on a comprehensive study of creative writing, with a special focus on story structure, character development and the visual medium of film. You'll have the opportunity to explore all of the forms that screenwriting takes – feature-length and short films, television episodes and miniseries, commercial and internet-based video. While creative writing is at the core of this program, your screenwriting classes will place a special emphasis on visual storytelling. Designed by experienced and distinguished faculty, this creative writing program will give you a powerful understanding of how story, character, theme, action, visuals and dialogue intertwine to create a compelling moment in time. The format for the screenwriting degree online program encourages collaboration and direct interaction with faculty and peers. You'll also have the chance to get published and learn from experienced authors through The Penmen Review, our own online journal for writers. Career outlook: Blockbuster movies, independent films and shorts, commercials, television dramas and sitcoms all rest their success on the backbone of their scripts. Screenwriters have lots of options when it comes to navigating their careers. You could pursue independent work and make your stories come to life – or you could develop scripts for specific projects that need a writer's touch. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors earned a median salary of $69,510 in 2021. 1 Courses may include: New Media: Writing and Publishing Introduction to Screenwriting Workshop Intermediate Screenwriting Workshop Advanced Screenwriting Workshop Request Info Apply Now if (typeof accordionGroup === "undefined") { window.accordionGroup = new accordion(); } accordionGroup.init(document.getElementById('a7db942c2ff94e9783a92e9b328572c0')); Career Outlook

Use storytelling skills to write everything from children’s books and novels to biographies, essays and memoirs.

Apply your understanding of the written word to plan, review and revise content for publication in books, periodicals or online platforms.

Promote a product, service or organization with content for advertisements, marketing campaigns or websites.

Research topics, investigate story ideas and interview sources to write compelling nonfiction articles for newspapers, magazines, blogs and television news programs.


Use the power of writing to create visual and auditory experiences for everything from major blockbuster films to television episodes and commercials.


Write speeches for business leaders, politicians and others, using words to engage with and move an audience.

Technical writer

Prepare instruction manuals and how-to guides to clearly communicate complex ideas and technical information.

And with today's technology, it's easy for writers and authors to work from just about anywhere as long as they have internet access – meaning jobs aren't limited to major cities anymore.

In addition to the writing skills you'll develop in a creative writing degree program, you could also pick up a handful of other career skills 1 the workforce desperately needs, like:

"This [program] not only allowed me to explore my creativity through writing," said Nicholas Patterson '22 . "It taught me the fundamentals of the industry and how to pursue a career in it."

Job Growth and Salary

Prospects for writer and author occupations appear promising in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry shift from print to online media should result in employment growth. 1

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for writers and authors is expected to grow 4% through 2031 — that's as fast as average for all occupations. 1

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In 2021, the median annual wage for writers and authors was $ 69,510 . 1

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Creative Writing Degree

Why snhu for your creative writing degree flexible with no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7. affordable as part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. in fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation. prior coursework could also help you save time and money. snhu’s transfer policy  allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. you could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience , or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you. respected founded in 1932 , southern new hampshire university is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. snhu is accredited by the new england commission of higher education (neche), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.  recently, snhu has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education: u.s. news & world report named snhu the 2021 most innovative university in the north and one of the nation's "best regional universities" awarded the 21st century distance learning award for excellence in online technology by the united states distance learning association (usdla) a $1 million grant from google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth network at southern new hampshire university, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities. 93.6% of online students would recommend snhu (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). discover why snhu may be right for you . admission requirements expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. that’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials: completed free undergraduate application prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you test scores are not required as part of your application acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms . how to apply if you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going: complete a free undergraduate application submit any additional documents required work with an admission counselor  to explore financial options  and walk through the application process if you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email [email protected] . if (typeof accordiongroup === "undefined") { window.accordiongroup = new accordion(); } accordiongroup.init(document.getelementbyid('06235c05b74e467bb258c6a2eee81259')); what snhu students are saying.

Nicholas Patterson

"I came [to SNHU] originally to have more freedoms and explore my creativity in a new environment. This program has given me that and more – this program has enabled me to improve myself in every facet of writing, from brainstorming a new idea to learning about genres and even how to market myself and my writing."

Courses & Curriculum

Southern New Hampshire University is home to one of the largest creative writing programs in the country.

Our unique online creative writing degree allows you to take writing courses from the start. The program features 4 writing workshops, including an advanced workshop in which you'll complete a polished piece in the genre of your choice.

The courses in our BA in Creative Writing can help develop your talent for creating stories, novels and characters and turning them into finished, professional pieces. Whether you choose the general track or a specific genre, you'll learn from published writers with valuable industry insights.

In addition to the courses and electives within the major, SNHU's online writing degree program includes 30 credits of free electives. This leaves you with room to choose courses or a minor in an area of study that you'd like to write about – like history or psychology – or the opportunity to complement your studies with career skills, such as graphic design or marketing. The amount of free electives also makes our creative writing degree an attractive option for transfer students.

Throughout your program, you'll learn from published writers, professional editors, publishers and established literary critics – subject-matter experts who can help guide you to improving your craft.

As a bonus at SNHU, you can choose to further your study of creative writing with one of our popular graduate programs:

Curriculum Requirements & Resources

General education.

All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.

Technology Resources

We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments .

Earn Math Credits

Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.

Minimum Hardware Requirements Component Type   PC (Windows OS)   Apple (Mac OS)   Operating System  Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.   Currently supported operating system from Apple.  Memory (RAM)  8GB or higher  8GB or higher  Hard Drive  100GB or higher  100GB or higher  Antivirus Software  Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.  Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.  SNHU Purchase Programs  Visit Dell   Visit Apple   Internet/ Bandwidth  5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency  5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency  Notes:   Laptop or desktop?   Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.  Note:   Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.  Office 365 Pro Plus  is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for  Microsoft 365 plans  for business, education and government.  Antivirus software:  Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.  if (typeof accordionGroup === "undefined") { window.accordionGroup = new accordion(); } accordionGroup.init(document.getElementById('f756dce5bd874c61855f6f6e92d88470')); University Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education

Tuition & Fees

As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.

We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is an Associate of Arts Degree?

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What is Public Relations (PR)?

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What Can You Do with a Communications Major?

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The Creative Writing Major

study creative writing

The Creative Writing Major is an undergraduate concentration within the English Department at Northwestern University and one of the first and finest undergraduate Creative Writing programs in the country. Its reputation is based on the accomplishments of its graduates, the generosity of its accomplished professors, and a pedagogy that creates a fruitful symbiosis between close reading and inventive writing. Award-winning authors teach poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, as well as courses that cross genres, guiding students to examine literary works as writers and encouraging them to study the best literary models. Professors and students work in a close-knit community as they write their own stories, novellas, poems and essays within the living tradition of literature.

Most Creative Writing Majors begin taking creative writing courses in their sophomore year and complete the yearlong “sequence” of study during their junior year, and some have the opportunity to complete an additional honors project before graduation (see Recommended Schedule for Prospective Writing Majors below). Students also learn from prominent visiting writers at our annual Festival of Writing in the Spring.  Recent graduates of the program include MacArthur “Genius” Award Winner Karen Russell; Veronica Roth, whose bestselling novel “Divergent” was first drafted while she was a student; poet Peter Kline; and award-winning essayist Angela Mears.

Current Creative Writing faculty include   Chris Abani ,  Brian Bouldrey ,   John Bresland ,   Averill Curdy ,   Sheila Donohue ,   Reginald Gibbons , Juan Martinez , Shauna Seliy , Charif Shanahan ,  Natasha Trethewey , Daisy Hernández ,  and   Rachel Jamison Webster .

The Creative Writing program also offers two minors; the Sequence-based Minor and, for those not pursuing one of the year-long sequences, the non-application based Cross-genre Minor in Creative Writing .

See past and upcoming Creative Writing events.

Undergraduate publication opportunities

Recommended Schedule for Prospective Writing Majors

Courses for prospective creative writing majors, in a recommended order..

*Denotes courses that are REQUIRED for the Creative Writing Major

ENG 202-Introduction to Creative Writing

(can be taken in Fall quarter of Freshman year. This provides an introduction to all three genres and prepares you for our other CW courses.)

ENG 210-1,2 - English Literary Traditions       or ENG 270-1,2 - American Literary Traditions

(While not required for creative writing, these are excellent background courses for writing students, and also serve as prerequisites for the English literature major.)

* ENG 206 - Reading and Writing Poetry

* ENG 207 - Reading and Writing Fiction    

* ENG 208 - Reading & Writing Creative Nonfiction

(You are now able to take 206, 207, or 208 in any order. Majors will take all three of these intro-courses.)

Students may apply to the Creative Writing Program in the Spring of your Sophomore Year or in the Spring of your Junior Year.

Some students fulfill their requirements--of 206, 207 and 208--well before the time of application to the program. If that happens, we recommend that you stay in writing practice and continue building your portfolio by taking one of our 300-level writing courses, English 306, 307, 308, or 309. Please see Juan Martinez , Director of Creative Writing, for further suggestions and help with course planning.

Initial Required Courses

All students interested in the Creative Writing Major must take two introductory writing courses, one in poetry (ENG 206) and one in either fiction (207) or creative nonfiction (208), before applying to the program. Students may not apply to the creative writing program in their first year. On the 200-level, no prior knowledge of the genre is required.

Admission to the Program

Admission to the next stage of the Creative Writing Major or the Sequence-based Minor in Creative Writing, the year-long 300-level advanced course sequences, is competitive. Admission to the program is granted primarily on the basis of manuscript quality and the student’s promise. An applicant may be admitted to study as a major, a minor, or a sequence-only student.

No preference in admission is currently given to those who apply to the sequences, though there are later opportunities open only to Creative Writing Majors, including participation in senior honors, one-on-one conferences with visiting writers-in-residence, and the winter senior readings series.  Students may apply for admission to the sequence courses no earlier than the spring of their sophomore year.  Applications are available online at the beginning of spring quarter.

The Sequences

Theory and Practice of Poetry (ENG 393), Fiction (394), and Creative Nonfiction (395):

These year-long sequences of courses ask students to pursue a rigorous program that includes close reading of literary texts, explication and critical writing, imitation and modeling, and original creative work.  The sequences are arranged in three consecutive quarters.

They begin in the fall with specialized courses in the fundamental technical and rhetorical bases of each genre. Poetry students study the uses of metaphor and mode, and the theory of prosody (including both the major form of poetry in English-accentual-syllabic verse-and the minor forms, accentual, syllabic, and free verse). Fiction students consider the tenets of realism and its alternatives, and practice different approaches to style, characterization, structure, and point of view. Creative nonfiction students focus on essay forms, logical method, authorial tone, and techniques of discourse and description. In all genres, imitations and models of great writers are assigned.

The second half of the sequence in each genre is devoted to intensive writing of a longer original work-a poem of at least 120 lines or an essay or novella of 25 to 35 pages.

Note that in the event further work in fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry is desired outside the year-long sequence, ENG 206, 207, and 208 may be repeated up to two times for WCAS credit. Advanced one-quarter courses in creative writing (ENG 306, 307, 308, 309) are also offered for non-majors.

The application will be available here at the beginning of spring quarter. We accept applications to all three sequences to late April. 

Other Required Courses for MAJOR Students

In addition to the sequences, creative writing majors must take:

ENG 392 - The Situation of Writing

“The Situation of Writing,” which is typically offered in the winter quarter, investigates the writer’s relation to the culture, both currently and historically. The course addresses such questions as the relation of criticism to imaginative literature, the rise and fall of specific literary genres, the effect of the university on the production and consumption of literary works, the state of the publishing industry, and international literary contexts. Third-Genre Intro Course (either ENG 207 or ENG 208, whichever has not been completed)

The “Third-Genre Intro” Course 

English 207 or 208, whichever introductory course was not completed before application to the sequences. This requirement ensures that writing majors will have had experience reading and writing in all three major non-dramatic modes of imaginative writing.

Six 300-level literature classes

These courses must be “pure literature”; that is, courses in which the bulk of the reading is literature and not criticism or theory. They must be selected from English Department offerings ONLY:

Two non-literature courses related to one another, taught in other department(s).

These courses, in areas such as history, art, classics, and gender studies, broaden the student’s background for the study of literature. These must be approved by a creative writing advisor.

Other Required Courses for Sequence-Based MINOR students

In addition to the sequences, creative writing sequence-based minors must take:

Two 300-level literature classes

The Cross-genre Minor in Creative Writing

Other program features.

The Annual Writers' Festival gives students the chance to learn from and interact with guest Writers-in-Residence for a three-day celebration of master classes, public readings, and a panel discussion on craft. The festival is situated within the larger Evanston Literary Festival, which hosts a number of literary events throughout the city.

Writing by students at Northwestern is recognized by the award-winning student literary magazine, Helicon, and by the  Department of English Annual Writing Competition , held in the spring.

Creative Writing Alumni Testimonials

-- Veronica Roth, author of the bestselling Divergent series

“I still believe our program at Northwestern is as good as any graduate program in the country. It was nice to have the opportunity when I was 19 to spend so much time reading and writing with these other writers. There was such a serious sense of purpose. That’s a testament to Brian and Sheila and the rest of the faculty. They really could create a community.” --Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and winner of a MacArthur Genius Award.

“As a Creative Nonfiction student in the Creative Writing program, I was pushed hard -- by my professors and fellow writers -- to find my voice. Not just my voice as a writer, but as a person and advocate of my life and experiences. More than anything else, I learned that I am still learning. I am still finding that voice, and always will be. I learned that this fact is okay, it is right, it is what makes me write.”   --Danielle Littman, 2013 graduate.

"We're not just educating people for professional tracks; we're educating them for their lives." --Professor Mary Kinzie, Founder of the Creative Writing Program and award-winning poet.

School of the Arts logo

The Undergraduate Creative Writing Program

To study creative writing at Columbia University's School of the Arts, in New York City, is to join a distinguished group of writers who arrived at a prestigious university in the nation's literary capital to explore the deep artistic power of language. J.D. Salinger enrolled in a short story course here in 1939. Federico Garcia Lorca wrote  Poet in New York  while he was a student at Columbia. Carson McCullers worked odd jobs in the city to pay for her Columbia writing courses. Eudora Welty, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Auster: these renowned writers and many others have left a legacy of originality and brilliance that charges the atmosphere at Columbia and lends genuine excitement to the prospect of literary creation on campus.

New York City is as vibrant as ever, home to writers from all over the world, and Columbia's literary legacy continues unabated. Home now to a top-ranked graduate  MFA program  in creative writing, an undergraduate program that allows students to pursue their craft under the diligent supervision of a world-class faculty, the Columbia literary experience includes rigorous writing workshops at all levels in fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, dramatic writing, and screenwriting, and seminars designed exclusively for creative writing students.

Student writers not only have access to these provocative and rigorous courses, but they also can partake in the larger offerings of Columbia's thriving School of the Arts: the readings, lectures, performances, and plays that bring together the world's most gifted artists and writers, who come to Columbia to test their vision and explore the enormous power of literary art.

Welcome to the Creative Writing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Lis Harris Chair, MFA Writing Program, Columbia University School of the Arts 

Heidi Julavits Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing

About the Undergraduate program

The creative writing program in The School of the Arts combines intensive writing workshops with seminars that study literature from a writer’s perspective. While students develop and hone their literary technique in workshops, the creative writing seminars (which explore literary technique as well as history) broaden their sense of possibility by exposing them to the various ways, historically, that language has been used to make art.  As a supplement to the workshops and seminars, related courses for the major can be drawn from departments such as English, Comp. Lit, Philosophy, History, and Anthropology, among others. Students will determine, in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the related courses that will best inform their creative work. The writing workshop is the core element in the practice of creative writing, and it should be a selective and highly rigorous course. Students in the workshop produce original works of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, and submit them to their classmates and professor for a close critical analysis.  Workshop critiques (which include a detailed written report, as well as thorough line-edits) assess the mechanics and merits of the piece of writing, while individual conferences with the professor distill the various critiques into a direct plan of action to improve the work. A student writer develops by practicing the craft under the diligent critical attention of his or her peers and professor. This dynamic is meant to continually assist the student writer toward new levels of creative endeavor. The creative writing seminars are modeled on the courses offered by the graduate Writing Division of The School of the Arts, and provide the intellectual ballast that informs and deepens the work of the creative writing student. Students in the creative writing seminars read a book each week and engage in round-table discussions about the artistic attributes of the texts, in order to better understand how literature might be made. By engaging in a deep analysis of outstanding and diverse works of literature, the creative writer can build the resources necessary to produce his or her own accomplished creative work. In addition to this core curriculum, we offer workshops in dramatic writing and screenwriting, as well as a seminar in the art of translation.

Major Requirements

We offer a Major in Creative Writing and do not offer a Concentration. Students may elect to complete the major in a Single Genre (Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction) or as a Cross-Genre (a combination of two genres) course of study for a total of 12 classes (36 points). Students can select courses in order to fulfill the following major requirements:

Single Genre Major (Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction)

5 semesters required to complete the major

Required classes:

Cross-Genre Major (Combination of Two Genres)

Counting Related Courses Towards the Major

a) count toward the college’s GLOBAL CORE requirement (with the exception of  University Writing ) or

b) count toward the fulfilling of another major towards their Related Courses requirement

Transfer Credit and Study Abroad

Students must obtain the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies to receive credit for courses taken elsewhere. Transfer students and students planning study abroad should bring relevant material—transcripts, course descriptions, syllabi—to the Director, who decides whether and how outside courses may be used for the major. No more than two courses taken elsewhere may be applied to the major and these courses cannot be used to fulfill seminar and workshop requirements. All seminars and workshops counted for the major must be taken within the department. 

Majors are expected regularly to fill out the Creative Writing  Major Worksheet , to be reviewed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (or Advisor) and submitted, with any notes from Director, to the Undergraduate Coordinator, Dorla McIntosh, in the Creative Writing Program office, 609 Kent Hall.

Related Programs

Broadway Stills (Class of 2022 Zine)

Courses in creative writing

study creative writing

Part-time study in creative writing at Oxford University

Need an extra push to finish your novel, poem or play? Want to explore new genres? Whether you're a beginner wondering where to start, or an experienced writer looking to extend your craft, we have a part-time, flexible course for you.

Short courses

Our  short courses in creative writing  include in person and online live-time weekly classes, day and weekend schools and flexible online courses.

Courses cover all genres: fiction, poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, drama, writing for young adults and critical reading. There are courses for beginners and options for those with experience. Class sizes are kept small to maximise interaction between you, your classmates and your tutor.

We also run three effective writing courses per year, each focusing on a different aspect of creative writing.

Credit earned from some of our short courses is transferable towards our  Certificate of Higher Education  – a part-time undergraduate course in which you study a main subject discipline, but also undertake study in other academic subjects.

Undergraduate award programmes

Our part-time undergraduate programmes are delivered in two formats: you can choose to study mostly online (with one short module taken in Oxford) or you can opt for face-to-face teaching.

Postgraduate study

Delve deeper into creative writing with our MSt in Creative Writing – a two-year, part-time master's programme offering a unique combination of high contact hours, genre specialization, and critical and creative breadth, delivered in a clustered learning format of five residences, two guided retreats and one placement over two years.

Summer schools

Join us for one of our Oxford  creative writing summer courses , and spend a week or longer immersed in your craft. Accredited and non-accredited options are available; courses take place at Rewley House and at Oxford's historic colleges.

Student spotlights

Charles bush.

study creative writing

Charles Bush published his debut young-adult novel thanks to the skills and experience gained from completing the Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education.

Tahmina Maula

Tahmina worked as a senior manager in education before taking a career break to undertake the Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing.

Daisy Johnson

While studying the MSt in Creative Writing Daisy worked on a collection of short stories which would later become her debut book.

Upcoming courses

The nineteenth-century slave narrative.

Realism on Screen: Global Cinemas, Aesthetics and Social Change

Contemporary Irish Literature

Advanced Creative Writing (Online)

Advanced Writing Lives (Online)

Part-time award programmes.

Part-time creative writing award courses for those looking to gain an Oxford qualification.

study creative writing

Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing

Mst in creative writing, undergraduate certificate of higher education.

study creative writing


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