Online Degree Options for Poem Writing: Program Information

Find out about online poem writing courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Students interested in studying poetry writing online can complete a degree program in creative writing that offers coursework in poetry. Some of these programs even offer a poetry specialization. Distance learning programs in this field of study are typically offered at the master's degree level.

Applicants to a creative writing Master of Fine Arts program need an undergraduate degree in English or other humanities discipline, and may need to submit a portfolio with several samples of creative writing, including poems. Some schools offer all classes and workshops entirely online; others offer blended, but primarily online, programs that include short campus residencies and study abroad components.

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Master's Degree in Creative Writing

Online creative writing programs with courses and areas of concentration in poem writing generally result in a Master of Fine Arts. Some colleges require that candidates possess an undergraduate degree in English or a humanities discipline, and many require writing samples prior to enrollment. An applicant's writing portfolio may need to contain both fiction and nonfiction works.

Program Information and Requirements

An online creative writing degree program exposes students to various forms and genres of writing and literature. Some programs are conducted entirely online, while others are a combination of on-campus classes, on-site residencies and online courses. In some programs, the online portion consists only of writing workshops. Some schools use mail correspondence rather than an online format for students to submit writing assignments to their instructors.

Distance education students in creative writing typically need updated versions of required software like Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat to be able to open course materials. A high-speed Internet connection and valid e-mail address are also required. Operating systems and browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari, must be compatible with a school's online platform.

Course Topics

Program coursework for online master's degree programs in creative writing generally includes introductory and advanced courses and workshops in fiction writing, nonfiction writing and poem writing. Courses in classic literature, contemporary literature and critical theory also might be included. Many programs contain one or more 1-2 week residencies.

Poem Writing

Poem writing workshops introduce students to a variety of poetry styles and techniques. Students develop their own poem writing skills through exercises and assignments. Readings and discussions of noted poets also might be included.

Fiction Writing

Fundamental and advanced topics in dialogue, structure, narration and conflict are at the core of fiction writing workshops. In addition to completing their own writing, students discuss published works and critique the writing of classmates.

Nonfiction Writing

Students in nonfiction workshops develop skills needed for expository writing. Conducting research, writing essays and providing detailed descriptions are addressed. Some programs also explore creative nonfiction.

Career Information

In addition to working as authors, graduates of online master's programs in creative writing might go on to careers in advertising, publishing, teaching or public relations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, authors and writers earned a median annual salary of $60,250 in May 2015 (

Students wishing to study poetry online typically pursue an online master's degree in creative writing to specialize in poetry and study other kinds of writing. Graduates of these programs can go on to work as authors and writers.

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