Writers are responsible for crafting the entertaining media we consume every day. Your favorite book, blog, movie, or play was once the creative seed of a talented writer. Highly educated creative writers often become instructors and professors in the field. The median pay for authors and writers is approximately $63,200 per year.
What Is A “Zero Residency” Master’s Degree Program?
“Zero Residency” means the entire degree can be earned online without needing to attend the campus. Some online programs require students to spend an amount of time in residency, usually as a conference-style 1-2 week visit once a year or more. These are commonly called “low-residency” programs. For the purposes of this article, we found programs that can be completed 100% online without any travel requirements.
What Types Of Writing Careers Are There?
Writing is a vast field with many opportunities for educated graduates. Some who pursue a creative writing degree become novelists, playwrights, or screenwriters. Those who are trained in digital or professional writing go on to produce blogs, article content for popular websites and write marketing copy. Many programs combine courses in creative and technical writing to give students a well-rounded portfolio to showcase to potential employers.
Learn more about pursuing a master’s degree in creative writing with our degree finding tools and informative articles.
What Is The Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing Degree?
We searched for the best schools offering fully online graduate creative writing programs and ranked them on a 100 point scale. Our criteria included factors often important to prospective students, including program cost, length, and graduate enrollment. View our results below!
Best 15 Zero Residency Online Master’s In Creative Writing
1. University of Louisiana at Monroe – M.A. English with Creative Writing Specialization – 83 Points
The University of Louisiana at Monroe‘s 33 credit-hour creative writing specialization program features options for Thesis or Non-Thesis completion. Students will take 9 hours of creative writing workshops in addition to English coursework spanning topics from the middle ages to today. Prospective applicants are expected to have completed at least 18 undergrad hours of English courses with a 3.0 GPA. Non-English undergrad majors may be considered following the submission of a 10 page writing sample.
- Estimated Program Cost: $16,500
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,725
2. Tiffin University – Master of Humanities, Creative Writing Concentration – 80 Points
Tiffin University features a Master of Humanities degree designed to advance students in the field of creative writing or prepare them to teach the subject at a two-year college. This 30 credit program has course start dates in January, May, and August in a 15-week format. Full-time students may complete the program within 1.5 years, while part-time students may graduate within 2.5 years. A GMAT or GRE score is not required for enrollment.
- Estimated Program Cost: $16,500
- Graduate Enrollment: 744
3. Texas Tech University – M.A. English Creative Writing Concentration – 77 Points
The 36 credit-hour program at Texas Tech University is designed to mirror the on-campus program, giving online students access to the same courses and professors. Students in the creative writing concentration participate in writing workshops and develop a portfolio focused on storytelling, poetry, and essays. No GRE is required. Prospective applicants must submit an 8-10 page critical writing sample as well as a creative writing sample.
- Estimated Program Cost: $16,992
- Graduate Enrollment: 6,617
4. Concordia University St. Paul – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 66 Points
Concordia University – St. Paul is a private Christian university affiliated with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. They offer a 36 credit-hour M.F.A. program designed for students aiming to become professional authors. As part of the application process, students must submit a sample of fiction they have written as well as provide several single-page personal statements.
- Estimated Program Cost: $18,900
- Graduate Enrollment: 2,012
5. National University – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 61 Points
Creative writing students at National University make regular contributions to the school’s student literary journal as part of their work. Areas of study include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and screenwriting. This program is 39 credit-hours in length. Applicants must submit a portfolio of work which must contain 20-40 pages of literary nonfiction or 10-20 pages of poetry, a completed screenplay, or an equivalent sample size of approved forms of work.
- Estimated Program Cost: $25,857
- Graduate Enrollment: 9,314
6. Antioch University – M.A. Humanities Creative Writing Focus – 57 Points
Antioch University Online offers an Individualized Studies Master of Arts degree with a concentration on Humanities and a focus area on Creative Writing. Courses in this 36 credit-hour program last seven weeks each with start dates in fall, spring, and summer. No GMAT or GRE is required. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay as well as a 5-page writing sample addressing their interest in Humanities.
- Estimated Program Cost: $19,800
- Graduate Enrollment: 627
7. University of Houston Victoria – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 46 Points
The University of Houston – Victoria features an M.F.A. in Creative Writing that may be taken entirely online or in a low-residency format according to student needs. This is a 36 credit-hour program. Applicants are required to submit a 1-2 page letter of intent as well as a 20-30 page creative writing sample.
- Estimated Program Cost: $27,646
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,139
7. Liberty University – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 46 Points
The M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Liberty University is a 48 credit-hour program delivered asynchronously with no set log in times. Courses are 8 weeks each with start dates year-round. Students may transfer up to 50% of total hours into the program. Prospective students will need to submit creative writing samples totaling 2,500 words, which may be a single work or a collection.
- Estimated Program Cost: $27,120
- Graduate Enrollment: 38,561
9. University of West Florida – M.A. English Creative Writing Specialization – 45 Points
The online English program at the University of West Florida is a fairly competitive program with classes strictly limited to 20 students maximum. The creative writing specialization degree is 36 credit-hours in length with courses lasting 16 weeks. Admission requirements include a 2-page statement of purpose and a writing sample of 2,500 words of prose or 10 poems.
- Estimated Program Cost: $37,592
- Graduate Enrollment: 3,036
10. Lindenwood University – M.F.A. Writing – 44 Points
Lindenwood University offers several concentration areas within its M.F.A. in Writing program: Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction. The program is 48 credit hours with a flexible schedule for attendance. GRE/GMAT scores are not required. Applicants must submit a creative writing sample of 7-10 pages.
- Estimated Program Cost: $23,760
- Graduate Enrollment: 2,738
11. University of Texas El Paso – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 40 Points
The online M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Texas – El Paso is designed for students who desire to teach the subject at the university level as well as those seeking publication opportunities. This 48 credit-hour program offers a completely optional annual low-residency opportunity in Europe over the summer. Entry is described as “extremely competitive”. Applicants must provide a professional quality sample of 20 pages of fiction or 8-10 poems.
- Estimated Program Cost: $27,600
- Graduate Enrollment: 3,750
12. Albertus Magnus College – M.F.A. in Writing – 39 Points
Albertus Magnus College is a private Catholic college offering a 36 credit-hour M.F.A. program. Classes meet live online three times per semester, or students can choose to attend these meet-ups on campus. Writing samples for admission must be 10 pages, double-spaced, and may include fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Additionally, students must produce a 750-1,000 word essay on “The Writer’s Journey”.
- Estimated Program Cost: $27,720
- Graduate Enrollment: 303
12. Bay Path University – M.F.A. Creative Nonfiction Writing – 39 Points
This specialized M.F.A. from Bay Path University offers professional tracks in publishing, narrative medicine, and teaching. In addition to small peer group workshops, students can contribute to the school’s literary magazine Multiplicity and attend an optional creative writing seminar in Ireland. The program is 39 credit-hours long. Admissions requirements include 1-2 writing samples equaling 10 pages.
- Estimated Program Cost: $29,640
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,507
14. University of Arkansas at Monticello – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 36 Points
The University of Arkansas at Monticello features genre focuses in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. A 48-semester hour program, students are given the freedom to take 3 – 12 hours per term according to their own learning pace. Applicants are asked to submit several manuscripts including 10 – 20 page writing samples, a max 3-page critical analysis, and a max 3-page personal essay.
- Estimated Program Cost: $19,968
- Graduate Enrollment: 331
15. Oklahoma City University – M.F.A. Creative Writing – 35 Points
Oklahoma City University is a Christian university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Their “Red Earth M.F.A.” program is a 48-hour degree featuring “online residencies” where students can meet via Zoom and Google Meet for two weeks of readings, critique groups, and workshops. Prospective students must submit a sample of creative work from the genre they will concentrate on.
- Estimated Program Cost: $24,960
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,090
Discover even more online master’s in creative writing degrees with the Degree Finder tool!
Our Ranking Methodology
We ranked 15 schools on a 100 point scale according to estimated program cost, credit hours, and total graduate enrollment at the school. Estimated cost accounted for 40% of the rank with data gathered directly from the school. (It should be noted that this is just an estimate and individual costs may vary depending on the state of residency and other factors.) Program length was represented by credit hours and accounted for 40% of the rank. The remaining 20% of the rank consisted of total graduate enrollment at the school across all programs with data gathered through the National Center for Education Statistics.
Persons who work for the above schools can report errors in our data by reaching out to us directly through our contact information. We will make corrections as soon as possible