One of the most difficult things about writing is finding a good writing school. There are so many writing programs out there, and you could spend hours combing through their websites to find one that suits your needs. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 15 creative writing colleges in the world. Hopefully, it will make your search easier!
However, there are certain criteria’s that must be looked out for before considering a school is good enough to be among the best writing colleges out there. These Criteria includes but are not limited to:
- MFA School Ranking
- School General Reputation
- Possibilities for Extracurricular Activity
- A wide range of courses
Ranking Criteria for the Best Creative Writing Colleges
I know you are wondering why? Do not trouble your mind, I will explain all the 5 criteria of selection listed above.
MFA School Ranking
It’s important to know which schools have the best MFA programs since you’ll be studying with the same teachers and other graduate students they attract. Alumni networks and internship possibilities are more likely to be found at schools with good MFA programmes.
School General Reputation
A good reputation in the English department, in particular, is vital since you’ll be taking a lot of subjects outside of creative writing.
Possibilities for Extracurricular Activity
For this reason, I looked into the school’s internship programs, author readings, and literary publications to see what they had to offer before deciding to specialize in creative writing.
A wide range of courses
I awarded additional credit to colleges that offered a wide range of genre selections as well as specialized, in-depth programs.
Is the school recognized for producing excellent authors as a final criterion? Having a name-brand degree (so to speak) may be advantageous, even if it’s secondary to the quality of education you get.
20 Best Creative Writing Colleges
Let’s move on to the important part of the article: the list of colleges and universities! To avoid getting too caught up in why one school is number 1 and another is number 2, look at the overall trend from absolutely amazing to still really outstanding.
One of the best writing colleges in the world, Northwestern University has a strong creative writing program. Its low-residency MFA is one of only three programs nationwide that teach writing via Skype and email to students all over the world.
2. Harvard University
Ranked number two on our list, Harvard’s graduate writing school offers MFAs, PhDs, and certificates. Its writing program is highly selective, and its alumni include many of today’s most celebrated authors.
3. University of Houston
This writing school also has an MFA program that is well-regarded for its small class sizes. It offers programs in poetry, fiction writing, playwriting/screenwriting, literary translation, writing for children & young adults, writing for performance (e.g., theatre), creative nonfiction writing, writing & rhetoric, writing for online media, and writing in the visual arts.
4. University of Iowa
The Iowa Writers’ Workshop is one of the most prestigious writing programs in America with a track record of award-winning alumni including Marilynne Robinson, Phillip Roth, Jane Smiley, John Irving (who has given $15 million to support the writing workshop), and many others.
5. University of California, Irvine
UC-Irvine has a writing major that offers you the opportunity to combine creative writing with courses in literature, film, theatre, rhetoric/composition studies, writing for children & young adults as well as new media writing (e.g., video games) and some forms of writing not usually associated with writing, such as sound and digital art.
6. University of California, Santa Cruz
This writing program focuses on the environment and what it means to live sustainably in a rapidly changing world. It provides students with opportunities for research and internships at local environmental organizations like the Seymour Center for Marine Science.
7. Hampshire College
Hampshire’s writing program offers an MFA in writing and writing for performance, a B.A. in literature & writing, and certificates of graduate study (CGS). It also has several semesters that focus on different genres: poetry, fiction/narrative prose, creative nonfiction writing, playwriting/screenwriting writing, writing for children/young adults, writing & rhetoric, writing in the visual arts.
8. University of California, Santa Barbara
One of a list of fantastic writing colleges to earn your MFA from is UCSB’s creative writing program with three different degree options: an MA in Literature and Writing (offered as a low-residency), an MFA in writing, and an MFA in writing for screen & television.
9. University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin’s writing program has a national reputation as well as several additional features that make it stand out from other writing colleges:
10. Bard College
New York’s Bard College has an MFA program in writing that is known for its diversity of styles and genres, with particular strengths in poetry, fiction/narrative prose, playwriting/screenwriting writing, and translation (of both literature and theatre).
11. University of Southern California
USC’s writing program has a high number of students in the creative writing MFA program–an impressive 66% are funded by teaching assistantships, with an additional 12.25% receiving some degree of stipend support.
12. University College London (UCL)
Creative writing at UCL is offered through the university’s English department, which is among the most prestigious writing colleges in Europe offering both an MA and PhD.
13. University of Denver
This writing college offers students one-on-one mentoring with faculty who are writers themselves; writing workshops; small seminars; editorial opportunities for undergraduate writing journals (and publishing professional writing online); internships at writing conferences; writing-intensive independent study courses.
14. University of East Anglia (UEA)
The UEA’s writing program offers students a combination of workshops and seminars, as well as one-to-one supervision with their mentors. They also have an MFA in writing for screen & television where you can choose to focus on writing, writing & directing, writing for news media, and transmedia writing.
15. University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow’s writing program has a flexible structure–giving students the choice between writing short stories or novels; working on poems (with their mentors); and nonfiction courses focused on literary journalism, memoirs/life narratives, etc. It also offers writing internships and writing workshops.
16. University of Manchester
Manchester’s writing program has a focus on literary fiction, although it also includes courses in creative nonfiction writing; playwriting/screenwriting writing; science-in-literature & literature-in-science writing, etc. There is an MFA in Writing offered as well as writing courses for undergraduates.
17. University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
The writing program at UC-Davis is especially good if you don’t want to work with traditional prose–it includes several writing classes that focus on poetry and poetics; writing & rhetoric; new media writing; screenwriting writing; etc. There are writing courses for undergraduates as well.
18. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan’s writing program has a low student-to-faculty ratio, with no more than twelve students in each class. There are workshops and seminars; one-on-one mentoring; writing residencies (with access to local libraries); writing internships; writing workshops; and writing-intensive independent study courses.
19. University of East Anglia (UEA)
The UEA’s writing program offers students a combination of workshops and seminars, as well as one-to-one supervision with their mentors. They also have an MFA in writing for screen & television where you can choose to focus on writing, writing & directing, writing for new media and transmedia writing.
- Oberlin College
Oberlin College’s writing program has a focus on writing for the stage, but it also covers writing fiction; poetry writing; nonfiction writing (including journalism); creative nonfiction writing. It offers workshops and seminars as well as one-on-one mentoring with faculty members who are writers themselves.