Affordable Master’s in Creative Writing Programs 2021

Affordable Master's in Creative Writing Programs badge

A master’s in creative writing degree prepares students to pursue a career as a writer. A master of arts or master of fine arts in creative writing both offer many career opportunities. Graduates may write novels or nonfiction, or they may work in marketing, journalism, or public relations. They can also create their own blogs or write for websites.

Creative writing master’s degree applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university. Applicants may need to take the GRE and submit recommendation letters. The most important part of admission to a creative writing program requires proof of high-level writing skills through submission of a writing sample and a well-written statement of purpose.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the job growth rate for writers and authors to decline 2% between 2019-2029. Pursuing a master’s in creative writing degree may help graduates gain a competitive edge in the job search. Writers and authors earn a median annual wage of $63,200 per year.

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Affordable Master’s in Creative Writing Programs 2021


  • What can you do with a degree in creative writing?

    Creative writers can write fiction or nonfiction. They might write historical biographies, novels, poetry, children’s books, and plays. Creative writers may also use their writing skills in marketing, journalism, public relations, or as social media specialists or website content creators.

  • What degree do you need to be a creative writer?

    Creative writers do not need a formal degree to become a writer. However, many creative writers hold at least a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree in creative writing can help develop a literary style and writing techniques.

  • How much do creative writing majors make?

    According to the BLS, writers and authors earn a median annual salary of $63,200.

  • How do creative writing degrees make money?

    Creative writing degree-holders can write books for a living. Or, creative writing majors make money writing for blogs or building their own blog. They write for magazines or for businesses, or they offer copywriting services. Graduates may also tap into transferable skills like editing.

What Are the Goals of a Creative Writing Degree?

A creative writing master’s degree develops fiction writers, poets, screenwriters, and more.

Learners can successfully analyze literary form, genre, structure, and style and create advanced work through workshop training. Students develop their skills through workshops and presenting their own writing to peers for commentary and discussion. Creative writing program enrollees may develop writing further through literature seminars.

Students may take classes in niche areas and focus on specialized topics such as practicum classes about literary publishing and teaching creative writing. Students benefit from workshops in their genre, literature courses, and electives or additional courses.

Most students present a final thesis or a full-length manuscript — a novel, book of poetry, selection of short stories or essays, or another type of creative project.

Why Get a Creative Writing Degree?

Aspiring writers enjoy various professional and personal benefits by pursuing a creative writing degree.

Development of the Craft
Creative writing programs allow degree-seekers to dedicate time to develop their writing skills for an extended period of time.
Mentorship Opportunities
Professors in creative writing programs can offer constructive feedback and invaluable mentorship resources.
Workshop Time
Workshops function as an important part of a creative writing degree. Workshops involve small classes where students read and critique each other’s work. Students become adept at revising and improving their writing for publication.
Learn the Industry
Many students make connections, meet authors, and learn the industry through connections provided by the school. Networking could give aspiring writers a leg up instead of trying to get published on their own.
Final Thesis
Most creative writing majors must produce a substantive piece of work ready or near-ready for publication.

What Are the Requirements for a Creative Writing Degree?

Formal admission requirements vary, though applicants should aim for a 3.0 GPA or higher. Admissions materials may include letters of recommendation, a writing sample, and a statement of purpose. Writing sample requirements may include a lengthy piece of fiction or nonfiction, several poems, or multiple pages of a script. Certain programs require applicants to submit GRE scores.

Successful completion of a master’s in creative writing generally includes 36 credit hours of graduate study. These credits consist of writing workshops, literature courses, and electives. Students usually submit a capstone project or thesis to culminate the degree.

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Professional Organizations for Creative Writing Students

Writing organizations offer wonderful resources for writers. Some writers associations charge membership fees, and others allow members to join for free. Writer organizations can help professionals find a literary agent and arrange meetings with editors. They can also help writers learn new techniques and keep up with changes in the publishing industry.

  • National Writers Union The National Writers Union functions as a resource for writers in all genres. It advocates for the rights of authors, especially through contract advice and grievances. For example, the organization can go through contracts with writers and will even intervene if a writer's client does not pay for work.

  • Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators offers membership to writers in children's literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. Members can get education and support through awards, grants, programs, and events. The organization acts as a consolidated voice for children's book writers and illustrators worldwide.

  • Women's National Book Association The Women's National Book Association brings together women and men who wish to work together and promotes recognition of women's achievements in the book industry.

  • Novelists, Inc. Novelists Inc. offers a global community to authors to learn about cutting-edge trends, acts as a resource in the competitive publishing industry, and offers professional brainstorming opportunities.

Scholarships for Creative Writing Students

Students who pursue a master’s degree in creative writing can find scholarships specific to the major. Once admitted to a particular creative writing program, students should also ask their college or university about available scholarships.

  • Horror Writers Association (HWA) Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must present an education plan to apply for the HWA Scholarship. However, the scholarship committee will prioritize the quality of the applicant’s work and the likelihood that the applicant will contribute to the development of the genre. The committee will also consider an applicant’s financial need.

    Amount: $2,500

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  • Aspiring Writer Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Go On Girl! Book Club invites full-time first-year students, sophomores, or juniors at historically Black colleges or universities in the United States to apply for this scholarship. Applicants need U.S. citizenship status or permanent residency status. Candidates also need a cumulative 2.5 GPA or better and must submit a 500- to 1,000-word essay on a preselected topic.

    Amount: $2,000

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  • William C. Johnson Distinguished Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Applicants need a high GPA, experience as a Sigma Tau Delta officer at Northern Illinois University, and a strong critical essay. Candidates must provide proof of registration as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student or plan to enroll as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student during the next academic year.

    Amount: Up to $6,000

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