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Best Creative Writing Graduate Programs in the U.S.

Read about the best creative writing graduate programs in the country. Get school rankings, degree options and location info, and compare different programs to find the best educational fit for you.

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The University of Michigan and Cornell University are two of the top schools in the nation to offer graduate-level creative writing programs. Creative writing is a form of writing that deals with the expression of internal thoughts and emotions through literature. It can encompass many formats, including poems, novels, short stories and screenplays. Most graduate-level creative writing programs result in a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). The following programs from top-ranked schools allow students to concentrate in a specific writing field, like poetry or fiction.

1. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

School Highlight: Students can take part in numerous opportunities through the program, such as tutoring high school students, working on the editorial staff of literary anthologies, or organizing poetry slams.

The University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor was ranked the fourth-best public school in the United States in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report. In 2012, Poets and Writers magazine ranked UM's creative writing MFA program second-best in the nation. This workshop-based program offers concentrations in poetry and fiction. Students must write and defend a creative thesis - either a collection of stories or poems or a novel excerpt - at the end of their second year. The university hosts numerous author readings yearly through its Zell Visiting Writers Series.

2. Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

School Highlight: Students in Cornell's MFA program can design their own unique course of study, working closely with faculty advisers.

In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornell University the 16th-best school in the nation overall. Cornell graduate students can pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, a 2-year program with concentrations in fiction and poetry. Poets and Writers ranked this MFA program fifth in the U.S. in 2012. Admission to the creative writing graduate program at Cornell is selective, with only four students accepted into each concentration every year. Students are allowed to design their own course of study while there.

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List of 10 Good U.S. Creative Writing Graduate Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
Brown University Brown ranked #16 on U.S. News & World Report's 2015 list of all national universities. Providence, RI
Cornell University In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornel #8 among schools with the best graduate-level English programs. Ithaca, NY
Indiana University - Bloomington The school offers several fellowships for graduate-level creative writing and poetry students. Bloomington, IN
New York University MFA students can work out of the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House on West 10th Street, where many professional writers have lived and worked. New York, NY
University of Iowa In 2012, Poets & Writers named Iowa the #1 school in the nation offering an MFA program in creative writing. Iowa City, IA
University of Massachusetts - Amherst The university sponsors the Juniper Initiative, which hosts visiting writers series, a literary festival, a summer writing institute and forums for working writers. Amherst, MA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor The university ranked #13 on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 listing of schools with best graduate English programs. Ann Arbor, MI
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Students can work on the student-run literary magazine, dislocate. Minneapolis, MN
University of Texas at Austin The school's Michener Center for Writing was named among the 'Best of the Best' by The Atlantic in 2007. Austin, TX
University of Wisconsin - Madison In 2015, the university ranked #13 on U.S. News & World Report's list of top public schools. Madison, WI
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