Most Affordable Creative Writing Programs 2021

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Creative writing most commonly refers to literary forms like fiction and poetry, but the field increasingly encompasses all types of creative written work, such as screenwriting, technical writing, and new media communications. A creative writing degree examines the theory and practice behind written works of all types, typically with an emphasis on either literary or professional writing. 

Writing figures into most major professional industries. Creative writing majors can find employment in fields as diverse as education, publishing, journalism, advertising, and public relations. Many creative writing graduates work as writers and authors. These professionals earn an annual median salary of $63,200, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A bachelor’s in creative writing degree often serves as the first step into this rewarding creative field.

This page offers an overview of creative writing bachelor’s degrees, including common courses, answers to frequently asked questions, and scholarships for creative writing majors.

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Creative Writing Common Questions

  • What kinds of jobs can you get with a creative writing degree?

    Creative writing majors can pursue careers in areas including education, writing, advertising, and publishing. They may also find employment in fields such as business and communications.

  • Is a creative writing degree worth it?

    A creative writing degree builds broad skills applicable to many different creative endeavors and career paths, making the degree a worthwhile investment for many students.

  • What can you do with a bachelor's in creative writing?

    A creative writing degree trains students to write fiction, poetry, and/or nonfiction. The degree also prepares students for various careers and graduate study.

  • How much money does a creative writer make?

    Salaries for creative writing majors vary among career paths, but the BLS reports that writers and authors earn a median annual salary of $63,200.

What Are the Goals of a Creative Writing Degree?

Creative writing degrees explore various forms of written literary production. Students in creative writing programs may specialize in areas including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Some programs offer concentrations in professional writing, preparing students for careers in technical writing, science writing, editing, and related fields.

Course content varies widely within creative writing programs. Most programs offer a mixture of literature courses, where candidates study texts, and writing workshops, where candidates share their own writing and critique other students’ work.

Why Get a Creative Writing Degree?

Students may choose to enroll in creative writing programs for various personal, professional, and artistic reasons. This list outlines five benefits of earning a bachelor’s in creative writing degree.

Advanced Skills
A creative writing degree immerses candidates in the study of literary texts and writerly craft, turning them into highly skilled readers and writers.
Increased Job Opportunities
A bachelor’s degree in creative writing builds strong communication skills, preparing graduates for a variety of job opportunities.
Time to Write
A creative writing program provides time and space for students to dedicate themselves to writing.
Professional Opportunities
Many creative writing programs offer useful professional opportunities to students, such as internship opportunities at literary journals and publishers.
Networking Opportunities
Creative writing programs bring students into a literary community where they can make valuable connections with writers, editors, and other professionals in the field.

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Courses in Creative Writing

Creative writing bachelor’s degrees typically focus on two distinct but closely related areas of study: literary analysis and criticism and the practice of writing. While some programs may adopt a more professional focus, most creative writing degrees focus on literary writing. This form of writing builds the skills and knowledge necessary to produce novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Some programs also offer specializations in areas such as playwriting or screenwriting.

This list highlights five courses commonly found in creative writing programs. While not all programs offer the courses detailed here, this list provides a general overview of what to expect from creative writing curricula.

  • Introduction to Fiction Writing

    As one of the major forms of creative writing, fiction maintains a prominent role in most creative writing programs. This course introduces the major elements of fiction writing, including character, plot, theme, setting, and point of view.

  • Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism

    Most programs include at least one course that introduces the major critical frameworks within contemporary literary criticism, including feminism, marxism, post-colonialism, and post-structuralism.

  • Writing and Publishing

    Writing serves as both an artform and an industry, so many programs include a course that examines the industry side of the field. This course offers an overview of the contemporary literary marketplace and publishing industry. Course content covers the role of literary agents, editors, and publishing houses in bringing new works to the public.

  • Postwar American Literature

    This course examines the major movements in postwar American literature, including postmodernism and multiculturalism. Students often read works from prominent American authors such as Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, and Don DeLillo.

  • Writing Workshop

    Nearly all creative writing degrees include a workshop component. This course allows students to share and comment on one another’s work. Workshop participants typically submit their work for other students to critique, and they engage in a seminar-style discussion of each student’s written work.

Scholarships for Creative Writing Students

Even students enrolled in the most affordable creative writing programs can benefit from scholarships, which offer free money toward students’ education. Some awards serve students of specific backgrounds, while others serve students planning to enter a specific career path after graduation. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students in bachelor’s in creative writing programs.

  • Irene Adler Prize

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship serves female undergraduate and graduate students pursuing academic programs in English, creative writing, or journalism. Applicants must submit an essay responding to a series of prompts.
    Amount: $1,000


  • Mary Shelley Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Horror Writers Association offers this scholarship to female students pursuing an academic degree with a stated interest in writing horror fiction. Applicants must submit a writing sample within the horror genre.
    Amount: $2,500


  • Scholastic Art and Writing Portfolio Awards

    Who Can Apply: The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers offers this scholarship to graduating high school seniors interested in the arts. Applicants must submit a portfolio of six creative works, a 500-word artist’s statement, and a 500-word personal statement.
    Amount: $1,000-$10,000


Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Creative Writing Programs 2021

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