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Contact Schools Directly - Compare 18 Masters of Arts  (MA) in Creative Writing in USA 2024

18 MA Programs in Creative Writing in USA 2024

Many creative writing programs supplement classroom instruction with interactive hands-on events, so students can see writing in action. Students are encouraged to attend theater performances, poetry readings, film screenings and prose performances throughout the surrounding community.

The USA remains the world’s most popular destination for international students. Universities in the US dominate the world rankings and the country also offers a wide variety of exciting study locations. State university systems are partially subsidized by state governments, and may have many campuses spread around the state, with hundreds of thousands of students.

An MA is a master’s degree awarded to students that have completed a program studying humanities or fine arts subjects such as history, communications, philosophy, theology or English. A Master of Arts degree typically requires coursework, research and written examinations.

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MA in Publishing and Writing

Emerson college.

Emerson College

  • Boston, USA

Full time, Part time

Whether you want to shape the prose of fresh voices as an editor, represent writers as a literary agent, or work with exciting online publications and new media formats, Emerson’s Publishing and Writing MA will help you succeed in the ever-vital, ever-changing field of publishing. You’ll receive a comprehensive overview of the publishing industry with the flexibility to take classes in a variety of areas, including book, magazine, and digital publishing, customizing your program to meet your interests.

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Master of Arts in Writing

Johns hopkins university, advanced academic programs.

Johns Hopkins University, Advanced Academic Programs

Distance Learning, On-Campus

Johns Hopkins' Advanced Academic Programs nine-course online or on-campus MA in Writing program reflects the school's international reputation for academic rigor and creative innovation. This workshop-centered, 3-year program offers a concentration in fiction or nonfiction and includes summer residency options abroad. Some graduates use the advanced writing skills they develop in journalism, teaching or corporate writing jobs. Others go on to write nonfiction, short stories, novels, and other works.

MA in English

Salisbury university - perdue school of business.

Salisbury University - Perdue School of Business

  • Salisbury, USA

The English Department at Salisbury University offers a variety of Master of Arts and post-baccalaureate opportunities for students wishing to further their study in various fields. While every graduate student’s experience ultimately depends on the energy, dedication, and imagination a student devotes to their studies, Salisbury University’s M.A.


Lenoir-rhyne university.

Lenoir-Rhyne University

  • Hickory, USA

LR’s Master of Arts in Writing is designed to prepare students for careers in creative writing, the teaching of writing, and/or the development of advanced writing skills as a powerful tool within one’s chosen profession. In addition to fundamental courses in rhetorical theory, editing, and publishing, students participate in a journey of discovery –exploring the evolution of a literary genre through reading select works. Students engage scholarship in literature, narrative theory, and creative process development to prepare to be the storytellers and story interpreters in professional and cultural environments.

MASTER OF FINE ARTS (M.F.A.) Creative Writing

Mcneese state university college of liberal arts.

McNeese State University College of Liberal Arts

  • Lake Charles, USA

Founded in 1981, the McNeese State University is home to the oldest Master of Fine Arts program in Louisiana and one of the oldest in the southeast. The cornerstone of our program is our creative writing workshops where, for a minimum of four semesters, MFA students submit their own poetry or fiction, review and critique their peers’ work and build necessary skills as writers and readers of literary fiction and poetry. Craft-based Form and Theory courses in both genres round out our MFA program, providing foundational knowledge of elements vital to the development of writing skills. As a creative writing MFA student here, your three-year experience will culminate in the creative thesis – a book-length manuscript with significant artistic merit.


University of central arkansas.

University of Central Arkansas

  • Conway, USA

The program provides graduate students the opportunity to concentrate on the study, practice, and teaching of Creative Writing in a highly focused writing environment facilitated by writers for writers. At 60 hours, this three-year program will ensure that graduates build multi-genre backgrounds in the popular discipline of Creative Writing through workshops, forms courses, topics courses, a wide variety of electives, and specialized teaching and editing practicums.

MFA Program for Writers

Warren wilson college.

Warren Wilson College

  • Swannanoa, USA

The Program is intellectually rigorous but with that rigor comes a generosity of spirit you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. The MFA Program for Writers taught me that no matter where we are in our writing lives, there is always more work to be done; such work is a gift, and the Program gave me the tools to honor it. Lara Egger (MFA, 2016)

MFA Program in Creative Writing

University of arkansas at monticello school of arts & humanities.

University of Arkansas at Monticello School of Arts & Humanities

  • Monticello, USA

The UAM Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, non-residency, provides an opportunity to talented and highly self-disciplined individuals to earn an MFA tailored to fit their lifestyles, interests, and goals at an affordable price relative to other MFA programs and to develop their creative-writing, critical-thinking, and literary analysis skills to an exemplary level through study under successful and dedicated writer-teachers from a range of backgrounds and aesthetic perspectives.

MFA Writing

Otis college of art and design.

Otis College Of Art And Design

  • Los Angeles, USA

MFA Writing at Otis College was founded in 2000 by Paul Vangelisti, and over the next two decades, it emerged as a nationally recognized program with an innovative curriculum, including an emphasis on translation and global literature, the development of a publishing project, Otis Books, and a vibrant biweekly Visiting Writers Series which drew authors to the campus from around the country. The 2020-21 academic year is the last for MFA Writing and the program is not accepting new applications. However, with this chapter ending, a new one begins for creative writing at Otis. Once MFA Writing winds down with its final cohort, its core Faculty will migrate to the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), where in partnership with the current LAS Faculty and leadership they will help develop a new center for writing focusing on the BFA population. After twenty years, the College takes pride in all that has been accomplished in MFA Writing and looks forward to new conversations across all of the departments and programs about how to weave writing even more intricately into art and design education and practice throughout the College.

Master of Arts degree in Children’s Literature

Simmons university school of business.

Simmons University School of Business

Simmons launched the first Master of Arts degree in Children’s Literature in 1977 to provide a rigorous, disciplined study of children’s and young adult books for those who are — or who intend to be — involved in teaching, library services, publishing, writing, or related fields.

Master of Arts in Professional and Creative Writing

North central college.

North Central College

  • Naperville, USA
  • Distance Learning

The online Master of Arts in professional and creative writing helps writers be successful, whether they are looking to write a novel or polish their professional writing skills. Our program cultivates the writing, reading, and critical thinking skills necessary for business professionals and creative writers. Our students are often both. Our classes center on a community of writers who share common goals and practices, and they are led by faculty mentors, who publish widely and who care deeply about the success of each student. There’s a strong emphasis on personal development and skill enhancement. The degree honors the entirety of the writer who aspires to write for internal and external audiences within and beyond the workplace.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

New saint andrews college.

New Saint Andrews College

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a limited-enrollment, academically rigorous, low residency two-year course of graduate studies for those aspiring to recover a faithful, theologically rich approach to the creative arts, particularly writing.

Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University

  • La Grande, USA

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a low residency graduate program, which requires two weeks of residency every summer in Eastern Oregon and completing online courses and individualized study with MFA faculty the rest of the two-year curriculum.

Western Michigan University

  • Kalamazoo, USA

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a 48-hour degree program for students who wish to become professional writers of playwriting, fiction, or poetry. The program requires students to take two sections of ENGL 6100: Literary Forms (one in and one out of genre), twelve hours of workshop in their genre, three to six hours of workshop out of their genre, three to six hours for thesis writing, and eighteen hours of elective credit, six of which must be from literature courses.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Poetics

University of washington bothell.

University of Washington Bothell

  • Bothell, USA

Launched in Fall 2012, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Poetics (MFA) is designed to help students develop their creative work through a course of study that encourages exploration and discovery. The MFA degree prepares students for various teaching positions as well as careers in fields that required advanced critical, creative, and writing abilities.

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  • Master's Degree in Creative Writing

Study Creative Writing at Adelphi

A big choice facing all postsecondary students is whether to go into graduate studies after gaining a bachelor's degree. This dilemma is especially present in the field of creative writing, in which the proper timing of education versus breaking into the industry is a subject of much debate. Let's look at the options for a master's degree in creative writing and how valuable they are.

One major life choice for undergraduate international students wrapping up their degrees is whether to pursue graduate studies. Planning ahead for this life decision is particularly vital to international students given all the hoops they must jump through be able to work or study in the U.S. While for many careers a graduate education is simply required, a master's degree in creative writing is less of a guaranteed prerequisite to a fruitful writing career. This article will look at that issue as well as break down what a graduate program in creative writing is like.

To graduate study or not to graduate study…

An ongoing debate in the arts, and more specifically creative writing, is the necessity of graduate education in the first place. While most parties agree that training at least to the undergraduate level is desirable to hone writing skills and develop creativity in the protected environment of college classes, many people believe that after this step the next move should be to focus on starting one's career. After all, a writer can just sit down and write; the advanced training that professionals like doctors or lawyers need isn't completely necessary to function as a writer.

So what does a master's degree in creative writing offer international students, then? Well, the most obvious advantage is a new area of study for recent converts to creative writing. Studied psychology for undergrad and then decided you'd rather be the next Neil Simon? Find a graduate program in creative writing and kick off your education in earnest. For newly aspiring creative writers, graduate work in creative writing is more necessary the further your undergraduate studies were away from the field.

For those who did study creative writing or something related during their undergraduate years, the decision is less black and white. In the end, make the decision based off your own feelings — if the graduate work you're doing is significantly different from your undergraduate work, or if you really just want more time to cultivate your creativity in a school setting, a master's degree in creative writing can be a good choice.

Degrees Offered

A graduate program in creative writing will almost always result in a Master of Fine Arts; the real difference is in what exactly is studied. There are plenty of straightforward Creative Writing master's programs out there that cover all of creative writing. But there are also master's programs that focus on more specific writing niches (feminist writing, specific genres, etc.) or the crossover between disciplines (creative writing and African-American studies, for example). If you know you're interested in such a specialty, a master's degree in creative writing is a good way to pursue it.

One advantage of a graduate program in creative writing is that, unlike undergraduate education with its many general requirements, the program's focus will be related to creative writing. This doesn't mean you'll be writing exclusively — a good dose of literature classwork is typical just as it is in undergraduate creative writing — but it does mean that all your effort goes toward your chosen goal of creative writing.

The format of classes is also different, with a focus on the more intimate, workshop-style classes that spring up in the later years of an undergraduate creative writing major. It is assumed that graduate students either know or can quickly learn on their own the basics of writing and genre, so lecture hall classes on these topics are very rare in graduate creative writing programs.

Final Thoughts

A graduate program in creative writing won't be the right choice for everybody, but it does represent some advantages for certain writers. It's worth considering once you finish up your undergraduate education here in the U.S.

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

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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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Creative Writing and Literature Master’s Degree Program

Online Courses

11 out of 12 total courses

On-Campus Experience

One 1- or 3-week residency in summer

$3,220 per course

Unlock your creative potential and hone your unique voice.

Build a strong foundation in literary criticism and writing across multiple genres — including fiction, nonfiction, and drama — in our live online writing and literature program with an in-person writer’s residency at Harvard.

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

Writer’s 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.

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.

Read Julia Antuerpem's Story

Tuition & 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.

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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Are you looking for Postgraduate courses in Creative Writing? Here you can find course providers offering full-time, part-time, online or distance learning options. Choose the right institution in the USA for you or alternatively, try using our course matcher tool to identify the best institution for your study criteria.

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THE World Ranking: 301

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THE World Ranking: 801

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Master of Arts (MA) in Writing | Northwestern SPS - Northwestern School of Professional Studies

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Program Overview

Master’s in Writing

MA in Writing

Northwestern’s part-time Master of Arts in Writing program provides students the opportunity to grow as artists within the specializations of fiction, nonfiction, popular fiction, and poetry. A dual-genre specialization is also offered, as well as a publishing and professional development track that combines publishing industry-related instruction with the creative coursework of the writing workshops. The small-group workshop format allows for individual attention from published, award-winning faculty . Students also have the opportunity to learn the ropes in teaching writing, publishing, and editing. Flexible scheduling — with courses offered evenings and weekends on Northwestern’s Chicago and Evanston campuses as well as online and in hybrid format — gives students the opportunity to balance their professional, personal and writing lives. While earning their degrees, students connect with other writers at readings and other events in an artistic community that extends beyond the University into Chicagoʼs vibrant literary scene.

About the MA in Writing

Writing program goals, ma in writing courses, curriculum for ma in writing, writing faculty, master's in writing admission, tuition and financial aid for writing, registration information for writing, careers in writing.

Juan Martinez

Some of the bravest, most interesting writers I've encountered come from this program. They've lived, they've been out in the world, and they're willing to find ways to transmute that experience into compelling, transformative work.”

Students form lasting bonds with each other and with their professors. The years students have spent in the SPS creative writing program, some have told me, are the most creatively rewarding ones they've experienced.”

Christine Sneed

Teaching in Northwestern's part-time writing program has been a career highlight for me. The program is enriched by its students who come from various backgrounds and careers. The diversity of passions, insights and life experiences helps to create a truly unique and rewarding learning experience.”

  • To help students determine the strengths and weaknesses of their writing, and learn how to evaluate criticism of their work
  • To teach students how to take their writing apart, re-think and revise it
  • To show students how to experiment with different styles and forms
  • To guide students in creating a publishable manuscript or portion of one
  • To teach students how to read literature as a writer and a critic
  • To train students to teach creative writing, informed by current pedagogy and classroom experience
  • To give students the opportunity to edit an international literary magazine with their peers
  • To provide students with the tools to create strong applications for jobs in teaching, publishing, and editing

Core Courses

  • 3-4 workshops in a chosen genre: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or popular fiction (number of workshops depends on specialization)
  • 2 graduate-level literature courses


  • Courses drawn from MCW special topics courses, internships in teaching, publishing, and arts administration, literature courses or liberal studies courses. Students may also take an independent study courses as an elective.


  • MCW 590 Capstone Writing and Revision

Electives are chosen from the graduate course offerings in the Master of Arts in Literature program, creative writing special topics courses (MCW 490) and the seminars and internships (practica) in teaching and publishing. Since good writers also need to be good readers, students must take electives in literary studies. Recent electives include courses on reading poetry; the narrator in fiction, nonfiction and poetry; and writing humor. Independent studies round out the program and provide an opportunity to strengthen writing portfolios.

The final project of both the MA and MFA programs is a creative thesis, an original work of high literary merit (judged on the basis of art as well as craft). The creative thesis is structured and revised under the supervision of a faculty member (or faculty mentor) and a second reader. The project may be one long piece or a series of shorter pieces. It may include or be an expansion of work written during the student's course of study as long as it represents a culminating effort to shape stories, prose pieces, a long piece, or a group of poems into a coherent, self-sufficient work. This large-scale project supplements the smaller-scale study of craft with the invaluable experience of creating a larger work. And for students who plan to pursue book-length publication after graduation, the master's creative thesis may be the first version of a work in progress.

Northwestern also offers a part-time MFA program in Prose and Poetry .

Explore MA in Writing Courses . You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Learn from a faculty of esteemed writers in small-group workshops where instructors facilitate discussions that help students examine and address strengths and weaknesses in their writing as well as open up possibilities for re-thinking and revising. Get to know the instructors on our MA in Writing Faculty page.

Candidates for admission to the MA in Writing program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or its foreign equivalent and possess a strong academic record, preferably in English, writing or related fields. For a complete list of requirements, see the Admission page for SPS graduate programs.

Tuition for the MA in Writing program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Financial aid opportunities exist for students at Northwestern. Complete details can be found on the MA in Writing Tuition and Financial Aid pages.

Already accepted into the Master's in Writing program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible to ensure maximum efficiency in your progress. 


Northwestern University’s MA in Writing is an art degree. Students pursue the degrees in order to become better writers, able to create prose and poetry that draw on a full range of the craft. On a more practical level, MA students become better writers, which prepares them for a variety of careers. For details visit the  Writing Career Options page.

Find out more about Northwestern's MA in Writing


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