Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

If you want to write, consider an online creative writing degree. These bachelor's degree programs teach you the skills necessary to enter the field.
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Updated July 28, 2023

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Why Get a Degree in Creative Writing?

Most writers and authors hold bachelor's degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals earn a median salary of $69,510 as of May 2021. Aspiring writers might be interested in composing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, along with scripts, advertising copy, or other written materials. Authors and writers might also become teachers, media producers, or editors.

Bachelor's programs typically involve workshops where you'll critique other students' work under professors' guidance. You'll also read published literature to determine what makes these works successful. You may also be required to pursue an internship with an organization where you might want to work after graduation, like a publishing house.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Creative Writing Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Much Does a Creative Writing Degree Cost?

A bachelor's degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete. Typically, students must earn 120 credits to graduate, with full-time enrollees averaging 30 credits per year at this pace.

Creative writing degree costs vary considerably. The median annual in-state tuition for these degrees was $7,716 in 2020. That same year, the median annual tuition for out-of-state colleges reached $38,345.

Bachelor's degrees in creative writing are offered both fully online and in person. You may prefer an online degree if you have other personal or professional obligations. In-person degrees typically offer better opportunities to connect with your peers and professors, though this is also possible in online programs.

Courses in Creative Writing

Creative writing degrees develop your craft and evaluation skills. These programs typically include coursework in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting. However, some programs may not cover these genres, offering more specialized areas like graphic novels.

Students in creative writing degrees typically take three types of courses. Craft courses teach best practices for constructing your writing. You'll also enroll in workshops where your peers and professors evaluate your work. Required literature classes help you understand what makes writing successful.

The courses listed below cover three class types.

The Art and Craft of the Short Story

Most online creative writing degrees offer instruction on best practices and common features of different types of writing. For instance, what elements should appear in a successful short story? Programs typically offer craft courses focused on different genres.

Writing Workshop

Workshops are cornerstone courses in creative writing degrees. In these classes, typically divided by genre, students complete writing assignments to share with their peers and professors for feedback. Class sessions include critiquing students' writing to cover effective areas and provide ideas for improvement.

20th-Century and 21st-Century English Literature

In this course, students read canonized pieces of creative writing written in English during these two centuries. Enrollees may discuss the writer's life, the work's context, and the craft and techniques that made the writing successful.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Creative Writing Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Career and Salary Outlook for Creative Writing

Many students pursue creative writing degrees to become writers or authors. The BLS projects employment for writers to grow by 4% from 2021-2031, which aligns with the average rate for all occupations.

Similar roles include technical writers, journalists, and public relations specialists. Writers may also become editors. These jobs also typically require bachelor's degrees, though some may require additional training outside of a creative writing degree. While working on your creative writing degree, you may need to pursue an internship to develop on-the-job experience.

Creative Writing Careers and Wages
Creative Writing Career Median Annual Wage (2021)
Writers and Authors $69,510
Editors $63,350
Technical Writers $78,060
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists $48,370
Public Relations Specialists $62,800
Source: BLS

A creative writing degree prepares you to pursue any of these degrees. However, some programs may have certain specializations useful for entry into specific fields.

Best Online Schools for Creative Writing Degrees

The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS – see sources section for more details.

#1 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Dakota Wesleyan University

  • Mitchell, SD
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,057
Out-of-State | $1,057

Credits to Graduate: 120

Getting your online bachelor's in creative writing from DWU equips you with the training to pursue a professional writing career. You'll gain the craft and literary analysis skills to publish your writing through required British literature, American literature, Great Plains literature, and Shakespeare courses. 

The senior capstone requires you to develop a manuscript that you can later shop to agents. Also, you can submit your work to DWU's Prairie Winds. As a first-year student, you'll need a minimum 2.0 GPA from an accredited high school for admission. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$28,700
Out-of-state
$28,700
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,300
Out-of-state
$15,300
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
933
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Lesley University

  • Cambridge, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $495
Out-of-State | $495

Credits to Graduate: 120

At Lesley, you can focus your bachelor's in creative writing in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or scriptwriting. You'll find a supportive atmosphere in craft classes and workshops with no more than 15 students. Online learners can contribute to Lesley's Commonthought magazine and pursue internships with companies like Harvard Review, Boston Public Library, and WBZ-TV/CBS4.

You can also pursue a double major in more than 45 subjects. An undergraduate candidate does not need to submit SAT or ACT scores, but they need a 3.1 high school GPA and a 1-2 page artist statement. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,200
Out-of-state
$29,200
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,900
Out-of-state
$18,900
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
4,200
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Adams State University

  • Alamosa, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $369
Out-of-State | $393

Credits to Graduate: 121

ASU, founded in 1921, offers a bachelor's in creative writing program that takes eight semesters to complete. You can workshop your writing in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and advanced writing workshops. Strengthen your analytical mind through British, American, and contemporary literature courses. 

You can apply anytime after your high school junior year. ASU makes determinations based on academic and personal traits. Everyone receives consideration for a merit scholarship of $1,000-$3,000. As a test-optional school, you do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,856
Out-of-state
$17,592
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,830
Out-of-state
$7,830
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
3,164
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Central Washington University

  • Ellensburg, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Avg. Cost per Quarter:
In-State | $468
Out-of-State | $1,640

Credits to Graduate: 120

The CWU bachelor's in creative writing degree combines fiction and nonfiction with technical writing and editing. You can complete the major coursework in two years. The degree also incorporates business communication and report writing, technical writing, and media copyediting. 

Through working at the Manastash literary journal, you can gain publishing experience or complete the required practicum at the Observer or Pulse student publications. CWU invites established writers to its Lion Rock Visiting Writers series every quarter. Applying for the program as a first-year enrollee or transfer student requires you to complete the English prerequisites. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,475
Out-of-state
$22,551
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,822
Out-of-state
$23,007
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
11,174
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Colorado Christian University

  • Lakewood, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $494
Out-of-State | $494

Credits to Graduate: 120

At CCU, the undergraduate creative writing program features fully online delivery with one course at a time. In addition to nine credits in Biblical studies, you'll need to complete major courses in fiction and nonfiction seminars, copyediting, and copyright and publishing law. Part of the program teaches you to query agents. 

For admission, you must submit a high school diploma or GED certificate and complete an online undergraduate application. You can transfer up to 90 credits. CCU may provide prior credits for work and/or military experience.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,160
Out-of-state
$24,160
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,474
Out-of-state
$13,474
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,839
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $236
Out-of-State | $649

Credits to Graduate: 120

Enroll in FIU's creative writing program, and you can choose from specialized tracks in literature, writing and rhetoric, creative writing, or linguistics. All tracks emphasize multicultural perspectives through upper-division courses in literature, creative writing, linguistics, and writing and rhetoric. 

You can enter as a freshman applicant with SAT/ACT scores or as a transfer student with at least 60 college credits. Start dates vary by track: writing and rhetoric track students start in the fall, spring, or summer, while literary track enrollees begin in the fall. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,912
Out-of-state
$21,393
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
58,836
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Missouri State University-Springfield

  • Springfield, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $279
Out-of-State | $597

Credits to Graduate: 120

Missouri State offers bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) creative writing programs. BA students take quantitative literacy as a general education credit in the first semester instead of the BS degree's contemporary mathematics course. All enrollees develop a critical approach to studying literature and the craft of writing poetry, nonfiction, short stories, or plays. 

The English Department's literary journal, Moon City Press, welcomes undergraduates seeking publishing experience. Applicants must be admitted to Missouri State and apply for the program only after completing 75 general education credits. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,840
Out-of-state
$15,510
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,436
Out-of-state
$10,944
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
23,505
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Northeastern State University

  • Tahlequah, OK
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $241
Out-of-State | $510

Credits to Graduate: 124

When you earn a bachelor's in creative writing at Northwestern, you can select from more than 60 minors. All undergraduate students take poetry, fiction, and creative writing portfolio workshops. You can also choose electives in travel and advanced writing, short story workshops, screenwriting, and a publication workshop. 

Northwestern accepts transfer students from public institutions in Oklahoma. A first-time applicant must submit SAT or ACT scores and have a minimum 2.70 high school GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,913
Out-of-state
$14,313
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,500
Out-of-state
$9,999
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
99%
Students Enrolled
7,349
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $330
Out-of-State | $330

Credits to Graduate: 120

The creative writing program at SNHU offers concentrations in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting. You can study from anywhere, with no live class requirements. The curriculum trains you for a professional writing career with workshops and lectures in literary analysis, craft, and critical thinking. The required 30 electives allow you to expand your creative writing degree with courses from other departments. 

There's no application fee, cost for transcripts, and no standardized test requirements for admission. You can transfer up to 90 credits and use prior learning credits toward your degree. SNHU offers rolling admissions. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$9,600
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,810
Out-of-state
$18,810
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
134,345
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#10 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

Southwest Minnesota State University

  • Marshall, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:
In-State | $354
Out-of-State | $354

Credits to Graduate: 120

At SMSU, the bachelor's in English with an emphasis on creative writing equips you to publish your work through writing, poetry, fiction, and advanced workshops. As a senior, you must complete a final portfolio. 

Creative writing majors get access to the library in Holm and Dacey Lounge. They also serve as judges for a regional creative writing contest. SMSU also allows students to join the Perceptions Literary and Arts Journal staff, English Club, or The Spur student newspaper. Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.  

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,837
Out-of-state
$7,837
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,686
Out-of-state
$7,686
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
7,259
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Featured Online Bachelor's in Creative Writing Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Questions About Creative Writing Degrees

Is a creative writing degree worth it?

Creative writing degrees are particularly useful if you want to compose creative projects like novels, poetry books, or screenplays. Writers often earn above-average wages across industries, so you may pursue a similar degree, like a bachelor's program in journalism or English, if you do not want to write creatively.

What is the best degree for creative writing?

Aspiring authors and writers may want to pursue creative writing degrees. These programs often allow you to explore one or more creative writing genres, including fiction, and poetry, and creative nonfiction. However, some writers and authors earn bachelor's degrees in related fields like English, communications, or journalism.

Is creative writing a BA or BS?

Completing a creative writing degree almost always awards you a bachelor of arts (BA). Fields like fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction are considered creative arts. Bachelor of science (BS) programs are not typically connected with creative writing degrees. Only one institution currently offers an online BS in creative writing.

Can you have a career in creative writing?

As of 2021, the BLS reports that 142,800 people in America held jobs as authors and writers, with a projected employment growth rate of 4% from 2021-2031. Individuals with creative writing degrees can also pursue related professions as technical writers, editors, and journalists.


Page last reviewed June 19, 2023. All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the BCR Rankings Team.

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