Masters of Creative Writing Programs
Earn a masters in creative writing (MFA or MA) to take your writing to the next level. Whether your passion is for poetry, fiction, or another genre entirely, a masters program might be a great opportunity to hone your craft under the tutelage of your professors and amongst a supportive community of peers. Through intensive writing courses and constructive feedback, you could take the first steps towards becoming the writer you want to be!
Creative writing masters programs often encompass a wide range of genres for budding authors to interact with. As you may have guessed, “creative writing” is a broad term that covers everything from crime novels, to dramatic fiction, to playwriting. Depending on your interests, your masters degree program could concentrate on some of the following styles.
While you may be studying a certain literary form as part of your masters program, that doesn’t mean your classmates are writing in the same style! This could be a great learning opportunity to engage with other authors and their inspiration. Additionally, it’s popular for creative writing masters programs to include workshop courses as part of their curriculum. During these classes, you could give and receive feedback on new work. Even though your group might not be writing the same material, you may find that you benefit from similar critique!
Other courses may be offered to flesh out your literary studies and broaden your writing horizons. Subjects could include the following.
Genres, and curriculum topics, offered may differ by university. Speak with potential universities for more curriculum information.
While master of arts (MA) creative writing programs are available, masters programs are typically offered as a master of fine arts in creative writing (MFA). You may be asking yourself what’s the difference between these two programs? Just think of a MFA as a focused degree and an MA as holistic one. A MFA in creative writing emphasizes authoring new works and receiving critique. Workshops might make up a larger part of the curriculum than in other programs. MAs, on the other hand, emphasize literature and academics in addition to the writing components. As part of an MA degree program, students may engage with graduate English coursework such as critical reading theory, literary analysis, and scholastic criticism. Despite their differences in teaching strategies, both intend to improve your creative writing skills and knowledge.
Creative writing masters programs aim to provide an intimate and supportive setting to help develop student’s technique through a balance of classroom instruction and practical application. Class sizes often range from 4 to 6 people. This smaller class size is perfect for workshops, a key part of the curriculum. This helps each student receive focused and regular feedback. Plus, it could create more honest and open conversations.
Outside of workshops, the classes you may take depends on your individual program, degree type and interests. However much of your time may be spent crafting a piece that reflects your time spent in the masters program. Students are often required to submit a completed work in lieu of a typical masters thesis project. Considering the duration of the writing requirement, and additional courses, students could potentially earn a masters in creative writing in 1 to 3 years depending on enrollment status. Program length may vary by university.
Admissions requirements for creative writing masters programs may differ greatly from other graduate programs. With other degree concentrations, transcripts and GRE scores might be the focus of their application process. While these are considered as part of your creative writing application, more emphasis is placed on samples of your previous work. Since this masters program is writing intensive, schools want to see assess your current capabilities. Some schools may welcome budding authors, while others may want to see works from more experienced ones. Your writing portfolio could act as a great way for admissions to see if you fit a program. Depending on your preferred genre, schools may ask for a sample of several pages from a relevant completed work. Admissions criteria may vary from school to school. Check with your intended program for details.
Many creative writing masters programs require students to partake in a residency during their studies. For a short period of time, you could be required to live and work on the campus of the university you’re studying at.
The goal of the residency program is to provide a focused environment for students to work on their writing. Typically, you will live with other students who are also authoring their own works. Since everyone in the housing may have similar creative goals, your fellow students might provide valuable critique on your new works and vice versa. And, this could be a great time to network with you peers in an environment outside the classroom. Think of the residency program as a regular writing intensive with a built-in support system to help you improve your work!
Residency lengths could vary by institution. For example, low-residency programs typically require students to be on campus for 10 day increments each semester. On the other hand, high residency programs may require students to live on campus full time for 2 to 6 weeks, or even an entire semester. Check with potential programs for more details about their specific residency program.
A major part of choosing a perfect creative writing master program could be finding a degree format that compliments your current lifestyle. Taking into consideration your academic, personal, and even professional goals, you might want to consider one of the following formats.
On campus creative writing masters programs may be great for students in search of high residency programs. This way, your living, learning, and writing is concentrated in one place. Since your education is bundled into one area, an on-campus programs could be a great way to intensely develop your skills and knowledge. Additionally, you might be able to receive in person feedback easily! Your classmates and professors could be a valuable resource when it comes to revising your work. Whether it’s in residencies or classes, you could feel free to ask for an informal critique of your most recent draft. Not to mention, this could be a great way to build report with other writers. Who knows who could put you into contact with a literary agent or publishing company post-graduation?
If the on-campus format isn’t for you, the convenience of online learning might a great choice. Online creative writing masters programs allow you to write from home in a familiar environment. Some authors may find certain spaces are more conducive to their writing. This format is for them! This might also a perfect program for students who work simultaneously to earning their degree. Since they might be able to log into their classes as their schedule allows, they could construct a flexible routine around their professional day. While a residency may be required as an on-campus component to these programs, low-residency options are typically available to keep you in your home writing space longer.
Hybrid masters programs are a combination of the two above formats. They combine the convenient scheduling of the online courses with the possible in-person benefits of the on-campus. This might be a perfect choice for students who take part in freelance writing or seasonal work. This way, you could take online courses when working and switch to on-campus ones after completing your contract! A great way to earn both professional and educational experience at the same time.
This isn’t the end of the plot – it’s actually the beginning! Of your search for a perfect masters in creative writing program, that is! To follow your educational narrative, browse the list of potential programs on this page. To further refine your list, select your preferred degree format from the menus on this page. They say that everyone has a book waiting to be written inside of them. Yours might just be waiting for you to pursue a masters in creative writing!