United States Masters in Creative Writing
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!
Potential Masters in Creative Writing Curriculum
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.
- Young Adult Fiction
- Children’s Fiction
- Creative Nonfiction
- Literary Translation
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.
- Literary adaption
- Cross-genre writing
- Thematic literature criticism
- Regional writing traditions
Genres, and curriculum topics, offered may differ by university. Speak with potential universities for more curriculum information.
What Is a MFA in Creative Writing?
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 MFA & MA Basics
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.
Masters in Creative Writing Admissions
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.
What is a Masters in Creative Writing Residency?
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.
Creative Writing Masters Program Formats
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
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?
Online Creative Writing Masters Programs
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 Creative Writing Masters Programs
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.
Finding a Perfect Masters in Creative Writing
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!
- West Long Branch, NJWest Long Branch, NJ
Monmouth University’s MA in English offers three distinct tracks, you can design a program to meet your goals: literature, creative writing, and rhetoric and writing...
Full Sail University
If you want to learn how to craft the compelling stories behind film, television, games, and other entertainment media – and gain the skills to effectively market your work – Full Sail University’s online Creative Writing Master of&...
- Plainfield, VTPlainfield, VT
Learn the craft of creative writing one-on-one with advisors — all of whom are working writers — who specialize in the genre you’re passionate about...
- Tampa, FLTampa, FL
University of Tampa
The University of Tampa low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program is designed to help poets, fiction writersand creative nonfiction writers advance their command of craft through exposure to literature from a writerly perspective...
- Conway, SCConway, SC
Coastal Carolina University
Our Master of Arts in Writing provides project-based learning supported by an academic press, an acclaimed literary journal, and opportunities to teach college composition classes...
- Fort Lauderdale, FLFort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University
Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (M.A.)
Seeking a job in teaching, writing, publishing or digital media? NSU’s master’s degree in Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media can kick start your career with its multi-faceted curriculum that will prepare you for success in both the classroom and th...
- Huntsville, TXHuntsville, TX
Sam Houston State University
Gain practical experience and intensive instruction...
- Madison, NJMadison, NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University
FDU’s low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing is ideal for students who want a more flexible academic schedule.
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
City College of New York, The
For more than three decades City College has offered serious writing students a chance to meet one another and to work under the guidance of a legenda...
- Malibu, CAMalibu, CA
Pepperdine's two year MFA program in Writing for Screen and Television trains students for a vocation as screen and television writers and prepares th...
- Storrs Mansfield, CTStorrs Mansfield, CT
University of Connecticut
The English Department at The University of Connecticut, Storrs, offers both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Small seminars provide a wide range of courses in major authors, periods, genres, literary criticism and theory, children's literature, rhetoric and com...
- Tempe, AZTempe, AZ
Arizona State University
- Mankato, MNMankato, MN
Minnesota State University - Mankato
- Normal, ILNormal, IL
Illinois State University
The graduate faculty in English includes nationally recognized professors in a wide range of fields. Master's degree students are placed in doctoral programs throughout the nation.
- Long Beach, CALong Beach, CA
California State University, Long Beach
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
New School, The
In this unique graduate program, students are guided in workshops and seminars by a faculty of distinguished writers in the literary capital of the United States. ...
- Washington, DCWashington, DC
Johns Hopkins University
Through intensive writing, thoughtful revision, and careful reading, students in Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in...
- Gainesville, FLGainesville, FL
The University of Florida
- Springfield, MASpringfield, MA
Western New England University
If you are looking for a program to take your writing to the next level, to help you fine-tune your craft, and gain insight into the world of publishing, explore the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Fiction).
- Annandale On Hudson, NYAnnandale On Hudson, NY
Founded in 1981, the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts offers an interdisciplinary program leading to the master of fine...
- Houston, TXHouston, TX
University of Houston
The Creative Writing Program in the Department of English is one of the few in the nation offering students a choice among three advanced degrees in poetry and fiction. The MA and PhD degrees are in literature and creative writing, preparing students fo...