Online Creative Writing Graduate Programs & Graduate Schools

Pursuing online graduate writing programs could be a flexible way to earn your graduate degree from the convenience of your own home. And, since the coursework is digital, you could pursue online graduate writing programs when your schedule (or inspiration) allows. Online Creative Writing Graduate programs

Online Graduate Creative Writing Program Basics

The goal of most online graduate creative writing programs is to develop students’ writing finesse. To do this, many programs place writing, style, and technique development at the forefront of their digital curriculum. Where programs may differ is in the genre they concentrate on. While curriculum requirements may be similar, each program might look at writing through a different lens. For example, students could focus on some of the following genres in their degree program.
  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Literary Translation
This may be an important consideration when choosing a great online graduate writing program for you. Genres offered may vary by school, so read program descriptions carefully. Then speak with your preferred programs for more details.

Why Earn your Graduate Creative Writing Degree Online?

Aside from the convenience, an online creative writing graduate program might offer other potential benefits. Below are a few more reasons why you should consider the online program type.
  • You could receive near-instant feedback from your peers. Email and instant messaging could allow you to send multiple drafts of your work to your classmates and professors for review. This might provide you with additional critique outside of class time.
  • You could write from the comfort of your own writing space. Some people might feel more comfortable writing in a specific place. And for some, that might not be a classroom! As long as your work is turned in, you could have the freedom to write where you like.
  • Writers aren’t known for keeping conventional hours. And, an online program reflects that! Students may be able to write and send feedback as their schedule (or writing routine) allows. This might be a great choice if you’re currently pursuing professional endeavors during typical class times. Or, you just happen to be a night owl!

Online Creative Writing Graduate Degrees

Online creative writing graduate programs are typically offered at three different degree levels. While they share similar goals and formats, each may dive into core topics to varying depths. Additionally, each degree type may be designed for students with different levels of experience and education. Depending on your educational goals, you might want to consider one of the following options.

Online Masters in Creative Writing Programs

The online masters in creative writing program is a holistic program that covers both writing and key parts of the literary canon so that students may comprehensively understand the art form. This combination of courses may offer a behind the scenes look into how to effectively craft piece of work beyond simple plot points.


Workshops are a key part of online masters writing program’s curriculum because they may require students to consistently produce new works. Not only could this be a great way to practice, but to also receive feedback. During these programs, you may be asked to submit current works in progress so that your peers could offer critiques. This constructive feedback may prove vital in developing your narrative. For online students, these classes are typically conducted via internet forums, email, and instant message services. Students could submit their works to the class, and download feedback as it is made available. It’s important to note that these programs often blend students studying different literary genres together. This way, the feedback you receive could offer a new perspective on your work. For instance, someone writing creative nonfiction might be able to provide new insight on your young adult work. Workshop requirements and structure may vary by program. Speak with potential schools for more details.


In addition to workshops, online creative writing masters programs also offer core courses and electives for students to flesh out their literary knowledge. During your studies, you might encounter the following subjects.
  • Literary Adaption
  • Cross-genre Writing
  • Literary Criticism
  • Regional Writing Traditions
This is only a sample of some class you could take. These and other electives may be great to add to your curriculum because they expand upon the techniques you could use for your stories. Straying outside your personal bubble to study these new methods might act as inspiration for your art. Course offerings and requirements differ by program. Check out a school program syllabi to find one that matches your interests.

Thesis & Graduation

Students pursuing an online masters in creative writing may be required to submit one completed work in lieu of a typical thesis. This could be work you might have completed during your workshop courses. After graduation, you might want to use this piece as part of your professional portfolio. Or, even try to publish it! Considering the above-mentioned curriculum and thesis, students could potentially earn an online masters in creative writing in 1 to 3 years depending on enrollment. Program length varies by school.

Online Doctorate in Creative Writing Programs

Online doctoral creative writing programs may allow students to dive deeper into their own writing process. That is because these programs tend to focus more on the workshop experience as opposed to courses. This is probably most evident in their dissertation requirement. Unlike other doctoral programs, PhDs in creative writing may require students to produce a full length, completed work to be submitted to a committee. Dissertations could include some of the following forms.
  • Manuscripts
  • Short Stories
  • Poems
  • Screenplays
Your dissertation may leave you with a completed work that has been edited by your peers and professors, much like the masters program. This might be a great asset when looking for a potential publisher. Keeping in mind the dissertation and class requirements, students could earn an online doctorate degree in 3 to 5 years. Program length may vary by program.

Creative Writing Graduate Certificate Programs

Online graduate certificate creative writing programs might be a perfect choice for students who want to quickly develop their writing skills. These programs generally focus on a specific genre of writing as opposed to combining multiple. By doing this, they create a succinct, workshop oriented curriculum. This might help students hone their writing ability without taking additional elective courses. Not to mention, the online format could help you take on this relatively quick timeline in your own schedule. This might allow you to pursue other professional goals simultaneously to your academic ones. With the brief curriculum and convenient scheduling, students could potentially earn a creative writing graduate certificate in under a year.

High & Low Residency Programs

Many online graduate writing programs require students to take part in a residency program. Much like the name implies, this usually involves students living and writing on campus. This intensive could allow students to wholly focus on their writing without outside interruption. And, during this time, you may also be living with fellow creative writing students. As a group, you could be able to contribute feedback to each other to help refine your works. The residency program usually does require students to come on campus. But, there are options. When researching, you may find that there are high residency or low residency programs. High residency programs last from 2 to 6 weeks. Low residency programs, which are commonly associated with online studies, could last around 10 days. Residency length varies by program.

Find an Online Creative Writing Graduate Program

  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
  • Southern New Hampshire University

  • Saint Leo University

  • Full Sail University

  • Eastern Oregon University

  • Wilkes University

  • Chatham University

  • Hamline University

  • Seattle Pacific University

  • Goucher College

  • University of New Orleans