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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 12 best creative writing colleges and programs.
Finding a dedicated creative writing program at a school you're excited about can be a real challenge, and that's even before you start worrying about getting in. Nonetheless, there are some great options. In order to help you find the best school for you, this list rounds up some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States .
The Best Creative Writing Programs: Ranking Criteria
You should never take college rankings as absolute truth —not even the very official-seeming US News ones. Instead, use these kinds of lists as a jumping-off place for your own exploration of colleges. Pay attention not just to what the rankings are but to how the rankings are determined.
To help with that, I'll explain how I came up with this highly unscientific list of great creative writing colleges. I started by narrowing my search down to schools that offered a specific creative writing major. (If you don't see a school you were expecting, it's likely because they only have a minor.)
In ranking the schools, I considered five major criteria:
- #1: MFA Ranking —If a school has a great graduate creative writing program, it means you'll be taught by those same professors and the excellent graduate students they attract. Schools with strong MFA programs are also more likely to have solid alumni networks and internship opportunities. However, many schools with great undergrad programs do not offer MFAs, in which case I simply focused on the other four options.
- #2: General School Reputation —The vast majority of your classes won't be in creative writing, so it's important that other parts of the school, especially the English department, are great as well.
- #3: Extracurricular Opportunities —One of the key advantages of majoring in creative writing is that it can provide access to writing opportunities outside the classroom, so I took what kind of internship programs, author readings, and literary magazines the school offers into consideration.
- #4: Diversity of Class Options —I gave extra points to schools with a variety of genre options and specific, interesting classes.
- #5: Alumni/Prestige —This last criterion is a bit more subjective: is the school known for turning out good writers? Certainly it's less important than what kind of education you'll actually get, but having a brand-name degree (so to speak) can be helpful.
The Best Creative Writing Schools
Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of schools! The exact numbering is always arguable, so look at it as a general trend from absolutely amazing to still super great, rather than fixating on why one school is ranked #3 and another is ranked #4.
#1: Northwestern University
Northwestern's undergrad creative writing program boasts acclaimed professors and an unparalleled track record of turning out successful writers (including Divergent author Veronica Roth and short-story writer Karen Russell).
Outside the classroom, you can work on the student-run literary journal, intern at a publication in nearby Chicago, or submit to the Department of English's yearly writing competition . The university is also home to a top journalism program , so if you want to try your hand at nonfiction as well, you'll have plenty of opportunities to do so.
#2: Columbia University
Like Northwestern, Columbia is home to both a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school (plus one of the best English departments in the country), so you have a wide range of writing-related course options. Columbia also benefits from its location in New York City, which is bursting at the seams with publishing houses, literary journals, and talented authors.
#3: University of Iowa
The University of Iowa's big draw is the infrastructure of its graduate Writers' Workshop, which is often considered the best MFA program in the country.
As an English and Creative Writing major here, you'll take classes from great young writers and established professors alike, and get to choose from a wide range of topics. This major provides transferable skills important for a liberal arts major with a creative focus. You'll also have access to the university's impressive literary community, including frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and the acclaimed literary journal The Iowa Review .
#4: Emory University
Emory is renowned for its dedicated undergrad creative writing program , which draws the very best visiting scholars and writers. Students here have the chance to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors, study a range of genres, compete for writing awards and scholarships, and work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project.
#5: Oberlin College
A small liberal arts school in Ohio, Oberlin offers very different advantages than the schools above do. You'll have fewer opportunities to pursue writing in the surrounding city, but the quality of the teachers and the range of courses might make up for that. Moreover, it boasts just as impressive alumni, including actress and writer Lena Dunham.
#6: Hamilton College
Hamilton is another small college, located in upstate New York. It's known for giving students the freedom to pursue their interests and the support to help them explore topics in real depth, both inside and outside the classroom. Hamilton's creative writing program takes full advantage with small classes and lots of opportunities to intern and publish; it also has one of the best writing centers in the country.
#7: Brown University
Brown's Literary Arts program offers one of the top MFAs in the US as well as an undergraduate major . For the major, you must take four creative writing workshops and six reading-intensive courses, which span an array of departments and topics, from music and literature to Middle East studies and Egyptology.
#8: Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University has an excellent creative writing MFA program, lots of super specific class options, and a number of scholarships specifically earmarked for creative writing students. This school’s undergraduate English program also offers a concentration in creative writing that allows students to specialize in a specific genre: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. If you’re interested in exploring your potential in a specific writing genre, Washington University could be a great pick for you.
#9: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT might not be a school you generally associate with writing, but it actually has an excellent program that offers courses in digital media and science writing, as well as creative writing, and provides plenty of guidance on how graduates can navigate the tricky job market.
Not to mention the school is located in Cambridge, a haven for book lovers and writers of all kinds. Though it probably isn’t a good fit for students who hate science, MIT is a great place for aspiring writers who want to build writing skills that are marketable in a wide range of industries.
#10: University of Michigan
University of Michigan is one of the best state universities in the country and has a top-notch MFA program. This school’s undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications give students crucial practice in both building a writing portfolio and articulating their interest in creative writing to an audience who will evaluate their work. If you're looking to attend a big school with a great creative writing major, this is a fantastic choice.
#11: Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins is another school that's known more for engineering than it is for writing, but, like MIT, it has a dedicated writing program. As a major here, you must take not only courses in prose, poetry, and literature, but also classes on topics such as philosophy and history.
#12: Colorado College
Colorado College is a small liberal arts school known for its block plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. The creative writing track of the English major includes a sequence of four writing workshops and also requires students to attend every reading of the Visiting Writers Series.
Bonus School: New York University
I didn't include NYU in the main list because it doesn't have a dedicated creative writing major, but it's a great school for aspiring writers nonetheless, offering one of the most impressive creative writing faculties in the country and all the benefits of a Manhattan location.
How To Pick the Best Creative Writing School for You
Just because Northwestern is a great school for creative writing doesn't mean you should set your heart on going there. (The football fans are completely terrifying, for one thing.) So where should you go then?
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at creative writing programs to help you determine the best school for you:
Does It Have Courses You're Interested In?
Look at the course offerings and see whether they interest you. While you can't predict exactly what classes you'll love, you want to avoid a mismatch where what you want to study and what the program offers are completely different. For example, if you want to write sonnets but the school focuses more on teaching fiction, it probably won't be a great fit for you.
Also, don't forget to look at the English courses and creative writing workshops! In most programs, you'll be taking a lot of these, too.
What Opportunities Are There To Pursue Writing Outside of Class?
I touched on this idea in the criteria section, but it's important enough that I want to reiterate it here. Some of the best writing experience you can get is found outside the classroom, so see what kind of writing-related extracurriculars a school has before committing to it.
Great options include getting involved with the campus newspaper, working on the school's literary journal, or interning at the university press.
Who Will Be Teaching You?
Who are the professors? What kind of work have they published? Check teacher ratings on Rate My Professors (but make sure to read the actual reviews—and always take them with a grain of salt).
If you're looking at a big school, there's a good chance that a lot of your teachers will be graduate students. But that's not necessarily a bad thing: a lot of the best teachers I had in college were graduate students. Just take into consideration what kind of graduate program the school has. If there's a great creative writing MFA program, then the graduate students are likely to be better writers and more engaged teachers.
What Are the Alumni Doing Now?
If you have a sense of what you want to do after you graduate, see if any alumni of the program are pursuing that type of career. The stronger the alumni network is, the more connections you'll have when it comes time to get a job.
What About the Rest of the School?
Don't pick a school for which you like the creative writing program but dread everything else about it. Most of your time will be spent doing other things, whether hanging out in the dorms, exploring off campus, or fulfilling general education requirements.
Many schools require you to apply to the creative writing major, so make doubly sure you'll be happy with your choice even if you aren't accepted to the program.
Are you sure a creative writing major is the right fit for you? Read our post on the pros and cons of the major to help you decide what path to take in college.
For more general advice about choosing a college, check out our complete guide to finding the right school for you. Some major factors to consider include deciding whether you're interested in a small college or a big university , an in-state or out-of-state institution , and a public or private school .
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Alex is an experienced tutor and writer. Over the past five years, she has worked with almost a hundred students and written about pop culture for a wide range of publications. She graduated with honors from University of Chicago, receiving a BA in English and Anthropology, and then went on to earn an MA at NYU in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar, took 12 AP tests and scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and ACT.
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Writing in the Disciplines
These colleges typically make the writing process a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum. Students are encouraged to produce and refine various forms of writing for different audiences in different disciplines. In spring and summer 2023, we invited college presidents, chief academic officers, deans of students and deans of admissions from more than 1,500 schools to nominate up to 15 institutions with stellar examples of writing in the disciplines. Colleges and universities that received 10 or more nominations are ranked here. Read the methodology »
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- #1 in Writing in the Disciplines
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At Brown University, undergraduate students are responsible for designing their own academic study with more than 80 concentration programs to choose from. Another unique offering at this private, Ivy League institution in Providence, Rhode Island, is the Program in Liberal Medical Education, which grants both a bachelor’s degree and medical degree in eight years.
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New York, NY
- #2 in Writing in the Disciplines
- #12 in National Universities (tie)
Columbia University has three undergraduate schools: Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and the School of General Studies. This Ivy League, private school guarantees students housing for all four years on campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood in New York City.
- #3 in Writing in the Disciplines (tie)
- #7 in National Universities (tie)
Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is a private institution that has liberal arts and engineering programs for undergraduates. The Duke Blue Devils sports teams have a fierce rivalry with the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Tar Heels and are best known for their outstanding men's basketball program.
- #1 in National Universities
The ivy-covered campus of Princeton University, a private institution, is located in the quiet town of Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton was the first university to offer a "no loan" policy to financially needy students, giving grants instead of loans to accepted students who need help paying tuition.
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
- #5 in Writing in the Disciplines (tie)
- #93 in National Universities (tie)
The University of Iowa offers top-notch academic programming in more than 100 areas. Students looking to hone their leadership skills have many options, too: They can enroll in the LeaderShape Institute, a six-day getaway workshop; or participate in one of the many programs offered through the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership, including arts and entertainment, and multicultural programs. Freshmen do not have to live on campus, but about 95 percent choose to do so. Campus life may pose a challenge to tobacco users, as Iowa is a smoke-free campus. Students have more than 500 clubs and organizations from which to choose, and close to 10 percent of students go Greek as members of the school's more than 50 fraternities and sororities. Sports are another big focus of campus life; even in the competitive NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference, the Iowa Hawkeyes are notorious players. Four blocks from campus is Iowa City, a Midwestern metropolis that has been recognized among the nation’s best for its scenery, greenery and sustainable energy efforts.
New Haven, CT
- #5 in National Universities
Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, offers a small college life with the resources of a major research institution. Yale students are divided into 14 residential colleges that foster a supportive environment for living, learning and socializing.
- #7 in Writing in the Disciplines
Cornell University, a private school in Ithaca, New York, has 14 colleges and schools. Each admits its own students, though every graduate receives a degree from Cornell University. The university has more than 1,000 student organizations on campus.
- #8 in Writing in the Disciplines
- #9 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)
Carleton College is a private school in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota. Carls, as its students are known, have about 35 majors to choose from and more than 170 organizations to check out.
- #9 in Writing in the Disciplines
- #4 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)
About 10 miles outside of Philadelphia is Swarthmore College, a private liberal arts institution that also offers a unique engineering degree program. Because Swarthmore is part of the Tri-College Consortium, students can also take courses at nearby Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College.
- #10 in Writing in the Disciplines (tie)
- #2 in National Liberal Arts Colleges
Amherst College, a private school in Amherst, Massachusetts, is known for its rigorous academic climate. Because Amherst is a member of the Five Colleges consortium, students can also take courses at Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts—Amherst.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA •
- • Rating 4.16 out of 5 659 reviews
Freshman: Studying at the MIT has been an enlightening and enriching journey. The opportunity to learn from some of the most distinguished professors and work with bright, ambitious peers is unparalleled. The curriculum is rigorous and challenging, which I appreciate as it pushes students to their intellectual limits. MIT's focus on combining theory with practical application is particularly engaging. For example, not only did I learn the theory behind machine learning algorithms, but I also got to implement these algorithms to solve real-world problems. This hands-on approach is what sets MIT apart from many other institutions. Furthermore, MIT's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is highly motivating. The environment encourages students to think outside the box, fostering an innovative mindset. It's also commonplace for undergraduates to work in research labs, contributing to groundbreaking advancements in various fields. ... Read 659 reviews
- grade A+ Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 4%
Net price $30,958
SAT range 1510-1580
#3 Best Colleges in America .
CAMBRIDGE, MA ,
659 Niche users give it an average review of 4.2 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says Studying at the MIT has been an enlightening and enriching journey. The opportunity to learn from some of the most distinguished professors and work with bright, ambitious peers is unparalleled. The curriculum is rigorous and challenging, which I appreciate as it pushes students to their intellectual limits. MIT's focus on combining theory with practical application is particularly engaging.... Furthermore, MIT's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is highly motivating. The environment encourages students to think outside the box, fostering an innovative mindset. It's also... .
Read 659 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : A+ ,
Acceptance Rate : 4% ,
Net Price : $30,958 ,
SAT Range : 1510-1580 ,
New York, NY •
- • Rating 3.82 out of 5 1,331 reviews
Junior: As a Columbia University student, I am proud of myself and I feel very lucky. The school's name alone boasts prestige and prominence, as so many Nobel Prize winners, presidents, and successful businesspeople hail from the university. To be a part of this community, one that fosters community support as well as a push to strive for self improvement and global impact, has been incredibly motivating and exhilarating for me. I am very satisfied by the quality of my teachers and peers. The only things I would change are the tuition price and the humidity of NYC in the summer! ... Read 1,331 reviews
Net price $12,411
SAT range 1470-1570
#6 Best Colleges in America .
NEW YORK, NY ,
1331 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says As a Columbia University student, I am proud of myself and I feel very lucky. The school's name alone boasts prestige and prominence, as so many Nobel Prize winners, presidents, and successful... .
Read 1331 reviews.
Net Price : $12,411 ,
SAT Range : 1470-1570 ,
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA •
- • Rating 3.89 out of 5 1,337 reviews
Sophomore: As a University of Pennsylvania student, my experience has been transformative. The academic rigor and diverse courses allowed me to explore passions and develop critical thinking. Accessible and knowledgeable faculty shaped my journey, while the vibrant campus life fostered a sense of community among students from diverse backgrounds. I appreciate the emphasis on research opportunities, collaborating with renowned scholars, and Philadelphia's cultural scene, offering internships and networking. However, addressing the cost of attendance with more financial aid options and scholarships is essential for equal access. Moreover, enhancing inclusivity and support for underrepresented groups would strengthen our community further. Overall, UPenn has provided exceptional opportunities, but improvements can make it an even more accessible and inclusive institution for all students. ... Read 1,337 reviews
Acceptance rate 6%
Net price $14,578
SAT range 1480-1570
#7 Best Colleges in America .
PHILADELPHIA, PA ,
1337 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says As a University of Pennsylvania student, my experience has been transformative. The academic rigor and diverse courses allowed me to explore passions and develop critical thinking. Accessible and... However, addressing the cost of attendance with more financial aid options and scholarships is essential for equal access. Moreover, enhancing inclusivity and support for underrepresented groups... .
Read 1337 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 6% ,
Net Price : $14,578 ,
SAT Range : 1480-1570 ,
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Western Wyoming Community College
ROCK SPRINGS, WY
- • Rating 4.03 out of 5 282
Southern Methodist University
- • Rating 3.85 out of 5 1,562
Sweet Briar College
SWEET BRIAR, VA
- • Rating 3.56 out of 5 409
Hanover, NH •
- • Rating 3.87 out of 5 736 reviews
Junior: I am a transfer student athlete and am planning to attend Dartmouth in the fall. What I loved on my visit was the family atmosphere amongst the faculty and the close relationships they had with their students. I believe that it is important to put an emphasis on undergraduate education and Dartmouth does that the best in comparison to any other school in the nation. From an athletic standpoint I feel like Dartmouth has all the tools and facilities to help me achieve my athletic goals. Coming from an institution that gives athletic scholarships, Ivy leagues do not have that availability. I felt like the experiences and relationships that I would build would make it worth it to apply for scholarships online. Thank you! ... Read 736 reviews
Net price $24,078
SAT range 1440-1560
#8 Best Colleges in America .
HANOVER, NH ,
736 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says I am a transfer student athlete and am planning to attend Dartmouth in the fall. What I loved on my visit was the family atmosphere amongst the faculty and the close relationships they had with... .
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Net Price : $24,078 ,
SAT Range : 1440-1560 ,
Providence, RI •
- • Rating 3.83 out of 5 1,067 reviews
Niche User: I am currently enrolled as an incoming freshman at Brown University but I have been fortunate to participate in two of their pre-college programs. Overall, the academic resources and opportunities to explore STEM-based passions are incredibly diverse and accessible. The campus has amazing faculty that are engaged in the subject, both in and out of the classroom. They provide insightful feedback and support, especially as I had little experience doing lab work in high school. Outside the classroom, there were countless facilities and events that covered a wide variety of interests. These helped me foster a strong sense of community as I was able to connect with peers of similar likes during these events. I love how interconnected the university is with the larger city of Providence, which makes both professional and recreational engagement more accessible. Lastly, the Brown community was incredibly welcoming and supportive. Everyone there was proactive and engaged! ... Read 1,067 reviews
Net price $25,028
SAT range 1460-1570
#10 Best Colleges in America .
PROVIDENCE, RI ,
1067 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Niche User says I am currently enrolled as an incoming freshman at Brown University but I have been fortunate to participate in two of their pre-college programs. Overall, the academic resources and opportunities to... Outside the classroom, there were countless facilities and events that covered a wide variety of interests. These helped me foster a strong sense of community as I was able to connect with peers of... Lastly, the Brown community was incredibly welcoming and supportive. Everyone there was proactive and engaged! .
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Net Price : $25,028 ,
SAT Range : 1460-1570 ,
Evanston, IL •
- • Rating 3.7 out of 5 1,468 reviews
Junior: Northwestern University is a great college for students hoping to find a wide array of academic and extracurricular opportunities. Northwestern offers a wide range of courses on many different topics and because of the number of courses required to complete most majors (12-16), students in the College of Arts and Sciences are able to explore classes outside their majors at their leisure. The Quarter System can feel intimidating at first because of how fast-paced the courses can be but it also allows students to take more classes each year than a semester system which means students get to learn even more! Campus is also beautiful, located right next to Lake Michigan, so students are able to spend time outside of class at the beach and walking on the Lakefill. ... Read 1,468 reviews
Acceptance rate 7%
Net price $29,999
#15 Best Colleges in America .
EVANSTON, IL ,
1468 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says Northwestern University is a great college for students hoping to find a wide array of academic and extracurricular opportunities. Northwestern offers a wide range of courses on many different topics... .
Read 1468 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 7% ,
Net Price : $29,999 ,
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Washington University in St. Louis
Saint Louis, MO •
- • Rating 4.1 out of 5 1,559 reviews
Alum: I am thankful for my undergraduate experience at Washington University in St. Louis. The college has great connections for post-grad opportunities in multiple fields - business, medicine, research, engineering. I was easily able to switch between the Arts & Sciences program and the Business School at the end of my sophomore year. There is a huge focus on medicine, so even for other career paths there are healthcare adjacent offerings (e.g. Healthcare Management, Bio Medical Engineering, Global Health, Psychology/Neuroscience/Philosophy). The brand name and resources do carry for other non-health related professions too. The classwork can be tough so it's best you find out which paths are a good fit for you in terms of academic rigor, class size, and teaching style. Your counselors can help with this. Good size of the school - not too big to get lost, but not too small to know everyone and the campus is very very beautiful! I suggest visiting and talking to alum to learn more! ... Read 1,559 reviews
Acceptance rate 13%
Net price $28,298
SAT range 1490-1570
#16 Best Colleges in America .
SAINT LOUIS, MO ,
1559 Niche users give it an average review of 4.1 stars.
Featured Review: Alum says I am thankful for my undergraduate experience at Washington University in St. Louis. The college has great connections for post-grad opportunities in multiple fields - business, medicine, research,... Good size of the school - not too big to get lost, but not too small to know everyone and the campus is very very beautiful! I suggest visiting and talking to alum to learn more! .
Read 1559 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 13% ,
Net Price : $28,298 ,
SAT Range : 1490-1570 ,
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA •
- • Rating 3.7 out of 5 1,467 reviews
Sophomore: I'm currently considering a shift to the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts Degree (BXA). CMU's versatility in offering such a unique blend of art and tech truly speaks to its pioneering spirit in education. It’s not every day you find a university that allows you to bridge two seemingly disparate fields in such a cohesive manner. However, like all institutions, there's always room for improvement. I'd love to see more inter-departmental collaborations. Given the vast array of talent and expertise at CMU, I believe fostering more interdisciplinary projects can lead to even more groundbreaking work. All in all, Carnegie Mellon has given me an environment where I can grow academically while also nurturing my personal interests. If you're looking for a place that challenges you, offers diverse programs, and fosters a sense of community, CMU might just be the place for you! ... Read 1,467 reviews
Acceptance rate 14%
Net price $37,450
SAT range 1480-1560
#20 Best Colleges in America .
PITTSBURGH, PA ,
1467 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says I'm currently considering a shift to the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts Degree (BXA). CMU's versatility in offering such a unique blend of art and tech truly speaks to its pioneering spirit in... However, like all institutions, there's always room for improvement. I'd love to see more inter-departmental collaborations. Given the vast array of talent and expertise at CMU, I believe fostering... All in all, Carnegie Mellon has given me an environment where I can grow academically while also nurturing my personal interests. If you're looking for a place that challenges you, offers diverse... .
Read 1467 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 14% ,
Net Price : $37,450 ,
SAT Range : 1480-1560 ,
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI •
- • Rating 3.94 out of 5 4,616 reviews
Senior: This is a fabulous choice school for someone looking to truly have the social and academic life balance, such as I am. This environment is more than suitable even for those who are dedicated wholeheartedly either side of that social-academic spectrum- though the opportunities for growth and exploration in each regard are something I refuse to believe can be found on any other campus. The professors are renowned in their respective fields, if not the world, and are advisable, inspiring, generous (most of the time), and constructors of some of the most effective and informative curriculums I can imagine. What is most imperative to emphasize is that exponential emotional, academic, and professional development occurs for every person. If you have faced adversity in the past or are entering college first-gen like me, attending UM will open your eyes, open doors, and change your life past in the best way while you overcome challenges you never thought you could. But it's definitely hard! ... Read 4,616 reviews
Acceptance rate 20%
Net price $19,205
SAT range 1340-1520
#21 Best Colleges in America .
ANN ARBOR, MI ,
4616 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says This is a fabulous choice school for someone looking to truly have the social and academic life balance, such as I am. This environment is more than suitable even for those who are dedicated... .
Read 4616 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 20% ,
Net Price : $19,205 ,
SAT Range : 1340-1520 ,
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL •
- • Rating 3.81 out of 5 1,286 reviews
Senior: At UChicago, I found the ideal blend of rigorous academics, preprofessional resources, and an extensive alumni network, which has paved the way for my dream job in private equity investment post graduation. The academic program here is intellectually stimulating, challenging me to think critically and hone analytical skills. Collaborations with Booth Business School and the Harris School of Public Policy (YES! you can take classes at these schools during college!) have been instrumental, offering practical courses and diverse perspectives. The university's preprofessional support at Career Advancement Office has been outstanding, guiding me through internships and career development. The alumni network, filled with successful professionals, has provided invaluable mentorship and networking opportunities. The University of Chicago has been the perfect launchpad for my education and career development, and I never regret taking the offer during RD a few years back. ... Read 1,286 reviews
Net price $33,727
#23 Best Colleges in America .
CHICAGO, IL ,
1286 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says At UChicago, I found the ideal blend of rigorous academics, preprofessional resources, and an extensive alumni network, which has paved the way for my dream job in private equity investment post... The academic program here is intellectually stimulating, challenging me to think critically and hone analytical skills. Collaborations with Booth Business School and the Harris School of Public... The university's preprofessional support at Career Advancement Office has been outstanding, guiding me through internships and career development. The alumni network, filled with successful... The University of Chicago has been the perfect launchpad for my education and career development, and I never regret taking the offer during RD a few years back. .
Read 1286 reviews.
Net Price : $33,727 ,
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD •
- • Rating 3.67 out of 5 1,395 reviews
Sophomore: Hopkins is great! There's always something to do - lots of student organisations, interesting classes, events, parties and places to go to in Baltimore. Labs are very open to taking on undergraduate research assistants. It is more of a struggle narrowing down potential activities to what I can manage than to find things to fill my time. Classes are interesting and a wide range is available. However, some of them are definitely challenging and take up quite a lot of time! It is also difficult to get and maintain a high GPA in most classes because everyone is super smart. Food options are not bad, it varies from time to time and depends on which dining hall but I'm mostly happy with it, and Baltimore has great food options. Dorms are also relatively clean and have good facilities. A disadvantage about Hopkins is the safety around campus, it is mostly safe but sometimes there are robberies or burglaries near campus. ... Read 1,395 reviews
Acceptance rate 8%
Net price $20,680
SAT range 1470-1560
#24 Best Colleges in America .
BALTIMORE, MD ,
1395 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says Hopkins is great! There's always something to do - lots of student organisations, interesting classes, events, parties and places to go to in Baltimore. Labs are very open to taking on undergraduate... Classes are interesting and a wide range is available. However, some of them are definitely challenging and take up quite a lot of time! It is also difficult to get and maintain a high GPA in most... Food options are not bad, it varies from time to time and depends on which dining hall but I'm mostly happy with it, and Baltimore has great food options. Dorms are also relatively clean and have... .
Read 1395 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 8% ,
Net Price : $20,680 ,
SAT Range : 1470-1560 ,
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA •
- • Rating 3.98 out of 5 4,003 reviews
Sophomore: So far I have not started my sophomore year as I am transferring from Pepperdine University. However, from what I have heard, seen, and experienced from USC is that it gives students the opportunity to explore their creative and intellectual sides simultaneously. I recently attended a transfer orientation session and it was filled with school spirit and gave us transfer students an opportunity to connect with the school as well as with other transfers. This orientation was packed with exciting events that truly made each person who attended eager to get on campus in August. USC offers many different programs along with a variety of specific classes and clubs. I am excited to see how this year goes and I am looking forward to joining the many opportunities that USC offers their students! ... Read 4,003 reviews
Net price $26,021
SAT range 1410-1540
#26 Best Colleges in America .
LOS ANGELES, CA ,
4003 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says So far I have not started my sophomore year as I am transferring from Pepperdine University. However, from what I have heard, seen, and experienced from USC is that it gives students the opportunity... .
Read 4003 reviews.
Net Price : $26,021 ,
SAT Range : 1410-1540 ,
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Atlanta, GA •
- • Rating 3.83 out of 5 1,594 reviews
Freshman: I have the pleasure of attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and overall, my experience has been extremely positive. Emory is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. The university boasts an impressive faculty, a plethora of academic programs, and a vibrant campus community. However, I do believe there is room for Emory to improve in a couple of areas. The administrative processes, at times, can be a bit cumbersome and bureaucratic. Streamlining these processes would alleviate some frustrations for both students and faculty. Additionally, while Emory has a multitude of extracurricular activities, there is a need for more community engagement opportunities that connect students with the surrounding Atlanta area. ... Read 1,594 reviews
Net price $28,367
SAT range 1420-1540
#36 Best Colleges in America .
ATLANTA, GA ,
1594 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says I have the pleasure of attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and overall, my experience has been extremely positive. Emory is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence, and it certainly... However, I do believe there is room for Emory to improve in a couple of areas. The administrative processes, at times, can be a bit cumbersome and bureaucratic. Streamlining these processes would... .
Read 1594 reviews.
Net Price : $28,367 ,
SAT Range : 1420-1540 ,
Wellesley, MA •
- • Rating 3.77 out of 5 623 reviews
Sophomore: As a sophomore, my knowledge may be slightly limited, but my experience with Wellesley College has been pretty good! It's a lovely campus with beautiful older buildings, small classes, and friendly students. Although the social life may be limited, I enjoy the smaller campus personally gives more of a sense of community. But I will say the dining hall food requires attention, the food served is often repetitive and gets bland quickly. Though I believe it might be because of limited resources, but that should not leave to being served chicken nuggets and fries three to four times a week. The faculty are nice and for the most part approachable, and willing to help out! There is opportunities to get involved, either through organizations or work-study. And research opportunities are available through faculty, professors (mainly in the sciences) have positions in personal labs. And various programs are available for research during the summer! Overall, so far so good and enjoying my time! ... Read 623 reviews
Acceptance rate 16%
Net price $21,862
SAT range 1400-1540
#37 Best Colleges in America .
WELLESLEY, MA ,
623 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says As a sophomore, my knowledge may be slightly limited, but my experience with Wellesley College has been pretty good! It's a lovely campus with beautiful older buildings, small classes, and friendly... .
Read 623 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 16% ,
Net Price : $21,862 ,
SAT Range : 1400-1540 ,
University of Texas - Austin
Austin, TX •
- • Rating 3.99 out of 5 6,686 reviews
Senior: I've had an amazing experience at UT. Pursuing a career in journalism, it's an honor to be studying at one of the best journalism programs in the world! I've learned so much from such amazing and accomplished journalists, and I've been able to grow my knowledge and journalistic writing and center in on exactly what path I want to go down in journalism. Along with that, I've been able to pursue other academic interests of mine through pursuing an additional degree in sociology and a certificate in human rights and social justice. I've been able to broaden my knowledge on the issues that plague marginalized communities around the world and through this I've been able to strengthen my reporting and story telling as a journalist. I've also completed four internships throughout my time at the university, and will be studying abroad in the fall! I've grown and gained so much during my time here, and I can't wait to see how much I'll learn and grow during my last year. ... Read 6,686 reviews
Acceptance rate 29%
Net price $16,589
SAT range 1230-1500
#42 Best Colleges in America .
AUSTIN, TX ,
6686 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says I've had an amazing experience at UT. Pursuing a career in journalism, it's an honor to be studying at one of the best journalism programs in the world! I've learned so much from such amazing and... .
Read 6686 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 29% ,
Net Price : $16,589 ,
SAT Range : 1230-1500 ,
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL •
- • Rating 3.86 out of 5 3,023 reviews
Freshman: I'm having a great time at UM! Move-in is phenomenal; the school provides professional movers to help families unload their vehicles and get students' belongings to the rooms. Orientation programming is fun and includes a variety of activities for students and parents. Class registration for engineering students is completely stress-free. On top of it all, classes are going well. If I had to do all over again, UM would still be my #1 choice. ... Read 3,023 reviews
Acceptance rate 28%
Net price $34,492
SAT range 1300-1460
#52 Best Colleges in America .
CORAL GABLES, FL ,
3023 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says I'm having a great time at UM! Move-in is phenomenal; the school provides professional movers to help families unload their vehicles and get students' belongings to the rooms. Orientation programming... .
Read 3023 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 28% ,
Net Price : $34,492 ,
SAT Range : 1300-1460 ,
Clinton, NY •
- • Rating 3.7 out of 5 485 reviews
Freshman: It's an amazing campus with beautiful and kind professors, students, staff, etc. Everyone is willing to help you and no one leaves you hanging. I'd really recommend checking out this college to see if it's for you! ... Read 485 reviews
Net price $26,803
#54 Best Colleges in America .
CLINTON, NY ,
485 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says It's an amazing campus with beautiful and kind professors, students, staff, etc. Everyone is willing to help you and no one leaves you hanging. I'd really recommend checking out this college to see... .
Read 485 reviews.
Net Price : $26,803 ,
University of Washington
Seattle, WA •
- • Rating 3.78 out of 5 4,607 reviews
Junior: Love the campus! The coursework is rigorous no matter your major, but there's tons of classes that are so niche and interesting to explore! This school will give you a challenge for sure! Having to apply to your major is a huge downside-- there's a decent chance you might not get to study what you want if the major is competitive and your GPA and statements aren't competitive enough (there's just too many students). Similarly, you can't take major classes until you get accepted into the major (which usually isn't until your junior year), so that can delay the graduation process if you don't schedule and plan your degree right. Because of the large student body, everyone is clawing for everything-- registration for classes is a nightmare, long lines at dining halls and events, etc. (you can expect to sometimes wait more than an hour for food, applying to housing/registration takes hours as well because the server is being filled with so many students). ... Read 4,607 reviews
Acceptance rate 53%
Net price $8,701
SAT range 1200-1470
#60 Best Colleges in America .
SEATTLE, WA ,
4607 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Junior says Love the campus! The coursework is rigorous no matter your major, but there's tons of classes that are so niche and interesting to explore! This school will give you a challenge for sure! Having to... Because of the large student body, everyone is clawing for everything-- registration for classes is a nightmare, long lines at dining halls and events, etc. (you can expect to sometimes wait more... .
Read 4607 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 53% ,
Net Price : $8,701 ,
SAT Range : 1200-1470 ,
Saint Paul, MN •
- • Rating 3.81 out of 5 467 reviews
Alum: Over my 25 years as an Academic Physician, I can say with confidence that my Mac education enabled me to be the doctor I am. Mac taught me to think critically, consider others empathetically, and stay curious about the world around me. These are the factors that truly drive my everyday practice, research, and teaching/mentoring of medical students. Mac today is even more solid than a generation ago, maintaining its excellence in teaching while supplementing with hands on internship opportunities. Thank you Macalester! ... Read 467 reviews
Acceptance rate 31%
Net price $30,939
SAT range 1340-1480
#62 Best Colleges in America .
SAINT PAUL, MN ,
467 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Alum says Over my 25 years as an Academic Physician, I can say with confidence that my Mac education enabled me to be the doctor I am. Mac taught me to think critically, consider others empathetically, and... .
Read 467 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 31% ,
Net Price : $30,939 ,
SAT Range : 1340-1480 ,
Haverford, PA •
- • Rating 3.92 out of 5 266 reviews
Sophomore: I have had a fantastic time! The small class sizes make for an individualized educational experience, and make you stand out more with your professors. ... Read 266 reviews
Acceptance rate 18%
Net price $24,462
#70 Best Colleges in America .
HAVERFORD, PA ,
266 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Sophomore says I have had a fantastic time! The small class sizes make for an individualized educational experience, and make you stand out more with your professors. .
Read 266 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 18% ,
Net Price : $24,462 ,
West Lafayette, IN •
- • Rating 3.82 out of 5 5,049 reviews
Senior: Fantastic experience thus far. I have transferred from a lackluster institution and Purdue blows it out of the water. Academics within the Polytechnic Institute have been both challenging but rewarding to pursue by yourself--or better yet with others! Campus is beautiful and is rapidly expanding upon but more housing is needed on campus and by West Lafayette (thankfully downtown Lafayette is a great off campus place to be). Opportunities no joke pop up everyday due to the connections and reputation has for its students. And nearly everyone is both kind and helpful in every aspect of your academic career. Give it a consideration, you wont regret it if you love a bigger, but personable college experience! ... Read 5,049 reviews
- grade A Overall Niche Grade
Acceptance rate 69%
Net price $14,619
SAT range 1190-1430
#79 Best Colleges in America .
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN ,
5049 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Senior says Fantastic experience thus far. I have transferred from a lackluster institution and Purdue blows it out of the water. Academics within the Polytechnic Institute have been both challenging but... .
Read 5049 reviews.
Overall Niche Grade : A ,
Acceptance Rate : 69% ,
Net Price : $14,619 ,
SAT Range : 1190-1430 ,
Waterville, ME •
- • Rating 3.78 out of 5 584 reviews
Freshman: I'm loving my time here so far! I am doing computer science, and I am in an amazing dual degree program with Columbia University for engineering. However, while still being small, the computer science department is larger than I thought it would be. ... Read 584 reviews
Acceptance rate 9%
Net price $17,912
SAT range 1400-1530
#80 Best Colleges in America .
WATERVILLE, ME ,
584 Niche users give it an average review of 3.8 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says I'm loving my time here so far! I am doing computer science, and I am in an amazing dual degree program with Columbia University for engineering. However, while still being small, the computer... .
Read 584 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 9% ,
Net Price : $17,912 ,
SAT Range : 1400-1530 ,
University of Pittsburgh
- • Rating 3.74 out of 5 4,302 reviews
Freshman: University of Pittsburgh is a great school with many diverse tools students can utilize to get the best out of their time here. From a wide range of studies to a vast option of clubs, University of Pittsburgh allows students to instantly feel connected to the school. In addition, the University of Pittsburgh has fantastic resources especially for Pre-Health related careers. With the UPMC building nearby, you can obtain your medical hours right on campus! You can easily contact a faculty member within the Pre-Health department to discuss the best academic path for you. The campus holds a variety of recreational spots including restaurants, museums, and cafes to study at. However, in the future, I hope to see the university improve their communication with their students regarding Panther Central. Panther Central is Pitt's main communication line where students can ask anything from housing to transportation. Unfortunately, the faculty takes a long time responding to students' emails. ... Read 4,302 reviews
Acceptance rate 67%
Net price $22,996
SAT range 1250-1470
#84 Best Colleges in America .
4302 Niche users give it an average review of 3.7 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says University of Pittsburgh is a great school with many diverse tools students can utilize to get the best out of their time here. From a wide range of studies to a vast option of clubs, University of... .
Read 4302 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 67% ,
Net Price : $22,996 ,
SAT Range : 1250-1470 ,
La Jolla, CA •
- • Rating 3.98 out of 5 1,155 reviews
Freshman: My experience at Narional has been good overall! The classes are set at a really good pace. The professors are super helpful and invested in the students. The only feedback for change that I have is the administration/financial aid side of things is kind of tricky once you are a student. I’ve been at National for 7 months now and still haven’t received my financial aid. Granted the school hasn’t been demanding I pay for my classes right now, I just have Large bill. And advisors don’t know much about that. They did just recently do something where they cross trained the admin team so that they are able to help with everything so that should be really helpful. I love Narional university and I would recommend them to anyone! ... Read 1,155 reviews
Acceptance rate 55%
Net price $9,966
SAT range 750-1170
#90 Best Colleges in America .
LA JOLLA, CA ,
1155 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.
Featured Review: Freshman says My experience at Narional has been good overall! The classes are set at a really good pace. The professors are super helpful and invested in the students. The only feedback for change that I have is... I love Narional university and I would recommend them to anyone! .
Read 1155 reviews.
Acceptance Rate : 55% ,
Net Price : $9,966 ,
SAT Range : 750-1170 ,
Dallas, TX •
- • Rating 3.85 out of 5 1,562 reviews
Alum: I loved my professors and program at SMU! The campus is absolutely gorgeous and it's a really good size without being too small or overwhelmingly large. The school is in the perfect location for local restaurants and shops while being 10 minutes away from the nightlife of downtown and the entertainment of the districts. Overall, it was a god experience. The people weren't my favorite, but I was still able to find my own group of people that didn't give in to the "rich-kid" stereotype the school has. I think it good work on its diversity and aid, especially in the art school. ... Read 1,562 reviews
Net price $41,986
SAT range 1340-1510
#95 Best Colleges in America .
DALLAS, TX ,
1562 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars.
Featured Review: Alum says I loved my professors and program at SMU! The campus is absolutely gorgeous and it's a really good size without being too small or overwhelmingly large. The school is in the perfect location for... .
Read 1562 reviews.
Net Price : $41,986 ,
SAT Range : 1340-1510 ,
- • Rating 3.76 out of 5 1,345
- • Rating 3.87 out of 5 474
University of Findlay
- • Rating 3.63 out of 5 873
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Best colleges for creative writing.
Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University
If you are interested in pursuing a career in writing, this guide will tell you the thirteen best colleges for creative writing.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. We’d like to update Shakespeare’s methods of achieving greatness by adding one more: attending the perfect college.
Whether your favorite twelfth-grade English teacher inspired you or you want to become the next J.K. Rowling, picking the best creative writing program is crucial to help you gain the right experience and education to enhance your writing skills and excel.
If you’re looking for good colleges for writing, read on to learn more! This guide will list the top thirteen colleges for creative writing and focus on these programs’ education, experience, and costs.
Thirteen Best Colleges for Creative Writing
To save you the worry of searching through all of the creative writing programs the country has to offer, here are the top thirteen best colleges for creative writing.
1. Brown University
If you’re wondering which school has the best creative writing program, Brown University is the top-ranked college to attend for students interested in creative writing.
Brown University’s English Department offers various courses for students to explore their interests and hone their writing skills. Students may choose to enroll in:
- English B.A. to take different types of writing courses
- Comparative Literature B.A .
- Literary Arts B.A .
Once students have completed their B.A., they can join Brown’s Literary Arts Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program, where they can specialize in their desired form of writing: fiction, poetry, digital and cross-disciplinary writing, playwriting, screenwriting, and nonfiction.
In this program, students have the opportunity to conduct their own independent study on their desired topic, which gives them excellent research and writing experience.
While this school has an amazing reputation, it is worth considering that because it is a private university, it has expensive tuition costs! Tuition and fees alone cost around $68,230 per year for undergraduate students.
If you’re interested in applying to Brown , take a look at our complete guide on how to get into this excellent school.
2.University of Iowa
Ranking second in Writing in the Disciplines , the University of Iowa is another great option to consider. This university is nationally recognized as a writing university and offers majors in English as well as English and Creative Writing.
With significantly cheaper tuition costs than the other universities mentioned, Iowa residents can expect to pay only $10,353 annually, and non-residents can expect to pay $32,316! The University of Iowa is a great college for writing if you’re on a budget.
3. Yale University
While Yale University also ranked number two in Writing in the Disciplines , it does not offer specific Creative Writing minors or majors. However, Yale offers English students the opportunity to concentrate on creative writing by taking numerous related courses .
Tuition and fee costs for Yale are $64,700 per year. To help with these costs, Yale offers financial aid, work-study, and teaching assistant positions .
4. Cornell University
Cornell University is another one of the best colleges for creative writing majors. It ranked number four in Writing in the Disciplines and allows English majors to concentrate in Creative Writing. Cornell also offers a creative writing minor .
Graduate students may also join the MFA in Creative Writing program, where they will gain hands-on experience editing and publishing fiction, poetry, essays, and more for EPOCH Magazine .
Similar to the other universities mentioned, Cornell’s tuition and fees cost $65,204 per year.
5. Harvard University
Harvard University is a prestigious school that’s on many students’ radars when they consider attending university. Tying with Cornell for the fourth spot in Writing in the Disciplines , Harvard’s prestige extends into the realm of the arts.
Harvard offers an extensive English B.A. program where students can enroll in various comprehensive creative writing courses .
In fact, there are usually no more than twelve students in each of these classes, ensuring students receive personalized teaching to really refine their writing skills and get the most out of their education. Tuition alone at Harvard costs $54,269 a year.
6. Carleton College
No list of good writing schools would be complete without liberal arts schools. Ranking number sixth in Writing in the Disciplines is the prestigious Carleton College, one of the best colleges for creative writing.
Carleton offers a B.A. in English where students can choose from a breadth of creative courses to enroll in, including a minor in creative writing . Like Brown University, it offers a specialized MFA in Creative Writing .
This college also offers courses where students can build their professional portfolios for when they graduate. Carleton College costs $65,457 in tuition and fees annually. However, Carleton offers various scholarships and aid to help students with these costs.
7. Swarthmore College
Swarthmore is tied with Carleton College for the sixth-best college for creative writing, and it was considered number three among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.
This liberal arts college offers an English B.A . and a Writing Associate program . With this English B.A., students are eligible for paid internships to produce original creative writing projects to build their portfolios and gain valuable experience. Swarthmore College costs $61,992 in tuition yearly.
8. Amherst College
Ranking #8 in Writing in the Disciplines , Amherst is another respectable school for writing majors. The college also ranks as the second school in National Liberal Arts Colleges.
This rural university offers an excellent English B.A. program that teaches students how to think critically and write well.
It also has its very own creative writing center that offers diverse creative writing courses for students. Additionally, it offers an award-winning writing program in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts. Tuition and fee cost $67,280 annually. However, Amherst offers significant financial aid based on need.
9. Duke University
Ranked ninth on our list is Duke University . Duke University offers a general B.A. in English and a creative writing minor . While it does not offer a major in creative writing, it offers various creative writing courses that English majors can take to gain more expertise in the subject.
Unlike the majority of undergraduate arts programs, Duke offers its students internships in New York. Gaining this type of experience is crucial for when you graduate and can help you land your dream job!
Tuition at Duke costs $63,450 per year. However, select students can get full-ride scholarships , which can help you get your dream degree for free!
10. Princeton University
Princeton University is one of the oldest colleges in the U.S. and consistently ranks as one of the best universities in the world. It ranks tenth in U.S. News’ Writing in the Disciplines list. Not only is Princeton a great college for writing, but it’s also ranked as the best university in the nation.
Princeton University offers an English B.A . and a creative writing program that these undergraduate students can join in combination with their B.A. In this program, students work alongside actual practicing writers to gain the most authentic knowledge and experience.
Tuition for this prestigious school is around $59,710 a year , making it one of the cheaper options on this list.
11. Columbia University
Columbia is located in the Big Apple and ranks #11 in Writing in the Disciplines.
Columbia University offers an English and Comparative Literature B.A. program with concentrations in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Literary Translation.
The Poetry concentration , in particular, is considered one of the strongest and most rigorous in the country. Columbia also offers an MFA in Writing for graduates. Columbia’s tuition costs $65,524 per academic year.
However, Columbia is dedicated to reducing students’ tuition costs and states students coming from families with annual incomes less than $150,000 are able to attend Columbia tuition-free ! According to their financial office, about 50% of all Columbia students receive grants of around $63,971.
So, if money is a major factor in your decision, rest assured you have a high chance of receiving significant grants if you attend Columbia University!
12. Hamilton College
Tying with Columbia, Hamilton College tied for the #11 spot in Writing in the Disciplines . Hamilton is one of the few universities that offers a major in creative writing and English Literature. So, if you’d rather concentrate on creative writing rather than just minoring in it, this may be the best creative writing program for you!
At this college, tuition is $65,090 per academic year. For students unable to pay these high costs, Hamilton promises to meet your full demonstrated financial need through a combination of family contributions and financial aid.
13. Agnes Scott College
Last on our list is Agnes Scott College. The college offers an English Literature - Creative Writing major filled with courses that are “characterized by frequent discussion, prioritize originality, and emphasize student-centered workshops.”
The college also runs the Agnes Scott College Annual Writers’ Festival , where writers flock to the campus to read their work and teach and talk to students. Almost every year, one writer runs a one-credit workshop for students.
Annual tuition at Agnes Scott College costs $47,820, making it one of the more affordable colleges on this list.
FAQs: Best Colleges for Creative Writing
If you’re still wondering which program is best for you, these frequently asked questions on the best colleges for creative writing majors can help you to find your answers.
1. What College Has The Best Creative Writing Program?
According to its ranking and reputation, Brown University has the best writing programs and creative writing courses.
2. What is the Best College for Aspiring Writers?
Hamilton College, the University of Iowa, and Agnes Scott College are some of the only schools offering majors in creative writing rather than just minors or courses. For those wishing to focus solely on learning how to write creatively, these universities are the best option.
3. Which Colleges Offer Writing Internships?
Duke University and Swarthmore College offer paid internship programs for their English students. Carleton College requires students to create original writing projects to build their professional portfolios, and Cornell University requires Creative Writing MFA students to edit and publish creative writing for the EPOCH Magazine.
4. What Is The Cheapest Creative Writing Program?
The University of Iowa is significantly cheaper to attend than the other best colleges for creative writing, costing only $10,353 for in-state students and $32,316 for out-of-state students. However, Columbia University offers the most extensive scholarships, as 50% of all of its students receive grants of around $63,971.
5. How Big Are Creative Writing Classes?
In general, they are relatively small compared to classes in other disciplines. For instance, each of Harvard’s creative writing courses only has about twelve students.
These small classes are great because students get to forge meaningful connections with professors (and we all know how important networking is!).
6. How Do I Decide Which Creative Writing Program Is Best For Me?
These schools are all good colleges for writing. However, the main factor you want to consider is what you wish to gain out of your program! If you want to gain a lot of hands-on experience and build your portfolio, choose a school like Duke University, Swarthmore College, or Cornell.
If you’d like to save the most money while attending university, choose a low-tuition school like The University of Iowa.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with helpful insight into the best colleges for creative writing. No matter which school you choose to attend, these thirteen schools are the very best and will truly help you kickstart your career as a writer!
As Shakespeare said, parting is such sweet sorrow. But now that you have all the information you need on the experience, education, and cost of the best creative writing programs the nation has to offer, you can pick your perfect college and program that will help you achieve greatness!
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Best Universities for Creative Writing in the World
- Art & Design
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- Environmental Science
- Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
Below is a list of best universities in the World ranked based on their research performance in Creative Writing. A graph of 1.8B citations received by 83.2M academic papers made by 1,293 universities in the World was used to calculate publications' ratings, which then were adjusted for release dates and added to final scores.
We don't distinguish between undergraduate and graduate programs nor do we adjust for current majors offered. You can find information about granted degrees on a university page but always double-check with the university website.
Please note that our approach to subject rankings is based on scientific outputs and heavily biased on art-related topics towards institutions with computer science research profiles.
1. University of Toronto
For Creative Writing
2. University of Oxford
3. Columbia University
4. University of Texas at Austin
5. University of Cambridge
6. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
7. University of British Columbia
8. King's College London
9. Ohio State University
10. University of Manchester
11. Stanford University
12. Yale University
13. University of Alberta
14. University of Southern California
15. University of California - Berkeley
16. Pennsylvania State University
17. University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
18. University College London
19. New York University
20. University of Chicago
21. University of Exeter
22. University of Pennsylvania
23. University of Wisconsin - Madison
24. Harvard University
25. University of Edinburgh
26. Arizona State University - Tempe
27. University of California - Los Angeles
28. McGill University
29. University of Leeds
30. University of Nottingham
31. University of Sydney
32. University of Sheffield
33. University of Queensland
34. Cornell University
35. University of Melbourne
36. University of Birmingham
37. York University
38. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
39. Lancaster University
40. University of Washington - Seattle
41. Michigan State University
42. Emory University
43. Monash University
44. Boston University
45. University of Maryland - College Park
46. University of Bristol
47. University of Calgary
48. University of South Florida
49. Princeton University
50. University of York
51. University of Warwick
52. University of Glasgow
53. University of Virginia
54. Durham University
55. University of Arizona
56. University of Auckland
57. University of New South Wales
58. University of California - Santa Barbara
59. Rutgers University - New Brunswick
60. Boston College
61. Education University of Hong Kong
62. Florida State University
63. Cardiff University
64. Indiana University - Bloomington
65. University of Sussex
66. London School of Economics and Political Science
67. University of California - Irvine
68. Tel Aviv University
69. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
70. Vanderbilt University
71. University of Southampton
72. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
73. University of London
74. University of Waikato
75. Aarhus University
76. Carnegie Mellon University
77. University of Victoria
78. University of Oslo
79. Queen Mary University of London
80. Georgetown University
81. University of St Andrews
82. University of Amsterdam
83. University of Pittsburgh
84. Royal Holloway, University of London
85. Temple University
86. University of Haifa
87. University of Helsinki
88. University of Illinois at Chicago
89. Griffith University
90. University of Liverpool
91. Washington University in St Louis
92. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
93. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
94. Lund University
95. Newcastle University
96. University of Copenhagen
97. University of California - Santa Cruz
98. University of Kansas
99. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
100. Macquarie University
Art & Design subfields in the World
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The 13 Best Colleges for Creative Writing Degrees
- 16-minute read
- 23rd February 2023
So, you want to pursue a creative writing degree program in the United States. Wonderful! If you are passionate about writing and you’re an avid reader, a career in fiction writing would be the way to go! When it comes to choosing the right MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program – in this case, creative writing – you might be wondering which schools have the best program. What career opportunities are there after graduation? What courses will I take in the program? What’s the admission process like?
A creative writing program will immerse you in your craft, help you develop writing discipline, and provide critical feedback on your writing. The program should also be highly reputable and produce top-quality writers.
You must decide whether you want to attend a public or a private college . This choice can be important because of student population size, tuition fees, and reputation. Private colleges will be considerably more expensive than public ones. Do you want to attend college in a small town or a big city? Is the school located somewhere that can provide ample writing inspiration? It’s important to know that some schools provide more student opportunities in their program, yet others have stronger networking connections. This distinction can be crucial once you’ve graduated from the program.
This post will highlight the benefits of a creative writing degree, including career opportunities after graduation. We’ll also discuss what you’ll need to apply. Finally, we’ll highlight our top list of creative writing schools in the United S tates. After you’ve read this post, you’ll better understand the opportunities these schools provide.
What Is a Creative Writing Degree?
A creative writing degree prepares you for a career as a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or drama. It’s also suitable for those wishing to enter the field of editing or publishing. The program immerses students in writing and provides valuable writing opportunities and feedback.
Career Opportunities After Graduation
Graduates usually find jobs as authors, copywriters, journalists, editors, columnists, or screenwriters. Additionally, graduates find opportunities to become editors for big publishing agencies, which work with some of the most famous best-selling fiction authors.
What Subjects Are Typically Covered?
You can expect to take plenty of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry workshops. Almost all programs provide compulsory introduction to fiction and poetry classes. In addition, you’ll likely take courses in screenwriting, medieval literature, and traditions in fiction. Finally, some courses focus on writing prompts (a daddy for writing inspiration).
Factors to Consider in Choosing a College for a Creative Writing Degree
Although the following factors will vary from college to college, you should consider them carefully:
● Location and campus culture
● Faculty and resources available
● Alumni network and professional connections
● Internships and work opportunities (internships will provide valuable work experience)
You should know that many creative writing degree programs are very selective. For this reason, you’ll need to prove your passion for writing and reading. First, you’ll need to apply to the college of your choice. This will mean submitting an admission essay as well as the application form. Creative writing degree programs will also want a writing sample, such as a poem or a short story. However, these don’t have to be works you’ve published.
Additionally, you’ll need to submit the following to your chosen college:
● Referee information (must not be a friend or a relative)
● Official transcripts
● TOEFL or IELTS test results (if English is not your native language)
● GRE scores
Gathering all required documentation for admission will be time-consuming, so you’ll want to get started early. Ideally, you should start applying nine months before your program begins. For example, if the program starts in August, you should begin applying in November of the previous year.
1. Northwestern University
Established in 1851, Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois (just outside Chicago). With approximately 22,000 students, it’s a private institution with a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. Professors in the creative writing program are award-winning authors. Northwestern is known for producing successful authors such as Karen Russell and Veronica Roth . It also features a top journalism program. Students in the creative writing program can get involved with the student-run literary journal, intern at a Chicago publication, or submit an entry to the yearly writing competition of the English Department.
Additionally, students can learn from talented writers at the Annual Writers’ Festival . Students can even submit their work to the school’s annual writing competition. So, if gaining professional writing experience is important, Northwestern might just be what you’re looking for! Plus, Chicago’s iconic landmarks and lakeside beaches provide robust inspiration for writers!
“My Northwestern creative workshops, where I honed my editorial skills, were instrumental in setting me down a career path in publishing.”
– Laura Biagi, Class of 2009
2. Columbia University
Located in New York City (known colloquially as the Big Apple), Columbia was established in 1754. It’s the fifth-oldest American institution of higher learning. It has around 36,000 students, and people consider it one of the great elite private colleges in America. Like Northwestern, Columbia has a world-class creative writing program and a top journalism school. Great writers have attended Columbia, including J.D. Salinger and Federico Garcia Lorca. The creative writing curriculum includes rigorous writing workshops at all levels and seminars exclusively for creative writing students. In these workshops, students produce original works of writing and submit them to classmates and professors for critical analysis. To study at Columbia is to be part of a distinguished group of like-minded writers.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, many consider New York City America’s literary capital. It’s home to major publishing houses, literary journals, picturesque parks, iconic landmarks, and talented authors from around the globe. The Big Apple has no shortage of inspiration for prospective writers!
“Before being accepted into the program, I didn’t have the confidence to critique my work seriously.”
– Mary Mann, Class of 2015
3. University of Iowa
If you prefer to study in a location away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, the University of Iowa might be your answer! Founded in 1847, this public institution has about 31,000 students. It’s located in Iowa City, and the nearest major city is Chicago. However, studying in Iowa can provide an opportunity to go off the beaten path.
Here are some highlights of the university and Iowa City:
● Iowa City is a designated UNESCO City of Literature.
● The city’s annual Book Festival attracts people from across the American Midwest.
● The MFA of the university’s nonfiction writing program has been voted number one in creative nonfiction in the United States.
● Students have access to the university’s literary community, which offers frequent readings, writing prizes and scholarships, and The Iowa Review , an acclaimed literary journal.
● Tennessee Williams is an alumnus of the program.
● Like Columbia, the University of Iowa strongly values the workshop method.
We recommend checking out this video for a deeper dive into the world of creative writing at Iowa.
4. Emory University
Emory, founded in 1836, is a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia. If you prefer a university in a warm climate, Atlanta is a good choice. Compared with cities in the northern states, Atlanta experiences mild winters, though you might get cold snaps and the odd snowfall. Emory has around 15,000 students and has an affiliation with the United Methodist Church.
Emory’s dedicated undergraduate creative writing program draws distinguished visiting scholars and writers. Other notable program highlights include:
● Opportunities to attend intimate question-and-answer sessions with award-winning authors
● Faculty who are professional practitioners in the writing field
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● Studies in a range of genres, such as fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting
● Annual writing contests
● Writing awards and scholarships
● The opportunity to work closely with an adviser to complete an honors project
Students will also find writing opportunities outside the classroom in the Atlanta area. The city has several writing organizations and clubs, such as the Atlanta Writers Club , the Georgia Writers Association , and Village Writers Group.
5. Oberlin College
Founded in 1833, Oberlin is a small liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, 31 miles south of Cleveland. It has just under 3,000 students. If you’re seeking a really small school, Oberlin is worth pursuing! It’s known for the robust quality of teachers and the variety of courses in the creative writing program. Two of the courses are Plot and Structure and Race and Poetic Innovation. In addition, you’ll find a robust workshop culture at Oberlin. The downside is that the city lacks opportunities to pursue writing. However, great opportunities exist in other Ohio cities, such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. Moreover, Ohio is the home of the late American novelist Toni Morrison.
It’s worth mentioning that Oberlin’s creative writing program has notable alumni, such as Lena Dunham , an actress and writer.
“I feel so consistently lucky to have such dedicated professors. Everyone I’ve worked with in the Creative Writing Program deeply cares about their students both as writers and as people. Classes are small, so you’re able to actually know and trust each other, which is important for productive workshopping.”
– Fiona Warnick, Class of 2022
6. Hamilton College
Chartered as a college in 1812, Hamilton is in the upstate New York village of Clinton, between Syracuse and Albany. It has 2,000 students and 1,350 acres of campus space. Hamilton strongly believes in giving students the freedom to pursue their own interests, an ethos that explains why the college’s motto is “Know Thyself.”
Hamilton’s creative writing program is known for its small classes and plentiful opportunities to intern and publish. Hamilton also has one of the best writing centers in the nation. Students take courses that balance literary study with poetry and prose workshops. The program emphasizes learning to write with attentiveness to form and genre. Students write a creative project that demonstrates originality and attention to language.
If you like a creative writing school that’s “current with the times,” Hamilton has recently renovated List Hall, which houses the program. The hall features collaborative spaces for students and a new landscaped entrance.
7. Brown University
Founded in 1764, Brown is a leading research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown’s student-centered learning and deep sense of purpose make it distinct. In fact, many American high schoolers dream of studying at Brown! It has just under 10,000 students, and its literary arts program is one of the top MFAs in the United States. Students can choose one of three tracks: fiction, poetry, or digital/cross-disciplinary writing – a plus if your aim is fiction writing, for example! Although students must take certain classes, they can design much of their curriculum. Brown also provides financial aid to students in the program through a first-year fellowship. Additionally, students can teach undergraduate workshops during their second year. Brown is a special place for writers who envision new paths in fiction, poetry, and digital language arts.
8. Washington University in St. Louis
It might surprise you that Washington University is in St. Louis, Missouri, rather than Washington, DC. Since 1853, Washington University has dared to challenge the unknown and taken great pride in its teaching, research, and service to society. The university has a renowned creative writing program with several scholarships. The undergraduate English program also offers a concentration, which allows students to specialize in a specific writing genre: fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. The program even has a special concentration in publishing! Students often find internships with companies such as Atlantic Media, Business Insider, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Washington University should be on your list if you already have a specific writing genre in mind!
9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
You might not associate writing with an institute of technology. However, MIT has a wonderful program that features courses in digital media, science writing, and creative writing. Since its incorporation in 1861, MIT has been educating future leaders with a three-to-one student-to-faculty ratio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Apologies if you were expecting MIT to be in Boston. However, don’t let Cambridge put you off. The city is a haven for book lovers and writers from all walks of life, so you’ll find plenty of writing pursuits outside of class! And when it comes to finding work after graduation, the program provides lots of guidance for navigating the tricky job market.
10. University of Michigan
If you’ve ever watched NCAA football, you’re probably familiar with the University of Michigan. Founded in Detroit in 1817, Michigan is ranked the third-best national undergraduate public university. The university’s main campus is in the small city of Ann Arbor, ranked the number one best small college town in America.
The University of Michigan has a top-notch MFA program. The undergrad creative writing sub-concentration requires students to submit applications for admittance to advanced creative writing courses. These applications provide crucial practice in building a writing portfolio and articulating an interest in creative writing. In addition, the university has two student-run literary journals: Xylem Magazine and Fortnight Literary Press . Both publish students’ best works – an excellent way to get your writing noticed!
Screenwriter Jennifer Freides graduated from the program. “I learned to read fast, manage my time, think critically, organize my thoughts, and speak with clarity at U-M.”
With nearly 50,000 students, the University of Michigan is a top choice for those looking for a big school with a great MFA program!
11. Johns Hopkins University
This private research university was founded in 1876 in Baltimore, Maryland, and it takes its name from nineteenth-century Maryland philanthropist Johns Hopkins. With 24,000 students, Johns Hopkins (or JHU, its more common name) ranks consistently among the most prestigious universities in the United States. Novelists John Barth and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie graduated from here, as did the famous horror film director Wes Craven.
Although people know JHU more for its engineering program, it does have a reputable writing program. Students in the program take courses in philosophy and history in addition to classes in prose, poetry, and literature. The creative writing program has journalism, the arts, and publishing internship opportunities. Additionally, short story writers might be interested in the program’s Danielle Alyse Basford Writing Prize .
Baltimore is no stranger to the literary world, as the American writer Edgar Allan Poe spent several years here. His poem The Raven is the namesake of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. You can visit the Poe House and Museum to see the writing desk and chair where Poe created some of his famous work!
12. Colorado College
Colorado College was founded in 1874 and is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It’s a small liberal arts college with over 2,000 students. People know the college mainly for its Block Plan , which allows students to focus on one class per three-and-a-half-week block. Students will find that the creative writing track interweaves craft, imagination, and a lively literary framework. It includes a sequence of four writing workshops and mandatory attendance at the Visiting Writers Series. Attending readings at the Visiting Writers Series will deeply immerse students in the written word at Colorado College. In addition, students will find plenty of opportunities within the program, from AMC college writing contests to the student-led spoken word group, SpeakEasy. If you’re an outdoorsy writer, you’ll love Colorado Springs! It’s surrounded by picturesque hiking opportunities, including Garden of the Gods ! If you envision taking one class at a time at a small liberal arts school, you should consider Colorado College!
13. New York University
New York University (NYU) is another prestigious university in New York City. It was established in 1831 and is currently the largest private university in the United States, with more than 11,000 students. It even has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. As mentioned, New York is the American literary epicenter. Although NYU doesn’t offer a creative writing major, it’s an excellent school for aspiring writers. You’ll still find workshops in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Classes are small, with a maximum of 15 students, and the school has a student-edited literary journal called West 10 th . The school also offers intensive summer writing programs in Florence and Paris, so students can develop their craft while living the writer’s life in Italy or France. The faculty consists of award-winning poets, short story writers, and novelists, and many of them have received Pulitzer Prizes and NEA Fellowships. So, although NYU lacks a creative writing major, it has a fine reputation, small classes, and ample opportunities to develop your writing craft!
So, there you have our list of top creative writing schools. Let’s recap key points from our post:
● Creative writing programs are pretty selective, so you should be genuinely passionate about reading and writing.
● Private schools have the best reputation and small classes. However, they can be really expensive.
● You will need to submit at least one writing sample as part of your application.
● Creative writing programs are heavy in workshop culture.
● New York City is America’s literary capital.
● Most programs have literary journals where you can submit your work.
● A faculty of professional writers will be your teachers.
● Graduates often go on to become authors, editors, and copywriters. Getting into publishing is also a possibility.
Whichever school you choose, it must be the right fit for you! While one might be great for some people, it might not resonate with you. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to visit the school if possible. Even a virtual tour will suffice. We also suggest reaching out to current professors for more information. You can even reach out to current or past students through LinkedIn. Finally, take your time when researching schools. Got more questions about creative writing? We recommend this video !
Thanks for reading!
1. How important is location when you are considering a creative writing program?
You’ll want to prioritize a location with a vibrant literary scene rather than one with a warm climate. There should be plenty of opportunities to engage with writing in the community outside the classroom. There should also be various career opportunities within the community after graduation.
2. What is the cost of attending a creative writing program in the United States?
The cost will depend on whether the school is public or private. Public school tuition will be roughly $17,000 to $20,000 US. On the other hand, private schools will be considerably more expensive, especially Columbia and Hamilton. You can expect tuition to be between $50,000 and $69,000 US.
3. Where can I get feedback on my college application?
Great question! We recommend leaving this to our team of proofreading experts at Proofed! They can check for grammar and punctuation errors and ensure perfect spelling. They will also ensure that the application uses appropriate academic language. Consider submitting a 500-word document for free today!
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The 6 Best Colleges for Creative Writing
When it comes to creative writing, it’s mostly subjective. There are certain conventions and rules that “good” writers will usually follow, however the field is largely based on individual taste. You don’t have to go to college to learn how to be a great writer. Practice and reading can help you get your work where you’d like it to be.
But if you’re a student looking to gain a more concrete and focused education in creative writing, studying the subject in college is a fantastic place to start.
An undergraduate program in creative writing can teach you not only the foundational elements of storytelling but also the more obscure aspects of the craft — aspects that you’re unlikely to come across on your own.
Creative writing degrees also encourage collaboration. Writing may seem like a solitary activity, but any good writer knows that working with others will help you broaden your perspective and take your writing to the next level. A university setting allows students to work on their writing together through workshops and readings, which are designed to push students to be the best that they can be.
So whether you're looking to advance your writing, collaborate with others, or learn from the best of the best, check out a few of the best colleges for creative writing that we’ve compiled on this list.
What should you look for in a creative writing degree?
Because creative writing is so personal, what you should look for will depend greatly on your personal preferences. But there are a few areas that generally stay the same across most programs.
For example, think about the type of creative writing you’re interested in. Do you like creating long or short fiction? Creative nonfiction? Are you secretly (or not so secretly) a poet?
If you like to write a character analysis , you should consider becoming a literary critic or screenwriter. This will make it easier to choose colleges and specialize in those areas.
Each program will offer different tracks for creative writing students, usually in the form of workshops. These workshops generally fall in three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In your degree, you’ll be asked to focus in one of these areas (at most universities).
It’s important to consider the area that your chosen school excels in. Is the university you’re interested in primarily focused on poetry or creative nonfiction?
It’s also worth noting that you should take some time to research the faculty at the colleges you’re interested in. Faculty are often just as important as the tracks that each school offers; faculty will have an instrumental role in shaping the type of writing that you produce, so you’ll want to make sure that you apply to schools where you respect the faculty and the published work that they have created.
What can you do with a creative writing degree?
Creative writing is one of those degrees that does not typically accompany a formal career path. It will largely be up to you to determine what type of career you pursue post-graduation.
When you consider what you want to do once you have your degree, think about how your education in writing can work in a versatile setting. Many employers find liberal arts majors to be attractive candidates because of their ability to communicate well.
Check out just a few career options for creative writing majors below:
- English teacher
- Communications specialist
- Public relations coordinator
- Academic advisor
- Ghost writer
The best colleges for creative writing:
The university of iowa.
In the middle of the midwest, the University of Iowa has a pretty impressive claim to fame: the school is home to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. This program is for students pursuing their MFA degree, and it is fiercely competitive. But, as undergraduate students studying creative writing, you will benefit from studying at Iowa as well.
As an undergraduate student, you can pursue a dual degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. You’ll get a world-class education in the literary field through professors who instruct those just starting out as well as more seasoned writers the likes of whom flock to the Iowa Writers’ Program. You’ll also have the opportunity to study with teaching assistants who are currently in the graduate program, which will help you get a diverse understanding of the literary world from a variety of different angles.
At the University of Iowa, you’ll also have the opportunity to focus on a literary and publishing track , which will give you the skills and education you need in order to move forward with a career in literary publishing. In the literary world, skills are fluid, but experience is essential. If you study at the University of Iowa, you’ll graduate with four years of experience in the field that you love and will be ready to take your creative pursuits to new heights.
Creative writing courses are typically rolled into another major at most schools. You can expect to see a dual degree in English and Creative Writing at many major universities — and this is a great option for students who might want to broaden their area of study. And whether you’re writing a novel or a why college is important to me essay, as featured on Edubirdie , the skills you’ll acquire will be instrumental
But for students who want to dive headfirst into the study of creative writing, Oberlin College is the place to go. Oberlin College offers students a creative writing major that is independent of any other degree. Students interested in this degree must take the required prerequisites before applying for admission into the degree in their upper-level years at the college. It might seem like a lot, but the competitive admission process at Oberlin is well worth the wait.
The program not only prepares students to enter the “real world” by helping them refine their work to be the best that it can be, but it also connects students with in-demand jobs and internships . This is highly unusual in creative writing programs, and many schools do not assist students in making a plan for post-graduation. So make sure to keep Oberlin College on your list of the best colleges for creative writing.
Many of the universities on this list offer students the option to major in creative writing. Amherst College is a little bit different.
The school believes in a diverse, liberal arts education for students. This means that students will interact with various departments throughout their time at the university instead of concentrating all of their time and energy on just one subject.
For those who are interested in gaining an education in creative writing, they will be directed to the Creative Writing Center , which provides students with opportunities to study fiction, poetry, and playwriting, among other writing pursuits.
While certainly not for everyone, Amherst College’s model of creative writing study is unique, and for many, the best way they can learn and study the subject of creative writing. The interdisciplinary approach that Amherst takes in its education of creative writing allows students to dip their toes into the field without having to commit to a degree that may not provide them with solid career prospects post-graduation.
Wellesley College is perfect for students who want to dip their toes into creative writing while getting a small university experience. At Wellesley, students can declare an English major that will give them the chance to concentrate in creative writing.
There are so many opportunities for creative writing students to explore their field at Wellesley. Students can submit to and participate in a variety of literary magazines, which is a great way to get involved with the literary world. Wellesley College also hosts the Ruhlman Conference , which showcases student work from a variety of different disciplines, including creative writing. When working in a creative field, it’s important to have the chance to receive feedback on your work, and at Wellesley, you will most certainly get that exposure.
If you venture down south to Atlanta, Georgia, you’ll find Emory University. In this sunny state that has phenomenal sweet tea, students can get a great education in creative writing.
Emory University offers many educational opportunities for its students who choose a creative writing major. For one, students must take five workshop classes instead of three or four, which is typical at many other universities. This focus on workshops helps lend the degree intensity, which might be appealing to some students who want to dive head-first into the world of creative writing.
For students who are interested in taking a few unconventional courses while studying for a degree in creative writing, Hamilton College may be just the place for you. Hamilton gives aspiring students the chance to study either creative writing or literature, and although both tracks have their own class requirements, they both allow students to take some pretty neat classes.
Some of those classes include, “Food in Literature,” “Finding Identity,” and our personal favorite, “American Ghosts,” which looks at the stories about supernatural beings in film and fiction. How cool is that? Not every college will allow you to take such unique courses for a degree.
And Hamilton’s variety of interesting classes speaks to a wider point: when looking for schools to get your degree in creative writing from, start small. State schools will certainly have a lot of great options for new writers, but liberal arts schools like Hamilton can give students a more concentrated education in the arts. You’ll be able to take classes that have more specificity (such as a class on ghosts in storytelling), and that’s not something you can easily find at a non-liberal arts school.
But whichever school you choose to go to for your creative writing degree, make sure it’s one that will put you and your writing first. Creative writing majors are often brushed aside at some universities in favor of other, seemingly more important degrees. Make it a priority to find a school where you and your creative pursuits will be respected and supported. The schools on this list are the best colleges for creative writing and will help you succeed in your writing ambitions.
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2024 Best Creative Writing Bachelor's Degree Schools
College Factual reviewed 102 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for bachelor's degree seekers in the field of creative writing. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 3,331 bachelor's degrees in creative writing during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Jump to one of the following sections: * Our Methodology
- Best Bachelor’s Degree Schools List
Choosing a Great Creative Writing School for Your Bachelor's Degree
Quality Overall Is Important
A school that excels in educating for a particular major and degree level must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.
Other Factors We Consider
In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:
- Major Focus - How much a school focuses on creative writing students vs. other majors.
- Major Demand - How many other creative writing students want to attend this school to pursue a bachelor's degree.
- Educational Resources - The amount of money and other resources allocated to students while they are pursuing their degree. These resources include such things as number of students per instructor and education expenditures per student.
- Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or accredited by a recognized creative writing related body.
Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for creative writing students working on their bachelor's degree.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Since the program you select can have a significant impact on your future, we've developed a number of rankings , including this Best Creative Writing Bachelor's Degree Schools list, to help you choose the best school for you.
In addition to College Factual's rankings, you may want to take a look at College Combat , our unique tool that lets you pit your favorite schools head-to-head and compare how they rate on factors that most interest you. When you have some time, check it out - you may want to bookmark the link so you don't forget it.
Featured Creative Writing Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
BA in Creative Writing & English
Develop your creativity and gain practical skills with a creative writing degree program –featuring 100% online classes – through a bachelor's from Southern New Hampshire University.
Best Schools for Bachelor’s Students to Study Creative Writing in the United States
Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for creative writing students seeking a a bachelor's degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.
16 Top Schools for a Bachelor's in Creative Writing
Any student pursuing a degree in a bachelor's degree in creative writing has to check out University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus. Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Pitt is a public university with a fairly large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus
Every student pursuing a degree in a bachelor's degree in creative writing needs to take a look at Carnegie Mellon University. Located in the city of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon University
Any student who is interested in a bachelor's degree in creative writing has to check out University of Chicago. Located in the city of Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from University of Chicago
It's difficult to beat Johns Hopkins University if you wish to pursue a bachelor's degree in creative writing. Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Baltimore. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University
Located in the large city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Columbia University in the City of New York
Located in the medium-sized city of Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Brown University
Miami University - Oxford is a fairly large public university located in the fringe town of Oxford. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Miami University - Oxford
USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Los Angeles. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from University of Southern California
Located in the large city of Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Emory University
Purdue is a very large public university located in the small city of West Lafayette. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Purdue University - Main Campus
Northwestern is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the city of Evanston. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Northwestern University
Located in the city of Seattle, UW Seattle is a public university with a fairly large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from University of Washington - Seattle Campus
Located in the suburb of Saint Louis, WUSTL is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Washington University in St Louis
Located in the suburb of Wellesley, Wellesley is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Wellesley College
Located in the city of Tucson, University of Arizona is a public university with a very large student population. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from University of Arizona
BGSU is a fairly large public university located in the town of Bowling Green. More information about a bachelor’s in creative writing from Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
Additional Noteworthy Schools
Here are some additional great schools for Creative Writing students that almost earned our Best Creative Writing Bachelor's Degree Schools award.
Creative Writing by Region
View the Best Creative Writing Bachelor's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.
Best associate degrees in creative writing, best doctorate degrees in creative writing, best master's degrees in creative writing, best overall in creative writing.
View All Rankings >
Creative Writing Related Rankings by Major
Creative Writing is one of 4 different types of Writing Studies programs to choose from.
Most Popular Related Majors
Notes and references.
- The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
- The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ( IPEDS ) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
- Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s ( College Scorecard ).
- Credit for the banner image above goes to KOKUYO . More about our data sources and methodologies .
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12 Best Colleges for Creative Writing 
02.03.2023 • 11 min read
Subject Matter Expert
Learn about the top colleges for creative writing, tips on what to consider when choosing a creative writing major, and answers to frequently asked questions.
In This Article
The Best Creative Writing Programs
What to consider about college for creative writing majors, best literary colleges faqs.
Writing well is a tremendous asset in nearly every industry. In fact, one of the top skills employers look for in employees is the ability to communicate clearly and effectively through writing .
Completing a degree at one of the top colleges for creative writing can deliver more career opportunities than you may think. You could work in publishing, media, higher education, or marketing and advertising.
You can also use your storytelling and creative thinking skills to work as a freelancer. As an independent contractor, you can set your own rates and choose your work hours.
This introduction to 12 of the best colleges for creative writing majors will help you select the right program for your career goals. We’ll even tell you what to look for when comparing some of the leading literary colleges. Let’s get started!
Students who choose to enroll in a creative writing program are looking at factors like location, curriculum, and the quality of the instructors.
While many differences exist, all creative writing degree programs offer instruction in the primary literary forms:
Some schools offer instruction in additional forms, including:
When selecting a program you would enjoy, also make sure the instruction fits your learning needs.
Some schools offer seminars, resident writers, literary journals, and other perks beyond the standard workshops and courses.
The following 12 programs currently rank among the best writing programs offered in the U.S.
1. Columbia University
The Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia University boasts one of the most prestigious literary histories.
Well-known writers like J.D. Salinger, Federico Garcia Lorca, Eudora Welty, Langston Hughes, and Jack Kerouac have taken creative writing courses at the university. The roster of instructors in the undergraduate program is equally as impressive.
The program offers seminars designed for creative writers plus courses in the following writing forms:
Students also have access to a thriving School of Arts and can move on to the prestigious MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing program.
2. Emory University
The Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Emory University started more than 30 years ago. It remains one of the most reputable colleges for aspiring writers ready to start professional careers.
The university requires an application and instructor permission to enter all creative writing courses. Students can major in creative writing or participate in creative writing workshops while completing other degree programs.
The school provides writing workshops and courses in the following disciplines:
3. Brown University
Brown University is one of the leading universities for English literature and creative writing. They are also among the best colleges for writers interested in music, performance arts, and visual arts.
The Undergraduate Department of Literary Arts offers cross-disciplinary courses in all of those disciplines for students pursuing degrees in creative writing. Students can select from a diverse catalog of creative writing workshops, literature courses, independent study courses, and honors workshops.
Creative writing courses are available in the following disciplines:
4. Colorado College
Colorado College offers a creative writing track for English majors who wish to focus on creative writing. The program offers more than the typical writing workshops and seminars at some of the other best colleges for creative writing. In fact, many of the elective courses are taught by guest professors. These distinguished guests are writers themselves.
Students benefit from multiple literary resources exclusive to the college, including:
Hairstreak Butterfly Review and other magazines and publications
Visiting Writers Series
Literary publishing practicum
Student-led spoken word group (SpeakEasy)
Campus printing press studio
Fine Arts Center
Specialized library collections
These benefits make Colorado College one of the leading colleges for creative writing majors able to attend classes in Colorado Springs. The creative writing faculty includes some published authors, making it a top choice for authors as well.
5. Duke University
Duke University may offer the best creative writing program for students with a shared interest in theater and performance arts. Students have access to courses in theater and documentary studies.
The school also has a collection of writing courses, workshops, and seminars in the following writing forms:
Students at Duke have many opportunities to learn from other writers through the writers-in-residence program. The university also invests heavily in conferences, readings, and visiting speakers for the creative writing program.
6. Cornell University
Cornell University allows students to enroll as English majors with a concentration in creative writing. Students can also complete courses from the creative writing program as minors.
Writing workshops are available in the following literary forms:
The university is home to a reputable reading series where multiple published authors visit for live readings and social receptions. This college is excellent for authors interested in networking with other authors.
7. Northwestern University
Northwestern University was one of the first colleges in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate creative writing program. Today, the school has a highly competitive creative writing major . It serves as a concentration within the English department.
Students have access to workshops and courses in the following disciplines:
This university ranks as one of the best literary colleges in part because the faculty includes award-winning authors. The school hosts a Festival of Writing every spring, and students have opportunities to network with and learn from visiting writers.
8. Oberlin College
The creative writing program at Oberlin College offers a collaborative and immersive experience for writers who want the freedom to experiment.
The program focuses on workshops where students learn from one another while preparing for several literary careers. It’s a studio environment best suited to students who want to work closely with a small group of peers.
Oberlin also offers a wide variety of courses in the following disciplines:
9. Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University is home to one of the most reputable graduate programs for writing. It only makes sense they also made the list of the top colleges for creative writing undergraduate programs.
The 16-credit creative writing certificate can be taken with any bachelor’s degree major and offers students a workshop model of instruction. Students in this program learn how to become better writers by writing alongside current professional writers.
The program focuses on courses within the 3 primary forms of writing:
All creative writing courses take the form of workshops. This format allows students to read and critique one another’s work in a professional and inclusive environment. Instructors are professional writers with qualifications well-suited to guiding new writers toward lucrative writing careers.
10. Wichita State University
Wichita State University is an outstanding college for writers who want to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees from the same institution. The school offers a studio-academic Master of Fine Arts program for students studying fiction or poetry at the most advanced level.
The program allows undergraduate students to major or minor in creative writing. They have access to visiting writers, a school literary journal, and national press internships.
This program's course selection covers the 3 primary forms of writing
11. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is an excellent choice for writers interested in transferring credits from other institutions or online programs. The creative writing degree program allows students to transfer up to 90 credits and offers competitive pricing per credit hour for the remaining courses.
Unlike the other programs in this list, all courses at SNHU are virtual. SNHU is one of the best colleges for creative writing majors who value the flexibility of online classes.
Four concentration options are available for this program:
12. Boise State University
The creative writing program at Boise State University is ideal for students who want to learn from acclaimed writers with bestselling novels and prize-winning poetry collections to their credit.
The program offers theory classes with a wide range of modern writing disciplines, including speculative fiction and graphic novels. Most courses focus on the following writing forms:
Boise State is also home to the literary journal The Idaho Review and the Free Poetry chapbook series. Students may have the opportunity to work with those publications to gain experience prior to graduation.
What exactly are you looking for when comparing the finest literary colleges? Consider these factors to help you select the right programs.
You can save money on your education by completing some courses online. But make sure the credits are transferable to the school offering your creative writing program.
For example, Golden Gate University’s Degrees+ powered by Outlier allows students to take courses online at a fraction of the price of traditional college. Students can earn their associate degree and transfer their credits into over 500 different institutions to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
The best creative writing programs have a reputation for high-quality education from prestigious and trustworthy instructors. Make sure you align with the values and vision of your chosen institution.
Keep in mind many quality schools out there to look into. Take the time to do some research, ask former students, and speak with an advisor.
The top colleges for writers will offer a wide selection of courses related to writing, literature, liberal arts, history, and more. They may also give writers the chance to earn certifications to enter into lucrative careers.
An exceptional creative writing program produces successful graduates. Look at the percentage of students who complete their degree and how many go on to graduate school or successful careers in writing, editing, research, or reporting.
Can you make it to on-campus classes without neglecting other responsibilities like managing a full-time job while going to school ? Are there options to attend some or all courses online for your convenience? Figure out what your needs are and make sure you can commit to your education.
Many high-quality college programs come with a high price tag. But you can cut your college costs. Fill out a FAFSA —Free Application for Federal Student Aid—and look into grant and scholarship opportunities to get free money to help pay for school.
What can I do with a creative writing degree?
A bachelor’s degree in creative writing can prepare you for a career in technical or creative writing, reporting, editing, or proofreading. You can build a career writing everything from novels and short stories to technical manuals and marketing materials for businesses.
Several editing and reporting jobs are available to writers with a solid command of grammar and a high level of writing ability. Almost any career you may go into in the future will value your writing skills.
What is the best degree for creative writing?
Degrees in creative writing and literature are among the most popular for those interested in building careers in writing. Other excellent degree options include journalism, liberal arts, and even history.
College history programs are notorious for demanding written papers, and the knowledge gained may allow graduates to specialize in historical writing.
Studying the sciences is another lucrative career option, combining writing with specialized knowledge. As of December 2022, science writers earned an average of $63,331 per year.
Science writers may:
Edit a science journal
Research and write grant proposals
Write training material and research summaries in the medical field
Is it worth it to major in creative writing?
Being able to articulate yourself and your ideas clearly is an in-demand skill in nearly any industry. No matter if you are considering going back to school in your 40s or pursuing writing right out of high school, a creative writing degree is a solid investment.
A creative writing degree is worth the investment if you’re serious about building a new career based on writing. You can also select a minor or earn a professional certificate to hone your skills and specialize in a field of interest.
By graduating college with such a sought-after skill, you’ll set yourself up for career success.
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