Top Writing Schools in the U.S.

Writing schools in the U.S. have various areas of focus within writing, including creative writing, journalistic writing, and writing throughout all academic disciplines. Get details on rankings, programs offered, and other distinctions for the nation's top writing schools.

Many schools offer graduate writing degrees, with different areas of focus and specialization available depending on the institution. See what the top schools in the United States offer and what sets their writing programs apart from the rest.

School Overviews

The University of Iowa, the University of Texas - Austin, and Boston University are fine institutions with high-quality writing programs. Each school offers master's degree programs encompassing various areas of creative writing. A doctoral program related to writing is also an option at the University of Iowa.

University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA

School Highlight: The Writer's Workshop has produced many internationally recognized, award-winning authors and poets.

The University of Iowa has one of the best-known graduate writing programs in the country. Known informally as the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in English with an emphasis in creative writing admits emerging writers of fiction and poetry. Graduates of the program have gone on to become internationally recognized award-winning authors. Students interested in nonfiction writing may apply to the MFA program in nonfiction writing. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English is also offered for writing students interested in teaching at the college level.

University of Texas in Austin, TX

School Highlight: The graduate creative writing program at the Michener Center at the University of Texas was listed as one of the top ten in the nation by The Atlantic

The Michener Center at the University of Texas - Austin offers an innovative, multi-genre MFA in Writing program in which students work in two or more areas, including poetry, fiction, screenwriting, and playwriting. In this nationally recognized top-ten writing program, students have the opportunity to develop a body of work in one of the primary fields of emphasis.

Boston University in Boston, MA

School Highlight: Students in the MFA in Creative Writing program can apply for a fellowship to spend three months writing abroad in a variety of locations.

Boston University's MFA program in creative writing is unique, in that it lasts roughly a year rather than the standard two to three for a master's degree. This intensive degree program offers many writing workshops as part of the curriculum. Additionally, students have the option of earning course credits from non-literature classes by demonstrating that a subject is necessary for their creative writing and research.

Top Writing Schools in the U.S.

Many other schools also have top ranked writing degrees available, including:

  • Students from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, can pursue a concentration in writing, which requires 10 courses that can be taken from several genres of writing.
  • Graduate writing students at New York's Columbia University publish Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, a yearly compilation of fiction, poetry, and art.
  • Ithaca, New York, is home to Cornell University, with its Imagining Rome: Art Studio and Creative Writing Workshop allowing students to spend a summer studying writing at the school's campus in Rome, Italy.
  • Oberlin College, in Ohio, has undergraduate programs available in creative writing with areas of emphasis in poetry, fiction, screenwriting, playwriting, and nonfiction. Only a small number of schools in the country offer a program of this type for undergrads.
  • Students can earn an MFA degree in writing through New York University's limited-residency program which requires students to attend five, 10-day sessions in Paris in place of a traditional campus program.
  • The University of California, in Berkeley, offers a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Writing with specialization options in professional writing (fiction and nonfiction), editing, and technical writing.
  • Twice a month, graduate writing students at the University of California, in Irvine, can read their work at events on campus and at venues in the surrounding community.
  • Undergraduate English majors at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, can pursue a two-year area of study in either poetry or literary prose.

Many colleges and universities offer a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees in writing. Advantages vary by institution, with some of the best programs available at the University of Iowa, the University of Texas - Austin, and Boston University.

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