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Bachelor's Degrees in Creative Writing

Many forms of entertainment involve creative writing, including novels, plays, movies, and TV shows. An online creative writing program trains students in the craft of writing. Students learn how to develop their ideas and build a regular writing practice.

Degree-seekers with a high school diploma can apply to bachelor's in creative writing programs. Some schools ask applicants to submit a creative writing sample in their chosen genre, such as fiction or poetry.

Our guide to online creative writing degrees offers information on common classes, costs, and potential careers for graduates.

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Questions About Creative Writing Degrees

What can a degree in creative writing do?

An online creative writing degree can help students develop their writing and reading practice. Graduates may work in publishing, advertising, or teaching.

Is creative writing a BA or BS?

A creative writing degree is typically a BA. Some schools offer a BS that focuses on technical writing.

Is creative writing a useful major?

Creative writing builds transferable skills in writing, reading, and communication. Students can also pursue graduate studies in many fields, such as English or law.

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Why Get a Degree in Creative Writing?

An online creative writing degree builds knowledge in English literature and the craft of creative writing. Students refine their reading and writing skills. They also practice creativity by writing original works like short stories and poems.

A writing degree prepares students for many creative career paths. Many graduates work as writers and authors. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $67,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students who earn their creative writing degree online can often work full time while in school. An online format also means learners can attend top programs without relocating.

How Much Does a Creative Writing Degree Cost?

Tuition varies by school, degree level, and learners' residency status. Students attending in-state, public schools typically pay the most affordable tuition. Degree-seekers pay an average of $35,720 per year, according to EducationData.org.

Full-time learners can complete a bachelor's degree in four years. Earning a master's takes an extra two years. Accelerated programs can help students graduate sooner. An online creative writing degree can help students complete a degree while continuing their career. Online enrollees can also save money by avoiding commuting and parking expenses.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online students should budget for extra expenses, such as materials and books. Many schools charge technology fees to cover tech support and other resources. Online enrollees may also need to pay administrative fees for registration or graduation.

Online learning requires a reliable computer and internet connection. Degree-seekers may need to buy a new laptop or upgrade their software. Students attending hybrid programs may need to budget for travel and lodging expenses. Conferences and other off-campus experiences bring additional fees.

Courses in Creative Writing

Bachelor's-level online creative writing programs focus on broad knowledge in literature, literary analysis, and creative writing practice. Similar to English programs, students usually complete literature classes.

Degree-seekers often choose a creative writing genre, such as fiction, poetry, or playwriting. Rather than completing an English thesis analyzing a work of literature, students may complete a creative work, such as a novel or poetry collection.

See below for three common classes in online creative writing programs. This list is a sample curriculum. Courses vary by program.

  • Introduction to Creative Writing

    Many programs include an introductory course that offers a fundamental overview of creative writing. Coursework covers major writing elements, including dialogue, voice, and setting. Students may complete creative writing exercises that focus on different craft elements.
  • Writing Workshop

    Most creative writing programs use a workshop model, allowing students to critique one another's work in a group setting. Some programs hold live workshops via video conferencing. Others use written feedback. Workshops help students develop their writing while building skills in reading and criticism.
  • Introduction to Literary Theory

    This class focuses on major critical approaches to literature and strategies for interpreting a literary text. Coursework covers major developments in 20th and 21st century literary theory. Learners explore topics such as Marxism and feminism. The class helps students improve their reading and critical thinking skills by applying these frameworks to different works of literature.

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Career and Salary Outlook for Creative Writing

Salaries for graduates with an online creative writing degree vary by job title, employer, and experience level. Many graduates work in writing and publishing. However, degree-holders can apply their creative writing skills in many fields, including communications, advertising, and business.

See below for three common careers for creative writing majors. Read on to learn about job duties, salary potential, and projected career growth.

  • Writers and Authors

    These professionals create written content for publication. They may work in various fields, including journalism, publishing, and entertainment. Writers perform research, create written content, and work with editors and other clients. Many writers are self-employed, while others work full time for companies.
  • Technical Writers

    Technical writers make technical information more easily understandable for a general audience. They may write instruction manuals, guides, and other instructional documents. These professionals work with product designers, scientists, and other specialists to help communicate complex ideas to the public. Technical writers often work in information technology, science, and other technical fields.
  • Editors

    Editors work with writers to ensure that written content is ready for publication. They may edit and rewrite text to make it shorter and easier to understand. Editors also work with writers to help them revise and develop their ideas. Editors commonly work in media, journalism, and publishing.
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Writers and Authors$67,1209%
Technical Writers$74,65012%
Editors$63,4005%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best Online Creative Writing Degrees

#10. University of Illinois at Springfield – Springfield, IL

Bachelor of Arts in English

Website

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers an Online Bachelor of Art in English. This online degree program prepares students for a wide variety of jobs within a vast expanse of job-sectors. Students can find well-established careers in education, law, business, and healthcare. The degree program is characterized by its multifaceted nature. Courses available to students in this curriculum include Rhetoric and Composition in Digital Media, Non-Fiction Writing, and Professional Writing. This degree program requires a minimum of 68 units for completion. Online students at UIS have the unique opportunity to present their work at the Students Arts and Research Symposium. The English department faculty are a diverse group of professionals from all backgrounds, and its diversity resembles that of the student body. The faculty additionally offers their support every step of the way.

Net Price: $12,054
Score: 90.3

#9. Missouri State University – Springfield, MO

Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing

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Missouri State University provides an Online Bachelor of Art in Professional Writing program. This program shows its value by combining superior writing abilities with computer skills. Some of the fields open to graduates of this degree program include government, technology, and health care. The major requirements for this program is a minimum of 36 units. Students admitted to the program must also maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.50. Those who pursue this degree use their blend of writing and computer proficiencies to analyze, understand, and understand the conventions of the English language. One of the more interesting aspects of the program is that students are required to take four courses outside of their major. Some of these focuses include The Natural World, Public Issues, and Cultural Competence.  

Net Price: $15,173
Score: 90.3

#8. University of Colorado – Denver, CO

Bachelor of Arts in English Writing

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The University of Colorado offers an Online Bachelor of Art in English Writing program to all interested students. This undergraduate degree program exposes students to all aspects of English. The program houses students with different goals and interests while still giving great attention to all disciplines of English. The online courses are taught and pursued with the same fervor and intensity that those who attend in person experience. Although the program is flexible and designed with all types of lifestyles in mind, full-time students are still expected to graduate within four years. Some of the courses offered to students during their degree program include Technical Writing, Business Writing, and Fiction Workshop. CU is specifically appealing to technical writers, authors, and editors.

Net Price: $14,586
Score: 91.7

#7. University of Massachusetts - Amherst – Shrewsbury, MA

Bachelor of Arts in Writing Concentrations

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The University of Massachusetts - Amherst offers an Online Bachelor of Arts in Writing Concentrations. UMass Amherst University Without Walls aims to assist all levels of writers in expanding their understanding of the theory and practice of professional writing. This comprehension of the language extends across all genres of modern and traditional writing. UMass Amherst allows for 105 units to be transferred into their all online program. The undergraduate degree is designed with those facing the challenges of family, community, and professional responsibilities in mind. Students considering this program must have a minimum of 12 units completed with a 2.0 GPA maintained. Those curious about attending must be clear that the program is open to all, but that it is also rigorous once enrollment is obtained.

Net Price: $21,281
Score: 91.8

#6. University of Memphis – Memphis, TN

Bachelor of Arts in English

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The University of Memphis provides the platform for an Online Bachelor of Art in English. This four-year program offers courses such as Forms of Poetry, Literary Programming, and Studies in Discourse Analysis. The University of Memphis has a Smart Start supplementary program for adults returning to take classes. The initiative assists with readiness and preparation for the pursuit of a degree.

Students are given the opportunity to hone their skills and ramp up for the technology-driven curriculum. Students interested in the degree program can assess their readiness by taking an online assessment. The two online degree concentrations include Professional Writing and African-American Literature. Students also need to complete a minimum of 120 units to achieve their degree. Those who are not already U of M students need to complete an online application.  

Net Price: $13,663
Score: 92.6

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#5. Central Washington University – Ellensburg, WA

Bachelor of Arts in English with Professional & Creative Writing

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Central Washington University has an Online Bachelor of Art in English with Professional and Creative Writing to combine technical aspects of professional writing with the freedom to write creatively. Students are required to take a minimum of 74 credits to complete the degree. Available courses include Legal Writing Credits, Advanced Fiction Writing, and Women’s Literature. The English department also amplifies the voices of their students by announcing poems that are published and other literary successes by posting congratulatory messages on the CWU website. Because this degree is a specialization, students need to complete two upper-division courses prior to enrolling.

Net Price: $14,124
Score: 94.7

#4. Old Dominion University – Norfolk, VA

Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing

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Old Dominion University awards an Online Bachelor of Art in Professional Writing. This supplemental certificate program for the Bachelor of Art requires a minimum of 12 credits. The purpose of the certificate program is to strengthen and focus on writing abilities. Students develop clarity in their written communications. ODU’s online program also provides graduates with a unique tool. The Career Coach is an online system that allows students to explore their employability in various regions. There is a job board, a resume assistant, and an assessment center available for career building as well. The class conversations are live as if in a classroom. Students in this degree program may enroll in courses such as Digital Writing, Public Relations, and Management Writing.

Net Price: $15,213
Score: 95.7

#3. University of Houston – Houston, TX

Bachelor of Arts in English with Creative Writing

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The University of Houston offers an Online Bachelor of Art in English with Creative Writing. The career opportunities for students who complete this degree are as vast as they are endless. Students can find opportunities in both the public and private sector with positions in law, web design, and publishing. In pursuit of this degree, students enroll in courses such as Literature and Culture, Workplace Presentations, and Studies in Poetry. The Workplace Presentations course is particularly helpful in tying the classroom to the real world professional experience. Students learn to create and give presentations by clearly communicating information in multimedia mediums. Students graduate with the ability to critically analyze various texts and develop unique ideas grounded in evidence. This program is built to develop the critical skills needed for workplace success.

Net Price: $15,664
Score: 97.0

#2. University of Central Florida – Orlando, FL

Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing or Professional Writing

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The University of Central Florida in Orlando offers both a Bachelors in Creative Writing or Professional Writing Degrees Online. The idea behind each of these online degree programs emphasizes student engagement through the development of writing skills. These degree programs require a minimum of 120 units for completion. Students will combine theory, practice, and technique during their pursuit of this degree. UCF also features a student support center online. The intuitive system allows students to address issues, stay organized with checklists, and seek out tutoring. The online support system is robust, designed specifically for those who attend the degree programs virtually.  

Net Price: $15,341
Score: 98.4

#1. Arizona State University-Tempe – Tempe, AZ

Bachelor of Arts in English

Website

Arizona State University-Tempe offers an Online Bachelor of Art in English degree program. This program is designed with the idea that students have full control over their curriculum. During that time, students develop written, oral, and analytic skills that create the foundation for exploration and problem-solving in the professional world. Students are expected to complete 120 credits to graduate while maintaining a 2.0 GPA. The online program also touts its enrollees as a community rather than merely classmates. The English department drives learning through collaboration by promoting conversation and discussion to enhance individual analysis.

Net Price: $12,947
Score: 100

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