Creative Writing

Creative writing majors will focus on the generation of new literature, whether that be short story, poetry, novel, memoir, or any of the other literary forms. Focusing in creative writing will also involve analyzation of process and techniques of previously published work, as well as constructive criticism of fellow classmates’ work.

Majors in this area are, more often not, aspiring novelists, poets, scriptwriters, and the like, none of which actually require a degree to pursue, but entering the career without a degree is traditionally difficult. The the true perk of undertaking a degree in creative writing is simply this: the writer’s community. The expectation is to learn from published individuals (professors), receive a hearty supply of feedback on passages of your own writing (from professors and peers), and learn the art of discipline.

While often included in the same bucket as an English major, creative writing is the other side of the coin. English majors analyze and interpret literature, rarely being required to write anything original. Creative writing is the flipside—while students will be consistently reading and examining previously written work, as well, the primary focus will be on using the tools presented in literature to generate bona fide work. Creative writing comes in a variety of degrees, multiple types of associates, baccalaureates, and masters, as well in doctorate form.

Associate Level

While less common, some community colleges will offer an Associate of Arts (AA) in Creative Writing or, even more rarely, an Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) in Creative Writing. Almost every college offers a 2-year degree in professional writing, which can often include the option of creative writing courses.

Creative writing at this level will likely require 60 credits that include a variety of liberal arts courses. Within the major, students will often take workshops which center around peer review, as well as at least one interest-specific course such as playwriting or poetry. The AFA will likely culminate in a capstone project.  

Baccalaureate

The baccalaureate level will contain the same types of classes, but more in-depth. The opportunities to take specialized classes will increase and graduation often requires a thesis project that’s publication-ready.

Creative writing degrees are conferred one of two ways at this level, either as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Creative Writing or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Creative Writing. The difference between a BA and a BFA in this major is the same as any other major. A BA will have a ratio of of 60/40, liberal arts core classes to creative writing courses, while a BFA inverts that number, spending about 60% of students’ time in their designated major courses. BFAs are often classified as pre-professional degrees, designed to send students directly into the working world.

Careers for graduates with a BA/BFA in Creative Writing: Advertising Copywriter, Digital Copywriter, Editorial Assistant, Magazine Journalist, Newspaper Journalist, Public Relations Specialist, Speechwriter, Technical Writer, Book Editor, Proposal Writer, Marketing Communications Specialist, Grant Writer, Content Strategist, Translator, Video Game Writer, Film Critic, Copy Editor, Social Media Specialist, Proofreader, Web Content Writer, Greeting Card Writer, Ghostwriter, Travel Writer

Master Level

There’s a small caveat when it comes to obtaining a degree in creative writing at the master’s level. A Master of Arts degree is typically offered in English Literature with a concentration in some facet of creative writing. It’s largely considered an academic degree with heavy research overtones. Again, as with an English degree, the focus is on analyzing already-published literature rather than creation. MAs in English typically take 2 years to complete attending full time.

The more direct approach to a graduate degree in creative writing major is a Master’s in Fine Arts. The whole focus is generally on creation of new work and intense workshops. Residencies or writer’s retreats are typically involved at this level, as well, and the degree culminates in a publication-ready dissertation varying anywhere between 40 to 200 pages. MFAs take anywhere between 2 to 3 years to complete.

The introduction of the MFA as the terminal degree in the creative writing world is more recent and there are still PhD programs available, though a doctorate as a requirement for work in the field is fading. Earning an MFA makes students eligible to teach at the university level, but publication is also often required to attain such a position.

Careers for graduates with an MA or MFA: Professor, Arts Administrator, Web Content Manager, Creative Director

Doctorate Level

A PhD in Creative Writing is much like an MFA with more emphasis on literary theory and research. There will likely be a heavy critical component to the final dissertation, which is, again, publication-ready, but more often book-length at this level of education. PhD programs take between 4 to 6 years to complete.

Careers for graduates with a PhD in Creative Writing include: Professor, Program Director

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Colleges

Harvard College

Harvard College is an undergraduate liberal arts school located in Cambridge, MA, within Harvard University. Founded in 1636, this private, very selective, Ivy League college is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and was...

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University of Florida

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Columbia University in the City of New York

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is a private research university located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The urban Ivy League campus houses 17 libraries and 20 schools, which offer upwards of 350 majors, as well as the Cathedral of St. John...

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Cornell University

As an Ivy League, a research institution, and one of three private land-grant universities in the US, Cornell University admissions are highly competitive. Since Cornell was founded in 1865 in Ithaca, NY, it has been a co-educational, nonsectarian...

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

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University of Central Florida

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The University of Texas at Austin

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Boston University

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Arizona State University-Tempe

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Purdue University-Main Campus

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New York University

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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University of Arizona

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University of Southern California

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Brown University

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University of Washington-Seattle Campus

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Northwestern University

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Syracuse University

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Florida State University

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University of Miami

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San Diego State University

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Indiana University-Bloomington

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University of California-Irvine

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University of Oregon

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University of Maryland-College Park

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University of Houston

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University of Notre Dame

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Central Michigan University

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University of South Florida-Main Campus

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Ohio University-Main Campus

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University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

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Vanderbilt University

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Temple University

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University of Virginia-Main Campus

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Texas State University

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Johns Hopkins University

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University of South Carolina-Columbia

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Oregon State University

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Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

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Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Colorado State University is a land grant university located in Fort Collins at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Business Administration, Kinesiology, and Human Development are popular fields of study at this flagship university. A Student Recreation...

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Georgia State University

Georgia State University is a 4-year public university with seven campuses throughout Atlanta and the largest university in the state by enrollment. GSU features 10 colleges and schools conferring degrees in over 100 areas of study. Additionally, the...

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, also known as Virginia Tech, is a 4-year public research university in western Virginia. Virginia Tech encompasses nine colleges offering bachelor’s degrees in 110 academic majors. To promote...

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Emory University

Emory University is a liberal arts institution located in Atlanta, Georgia, with a second campus in Oxford. The 600-acre campus in the Druid Hills neighborhood is home to four undergraduate and seven graduate colleges, as well as over a dozen...

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University of Iowa

Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa is a 4-year public research institution in Iowa City and Iowa’s first institution of higher education. Iowa grants undergraduate degrees in over 200 academic majors, minors, and certificate programs....

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George Mason University

George Mason University is a public research university with three regional locations and an international campus in Songdo, Korea. It is considered to have the “Highest Research Activity” and ranks among the Best Southeastern Schools according to...

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University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is a land-grant university that was founded in 1865 in Lexington, Kentucky. U.S. News & World Report ranks UK as #63 in Top Public Schools. The most popular fields of study at this “selective” university are Education,...

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DePaul University

DePaul University is a private, non-profit institution located in the heart of Chicago, IL, featuring campuses both in the business district and Lincoln Park. DePaul is the nation’s largest Catholic university, founded by the Vincentians more than...

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more commonly referred to as MIT, is a private research university that focuses on scientific and technological research. Located on 166 acres of land in Cambridge, MA, MIT maintains five schools hosting 30...

“…” – Christopher from Elmhurst, IL

University of Denver

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain Region. DU confers bachelor’s degrees in over 100 academic fields of study and every major enables students to take courses across different subjects....

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George Washington University

George Washington University is a private university maintains three campuses, with the main campus located in Washington, D.C., just four blocks from the White House. George Washington University offers 75 undergraduate majors and 69% of students...

“…” – Arianna from Brookline, MA

Pepperdine University

With a campus overlooking Malibu Bluffs and the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine University is a 4-year Christian institution in Malibu affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Pepperdine is home to colleges of Business, Law, Arts & Sciences, Public Policy,...

“…” – Jessica from California

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

Founded in 1919, the University of Cincinnati is a 4-year public research institution and the second largest university in the state of Ohio. UC is home to 14 colleges and schools conferring degrees and is renowned as the first school to offer a co...

“…” – Amanda from Cincinnati, OH

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas is a public research institution. The main campus is located in Lawrence, Kansas, and is one of five in the University of Kansas system. KU offers more than 200 undergraduate majors in one of the largest college towns in the...

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Iowa State University

Iowa State University is a public, land-grant university located in Ames, IA. The 1,813-acre campus features 6 undergraduate colleges offering 100+ majors, as well as residence hall, apartment-style, and Greek-life housing options for more than 35...

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University of Rochester

The University of Rochester is private, research university highly ranked in the National Universities list by U.S. News & World Report. It operates under the mission "Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and Make the World Ever Better" and students can...

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The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Founded two years before Tennessee achieved statehood in 1794, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville is the flagship campus of the UT system and the first public university west of the Appalachian Divide. UT is home to nine colleges and schools...

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University of San Francisco

Founded by Jesuits in the mid-nineteenth century, the University of San Francisco is a private Catholic university and the first university established in the city. The 55-acre urban campus located near Golden Gate Park is home to 49 academic majors...

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North Carolina State University at Raleigh

North Carolina State University is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university located in the state capital, Raleigh, home of the annual state fair and Winterfest. The largest university in the Carolinas by enrollment, NC State is home...

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West Virginia University
West Virginia University is a public, land-grant institution that operates 10 experimental farms and four forests across the state. Sociology, Journalism, and the Arts and Humanities are popular fields of study at this research-intensive university....

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Stony Brook University

Originally founded as a school for math and science teachers, Stony Brook University is a 4-year public university on Long Island and part of the State University of New York system. Stony Brook is home to 12 schools and colleges conferring degrees...

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University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains and ranks #90 in National Universities by the U.S. News & World Report. They offer Residential Academic Programs (RAPs), multiple honors programs, and an Education...

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American University

American University is a research institution located in a residential neighborhood of Washington, DC. AU has eight schools on its carbon-neutral campus featuring more than 160 programs. American University is also home to many research centers,...

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Florida International University

Florida International University is the only public research university in Miami. FIU offers bachelor’s degrees in over 190 academic fields of study. In addition to classroom facilities, the FIU campus houses the International Hurricane Research...

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Florida Atlantic University

With campus a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Atlantic University is a 4-year public university in southeast Florida. FAU houses 10 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 170 fields of study. In addition to...

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Brigham Young University-Provo

Brigham Young University-Provo is a private research institution located in Provo, Utah, and founded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU offers study abroad programs through their satellite campuses in more than 20 sites,...

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A top-ranked medical program and business school crown Dartmouth College’s liberal arts education. This Ivy League school, the second youngest but also the smallest, is located in Hanover, NH, where it’s easily the main attraction in town. 

The...

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University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Originally founded as a small branch college, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a 4-year public university and an Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving institution. UNLV encompasses 16 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in...

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University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT
University of Utah

The University of Utah is a public research instititution situated in Salt Lake City that offers more than 100 undergraduate majors. The U is home to three professional arts organizations to complement the College of Fine Arts, and even features a 3...

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Originally founded as an extension of New York University, Hofstra University is a 4-year research institution and the largest private university on Long Island. Hofstra is home to 12 colleges and schools offering undergraduate degrees in over 160...

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University of California-Riverside

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Carnegie Mellon University

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University of North Texas

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Sam Houston State University

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Portland State University

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Miami University-Oxford

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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University of Wisconsin-Madison

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San Jose State University

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Northern Arizona University

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University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

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San Francisco State University

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Mercer University

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Butler University

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CUNY Hunter College

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University of Arkansas

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Missouri State University-Springfield

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California State University-Fresno

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College of Charleston

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“…” – Maddie from Huntersville, NC

Chapman University

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“…” – Erin from Woodland Hills, CA

Washington University in St Louis

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“…” – Andrew from Dahlgren, IL

Emerson College

Emerson College is liberal arts college focusing on communication and the arts located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1880 as a "school of oratory," Emerson still focuses largely on communication, just through 26 majors that culminate in a...

“…” – Sarah

Pratt Institute-Main

The Pratt Institute is a private college based in Brooklyn, NY. Pratt offers more than 25 undergraduate degree programs and concentrations, more than 26 graduate degree programs, and six programs leading to an Advanced Certificate award. The 25-acre...

“…” – will from Acton, MA

Oberlin College

Oberlin College is a liberal arts institution that was founded in 1833 in Oberlin, OH. Only two colleges operate on this private university’s campus, a College of Arts and Sciences and the oldest continuously operating Conservatory of Music in the...

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Kent State University at Kent

Originally founded as a teacher-training school, Kent State University is a 4-year public research university in northeast Ohio. Kent State hosts ten colleges conferring undergraduate degrees in more than 300 areas of study. Additionally, KSU is home...

“…” – Laura from Lagrange, OH

Bucknell University

Bucknell University is a highly selective, private liberal arts college located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Offering more than 50 majors, Bucknell classes 100% taught by professors, never grad stduents, and the campus is home to several research...

“…” – Margaret from Islip, NY

Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849 as a teachers college, Eastern Michigan University is now a 4-year public school in Ypsilanti, MI. EMU is home to five colleges offering bachelor’s degrees in over 200 academic majors and minors. In addition to classroom space, EMU...

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University of Massachusetts-Amherst

The largest public university in New England, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is the original campus in the UM System. UMass is a land-grant university with the “Highest Research Activity" and the U.S. News & World Report ranks the UMass...

“…” – Annelise from Marshfield, MA

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University is a 4-year public institution in Norfolk and a doctoral high research activity university. ODU hosts colleges of Arts & Letters, Business, Sciences, Education, Engineering, and Health Sciences as well as an Honors College....

“…” – Efrem from Chantilly, VA

Western Michigan University

Established in 1903, Western Michigan University is a 4-year public university in Kalamazoo. WMU is home to eight colleges and schools as well as Lee Honors College—the oldest honors college in the nation. Additionally, Western Michigan hosts the...

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