2023 Best Online Creative Writing Degrees
ON THIS PAGEDegree Options Courses Careers Resources Worth It?
An online creative writing degree can help you gain the skills and resources you need to become a professional writer — from publishing works of fiction to applying your talents in the business world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for writers and authors is $69,510, while technical writers earn $78,060. If you go on to earn your master's degree in creative writing or English, you may bring home even more.
To find a program that fits your needs, explore our list of the best online bachelor’s in creative writing. View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.
Online Creative Writing Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In
Southern New Hampshire University Online
Annual Tuition: $9,600
5 Programs (view all)
Grand Canyon University
Annual Tuition: $17,800
2 Programs (view all)
Annual Tuition: $11,700
1 Programs (view all)
List Of Accredited Online Creative Writing Schools
|School||Online Enrollment||Annual Tuition|
|Southern New Hampshire University Online|
|Full Sail University||14,908||$24,513|
|University of Central Florida||7,588||$22,467|
|Regent University Online||3,146||$18,620|
|Colorado Christian University||3,040||$33,434|
|Academy of Art University||2,911||$23,412|
|Central Washington University||2,745||$23,954|
|LA Film School||2,492||NA|
|Texas Tech University||1,931||$19,260|
Southern New Hampshire University Online
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a large, private institution that offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing & English. This BA program has four concentration options: (1) Fiction, (2) Nonfiction, (3) Poetry, and (4) Screenwriting. Each concentration requires 120 credits and can be completed in four years with a full-time schedule. This program focuses on teaching students about adaptability, creativity, persuasion, and social perceptiveness, encouraging graduates to pursue any writing career they desire. Some core courses in this program include Context of Writing: Writers/Publishing, The English Language, and Shakespeare. Graduates may go on to work as authors, editors, copywriters, and journalists.
At SNHU Online, students use Brightspace to access their online coursework, which is fully online and synchronous.
Liberty University (LU) is a private, Christian university with a Bachelor of Science in English and Writing - Creative Writing. This online degree requires 120 credit hours, which full-time students complete in three-and-a-half years on average. Overall, LU accepts 50% of its applicants, while 34% of students at LU graduate.
Canvas is the school's learning management system, which students use to complete their online coursework 100% online and on a schedule that meets their needs. This program explores the history of literature, including historical authors, as well as advanced grammar, technical writing, and critical thinking. The majority of credits go toward the core curriculum — including classes such as American Realism and Naturalism, Modern Grammar, and Composition and Literature — with each course being taught from a Christian perspective. Additional credits are required for the senior capstone project. Jobs for graduates may include a variety of roles, such as professional bloggers, writers, or editors.
Full Sail University
Full Sail University (FS) is a large, private university that offers an online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing requiring 120 credit hours. The program takes 29 months to complete with a full-time schedule. The curriculum focuses on exploring genres, researching publication methods, and honing the craft through portfolio courses and workshops. Some core classes in this major include Storytelling in the Entertainment & Media Industries, Literary Techniques and Story Development, and Developing New Worlds: Environment and Historical Research.
At FS, students receive a Launchbox, which includes a computer, Full Sail’s custom learning system, and professional software to finish their coursework, which is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning styles.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a public university that hosts an online Bachelor of Arts in English - Creative Writing. In order to graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours, which is typically done within four years. UCF's acceptance rate is 45%, with 72% of students graduating.
Online students at UCF use Canvas to complete their coursework, which is delivered online and in an asynchronous format. The curriculum guides students through aspects of writing, such as rhetoric, communication, and literary structure. While attending classes remotely, students examine works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to assist students in composing their own pieces. There are a number of required courses, such as Creative Writing for English Majors, Theories and Techniques of Literature Study, and Theory and Practice of Creative Writing. Graduates may find employment as copywriters, journalists, and technical writers.
Regent University Online
Regent University Online (RU) is a private, Christian institution that features an online Bachelor of Arts in English - Writing requiring a minimum of 120 credit hours. Typically, the completion time for this degree is around four years for full-time students. Of all the students that apply to RU, exactly half of the applicants are accepted into a program. Then, they have a 30% graduation rate.
At RU, students use Canvas as their learning platform, where courses are delivered fully online and asynchronously. The core curriculum for this program teaches students the most relevant forms of modern writing, such as media, web, fiction, and business — alongside a historical view of literature throughout Britain and the United States. Here are three examples of required courses: The Art of the Essay, Shakespeare, and Literature of the United States: Beginnings to the Civil War. Students must also complete an Advanced Independent Study. Graduates may find work in marketing, public relations, and commercial fiction, to name a few possibilities.
Central Washington University
Central Washington University (CWU) is a medium-sized, public institution. CWU offers an online Bachelor of Arts in English - Professional and Creative Writing requiring 180 credits. Students can finish this program in about four years with a full-time schedule, which includes a practicum course. Options for the practicum course are working for the student newspaper or magazine, completing an internship, or editing the student literary journal. Courses include Rhetoric for Professional Writers, Multi-Genre Writing Workshop, and Research Methods for Workplace Writers. CWU graduates go on to work for businesses, agencies, publications, government offices, and nonprofit organizations.
At CWU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is all online.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University (TTU) is a large, public institution that offers an online Bachelor of Arts in English - Creative Writing requiring 120 credit hours. Students can graduate in four years with a full-time schedule and work in various fields — such as education, government, and business — or they can continue their studies with a graduate degree. This program prepares students with classes such as Heroes and Anti-Heroes, Studies in Literary Topics, and Language & Community. Additionally, this program has a Communication Literacy Requirement, which can be completed with three courses.
At TTU, students use Blackboard to access their coursework. Students can take classes completely online, and they are taught synchronously.
Which Degree Is Best for Writers?
Students interested in writing careers may pursue a creative writing bachelor's degree online to hone their craft through virtual lectures, readings, and collaborative writing workshops. While an English degree may require more intensive literature study, a creative writing major online or in person aims to equip graduates with the critical skills to analyze, interpret, and create content in a multimedia culture.
A creative writing online degree involves taking general education classes and a university’s core requirements. Professional writers of various genres often lead workshops where students review each other's work and provide feedback. To diversify students’ writing, a program’s curriculum may be somewhat broad — including classes in scriptwriting, editing, journalism, screenwriting, and poetry. While working toward this degree, students may build a robust portfolio of their creative work by practically applying their skills.
Standard admission requirements for a creative writing degree online include the following:
- A minimum 2.5 GPA (alternatively, an additional review process may be required)
- High school transcripts
- Entrance exam scores
- A personal essay or statement of intent
- Many schools charge a nonrefundable application fee of approximately $50
How Long Is a Creative Writing Degree?
Online degrees in writing are treated the same as any other bachelor's level program: Students study for approximately four years in order to finish 120 credit hours. Keep in mind, this is while maintaining a full-time study schedule. Some programs may offer accelerated tracks, which include summer courses, to shorten the overall time it takes to earn the degree.
Is Creative Writing a BA or BS?
Online colleges for creative writing often offer a Bachelor of Arts (BA). These focus more on fields in the arts and humanities and involve core courses in critical thinking and communication. They include subjects like philosophy, language, and education.
Some online schools for creative writing may consider their degree a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), which encourages students to study the practice of creative writing as an art form and to discover their own unique artistic voice.
Conversely to BAs and BFAs, a Bachelor of Science (BS) involves more quantitative teaching using science and mathematics.
Are Online Degrees Respected?
Online degrees are respected for many reasons. However, one of the most important reasons is accreditation. The best online creative writing bachelor's degree programs will be accredited by national or institutional authorities — such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. They evaluate whether a school meets the federal standard of a quality education in a process.
Use the U.S. Department of Education’s search tool to verify that an online school for writing has accreditation status before enrolling.
This quality assurance process proves that a school has an adequate amount of faculty, resources, and other facilities to conduct academic programs. Furthermore, in-person and online students must attend accredited schools to qualify for federal financial aid, such as student loans and scholarships. This stamp of approval also makes transferring credits between schools possible, especially if students hope to pursue online MFAs or other master's writing degree programs.
Common Online Courses for Creative Writing Students
A creative writing degree covers many specialties under the umbrella of liberal arts, so a variety of courses are often offered.
The coursework helps students develop soft skills, which include critical thinking, situation analysis, and the ability to communicate across various media interfaces.
The best online colleges for creative writing prepare students for careers producing fiction, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction. Programs may also offer internships that allow students to earn additional credits and gain practical experience.
Below is a diverse sampling of classes offered across the programs in our rankings list above:
Advanced Poetry Writing
This online course delves into poetic form and technique, such as voice development and what makes a poem engaging. The faculty guides students to explore their emotional truth, which is at the heart of writing poetry.
Students share their work with peers and receive feedback through collaborative workshop sessions. The coursework allows students to explore the complexities of fiction writing, from developing characters and plots to maintaining concise prose throughout.
Forms and Techniques of Fiction
In this class, students learn how to analyze and imitate principal works of fiction in order to gain a historical understanding of the creative process.
Students study the process and elements of playwriting, including character, plot, and conflict development. Students should become familiar with thinking and writing engaging dialogue, film scriptwriting, character building, three-act structures, plot points, and formatting techniques.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing
Prospective fiction writers discover the rules and tools associated with writing sci-fi and fantasy. Based on prompts provided by the faculty, students develop their poetic language by writing short stories that evoke a sense of horror and convey alternate realities.
Storytelling in Film and Literature
Overall, this course encourages students to explore narrative techniques and how they transpose to film. Students also investigate political, social, and aesthetic issues in narratives.
Careers with a Creative Writing Degree
An online degree in creative writing can prepare students for a breadth of professional writing opportunities, from scientific to speech writing. Areas of focus can vary significantly within creative writing careers, depending on an individual’s career goals and experience. For example, an online bachelor’s degree in creative writing can prepare students for career paths in new media editing and copywriting, advertising, public relations, and publishing.
Some writers want more flexibility and may choose to be self-employed. Freelance writers sell their stories to media outlets or contract with organizations in order to write through various mediums, such as web content. Freelancers usually charge by the word but may also charge hourly or by the piece.
Below are some other popular career paths for those with an online creative writing bachelor's degree:
Editors review content for grammatical and spelling errors, rewrite text to improve comprehension, evaluate writer submissions, and work closely with writers to develop their content.
Journalists research stories and ideas, conduct interviews, and write articles for publication in a variety of media outlets. They analyze and convey information in a way that’s easy for a general audience to understand.
Public Relations Specialists
Public relations specialists write press releases and speeches to help business leaders communicate effectively. In general, they help build and maintain an organization's public image.
Technical writers, such as medical and scientific writers, develop user-friendly product descriptions, instructions, and other forms of content across various media platforms. While certification is often not mandatory, it can be attractive to potential employers.
Is Writing a Stable Career?
The stability of a career in writing ultimately depends on the direction the writer chooses to go. For example, content writing for websites can be a very lucrative and stable career path because it offers nearly unlimited job opportunities on the internet. Screenwriting, on the other hand, may be considered less stable because your opportunities are limited to the amount of scripts that production companies can accept.
Furthermore, this particular career path is incredibly competitive with only 6,100 writers in film and TV reporting earnings, as per the 2021 Writers Guild of America West's Annual Financial Report. Writers overall, however, can expect a 4% job growth into 2030 — which is the average job growth for all U.S. occupations.
Associations for Creative Writing Students
Several well-known writers' associations provide professional development and networking opportunities. These associations support writers by providing communities for them to connect, share best practices, develop skills, and search for employment. A wide range of associations exist for various genres of literature, such as the Academy of American Poets, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Below are several prominent writing associations in the U.S.:
One of the country's oldest writers' associations, the AG, supports working writers of all genres by providing a community for them that promotes networking. The AG not only provides a sense of belonging for writers but also advocates for their rights by ensuring that they are paid, treated well, and protected — especially their freedom of speech.
Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)
The AWP provides support, advocacy, and resources for a community of nearly 50,000 writers. According to its mission, AWP “amplifies the voices of writers and the academic programs and organizations that serve them while championing diversity and excellence in creative writing.” Importantly, the AWP is also the governing body that evaluates MFA programs to ensure that they consistently provide high quality education.
National Association of Independent Writers & Editors (NAIWE)
The NAIWE supports freelance writers of all kinds — including novelists, business writers, editors, and academic writers — by providing best practice guidance, networking opportunities, and writers' resources. NAIWE's primary mission is to help writers develop multiple income streams by connecting them with freelance opportunities.
Is It Worth Getting a Degree in Creative Writing?
An online bachelor's degree in creative writing can be helpful for developing a student’s voice and providing a way for prospective writers to acquire the tools and techniques of the trade. The ability to write thoughtfully and clearly is valued across all fields and industries, making this degree path worthwhile for many. However, if a student's primary desire is to become a published author, that cannot be guaranteed with a degree. Being a published author not only takes skill but also talent, experience, and a bit of luck.
Ultimately, to determine the value of a Bachelor of Creative Writing online, students should consider their personal, financial, and professional goals. The following presents several pros and cons involved with earning an online bachelor's degree in creative writing:
Writing skills are transferable to a wide range of careers. Creative thinking and written communication skills are two of the top ten skills employers desire, regardless of the position. Organizations need employees who are articulate in both speech and writing. They are looking for people who can develop a strong argument and think outside the box. For example, if a job requires updating social media or corresponding through email, a creative writing degree could prove an asset.
A degree program provides opportunities for networking. Students can connect with peers and mentors in the field — including authors, editors, and even publishers — throughout their program. Networking can help students navigate the publishing world, share advice and knowledge, and learn from the experience of others.
Students can build a substantial writing portfolio. Through coursework and projects, students develop a diverse body of work, which they can later present to prospective employers.
Completing course assignments may feel particularly restrictive to creative writers. Since the coursework in a creative writing program is intended to meet programmatic outcomes and objectives, it’s often highly specific. This focus removes some of the enjoyment, freedom, and inspiration from the writing process. Also, students may be required to write about topics that hold no interest for them.
Writer's burnout is a common phenomenon. Due to the imaginative nature of writing, a kind of creative burnout can arise that other professionals don't necessarily have to grapple with. This type of stress often involves decreased motivation and a harmful internal dialogue that prohibits productivity. To avoid writer’s burnout, writers need self-discipline and organizational skills to effectively manage their time.
Some writing careers may not be financially sustainable. Writers who specialize in specific areas, such as technical writing or public relations, have above-average salary prospects and earn median annual salaries of $78,060 and $62,800, respectively. On the other hand, poets, freelancers, and fiction writers may not be able to rely on creative writing as their primary source of income.
Studying and writing from home may offer more flexibility and comfort than being on a busy campus and adhering to a rigid schedule. Since writing is often a reflective, solitary activity requiring uninterrupted attention, online coursework may make it easier for writers to focus.
The best online creative writing degree helps prepare students by encouraging them to develop the necessary skills to gain professional employment in direct writing roles as well as other professions — such as public relations specialist or publisher — which don't exclusively involve writing. While career stability declines when it comes to more creative writing, such as screenwriting or poetry, an online bachelor's degree in English creative writing will still teach valuable communication strategies, along with creative and critical thinking skills.
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing may decide to continue their education by pursuing a graduate degree, such as an online master's in creative writing. Advanced education prepares students to teach at the collegiate level or gain highly sophisticated writing skills, which can be essential when trying to get published.
2023 Best Online Graphic Design Degrees
Find the best online graphic design degrees in 2023 from our list of accredited colleges ranked by popularity.
2023 Best Online Art Design Degrees
Read our list of the best online bachelor's degrees in art and design in 2023. Choose the best online program that fits your needs.