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Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing

Calling all poets and wordsmiths! Write your way towards the degree of your dreams with the best online MFA in creative writing.

Writing is in a world of its own. What other profession whisks you away to faraway lands, traverses undiscovered planets, or takes you back in time? In what other career can you plumb the depths of your emotions or perfectly capture a moment? An online MFA in creative writing gives you the skills to hone your craft and create your own world through words.

What can you do with an online MFA in creative writing?

Many people pursue an MFA in creative writing to get one step closer to their dream of becoming a published author. If this is your goal, you’re on the right track! An MFA program gets you smack dab in the middle of the writing world. You’ll interact with famous authors (some might even be faculty members in your program), you’ll attend writers’ conferences, and most importantly, you’ll write!

Another career choice that many people choose (some even simultaneously to publishing their own work) is teaching. An MFA technically gives you the credentials to work as an adjunct professor or visiting professor at a college or university.

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What kind of online MFA in creative writing should you get?

Writing is a highly individualized profession. It’s just you, and the blank page in front of you. It just makes sense, then, that it would be possible to earn this degree online.

Most of these programs operate either 100 percent online, or through what is called a “low-residency” program. This means you’ll conduct most of your coursework online but also meet up with your cohort 2-4 times throughout the degree for intensive residencies.

One perk of choosing an online or low residency program rather than a “traditional” MFA program is that it is typically more affordable. You also won’t have the responsibility of fulfilling a teaching fellowship. Overall, you can look forward to a flexible program that offers the same quality!

If you’re not set on an MFA, check out College Choice’s list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities regardless of major.

How much can you make with an online MFA in creative writing?

Writers somehow get pinned with being “struggling artists” when, in fact, that’s usually not the case! Writing is all about the hustle. You have to put yourself - and your writing - out into the world. According to Payscale.com, the average annual income for an author or writer is around $51k. Not bad, right? This figure, of course, has the potential to increase dramatically if you write the next best seller. Just keep in mind . . . J.K. Rowling has a net worth of $1 billion.

If you choose to take your career in the direction of teaching, your annual salary increases, as does your overall job stability. Most assistant professors in the United States make around $65k per year.

What are the requirements for an online MFA in creative writing?

If you’re serious about becoming a writer, earning an MFA is the perfect next step. But the admissions process for an MFA in creative writing is no small task. You’ll have to show to the admissions board that you’re already a serious writer.

Most admissions requirements include a 10-20 page writing sample in your specific genre. Put your best work forward! This could be fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or screenwriting. Make sure you know the list of genres at the school of your choice.

Once you are accepted to a program, most curricula involve 36-70 credit hours total. This will include craft workshops, literature classes, genre seminars, and more. Some schools also require 7- to 10-day residencies on-campus.

What are the best online MFA in creative writing degrees?

Are you ready to write? Here at College Choice, we’ve narrowed down the best online MFA in creative writing degrees. We took a number of steps to find our list. First, we gathered the academic quality of each online program. Then we looked at affordability and the return on investment - a big factor in how you decide on a school. Last but not least, we factored in student happiness using retention rates and graduation rates of each program.

Our methodology draws from our data team at College Choice, the quality resources at U.S. News & World Report, and the number smarts at Payscale.com.

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Rankings

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#1

Lindenwood University

School Information
Location Saint Charles, Missouri
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 50%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Lindenwood University enrolls students in one of the nation’s best master of fine arts in writing programs for online creative writing degree-seekers. A bachelor’s degree provides foundational education compared to the advanced training in this program. The master of fine arts in writing prepares students for doctoral degrees and other terminal programs.

The school’s online format is a big draw for students who have a lot to accomplish and need adaptability. Students report being able to continue their careers and engage in family life without sacrificing a master’s degree. Enrollees enjoy a student-focused environment whether they study remotely or on campus.

The application requirements for this program include a bachelor’s degree and transcripts, but the department can provide more information. Though some programs post different averages, the school accepts about 88% of all who apply. Popular funding streams for those who qualify include loans and scholarships, and the tuition costs Missouri residents about $18,000 per year.

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#2

Fairfield University

School Information
Location Fairfield, Connecticut
Admission Rate 57%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 16% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Degree-seekers can choose from a variety of online graduate degrees at Fairfield University. The master of fine arts in creative writing is an excellent choice for degree-holders with a bachelor’s in creative writing who want to advance their careers in this field. The program blends academic rigor and online course delivery that is flexible and affordable.

More individualized attention and opportunities to collaborate with peers are key benefits of the 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that students enjoy. Faculty teach a rigorous curriculum that both educates and engages learners. The rigorous academic preparation that a master’s degree provides makes potential employees stand out.

Affordability is a top issue, and the school charges both Connecticut and out-of-state residents $18,795 per year. Many degree-seekers reduce this bill with grants and scholarships from the school and third parties. Another popular way to finance their education is to take out student loans, the type of funding used by about 50% of learners at the school.

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#3

Northwestern University

School Information
Location Evanston, Illinois
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Degree-seekers can choose from a variety of online graduate degrees at Northwestern University. The master of arts in writing is one of those degrees, designed for degree-holders with a bachelor’s in creative writing or a related field. Enrollees can complete the graduate curriculum remotely, ensuring they have more control over their schedules.

The school has a 6-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that benefits students in the master of arts in writing program. They acquire the advanced training employers want in potential hires knowledgeable about best practices. Graduates leave the program equipped for more advanced career opportunities and the option to pursue a doctoral program.

The institution charges Illinois students and those living elsewhere $56,067 in tuition per year. Financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, helps many degree-seekers afford their education. Student loans are another option, and about 22% of enrollees use this popular funding stream to afford their degree.

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#4

Wilkes University

School Information
Location Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 63%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Creative writing students can pursue an online degree that ranks highly among master of fine arts in creative writing programs. The master’s degree equips enrollees with advanced training valued by employers in their profession. A terminal degree like a doctorate is the next stop for some holders of a master of fine arts in creative writing.

The school designs the program to be delivered using an established online format, a big draw for many learners. Students can juggle their various responsibilities thanks to this program's flexibility. Here it is not enough to emphasize academic rigor and flexibility; support from faculty and the community plays an integral role in enrollees' academic development.

For consideration, applicants need a bachelor’s to apply to this program unless otherwise stated. Those who apply can expect an acceptance rate of about 79%. In-state students can expect to pay around $25,104 per year, which they can help fund through grants, loans, and scholarships.

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#5

National University

School Information
Location La Jolla, California
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 29%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private college situated in La Jolla, California, National University administers a comprehensive catalog of degrees. The institution’s 41 online master's degrees are a big draw to many people who want to attend graduate school online. Learners interested in creative writing can pursue the master of fine arts in creative writing from among the many options.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability make it an attractive choice for many graduate students. They can fit their school around other obligations by using video recordings available often and completing coursework in the evenings, weekends, and at other convenient times that the program allows. A key feature of online learning here is a blend of academic rigor and flexibility that strongly prepares students for advanced positions in their field.

The admittance rate is 89% per year overall, but applicants may be accepted at varying rates for different programs. In order to receive consideration, master's degree-seekers will need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. The best way to find out more is to contact the program to explore entrance and application requirements like transcripts and recommendation letters.

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#6

Emerson College

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 33%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Emerson College offers a number of graduate programs through its online platform. Learners who hold a bachelor's degree in creative writing will be especially interested in the excellent master of fine arts (MFA) in popular fiction writing and publishing. The program blends academic rigor and online course delivery that is flexible and affordable.

The benefits of a 15-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that MFA students enjoy include individualized attention, more room to collaborate, and faculty mentorship opportunities. The curriculum immerses learners in advanced knowledge and training in creative writing. The rigorous academic preparation that a master’s degree provides makes potential employees stand out.

Making tuition competitive is a school priority, and all learners pay an average of $30,624 per year, no matter their residency. The financial assistance options available to qualifying students include grants and scholarships to help fund their master’s degree. They may also be directed to financial aid, used by about 51% of the school’s enrollees, as a means to fund their education.

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#7

Bennington College

School Information
Location Bennington, Vermont
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 76%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Bennington College provides students with an online master of fine arts (MFA) in writing program that ranks highly among similar degree offerings. Learners acquire advanced skills that employers want in middle- to high-level professionals. A terminal degree like a doctorate is the next stop for some holders of a creative writing MFA.

The effective management of time is a key consideration for many learners, and the master of fine arts in writing accommodates that need. The flexible program grants students more control over their schedules and makes education easier to fit with other priorities. Enrollees tend to do better in educational environments such as this, where personalized learning is emphasized and faculty support is available to all.

The application requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree and transcripts, but the department can provide more information. The acceptance rate is 61% at the school, but expect some differences across programs. Financial aid options, such as loans and scholarships, can help students pay for tuition, which is $23,975 per year for Vermont residents.

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#8

Queens University of Charlotte

School Information
Location Charlotte, North Carolina
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private college located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Queens University of Charlotte has a lot to offer. People can choose from five master's degrees available online. The master of fine arts in creative writing is ideal for learners interested in the creative writing field.

Graduate students can use online education's flexibility and adaptability to accomplish long-standing goals. Professionals, caretakers, and other workers can schedule their studies in the evenings, on weekends, and at other convenient times. Candidates gain invaluable creative writing knowledge that employers value or that they may use to enter a doctoral program.

Based on their latest statistics, the school accepts about 65% of applicants each year. It’s typical for degree-seekers to need a bachelor's in the major or a related one to apply to a master’s program. They may also need to submit official transcripts and letters of recommendation, which the department outlines in its admissions policy.

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#9

University of Nebraska at Omaha

School Information
Location Omaha, Nebraska
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a public college with a strong catalog of academic programs and a academic experience tailored to meet learners’ needs. A leader in online graduate education, the institution offers six online master's degrees. Among these is its master of fine arts (MFA) in writing for graduate learners interested in creative writing.

Logistics is no barrier to earning the MFA, which offers graduate students the freedom to learn at their convenience. Real-time interaction is often not required, and enrollees can complete coursework at their own pace within a given timeframe. A key feature of online learning here is a blend of academic rigor and flexibility that strongly prepares students for advanced positions in their field.

Applicants receive acceptance letters at a rate of 83% each year, with variations expected across programs. Interested learners will need a bachelor's degree in order to be considered for this program, but other requirements may apply. The best way to find out more is to contact the program to explore entrance and application requirements like transcripts and recommendation letters.

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#10

University of Arkansas at Monticello

School Information
Location Monticello, Arkansas
Graduation Rate 29%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello offers a number of graduate programs through its online platform. The master of fine arts in creative writing has a lot of the qualities people with a bachelor’s in creative writing need to advance their education in the field. Enrollees complete an accredited curriculum with little need to relocate or give up their full-time jobs.

The benefits of a 13-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that students enjoy include individualized attention, more room to collaborate, and faculty mentorship opportunities. Learners complete a strong curriculum in creative writing delivered by faculty with industry expertise. The training participants receive is an important step for career advancement or for a doctoral degree in this field and related ones.

Arkansas students enrolled in the program pay a yearly average of $6,631, while those elsewhere pay $12,511. The scholarships and grants available to many degree-seekers help them reduce the price of tuition. Student loans are also available, with 46% of enrollees using them to finance all or part of their degree.

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#11

Bay Path University

School Information
Location Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 54%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Bay Path University provides online learners with highly ranked graduate education they can complete from a distance. Learners with a bachelor's degree in creative writing may find the master of fine arts in creative nonfiction writing of particular interest. Enrollees complete an accredited curriculum with little need to relocate or give up their full-time jobs.

The school’s 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio provides personalized learning opportunities to learners. Students in the program complete specialized coursework and training focusing on advanced ideas and practices in creative writing. The degree positions the holder for career advancement and higher-paying opportunities.

Massachusetts students and those living elsewhere pay a yearly average of $14,670. Many degree-seekers work with the financial aid department to identify financial assistance, such as scholarships and grants. The comprehensive suite of financial aid options also includes students loans, which about 87% of the school’s enrollees use to fund some or all of their education.

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#12

Mississippi University for Women

School Information
Location Columbus, Mississippi
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 40%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Mississippi University for Women, a public college, develops programs that provide a unique learning experience requiring little to no attendance on the Columbus, Mississippi, campus. People who need flexibility are drawn to the institution because of five master's degrees available online. Creative writing students can pursue the master of fine arts in creative writing from among these options.

The adaptability of the program is a big draw for students with a hectic schedule that demands flexibility. Professionals, caretakers, and other workers can schedule their studies in the evenings, on weekends, and at other convenient times. A key feature of online learning here is a blend of academic rigor and flexibility that strongly prepares students for advanced positions in their field.

Overall, about 97% of applicants get admitted each year, with some variations to be expected depending on the program. Degree-seekers usually need a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related field for entry into a master’s program. Contact the program or the admissions department to determine entrance and application requirements like transcripts and recommendation letters.

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#13

University of New Orleans

School Information
Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 42%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of New Orleans is a public college in Louisiana. A leader in online graduate education, the school offers two remote master's programs. The master of fine arts in creative writing is one such option for students interested in the creative writing field.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability make it an attractive choice for many graduate students. Professionals, caretakers, and other busy enrollees can attend virtual sessions and complete assignments at convenient times. A key feature of online learning here is a blend of academic rigor and flexibility that strongly prepares students for advanced positions in their field.

The school accepts an average of 56% of applicants each year, though this number can vary between programs. For consideration, degree-seekers usually need to have the requisite background, like a bachelor’s in the major or a related field. Applicants may also need to submit official transcripts, provide letters of recommendation, and participate in an interview.

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#14

Arcadia University

School Information
Location Glenside, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 66%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Arcadia University provides students with an online creative writing program that ranks highly among similar degree offerings. The degree provides learners with advanced knowledge and training required for many higher-level job opportunities in the creative writing field. The master of fine arts in creative writing also gives graduates the credential they need to pursue a terminal degree like a doctorate.

The master of fine arts in creative writing program offers a format conducive to effective time-management that many learners need. The program gives them an opportunity to manage various aspects of their lives without sacrificing the advanced education a master’s degree provides. Another key benefit is the support enrollees receive from faculty and the academic community, whether they study on campus or online.

Degree-seekers interested in pursuing a master’s usually need a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related field to apply. The admission rate is 66% on average. Paying for college is a big concern for many, and the school charges Pennsylvania residents about $28,683 per year, partially offset by financial aid options for qualifying students.

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#15

Eastern Kentucky University

School Information
Location Richmond, Kentucky
Admission Rate 94%
Graduation Rate 45%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A public college located in Richmond, Eastern Kentucky University has a lot to offer. With a total of 16 remote master's degrees available, the institution is a leader in online education for graduate students. Among the options is the master of fine arts in creative writing for students interested in creative writing.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability make it an attractive choice for many graduate students. Recorded video sessions may be available to allow for viewing at any time, and faculty may let enrollees complete coursework at their own pace within a given timeframe. The program provides this opportunity without sacrificing the rigor that prepares students for higher-level work and further education.

Applicants receive admittance at a rate of 94% per year, but some programs may vary. A bachelor’s degree in the field, or a related one, is the usual threshold for entry into a master’s program. All of the application details are available on the program webpage or from the admissions department.

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