2020 Accredited Online Creative Writing Degrees

By Jennifer King Logan | Updated October 28, 2020
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Certificate
Average Tuition: $25,983
Average Salary: $58,796

There are many opportunities for creative writers in today’s economy. While some will realize the dream of publishing their works of fiction or poetry, others will apply their talents to the world of business and earn good salaries in the process. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for writers and authors is $63,200, while technical writers earn a median annual salary of $72,850. We've provided a list of popular schools offering online degrees in creative writing to help students find a program that fits their needs. Continue reading for more information about accreditation for creative writing programs from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), career options for writers including public relations and advertising, and common courses a student can expect to take while earning their online degree in creative writing.

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Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Creative Writing Degrees

Prospective students who visit our site are most interested in these schools.
Rank School Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
# 1 #1 Texas Tech University $19,040 0% (3 reviews)
# 2 #2 University of Idaho $25,500 100% (2 reviews)
# 3 #3 University of Central Florida $22,467 88% (8 reviews)
# 4 #4 Drexel University $53,244 67% (6 reviews)
# 5 #5 University of Colorado Denver $25,771 100% (2 reviews)
# 6 #6 West Virginia University $24,950 100% (1 review)
# 7 #7 Northwestern University $54,568 0% (2 reviews)
# 8 #8 University of Massachusetts - Amherst $34,570 60% (5 reviews)
# 9 #9 Savannah College of Art and Design $37,130 Add Review
# 10 #10 University of Louisiana-Monroe $20,654 67% (3 reviews)
# 11 #11 The University of Texas at El Paso $22,629 67% (3 reviews)
# 12 #12 Southern New Hampshire University Online $9,600 64% (374 reviews)
# 13 #13 Missouri State University $15,326 0% (2 reviews)
# 14 #14 University of Iowa $31,233 Add Review
# 15 #15 University of Georgia $30,404 100% (1 review)
# 16 #16 University of Nebraska at Omaha $20,764 Add Review
# 17 #17 Lindenwood University $17,600 0% (1 review)
# 18 #18 University of Denver $50,556 0% (2 reviews)
# 19 #19 Arcadia University $43,580 100% (1 review)
# 20 #20 Stanford University $51,354 Add Review
# 21 #21 Liberty University $11,700 58% (289 reviews)
# 22 #22 Regent University Online $18,380 50% (16 reviews)
# 23 #23 University of North Texas $20,812 60% (5 reviews)
# 24 #24 University of Nebraska at Kearney $13,742 0% (1 review)
# 25 #25 Georgia Southern University $17,142 Add Review

Online Creative Writing Degree Overview & Career Information

Online creative writing degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels, with most traditional writing careers requiring a bachelor’s degree. Online coursework will equip graduates with critical skills to analyze, interpret, and create written work. For most creative writing careers, building a strong portfolio of writing samples is more important than completing internships or any specialized training.

Online Associate Degrees in Creative Writing

An online associate degree program in creative writing may be a good option for students who want an introduction to the subject and to strengthen their writing abilities. At this level, students will be given a broad overview of different types of writing, such as fiction, poetry, and screenwriting, as well as a foundation in how to analyze written works. Students will also likely be able to focus on one or two specific types of creative writing based on their personal interests and needs.

Online classes that students will take during their program include general education courses in math, science, and the humanities, as well as extra courses in creative writing and English. Example creative writing classes that a student might take include introduction to literature, fiction writing, poetry writing, American literature, dramatic literature, and advanced composition. Students will spend about two years on their studies and complete 90 quarter credits or 60 semester credits of work.

An online associate degree in creative writing can be pursued at two and four-year colleges. In order to be admitted, an applicant will need to have a high school diploma or GED. Graduates of this type of program typically go on to transfer to a four-year school. They may also use their strengthened writing skills to work on getting their work published. Additionally, the writing and communication skills that creative writing students learn can be valuable in a variety of jobs in various fields.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Creative Writing

An online bachelor’s in creative writing requires completion of general education classes in addition to preferred topics of study, which should enhance the student’s ability to analyze and diversify his or her writing. Though there are not many colleges that offer creative writing degrees, many offer a concentration of creative writing to give you the expertise and breadth to be an effective writer in a multimedia culture with practical skills alongside creativity. Topics of study will include scriptwriting, editing, journalism, screenwriting, and poetry.

Standard admissions require a 2.5 GPA or higher, SAT or ACT scores, and a personal essay. Traditionally, the programs require 120 credit hours for completion.

Online Master's Degrees in Creative Writing

A master’s degree is primarily beneficial for individuals who wish to teach creative writing at the collegiate level or those who wish to improve their writing under the direction of trained advisors. To learn more about online master's programs in creative writing, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.

Online Certificates in Creative Writing

Online creative writing certificates take approximately one year and are usually used to enhance another degree or for career advancement in a field that requires writing like marketing, non-profit fundraising, or content management. Creative writing certificates are available at the undergraduate or graduate level, and those at the graduate level can sometimes be applied to master’s degrees. Online classes include editing, storytelling, and writing for different media. Most programs require a high school diploma and writing samples, and often published work is not required.

Accreditation for Online Creative Writing Degrees

Accreditation is a valuable way for students, future employers, and governing entities to know that quality education is being provided. Online programs need to be accredited in order for students to qualify for federal funding such as grants and loans, and graduating from an accredited program is often required to sit for state licensure exams. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is the supreme accreditation board for this country. It is a non-governmental, private organization committed to quality assurance and rigorous standards, and students should check with the Department of Education’s website in order to ensure the school they are considering is accredited.

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) is a governing body that evaluates MFA programs to ensure a high level of education and contribution to the written word. The AWP postulates that a valuable writing program offers extensive literary study, strong thesis advisors, accomplished faculty, and a small student-to-teacher ratio, which is something students should consider when evaluating an online MFA program.

Careers in Creative Writing

An online degree in creative writing can provide a breadth of career opportunities, from editing to marketing communications to grant writing. Depending on career goals and experience, areas of focus can vary greatly within creative writing careers.

Companies often hire individuals based on their “soft skills,” which include critical thinking, situation analysis, communication skills, and their ability to communicate effectively across a multitude of media interfaces. An online bachelor’s degree in creative writing can prepare you for a career path in editing and copywriting, advertising, public relations, and publishing, for example.

A master’s program will prepare graduates to teach at a collegiate level, or further critical skills in authorship, which can be essential to getting work published.

Common Online Classes for Creative Writing Students

Creative writing is a field that encapsulates many specialities, so there will likely be a variety of online courses offered. Listed below are some common online classes:

  • Forms and Techniques of Fiction: This class gives students the tools to analyze and imitate important pieces of fiction in order to gain a historical understanding of the creative process.
  • Advanced Poetry Writing: This online course delves into framework and finding your poetic voice through identifying expressive resources and elements.
  • Storytelling in Film and Literature: Students will explore narrative techniques and how they transpose to film, examine the role of the reader and the structure of the meaning, and investigate political, social, and aesthetic issues within the narrative.
  • Scriptwriting: This online class studies the process and elements of film scriptwriting, including character building, three-act structure, plot points, and formatting.
  • Fiction Workshop: This allows students to share their work with peers and receive feedback. It also explores the complexities of fiction writing, from developing characters and plots, to setting a foundation while remaining concise.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing: Students explore the rules of sci-fi and fantasy writing and the tools embedded in these genres. They will utilize poetic language, horror, and alternate realities to create short stories based on prompts.


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