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Creative writing mfa online

Writing with Us
The Online MFA in Creative Writing

The University of Texas at El Paso is proud to offer a fully online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Writers can complete the entire degree from anywhere in the world, as there is no residency requirement.

Our goal is to prepare serious writers for publishing and teaching careers. The degree plan consists of 48 hours of coursework – 42 hours of workshops and literature classes (14 courses), followed by 6 hours of thesis during which students complete a publishable manuscript in poetry or fiction.

We offer a workshop-heavy M.F.A., but we believe in the necessity of a background in theory and form. Our candidates enjoy a wide variety of graduate courses in literature, from the “Form of the Short Story” to “Asian American Poetry.”

We believe that the excellent reputation of our M.F.A. program is created by our faculty and the writers we graduate. Therefore, our primary goal is to connect our students with solid writers who will aid in their artistic and intellectual development.

The main criterion for admission is a writing sample in either fiction or poetry. We look for writers with distinctive or developing voices, a sense of cultural or social awareness, and a yearning to expand one’s use of the craft. It’s simple; if you’re good at what you do, we want you to study with us.

We encourage but do not favor undergraduate degrees in Creative Writing or English. Our students and graduates come from various fields, from physics to theater, and all of them enrich the writing experience. Some of our applicants are establishing themselves as writers, while some already have books published, but need the M.F.A. degree to advance in their teaching careers. Whatever level you find yourself at, we welcome your work.

Our classes and discussions are held in English, however if you feel more comfortable, or feel like exploring language, you may submit your creative assignments in Spanish.

We look forward to hearing from you.

No matter where you are in the world, write with us.

Sylvia Aguilar-Zéleny, Advisor for the Online MFA

For questions concerning the M.F.A. curriculum itself, please write us at [email protected]

For questions about the application process, please contact [email protected]

Maestría en Escritura Creativa en Línea de UTEP

La Universidad de Texas en El Paso se enorgullece en ofrecer la Maestría en Escritura Creativa en línea completamente en español. Ahora también los escritores latinos podrán realizar sus estudios de posgrado con nosotros en tu idioma y desde cualquier lugar del mundo.

El programa consta de 48 créditos académicos a completar en el curso de tres años. Nuestras materias cubren un amplio rango de tópicos como traducción literaria, guión, crónica, novela corta y prosa poética, entre otros. Además, si eres bilingüe puedes optar por llevar materias en inglés.

Nuestro objetivo es preparar a los escritores para que publiquen y emprendan una carrera como maestros a nivel licenciatura y posgrado. La tesis a desarrollar dentro del programa es un libro en los géneros de poesía, ficción, o no ficción. Así que al graduarte estarás listo para el mundo editorial.

Aceptamos postulantes de cualquier parte del mundo y de diversas carreras. Aunque la gran mayoría de ellos vienen del área de literatura, nuestros alumnos y graduados provienen también de áreas como física, comunicación, y teatro, consolidándose así un diálogo enriquecedor.

Buscamos escritores que tengan conciencia intercultural y social, así como un deseo por ampliar la técnica de su oficio. Todos nuestros profesores son escritores activos y destacados en la escena literaria de las Américas. Cada uno de ellos habrá de contribuir en tu desarrollo artístico e intelectual. Esta es tu oportunidad de discutir tu trabajo con voces experimentadas y consolidar tu progreso literario.

Nuestras clases son impartidas en inglés, sin embargo, nuestro profesorado es bilingüe, esto te permite escribir en el idioma que más te sientas cómodo, español o inglés, como prefieras.

Envíanos tu solicitud, queremos que estudies con nosotros, no importa en qué parte del mundo estés.

Consejera del MFA en Línea

Universidad de Texas en El Paso. Para preguntas sobre el programa, por favor contactar a [email protected]

Preguntas sobre el proceso de admisión, por favor contactar a Samantharai Yrigoyen [email protected]

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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Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

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, 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

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Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing (MFA) is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online MFA Creative Writing

Master’s in creative writing programs are ideal for students who love writing and aspire to make a living through the craft.Creative writers build worlds, develop stories, and create characters that engage and entertain readers. Writers often choose genres and stories that relate to their own interests. For instance, a traveler may write creative nonfiction pieces about tourist locations, and writers who are interested in the American West often write western novels.

Creative writing graduates can also pursue careers in other fields. For example, they may write marketing advertisements, political speeches, or technical pieces for instructional manuals. Over half of writers and authors are self-employed.

These careers require editing, writing, and research skills. Editors must also have an understanding of genre fundamentals. To gain the necessary knowledge, students can earn a master’s in creative writing online.

The following guide provides information about the top online writing programs in the country and what you can do with a creative writing degree after graduation.

Featured MFA Programs

The Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing Programs

#1 Online College in Massachusetts

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.

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Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Emerson offers an online master’s program in popular fiction writing and publishing. This program requires 36 credit hours to graduate: 16 credits of writing workshop, eight credits of literature courses, eight credits of publishing courses, and four credits of master’s thesis.

The master’s thesis is a novel or a novel excerpt with a minimum of 100 pages. Students have seven genres of writing to explore, including romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, thrillers, and young adult.

Prospective students should submit two letters of recommendation and an essay to apply.

Available Scholarships: Regardless of when prospective students apply, all applicants are automatically qualified for a scholarship.

#2 Online College in Texas

The University of Texas at El Paso

School Information
Location El Paso, Texas
Admission Rate 100%
Graduation Rate 37%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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School Type: Public

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Based in El Paso, Texas, the UTEP offers a fully online master’s in creative writing degree.

The program requires 48 hours of coursework to graduate, which includes 42 hours of workshops and literature classes (14 courses) and six hours of thesis work. For the thesis, students complete a publishable manuscript in poetry or fiction. Though classes are held in English, students can submit their creative assignments in Spanish.

Prospective students should submit a writing sample in either fiction or poetry as a part of their admissions application. Undergraduate degrees in creative writing or English are encouraged, but not required.

Available Scholarships: Graduate students can apply for external scholarships through UTEP’s Scholarmine search engine.

#3 Online College in Nebraska

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.

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Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Fiction; creative nonfiction; poetry; playwriting; screenwriting; young adult

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, UNO offers a master of fine arts in writing with six concentration toptions, including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, and young adult. Degree completion requires 60 credit hours.

The program combines four 16-week at-home semesters with five 10-day conference-style residencies. Students, mentors, and visiting writers meet at the Lied Lodge & Conference Center twice a year.

  • Pathway 1: Traditional low-residency MFA in writing
  • Pathway 2: Partial substitution of credit hours already earned
  • Pathway 3: Partial substitution of credit hours earned through additional coursework

Available Scholarships: Prospective graduate students can apply for the Jump Start Scholarship. The scholarship amount is the same regardless of state residency.

#4 Online College in Florida

Saint Leo University

School Information
Location Saint Leo, Florida
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 49%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Saint Leo is a private, Roman Catholic liberal arts university in St. Leo, Florida. The university offers a master’s in creative writing students can complete in just two years.

This 36-credit-hour online MFA degree comprises three summer residencies, four semesters of coursework, and a book-length thesis of the student’s work. Enrollees are mentored one-on-one with a member of core faculty, all of whom are nationally-recognized published authors.

Saint Leo’s unique master of arts program gives students the option to explore war literature and writing for veterans.

Available Scholarships: Prospective graduate students can apply for privately funded scholarships through Saint Leo’s online portal.

#5 Online College in Washington

Central Washington University

School Information
Location Ellensburg, Washington
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 58%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

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School Type: Public

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Located in Ellensburg, Washington, CWU offers a 45-credit-hour master of arts in professional and creative writing students can complete fully online or in multi-modality. This program has no residencies or synchronous requirements.

Award-winning writers working in poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction mentor program enrollees. Students learn to hone in their professional writing skills from fields, such as advanced technical writing and documentation, rhetoric and persuasive writing, and research methods.

Unlike other traditional graduate degrees in writing, CWU’s program combines both professional and creative writing education.

Available Scholarships: New students can explore financial aid through the CWU Scholarship Office, and graduate students can apply for the CWURA Graduate Student Scholarship.

What Is an Online Master’s in Creative Writing Degree?

A master’s in writing develops research, writing, and editing skills and explores story elements in different genres. For example, poetry learners study rhyme and meter, while children’s writers explore child psychology and common writing techniques. Required courses often cover character development, setting research, and publishing.

Creative writing programs often include literature courses in which learners analyze famous works for writing insights. Students also create new pieces and critique classmates’ work in writing workshops. These workshops hone writing, editing, and proofreading skills and increase students’ professional networks. Additional requirements may include a thesis, portfolio, or internship.

Admission requirements often include writing samples and personal statements. Ideal applicants have previous writing experience.

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Choosing an Online Program

Prospective students should consider program quality and flexibility when choosing a master’s in writing. Learners may prefer departments with published authors as faculty, or they may prefer a program that offers the flexibility of asynchronous courses. They should also consider concentration options, completion times, and tuition costs.

The following guide provides more tips on finding the right program.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master’s in Creative Writing Program?

Online MFA in creative writing programs usually offer concentrations in poetry, fiction writing, and creative nonfiction. Most programs include workshops and lectures on writing concepts like character building and plot development. These programs also introduce learners to different genres and often require a thesis.

Below are three common courses in online writing programs.

Master’s in Creative Writing Curriculum

Literary Genres for Writers

This course covers fiction and related subgenres, such as fantasy, romance, and historical fiction. Students explore the structures and general expectations of these genres. The course may also focus on a single type of writing, such as poetry, memoir, or nonfiction.

Character Development

This course trains students to create effective, believable characters. Coursework may prioritize character realism, consistency, and psychology within the story’s context. Students examine the necessary traits of major and minor characters and build a portfolio of several character outlines.

Writing a Short Story

Learners in this course study short stories and analyze elements of writing styles. Additional topics may include syntax and short story structures. Students create a short story and undergo peer review to receive feedback. Programs may offer similar classes focused on other forms of writing, like nonfiction, poetry, or television writing.

AWP provides an online tool that allows users to search for writing programs by location, genre, and degree. The association connects website visitors with writing contests, funding, job opportunities, and avenues to publication. Professionals can also attend the annual AWP book fair and conference or browse the online database to find other meetings.

The Authors Guild supports writers by offering panels, book launches, and book expos. Website visitors can browse contests in fiction, poetry, and translations, or they can seek out fellowships and workshops. Members receive legal assistance for book contracts, access to writing resources, and insurance against copyright disputes.

The Writer’s Center offers writing workshops for specific age groups, including adults, teenagers, and children. Members can also attend book launches and an annual poetry reading. This organization offers editing and project advising and maintains a blog that covers industry topics like publication practices, genre word counts, beta readers, and author experiences.

Careers in Creative Writing

Earning a master’s in creative writing online prepares students to craft creative messages for books, articles, advertisements, speeches, scripts, and social media posts. Graduates can pursue any field that involves message creation and delivery.

The best candidates for writing careers are creative and have a strong grasp on writing structure and effective communication. Creative writers should also understand research methods, work well within deadlines, and be able to accept constructive criticism from editors. Below are a few creative writing jobs that graduates can pursue.

Writers and Authors

Writers and Authorsresearch and write pieces for magazines, websites, publishing houses, and blogs, and may also create scripts for television, movies, or plays. They may write books for traditional or self-publishing in genres like fantasy, romance, mystery, and nonfiction.

Authors often polish their works based on editor critiques and may need to market their work as well. Companies usually expect writers to have a college degree and writing experience.

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make publication decisions for companies and help writers develop stories into polished products. These professionals may review small writing issues, like spelling and grammar, or larger issues, like structure, factual accuracy, continuity, and clarity.

Specific job titles include copy editor, publication assistant, and executive editor. Editors often work at newspaper and book publishing companies, or they work freelance.

Earning a master’s in creative writing online gives prospective editors an advantage when competing for jobs.

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help organizations create and uphold a positive image for the public, affecting their relationship with customers and investors. These professionals create press releases, write speeches, and research consumer preferences through social media. Public relations specialists may also review advertisements and communicate with media outlets about publicity opportunities.

These professionals can find work at advertising, educational, business, and government organizations. They need a bachelor’s in a field like English, journalism, or communication. Employers may also require a portfolio and field experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master’s in Creative Writing Program?

Most students can earn a master’s in writing in around two years.

What Can I Do With a Master’s in Creative Writing?

This degree prepares students for careers as authors, editors, reporters, and public relations specialists. Graduates can also teach creative writing at colleges.

Is a Master’s in Creative Writing Worth It?

Many writing careers do not require a master’s degree. However, online writing programs help students polish writing skills, which can improve their salary and career prospects.

Can I Teach English With a Creative Writing Degree?

Earning a master’s in writing online qualifies graduates to teach English courses at many colleges, as an MFA is often the minimum qualification for these roles. However, some schools require a doctorate for teaching positions.

What Is a Master’s in Creative Writing?

Online MFA in creative writing programs explore brainstorming, writing, and editing practices for different genres. These programs often culminate in a thesis or portfolio.