Online Creative Writing Education Programs and Training Options

Essential Information

Online education programs in creative writing can be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs are available at traditional four-year institutions as well as private online schools. Online programs may be fully online or in a hybrid format that requires some on-campus lectures or workshops. Programs may lead to a degree solely in creative writing or result in an English degree with a concentration in this area.

Admissions requirements vary based on degree program and school, but it's not uncommon for prospective students to be required to submit a creative writing sample. This gives schools an idea of applicants' writing skills and interests to see if they're a good fit for the program. Those seeking a master's degree in creative writing must have a bachelor's degree, but it doesn't necessarily have to be in English or a writing major.

Bachelor's or Master's Degree for Creative Writing

Both undergraduate and graduate programs are designed to help students hone their craft and also develop skills in critiquing the writing of others. Students who are in a master's degree program may be required to complete a thesis or other major project that results in a substantive piece of creative writing, which could be ready to send to publishers once completed. In addition to becoming professional writers, graduates may go on to work in editing, publishing or education.

Program Information and Requirements

While some degree programs in creative writing can be completed 100% online, others may have some on-campus or residency requirements. These in-person requirements may come before, during, or after the formal start and end date of the semester or program, and they might include attendance at seminars, workshops, lectures, or panel discussions. Graduate students could be required to present their work at a residency session.

In online creative writing programs, a significant amount of independent work in the form of annotated readings or paper assignments may be required. Course materials and assignments are exchanged electronically via an online course management system, which students generally can access any time of day. Discussion boards and online chat rooms are often available to facilitate writing discussions and critiques among students and their instructors.

Common Courses

While online course offerings can vary significantly from program to program, many degree or certificate programs offer courses in literature, creative writing theory and practice. Students could learn about teaching creative writing and also pursue electives that focus on their area of interest, such as poetry or scriptwriting. Common topics studied in an online program include the following:

  • Literary history
  • Literary theory
  • Modern literature
  • Pre-20th-century literature
  • Fiction writing techniques
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Advanced poetry
  • Playwriting

Students interested in creative writing can pursue an online bachelor's or master's degree program to study topics like poetry, literary theory and fiction writing techniques.

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