Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

An MFA in creative writing can also prepare you to work for a magazine or a publishing house. Learn about upcoming start dates below.

Updated September 20, 2022

Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

Sharpen your writing skills and learn to navigate the world of publishing with one of the most affordable online MFAs in creative writing.

If you have a love of literature and a way with words, you’re perfectly suited for an MFA in creative writing. And if you think that such a degree is useless, think again. These programs can prepare you to publish your writing, teach at the university level, or work in a publishing house.

In creative writing MFA programs, students work closely with published faculty to hone their craft. They read extensively, write prolifically, and receive constructive critiques. Most programs also teach students the ins and outs of getting their work published.

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

It depends on your career goals. Some programs are geared toward those who want to become published writers, while others are intended for future professors. Still others offer tracks in both areas.

If you aren’t interested in teaching, you may want to pursue an MA in English. These programs are typically shorter than creative writing MFA programs. However, students develop similar skills and knowledge related to professional writing. You can explore other online options by reading our guide to the Most Affordable Online Graduate Schools.

Another important note is that some online creative writing MFAs require brief residencies. These are in-person components typically lasting about a week. Generally, these occur once or twice annually throughout the program. If this is not possible, choose a no residency program.

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How much money do people make with an online MFA in creative writing?

The income of a published writer varies widely. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of writers and authors is $61,820. However, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,520. The highest 10 percent earned over $118,760.

These numbers also take into account writers outside of creative professions, such as copywriters. Expected job growth for writers and authors is 8 percent, which is as fast as average.

Postsecondary teachers earn a median salary of $76,000. Anticipated job growth is 15 percent, which is much faster than average. Editors earn a median annual wage of $58,770, but little to no job growth is expected.

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

An online MFA in creative writing can lead you down many paths. You may publish novels, poetry, short story collections, or screenplays. You can also become a creative writing professor at a university or teach writing and/or English at a high school.

An MFA in creative writing can also prepare you to work for a magazine or a publishing house. You might become a content strategist or copywriter for a creative brand looking for talented writers. The choice is yours.

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

A bachelor’s degree is required, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a related field. In most cases, you will be asked to submit a portfolio or creative writing sample. Some programs ask for GRE scores, letters of recommendations, and/or a resume.

To earn the MFA in creative writing, you will typically need to submit a creative thesis. This is a completed publishable manuscript. You’ll work with a faculty advisor to plan and develop the thesis.

You will likely complete writing workshops, and in some cases you will need to attend a few in-person residencies. These consist of seminars, workshops, and other literary events. Some programs also require you to read and respond to a certain number of books.

What are the best affordable online MFAs in creative writing?

Our data is pulled from trusted sources including:

  • U.S. News and World Report
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • PayScale
  • Princeton Review
  • Official college/university websites

The 35 schools listed here offer flexible, quality education at the most affordable rates. These degrees are organized by the average price it will cost you to earn the whole degree, fees and financial aid included. Whatever your goals in the literacy field, these programs can help you achieve them without breaking the bank.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Mississippi University for Women

  • Columbus, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Busy students attend Mississippi University for Women because they can earn graduate degrees at an institution that prioritizes learning flexibility. The Columbus, Mississippi, school offers an MFA in creative writing among its five online master's degrees. A busy schedule is no barrier to graduate education with degrees such as this program.

Applicants should expect to have a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related one unless otherwise stated on the program or admissions website. What the program provides is advanced preparation through an intensive curriculum that may involve research opportunities and other hands-on experience. This credential lays the foundation for a doctorate or other terminal degree.

Residents of Mississippi or other states pay $7,425 per year in tuition. An avenue for exploration when it comes to paying for tuition are grants and scholarships. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,425
Out-of-state
$7,425
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
2,811
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

University of New Orleans

  • New Orleans, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of New Orleans enrolls students in one of the nation’s best creative writing MFA programs for online degree-seekers. Learners pursue this degree to build on prior knowledge attained in a bachelor’s, receiving training specifically related to the field. Students earn this so they can also pursue a doctorate later on if they choose.

This school’s online format attracts people who see the appeal of remote learning. Students do not need to sacrifice other important aspects of their lives such as work and family to earn this degree. Whether enrollees are learning in person or online they study in a supportive academic environment.

The application requirements include a bachelor’s degree, unless the program states otherwise. About 56% of applicants get accepted to this school on average, but applicants may find that programs have different averages. Once accepted, students will pay $6,090 per year in in-state tuition, with grants, loans, and scholarships popular funding streams for those who qualify.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,090
Out-of-state
$10,926
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
8,231
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

University of Arkansas at Monticello

  • Monticello, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A public college situated in Monticello, Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Monticello administers a comprehensive catalog of degrees. A leader in online graduate education, the school offers four remote master's programs. The MFA in creative writing is one such option for students interested in the field.

Logistics is no barrier to earning this degree, which was designed with adaptability and flexibility in mind. Professionals, caretakers, and other workers can schedule their studies on the evenings, weekends, and other convenient times. Strong career preparation is a key feature of the program, which does not sacrifice rigor for convenience.

For consideration to enter this program, degree-seekers will need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. Contact the program department, or admissions, to determine entrance and application requirements like transcripts and recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,779
Out-of-state
$10,629
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,855
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

University of Houston-Victoria

  • Victoria, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Houston-Victoria has a reputation for developing rigorous online graduate programs. People with a bachelor’s in creative writing may want to explore the top-ranked MFA in creative writing. Enrollees can complete the graduate curriculum remotely, ensuring they have more control over their schedules.

More individualized attention and opportunities to collaborate with peers are key benefits of the 18-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that creative writing MFA students enjoy. Learners receive strong preparation using a curriculum that emphasizes advanced theoretical concepts and practices in creative writing. The training learners receive is an important step for career advancement or a doctoral degree in this field and related ones.

Texas students enrolled in the program pay a yearly average of $6,338, while those elsewhere pay $13,934. Grants and scholarships help degree-seekers pay for their education if they qualify. About 48% of the school’s learners take out a student loan, another way to fund their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,896
Out-of-state
$15,024
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
4,506
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Omaha, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prospective creative writing graduate students who need extra flexibility in their degree program should consider the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Remote learners can choose from six online master's degrees, including the MA in critical and creative thinking, delivered from the Omaha, Nebraska, location. The program’s appeal includes a flexible online format that allows degree-seekers to work and pursue other interests.

Applicants to master’s programs usually meet entry requirements with a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, and other criteria that varies depending on the program. Students complete a rigorous master's in critical and creative thinking curriculum that immerses them in advanced knowledge and field preparation that a bachelor’s alone cannot provide. The program also provides the foundational knowledge for a Ph.D.

Residents of Nebraska pay $5,558 per year in in-state tuition and $14,440 if they are residents elsewhere. Many learners receive grants and scholarships, both from the school and outside sources, to help finance their degrees. Loans may also be available to help students pay for all or part of the program.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,224
Out-of-state
$19,488
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
15,153
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Northern Arizona University

  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Creative writing students attend Northern Arizona University for top-ranked degrees such as the online MFA. The program prepares learners for higher-level work in the field than a bachelor's degree typically allows. The MFA program 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 may want an advanced degree but have other concerns such as caregiving and employment, and this flexible degree supports those endeavors. 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 this program include a bachelor’s degree and transcripts, but the department can provide more information. People applying to this school get accepted at a rate of 85%. Once accepted, students can explore financial aid options to help pay for tuition, which stands at around $10,305 per year for Arizona residents.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,018
Out-of-state
$16,613
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
30,733
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Old Dominion University

  • Norfolk, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Old Dominion University offers students an online technical writing MA degree that is a top-ranked program in its class. A bachelor’s degree provides foundational education compared to the advanced training in this program. If they choose, graduates with a can also pursue a doctorate later on.

Many learners appreciate the school’s convenient online format. The flexible program grants students more control over their schedules and makes education easier to fit with other priorities. 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. The data from this school show an 89% admission rate, but expect some variances across programs. Students can expect to pay around $10,207 per year for tuition if they live in Virginia, and they can use grants, loans, and scholarships to help fund their education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,029
Out-of-state
$26,664
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
23,675
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Western Connecticut State University

  • Danbury, CT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prospective graduate students can earn an MFA in creative and professional writing at Western Connecticut State University, an institution known for developing flexible graduate programs. Though located in Danbury, Connecticut, the school offers online master's degree opportunities for remote learners, including the MFA program. A busy schedule is no barrier to graduate education with degrees such as this program.

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree or a related credential to apply to master’s programs. Students in the program complete rigorous coursework they couldn’t access in a bachelor’s degree alone. The program also provides the foundational knowledge for a Ph.D.

Tuition differs depending on residency status, with residents of Connecticut paying an average $7,378 per year in in-state tuition, and residents elsewhere pay $19,008. Learners can use resources at the financial aid department to find out if they qualify for grants and scholarships. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,924
Out-of-state
$17,726
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
5,631
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#9 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Lindenwood University

  • Saint Charles, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prospective graduate students can earn a creative writing degree at Lindenwood University, an institution known for developing flexible graduate programs. The MFA in writing with a creative nonfiction concentration is among the six online master's degrees delivered from the Saint Charles, Missouri, campus. This adaptable degree is ideal for full-time workers, caregivers, and others who want to pursue graduate education but need flexibility to do it.

Applicants will need to review the program page for more admissions information, but a bachelor’s is usually a starting point for a master's program. Students complete a rigorous MFA in writing curriculum that immerses them in advanced knowledge and field preparation that a bachelor’s alone cannot provide. The degree may satisfy the entry requirements for a Ph.D. program in this field.

Students can expect to pay $18,000 per year in tuition if they reside in Missouri or another state. Learners can contact the financial aid department to find out whether they qualify for grants and scholarships. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,000
Out-of-state
$18,000
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
8,392
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 Most Affordable Online MFA In Creative Writing Degrees

Bay Path University

  • Longmeadow, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Bay Path University’s academic catalog includes rigorous graduate education available online. Learners with a bachelor's degree in creative writing may find the MFA in creative nonfiction writing of particular interest. This program successfully blends a rigorous curriculum and a flexible online format.

More individualized attention and opportunities to collaborate with peers are key benefits of the 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that students enjoy. Learners complete a strong curriculum in creative nonfiction writing delivered by faculty with industry expertise. Obtaining this degree is of great benefit to those who want to advance their careers and pursue higher-paying positions.

Students enrolled in the program pay a yearly average of $14,670, regardless of state residency. Financial aid such as grants and scholarships helps many degree-seekers afford their education. About 87% of enrollees take out student loans, so there are plenty of ways to fund this degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,081
Out-of-state
$35,081
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
3,324
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

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