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10 Cheapest Online MFAs’ in Creative Writing

Seeking advancement in a field of journalism, marketing, publishing, or so many other fields? Check out the 10 Cheapest Online Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. 

A world without professional writers is unfathomable. Is it even possible to imagine a world without television shows, movies, plays, musicals, books, magazines, or newspapers? Or how about a world without instructional manuals, copyrights, or nonprofit organizations? The importance of those who specialize in writing is insurmountable, which is why a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a valuable degree.

Those with an MFA in Creative writing are not merely fiction authors, but many go onto roles in publishing, scriptwriting, editing, journalism, and grant writing. Possible career fields include public relations, advertising, journalism, and marketing. A stereotype exists that a degree in writing doesn't have a high earning potential; however, the Bureau for Labor Statistics reports that the national average salary for writers and authors is $62,170.

If you are looking to combine intellectualism, creativity, and communication — all while making a great income — check out our 10 Cheapest Online MFAs' in Creative Writing.

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one's higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%)
  • Academic Success (15%)

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself!

Here are the Cheapest Online MFAs' in Creative Writing for 2020!

10. National University — La Jolla, CA

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


National University began their Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2005 and was the first fully-online program in the United States. While most programs require an in-person residency, even among online programs; however, National University is one of the few that doesn't require this for their degree. This means that students are 100 percent remote. The program concludes with students creating a publishable-quality manuscript in the genre of their choosing, which reflects faculty expertise in a myriad genres. National students who are also interested in teaching do particularly well after graduating, too. National ‘s MFA graduates often find themselves teaching at two or four-year institutions.

Net Price: $27,520
Score: 83.2

9. Western Connecticut State University — Danbury, CT

Master of Fine Arts Creative & Professional Writing


Western Connecticut State University's Master of Fine Arts in Creative & Professional writing is an extremely versatile degree program. For one, while students take courses and workshops that span all genres, they select a primary and secondary genre that are the focuses of their study. Another example of versatility is that students can choose to complete the program in two, three, or four years. 87% of Western Connecticut State University's graduates with an MFA in Creative & Professional Writing go onto full-time writing careers or are published.

Although it is an online program, enrolled students must come to campus twice a year at the beginning of each semester in January and August. Students stay for one week to participate in residency programs, plan the rest of their coursework, and report building a strong community with other classmates. Further, the program requires an internship. Students who wish to teach can complete a teaching practicum, but others can select internships that align with their interests, such as grant writing or editorial work.

Net Price: $21,252
Score: 67.6

8. University of New Orleans — New Orleans, LA

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Online


One of the most exciting aspects of a Creative Writing Online Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans is the opportunity for students to create lifelong relationships with professors. Many of these professors are award-winning. The program requires 45 credit hours, which splits into five full-time semesters. However, students also can study at a part-time pace. Regardless of the state students are from, all students in the online MFA program pay the in-state tuition rate, thus avoiding nonresident fees. Another incredible feature of this program is the summer residencies abroad. Students can spend the summers with their writing cohort and professions, either in Italy or Ireland.

Net Price: $16,610
Score: 73.6

7. Full Sail University — Winter Park, FL

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Full Sail University places a high value on the importance of telling stories for humanity. In this unique program, students are introduced to a variety of techniques such as incorporating visual elements in early stages of creativity, focusing on characters to whom different audiences can relate. In addition to quality education, Full Sail University makes Project LaunchBoxes available which provide technological equipment to students who need them. Logistically, the full-time program takes 12 months to complete, with a different focus each month. Each month, students engage with a different aspect, such as Episodic and Serial Writing, Writing for Games, Multimedia Adaptation, and The Business of Creative Writing. If affordability is a concern, Full Sail University provides a plethora of scholarship opportunities.

Net Price: $12,600
Score: 70.4

6. University of Houston — Victoria — Victoria, TX

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


The University of Houston — Victoria offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing that truly considers student needs. Most will have to choose a program based on their residency/fully-online options. Of course, there are pros and cons to each, but rather than deciding for its students makes both options available. Students can further choose one of two concentration tracks: Creative Writing with Applied Literary Translation, and then finally, Creative Writing by itself. The distinction between the two is mostly composed of differences in elective selection and project completion. For instance, students in Applied Literary Translation can take courses such as Grant Writing or International Publishing that are not available to the other students.

Net Price: $9,900
Score: 73.3

5. Queens University of Charlotte — Charlotte, NC

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


A Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Queens University of Charlotte is not an ordinary writing degree, but an induction into a community of excellent writers. The program prides itself on providing support beyond graduation. Faculty members have been finalists for Pulitzer Prizes, as well as fellows in a variety of esteemed organizations. In addition, MFA students at the Queens University of Charlotte can take advantage of the Book Development Program. Overall, the MFA specializes in four genres, which include Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Writing for Stage and Screen. In addition, the University boasts an incredible 4:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students enrolled in this low residency program may also begin each semester on campus for a week, or begin the academic year abroad for two weeks.

Net Price: $9,204
Score: 87.4

4. University of Texas at El Paso — El Paso, TX

Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


The University of Texas at El Paso orients its Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at producing publishing writers and teachers. This program does not have a residency requirement, which makes it easy to complete from anywhere in the world. It consists of 48 credit hours of coursework that cover theory, form, electives, and workshops. The reputation of this program is contingent on its graduates and its faculty, so UT El Paso is committed to connecting students with high-level writers to aid in development on the intellectual and artistic fronts. It helps if students are already excellent writers, so admission officers look for applicants with distinct voices, social/cultural awareness, and an evident yearning to grow as a writer.

Net Price: $8,965
Score: 100

3. University of Nebraska at Omaha — Omaha, NE

Master of Fine Arts in Writing


Attaining a Writing Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska at Omaha involves two years of focused course work. It is a program for creative writers who are committed to a career of writing. Four 16-week writing seminars are supplemented by five 10-day residencies on campus, which often resemble a conference setting. Throughout this 60 credit-hour program, students work toward a concentration in a specific genre. The genres provided by the University of Nebraska at Omaha are Young Adult Fiction, Adult Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Writing for Stage & Screen. Students may also bring in up to 18 credit hours from other programs or courses to help supplement their degree-requirement.

Net Price: $7,630
Score: 97.3

2. Oregon State University - Cascades — Bend, OR

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


Oregon State University offers a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing that invests in developing whole-people, not just writers. It understands the importance of the stories, cultures, and lives that each writer brings to the program, seeking to include these into healthy writing expressions. This highly cultivating journey is guided by faculty mentors. Overall, the MFA is a two-year program involving term-length mentorships and 10-day residencies. Some find residency requirements as inconvenient; however, OSU conducts their residencies at the Caldera Arts Center which is hidden in an old-growth forest by a lake in the Cascade Mountain range. This is certainly a perk that makes residency enjoyable, and it serves as a place for flowing creativity.

Net Price: $7,043
Score: 92.4

1. Bay Path University — Longmeadow, MA

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Writing


Bay Path University offers the cheapest Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Consider its net price of $2,496 in comparison to the next most affordable, which is $7,043. In addition, plenty of financial aid options are available to Bay Path students. The 39 required credit hours can be taken at a full or part-time pace. Courses begin in January, May, and August, and students have the options to specialize in teaching or publishing tracks. MFA faculty includes authors Ann Hood and Andre Dubus III, who is scheduled to teach non-fiction and fiction writing courses. In addition, students can spend their summers abroad in Ireland. Apart from the Ireland option, this Creative Writing program is 100 percent online with no residency requirement.

Net Price: $2,496
Score: 87.2

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