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Best 20 Creative Writing Programs in 2021

April 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

Writing Programs
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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Creative writing programs are not just for those who have a dream of writing a bestseller book in the future. This specialized degree can help marketing executives write more compelling content, budding entrepreneurs learn the art of writing business plans and proposals, and journalists become more intriguing storytellers. Whatever your writing dream is, this may be the perfect degree to help you reach your career goals.

RankSchoolLocation
1The University of WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin
2Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, New York
3University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota
4Boise State University Boise, Idaho
5University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, Nebraska

Below is a list of the top 20 schools that offer Creative Writing degrees.

1

The University of Wisconsin

  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • Points: 39

The University of Wisconsin is a land-grant that was formed in 1848. Since this institution first opened its doors there have been 41 Pulitzer Prize winners to earn their degrees from UW-Madison, $1.2 billion in annual research expenditures, and has been the birthplace of a wide range of ideas and concepts that have changed the world. Creative writing degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level, while also providing creative writing-related events to help students strengthen their writing skills.

Annual tuition of $10,725
Student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1
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2

Stony Brook University

  • Stony Brook, New York
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Points: 38

Stony Brook University has received high ratings for being in the top 1% of universities in the world, one of the top 15 best value colleges in America, and one of the top 40 public universities. This large college is located in Brookhaven, New York, and offers an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing as well as an MFA at its Southampton campus. Ten writing workshops, two literature courses, four “Capstone Cluster” courses, and a full year of individual thesis advising are included in the curriculum for this specialized degree.

Annual tuition of $10,175
Student-to-faculty ratio of 19 to 1
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3

University of Minnesota

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Graduation Rate: 78%
  • Points: 35

With over 50,000 students, 485,000 living alumni, and 20,000 faculty and staff, The University of Minnesota is a large university that has plenty of connections and networking opportunities. It was first founded in 1851 and has been the college of choice for former U.S. vice presidents, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, inventors, journalists, and several other alumni who went on to make a difference in the world.

They offer a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing that provides advanced graduate-level coursework in writing, language, literature, as well as studies in a related field. During their third year, students focus on the final development of a book-length manuscript suitable for publication, as well as the MFA essay and the MFA thesis defense.

Annual tuition of $15,027
Student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1
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4

Boise State University

  • Boise, Idaho
  • Points: 34

Boise State University is a large public college that has more than 200-degree programs to choose from, including one in creative writing. The program can be taken at an undergraduate or graduate level and is taught by award-winning faculty who have written best-selling novels, as well as receiving awards and grants, including the O. Henry Award.

Annual tuition of $8,068
Student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to 1
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5

University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Points: 33

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredited institution that has been ranked as #167 of 1,605 Best Colleges in America, #168 of 676 Top Public Universities in America, and #528 of 1,572 Best Value Colleges in America. The Creative Writing program at this college is an undergraduate degree that focuses on creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry, and screenwriting.

Annual tuition of $7,980
Status-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1
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Best Value Schools is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
6

Rowan University

  • Glassboro, New Jersey
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Points: 32

Located in Glassboro, New Jersey, Rowan University is a large institution with more than 14,000 undergraduate students enrolled. To obtain a creative writing degree, it can be taken as a minor or as a graduate certificate. It is perfect for those students majoring in Writing Arts and would like to get a more well-rounded education by including a Creative Writing minor. Students are expected to complete 18 hours of coursework.

Annual tuition of $14,000
Student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1
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7

George Mason University

  • Fairfax, Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 69%
  • Points: 31

George Mason University is a large university with over 35,000 students enrolled. This Virginia-based school prides itself on being an innovative, comprehensive, research university that has given students the freedom to learn at their own pace. The Creative Writing program is available to both undergraduates and graduates, as well as having several areas of concentration, including fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

Annual tuition of $12,564
Student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1
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8

Georgia State University

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Points: 30

With 6 campuses, 11 colleges and schools, more than 54,000 students from over 167 countries, and 84 research centers, Georgia State University is a large college with many educational opportunities. The university has also been recognized nationally and internationally, being ranked as the third most innovative university in America, the 8th most ethnically diverse universe in the U.S., and the 9th in the nation for advancing social mobility.

Annual tuition of $9,286
Student-to-faculty ratio of 26 to 1
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9

Bemidji State University

  • Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Points: 28

Bemidji State University is a small college, with only 3,289 undergraduate students enrolled. It is located in Bemidji, Minnesota and first became recognized as Bemidji State University in 1975. A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative and Professional Writing is offered, making it one of only 15 BFAs in writing in the United States.

Annual tuition of $8,940
Student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1
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10

Rockhurst University

  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Points: 27

Rockhurst University is a private, Catholic university that can be found in Kansas City, Missouri. This college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a member of the North Central Association, and has been recognized as the fourth among Missouri colleges and universities for return on investment. The Writing Track offers a few different writing specialties, including creative writing.

Annual tuition of $38,760
Student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to 1
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11

University of Chicago

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Points: 26

The University of Chicago is a private university that was founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1890. The campus is located on 217 acres along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Many scholars have come out of this institution and have gone on to do wonderful things for the community and world, including 92 Nobel laureates. Students who have decided to major in Creative Writing are expected to complete 13 credits and theses to graduate, while also providing students with an in-depth understanding of literature and writing through workshops, courses, and seminars.

Annual tuition of $60,552
Student-to-faculty ratio of 5 to 1
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12

Oakland University

  • Rochester, Michigan
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Points: 25

Located in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Oakland University is a large institution with more than 12,000 students. It has been ranked #228 out of 1,408 for Best College Campuses in America and #171 out of 549 for Best Colleges with No Application Fee in America. The Creative Writing program is divided into three areas of focus: community engagement and professionalism, mentorship, and teaching. Internships are also available with this program.

Annual tuition of $13,346
Student-to-faculty ratio of 19 to 1
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13

Loyola University Maryland

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Points: 24

Beginning in the year 1852, Loyola University Maryland was founded by the Society of Jesus in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, this private, Catholic university describes itself as rigorous, values-oriented, communal, and spiritually uplifting. Loyola University Maryland has been ranked #18 of 164 schools for Best Catholic Colleges in America and #71 of 1,674 colleges for Most Conservative Colleges in America.

Annual tuition of $50,100
Student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1
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14

University of Tulsa

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Points: 23

Founded in 1894, the University of Tulsa is a private, Christian college that sits on 200 acres, has 348 faculty members, and 4,412 students. A Creative Writing Program is available at the Kendall College of Arts and Sciences, where students are required to complete 33 credits that will help budding writers become poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, or performance-based writers.

Annual tuition of $42,723
Student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to 1
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15

Youngstown State University

  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Points: 22

Youngstown State University is a mid-sized, public university that can be found in Youngstown, Ohio. Although there are almost 13,000 students enrolled in this institution, class sizes remain small with an average of 21 students per class. A Master’s Degree in Creative Writing is available and requires 48 credit hours to graduate. Workshops and seminars, diverse faculty, internships, assistantships, and conferences are all to be expected while enrolled in this program.

Annual tuition of $9,279
Student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1
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16

Black Hills State University

  • Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Graduation Rate: 38%
  • Points: 21

The liberal arts college known as Black Hills State University brings a love of the outdoors to many of the courses, as well as having the space to offer students educational opportunities that wouldn’t have been available at other schools. It has been ranked as #396 of 1,336 for being one of the Safest College Campuses in America and #354 of 1,674 for being the Most Conservative College in America.

Annual tuition of $9,009
Student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1
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17

University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Points: 20

The University of Alaska Anchorage is the state’s largest university because its campus is combined with Kenai Peninsula College, Matanuska-Susitna College, Kodiak College, and Prince William Sound College. There is a lot of activity on this campus for students, including over 100 clubs they can be a part of. The Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing requires 45 credits and is expected to take three years to complete. A summer residency program is also available that will allow students to gain a deeper knowledge of writing techniques in several genres.

Annual tuition of $8,103
Student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to 1
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18

Hamline University

  • Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Points: 19

Hamline University is a private, Christian university that was founded in 1854 and was located in Red Wing, making it the first university in Minnesota. By 1880, the institution was moved to St. Paul and continues to grow with over 50 areas of study for students to choose from. Three fine arts programs in creative writing are available, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Annual tuition of $42,774
Student-to-faculty ratio of 13 to 1
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19

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Points: 18

With only 770 graduate students, Queens University of Charlotte is a small, private university that has 10 graduate programs to choose from. The Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing will allow students to hone in on their creative and storytelling skills. The program begins with one of two residency options: a seven-day on-campus residency or an international residency. Once that is completed, a semester will be spent learning from home through online courses.

Annual tuition of $35,720
Student-to-faculty ratio of 10 to 1
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20

Northern Kentucky University

  • Highland Heights, Kentucky
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Points: 17

Northern Kentucky University is a mid-size public university that can be found in Highland Heights, Kentucky. Creative writing is a disciplinary track in the English degree program as well as a minor, requiring at least 21 credits. This is an excellent option for those students who want to improve their writing skills while focusing on a separate major, such as English or Literature. Graduates have gone on to prestigious MFA and Ph.D. programs and have found publication in all genres: poetry, fiction/novels, and creative nonfiction. They also offer study abroad programs such as Harry Potter in England and Creative Writing in Ireland. They offer graduate-level degrees and courses in creative writing as well.

Annual tuition of $10,296
Student-to-faculty ratio of 18 to 1
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How the Schools are Ranked

All of the schools are ranked using a point system. Once we have done our research to find the best colleges that offer writing programs, the institutions are entered into a spreadsheet. The next pieces of data we compile are the annual tuition costs and graduation rates. The tuition costs are awarded between 1 and 20 points, 20 being given to the school with the lowest cost. We follow this same formula with the graduation rate, awarding the most points to the highest graduation rate. With this information, we then take the average of the points for the tuition costs and graduation rates for each university.

For more programs check out our Master’s in creative writing page.

Hopefully, you discovered a college that will work for you based on the information in this article. If you work for a university that was listed and feel that some of the information was not correct, contact us and we’ll correct it. Want your college to be listed in one of our articles? Let us know!

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