15 Best Online MFAS’ in Creating Writing

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MFA in Creative Writing Degree Programs

The MFA in Creative Writing is one of the most common terminal degree programs for those interested in the literary arts, and with good reason. Earning a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing provides a variety of experiences in the cultivation of writing skills desirable at the professional level. Contrary to popular perception, MFA candidates may have different ambitions than becoming a published, professional creative writer. 

Graduates from MFA in Creative Writing programs may go onto work as editors, managers, and writers in a variety of fields, like business or marketing. Upon graduation, MFA students are qualified for teaching careers in writing or literature at the college level, and the focus on workshopping in MFA programs also prepares students for publishing. The MFA in Creative Writing is one of the most common terminal degree programs for those interested in the literary arts, and with good reason. The degree may be earned in as little as two years or less and often gives students the opportunity to study around the world with focused residency programs.

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Not all MFA in Creative Writing programs are offered entirely online, as on-campus residences are required for students to gain critical perspectives through in-person workshopping and lectures. Applicants to MFA in Creative Writing may not all come from literature or English background, but all should have a passionate drive towards writing. Most programs require the submission of a writing sample prior alongside applications, and these samples are expected to showcase the student’s creative skills in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Once admitted, students will likely select a genre of focus and participate in intensive workshops and seminars. An MFA in Creative Writing is strong preparation for those driven towards the literary arts and provides a vital opportunity for the creation of community amongst a cohort of fellow dedicated writers.

Selection Criteria

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Here are the 15 Best Online MFA in Creative Writing for 2020!
Rank School Location
1 The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX
2 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE
3 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
4 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
5 Lindenwood University St. Charles, MO
6 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC
7 Bay Path University Longmeadow, MA
8 National University La Jolla, CA
9 University of Arkansas at Monticello Monticello, AR
10 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, TX
  1. The University of Texas at El Paso
    Location

    El Paso, TX

    Students in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at the University of Texas are prepared for publishing and teaching careers. The 48-credit program is completed entirely online, made up of workshops and literature classes and ending on a thesis. The curriculum approaches Creative Writing with an understanding of the importance of workshops, but in accompaniment with the necessary background in theory and form. Courses cover a variety of aspects of the field, including Form of the Short Story and Asian American Poetry. Graduates from the program have come from various fields, but all have had a serious drive towards writing.

  2. University of Nebraska at Omaha
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    The Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha consists of online writing seminars and five 10-day residency sessions. The program is a total of 60 credits taken over two years, and students select either adult or YA fiction, poetry, writing for stage & screen, or creative nonfiction as their focus genre. Residency sessions are made up on lectures, classes, workshops, and individual conferences with faculty. Courses are dedicated to the advanced stylistic craft of the student's chosen genre. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose as well as a writing sample, which has varying requirements based on the student's intended genre.

  3. Oregon State University
    Location

    Corvallis, OR

    The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oregon State University is a low-residency program, with intensive online coursework accompanied by a 10-day residency at OSU's extended campus in Bend, Oregon. The residency is dedicated to the establishment of community amongst the cohort and core faculty members, where the craft of creative writing can be examined and learned through a variety of perspectives. The curriculum focuses on both craft and the history of literature, with an understanding that the literary imagination is vital to humanity. Applicants must submit a writing sample and statement of objectives. The two-year program admits students to a single, self-selected genre, and must submit a minimum 70-paged thesis prior to graduation.

  4. Eastern Kentucky University
    Location

    Richmond, KY

    The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Eastern Kentucky University is designed for any person who has earned an undergraduate degree and is now hoping to improve their creative writing abilities in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Graduates are ready for careers in teaching English, composition, and creative-writing programs at the college level, or pursue professional writing careers. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, and a 15-20 page creative writing sample and are expected to have a bachelor's degree in English. The MFA is a low-residency program, with most courses taken online but a required 12 credits on campus for in-person workshops. Residencies may take place in Kentucky or Portugal, with students choosing which to attend.

  5. Lindenwood University
    Location

    St. Charles, MO

    The Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Lindenwood University can be completed 100 percent online with no residency requirement. Graduates are prepared with sharpened writing and analysis skills, and often pursue careers in writing, editing, publishing, and teaching at the university level. Courses consist of writing workshops, literature classes, and craft classes, all taught by writers who are published as authors, journalists, and editors. The curriculum and available electives cover a wide variety of genres. Students may serve as editorial assistants for the university literary journal, and complete a Graduate Thesis prior to graduation. The 48-credit program requires submission of a creative writing sample and statement of purpose in an application, as it's a selective program.

  6. Queens University of Charlotte
    Location

    Charlotte, NC

    Queens University of Charlotte's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a low-residency program. Residencies take place either on campus for a week at the beginning of each semester, or an annual 15-day residency abroad in locations like Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, or Santiago. Students study the writing of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or writing for stage and screen. The program at Queens offers students the opportunity of a highly personalized course of study, with dedicated faculty and a student-teacher ratio of four-to-one. Students can contribute to the campus literary journal and participate in the university's Book Development Program if they already have a draft or manuscript completed.

  7. Bay Path University
    Location

    Longmeadow, MA

    Bay Path University curated their Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Writing for writers at all stages in the careers and skill level. Students learn from MFA faculty who are accomplished memoirists, journalists, food and travel writers, editors, and publishers, to gain all-encompassing knowledge about the creative writing professional field. There is both a Publishing Track and a Teaching Track. The 39-credit program may be completed at either a full or part-time schedule with all courses online and no residency requirement. Students participate in small peer group workshops and have access to tutoring and mentorship through the online community. Some may participate in the summer term creative writing seminar option in Ireland.

  8. National University
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    National University's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a 100 percent online program. Students participate in online creative writing workshops and constructive discussions of the work. There is also an emphasis on reading and the craft of contemporary literature. Students only take one accelerated course at a time, with workshops lasting two months and electives only one. All will complete a publishable manuscript in one genre to submit as their thesis, but some may take advanced workshops in two genres. Students are also allowed to switch from one genre to another as their focus if their goals change. Required courses include one on the Pedagogy of Creative Writing, which has prepared some graduates from the program to go onto teaching composition or creative writing.

  9. University of Arkansas at Monticello
    Location

    Monticello, AR

    The University of Arkansas at Monticello designed their Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing prepares students with advanced creative thinking skills and the ability to communicate those ideas in a technologically literate way. There is also an emphasis on the importance of writing in today's global society, with culturally-informed and sensitive values at the core of the program's goals. The program is a total of 48 credits, and students are accepted into one of three genres as their focus: fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Courses can be taken at whatever pace is suited for the student, whether it be as little as three hours a term or as high as twelve.

  10. University of Houston-Victoria
    Location

    Victoria, TX

    The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Houston-Victoria may be earned either entirely online or on a low-residency schedule. The curriculum is focused on creative writing and poetics, focusing on the creation, critique, revision, and publication of creative works. The 36-credit program consists of 12 credits of Creative Writing Workshops, one course on Form and Poetics, and 15 credits of electives. The final six credits are fulfilled by a thesis course. Elective options include Legal Environment of Publishing and Contracts, Genre Studies, Studies in Latino Literature, and more. Applicants must submit a 20-30 page Creative Writing Sample and GRE scores.

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