10 Best Deals on Online MFA in Creative Writing Degrees

Welcome to our ranking of the 10 best deals on online MFA in creative writing degrees. In pursuit of a long, fulfilling career as a creative writer, seeking an advanced degree in the craft can enhance confidence and marketability in the field. Through mentor-based creative writing programs, one can truly develop the skills needed to tell a compelling story. There is a growing number of respected online MFA degrees in creative writing; these distance-learning options often involve a minimal residency requirement, but otherwise can be completed from wherever you are based.

The following are 10 colleges that reflect the best in online creative writing master’s programs. This ranked list results from a strategic research process based on what students are looking for in a creative writing MFA. In determining these to be the 10 best deals, we assessed a pool of approximately 65 institutions with a current online MFA in creative writing. We awarded points based on the most important features in an online master’s in this competitive field. These features included a comprehensive curriculum in writing skill development, a well-established student-author mentorship program, recognition from academic publications, successful alumni, published faculty, advanced technology in the virtual environment, and accessible financial aid options. Additional points were awarded for any significant distinctions that added value to the school.

The 10 finalists profiled below scored the highest among accredited schools with a tuition (per College Navigator) of $34,000 USD or less. These schools are ranked in order of points earned; in the event of a tie in points, the schools with the lower net price are ranked higher.

#10 – Lindenwood University

ONLINE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING

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Lindenwood University online MFA in creative writing

Lindenwood University’s online MFA in creative writing is a degree that can be earned 100% remotely.

Points: 9
Enrollment: 12,151 Graduate Enrollment: 3,610
Out-of-State-Tuition: $15,672

A historic liberal arts school based in Missouri, Lindenwood University is an institution proudly connected to Judeo-Christian values. This college’s online MFA program in creative writing is a 48-credit hour degree that can be earned 100% remotely. Online creative writing students are given the option to specialize in poetry, genre fiction, narrative journalism, scriptwriting, the novel, or creative nonfiction. At the conclusion of the creative writing MFA track, students present a thesis in their respective literary concentration areas.

#9 – University of Arkansas at Monticello

ONLINE MASTER’S OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

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niversity of Arkansas at Monticello online MFA in creative writing

The University of Arkansas at Monticello has an online MFA in creative writing that specializes in poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction.

Points: 9
Enrollment: 3,854 Graduate Enrollment: 213
Out-of-State-Tuition: $9,000

The University of Arkansas at Monticello is a small liberal arts college celebrated for its progressive approach to higher education. UAM strives to develop well-rounded graduates who pursue their career goals with confidence. For students seeking an online master’s degree in creative writing, this institution has a 48-credit hour program that does not require a residency. Creative writing students specialize in either poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction; this degree can be earned in an accelerated or slower pace, allowing optimum flexibility for online MFA students.

#8 – The University of Texas at El Paso

ONLINE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING

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University of Texas at El Paso online MFA in creative writing

The University of Texas at El Paso’s online MFA degree in creative writing provides a mentor-based thesis program.

Points: 10
Enrollment: 23,079 Graduate Enrollment: 3,262
Out-of-State-Tuition: $11,517

Originally founded as a school of mines and metallurgy, the University of Texas at el Paso has broadened its academic reach to serve the interests of over 23,000 students. One of UTEP’s distance-learning programs is an online MFA degree in creative writing, which can be attained remotely without any on-campus requirement. The 48-credit hour creative writing master’s consists of fourteen courses and a mentor-based thesis project; the thesis portion of the degree results in a work of writing intended for publication.

#7 – Converse College

ONLINE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING

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Converse College online MFA in creative writing

Alumni of Converse College’s online MFA in creative writing includes a Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction.

Points: 10
Enrollment: 1,389 Graduate Enrollment: 567
Out-of-State-Tuition: $8,190

Based in North Carolina, Converse College is an affordable private school considered to be “excelling in access and success” by the U.S. Department of Education. Converse’s online MFA in creative writing provides concentration options in poetry, YA fiction, environmental writing, fiction, or creative nonfiction. The creative writing master’s typically takes two years to complete, and graduates conclude the program with a presentation of their thesis and a public reading of original work. Converse is known to have distinguished alumni, among them a Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction.

#6 – University of Southern Maine

ONLINE MASTER’S OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

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University of Southern Maine online MFA in creative writing

The University of Southern Maine’s online MFA in creative writing includes curriculum in popular fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Points: 11
Enrollment: 8,428 Graduate Enrollment: 1,800
Out-of-State-Tuition: $18,468

The University of Southern Maine provides an affordable, high-quality education based in building academic communities. USM’s online MFA in creative writing has a low residency requirement that takes place on campus twice per year. Students enrolled in the creative writing master’s program engage in mentor-based projects and skill development. In addition to the writing workshops taken during campus residencies, the online curriculum associated with the MFA includes popular fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. The University of Southern Maine has established scholarships for graduate-level writing students.

#5 – Murray State University

ONLINE MASTER’S OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

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Murray State University online MFA in creative writing

Murray State University’s online MFA in creative writing includes an opportunity to study abroad in Ireland.

Points: 12
Enrollment: 11,207 Graduate Enrollment: 1,763
Out-of-State-Tuition: $31,536

Serving over 11,000 students, Murray State University is a widely respected college with an impressive student retention rate. For over ten years, Murray State has offered an online MFA in creative writing that requires two brief residencies per year. In addition to a compelling course curriculum, MFA writing students are offered an exciting opportunity to study abroad in Ireland. MSU also produces a journal called New Madrid, a national publication dedicated to the creative contributions of the low-residency writing program.

#4 – Western New England University

ONLINE MASTER’S OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

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Western New England University online MFA in creative writing

Western New England University’s online MFA in creative writing is considered a “Best Value” by The Economist.

Points: 12
Enrollment: 3,922 Graduate Enrollment: 1,190
Out-of-State-Tuition: $22,482

Considered a “Best Value” by The Economist, Western New England University has community-centered academics with a low student-to-faculty ratio. WNE’s online MFA in creative writing explores the multidimensional world of becoming a fiction writer. During each term, students enrolled in the writing program are paired with an accomplished faculty author; the goal of this mentorship is to work together in developing publishable writing. The majority of MFA coursework is done remotely, with a required one-week workshop intensive on the Western New England campus.

#3 – Wilkes University

ONLINE MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING

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Wilkes University online MFA in creative writing

Points: 13
Enrollment: 4,562 Graduate Enrollment: 2,202
Out-of-State-Tuition: $21,600

Originally founded in 1933, Wilkes University is a respected institution with a selective admissions process. Wilkes has implemented an online master’s of fine arts in creative writing, which has shaped careers in industries spanning publishing, poetry, playwriting, editing, and fiction. The creative writing faculty emphasize a supportive, community-based program that fosters growth and development. Over the past ten years, graduates with an MFA from Wilkes’ creative writing MFA have produced over 100 published works of writing, 30 plays, and 40 films.

#2 – Chatham University

ONLINE MASTER’S OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

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Chatham University online creative writing MFA

Points: 14
Enrollment: 2,399 Graduate Enrollment: 699
Out-of-State-Tuition: $15,786

Originally an all-female college, Chatham University is a highly respected and selective academic institution. Chatham’s MFA in creative writing program was named among the five most innovative programs by The Atlantic Monthly. The low-residency, online creative writing master’s provides specialization areas including publishing, creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction, nature writing, or children’s writing. CU is known to have highly accomplished alumni who have gone on to be published career professionals. At the conclusion of the creative writing master’s degree, graduates are able to both produce and market their writing with success.

#1 – New England College

ONLINE MASTER’S OF FINE ARTS IN CREATIVE WRITING

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New England College online MFA in creative writing

Points: 14
Enrollment: 2,399 Graduate Enrollment: 699
Out-of-State-Tuition: $13,560

Established in 1946, New England College has received consistent praise from national academic publications. NEC’s higher learning options include a low-residency online creative writing MFA; this master’s program provides an individual mentor who is available through the entirety of the degree. MFA workshop residencies are required twice a year (January and July) on the New England College campus in New Hampshire. Graduate-level curriculum associated with creative writing includes fiction, social practice, interdisciplinary literary arts, poetry, and nonfiction. NEC’s MFA is the first and only low-residency program to offer teaching assistanstships and fellowships to its online cohort.

This concludes our ranking of the 10 best deals on online MFA in creative writing degrees.

GCD Staff
August 2016