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Online masters in creative writing

Master’s in Creative Writing Online MA Degree Program

Master’s in Creative Writing Online Program Overview

Ignite your imagination and jump-start your professional writing career with a Master of Arts (MA) in English and Creative Writing online at Southern New Hampshire University. Learn to use the written word to effectively tell your story and share your ideas with the world. By studying literature and the way accomplished authors have perfected their art, you’ll be prepared to enter a number of industries as a creative writer.

This English and creative writing graduate program fosters your imagination and creativity with a perfect balance of critical analysis and craft, along with an emphasis on literary theory and the history of the English language. You also have the freedom to choose from 4 genre concentrations or to combine your choice of genre courses if, for example, you’re interested in both fiction and screenwriting.

This specialized creative writing master’s degree can help you develop an ability to communicate in any career path you choose to follow, including:

  • Business
  • Marketing and communications
  • Publishing
  • Education

If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own novel, writing a collection of poetry or developing your screenplay, you’ll gain the foundation you need through this program.

At the end of the program, you’ll either complete a creative thesis or submit a portfolio of creative writing, along with a retrospective essay.

Learn how to:

  • Integrate form, language and literary works into one’s writing style and voice
  • Further expand upon one’s own creative process
  • Create original literary works of publishable quality
  • Maintain a reflective perspective on goals, process and ethos as a creative writer
  • Use technology as part of the writing process to stylize and promote one’s work
  • Cultivate a professional identity that promotes confident self-presentation

Concentration Options

Literature has long been a source of inspiration, both for readers and writers. In Southern New Hampshire University’s online MA in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction degree, you can find your creative voice and tell your story.

Your knowledge can grow beyond a basic understanding of plot building, narrative, voice and character as you push your creative boundaries. Hone your craft for the kind of fiction you’ve always dreamed of bringing to life through novels, short stories, children’s literature and more. In this degree program, you’ll have the opportunity to explore whichever genres in fiction pique your interest, from horror and sci-fi to fantasy, young adult, romance and more.

The art of storytelling has deep historical and societal roots, and it is critical to cross-cultural communication. In your MA in Creative Writing online degree program, you’ll study the work of published writers to help you develop your own creative writing skills. You’ll focus on why authors make specific creative decisions to develop a deeper understanding of fiction in all of its forms, all while writing your own works of fiction.

If you decide to pursue this concentration, you’ll take a capstone course designed around completing your thesis in your fiction genre of choice. At the culmination of your coursework, you’ll create your own manuscript and apply what you’ve learned about your own creative voice to your work. If you feel it’s time to put pen to paper to tell a tale, this program is for you.

“I chose the fiction concentration [because] I believe it will give me a wider range in skills and training that will make me more attractive as a writer,” said student Joshua Yarbrough. “Great and imaginative storytelling is always needed, and by having this concentration, it will open doors and avenues in a wide range of projects.”

Career outlook:

Whether you’re looking to pen the next great fiction novel, or you’d like to specialize in short stories that capture the imagination for a period of time, this concentration can give you the tools you need to become successful in your field.

The MA in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction can also lead to numerous career opportunities, as this program does more than just expose you to literature and help you develop new writing skills. You can apply the creative skills you gain to any profession, from scriptwriting to marketing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median wage for writers and authors was $67,120 per year in May 2020. 2

Courses include:

  • Fiction Fundamentals
  • Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Other Popular Fiction
  • Fiction Thesis Writing
  • Fiction Thesis Completion

In the MA in English & Creative Writing with a concentration in Nonfiction degree, you’ll learn how and why writers craft nonfiction narratives. These tools can help you develop factual material based on research and experiences of your own – or someone else’s. The creative writing master’s degree can help you gain insights into publishing, broadcasting and professional production while you explore your creative boundaries.

At the culmination of the program, you’ll develop your own professional-quality piece of nonfiction, one that takes you deep into subjects that matter to you and helps you develop the skills you need for great storytelling.

MA English & Creative Writing nonfiction graduate Alec Biron ’17 ’21G particularly enjoyed the combined emphasis on creative writing and literature.

“While the curriculum allowed me to select a unique genre of creative writing to develop my nonfiction thesis,” he said, “it also allowed me to explore traditional forms of literature that I love, such as medieval British and feminist genres.”

Career outlook:

Nonfiction is the art of telling real stories – ones that people can learn from, relate to and understand. It covers a wide range of styles and subjects, encompassing everything from personal essays, autobiographical writing and memoirs, to marketing, travel writing and magazine features.

Given the many career paths you could take by adding a concentration in nonfiction writing to your degree, it’s worth noting some potential career paths you could explore. During a time when remote work is on the rise, you could consider a career writing freelance nonfiction stories for traditional print magazines and digital publications. Or, if telling stories for brands excites you, you could work in advertising as a copywriter and see your words on websites, billboards, emails, commercials and other types of advertisements.

“The skills that I learned in nonfiction writing have helped me to build a career in freelance journalism and content writing for local news outlets and companies,” said Biron. “Employers have been impressed by not only my achievement of a master’s degree, but also by the publications I’ve subsequently written for following my education.”

The BLS reports that the median wage for writers and authors is $67,120 per year as of May 2020, but if technical writing is up your alley, and you enjoy finding ways to make factual yet complex topics more digestible, the BLS also reports as of May 2020, technical writers earn a median pay of $74,650 per year. 2

Courses include:

  • Non-Fiction Fundamentals
  • Non-Fiction Thesis Writing
  • Non-Fiction Thesis Completion

Develop the skills you need to convey your poetic vision with a MA in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. The poetry concentration within our online creative writing graduate program can take you to a new level of analysis, appreciation and understanding of this art form.

Foster your love of verse with the inspiration, passion and creative peer collaboration that only SNHU’s concentration in poetry can bring. This curriculum focuses your study of literature on a genre where every word and line counts. Here, you’ll be able to use your imagination to create imagery that moves and inspires readers and writers alike.

This creative writing graduate program challenges you to gain an appreciation for how the unique craft and vision of poetry is critical to learning to think, understand and communicate with the world at large. Throughout this online program, you’ll broaden your understanding of the art of poetry. You’ll also dive deeper into structure, tone and rhythm while analyzing the work of renowned poets.

Upon completion of the program, you’ll develop your own manuscript of poetry, one that allows you to expand on subjects you’re passionate about.

“I chose a poetry concentration because I am a poet at heart, and my career revolves heavily around creative writing, specifically poetry and accessible arts programming,” said NaBeela Washington ’21G. “I wanted to make sure that my studies preserved time to truly focus on poetry and developing my manuscript and network and connection to other authors.”

Career outlook:

Whether it’s getting your own poetry published or becoming the next great poet laureate that interests you, a career in poetry is sure to be one filled with passion for your work. You could work for nonprofits to promote local poetry in your area, or become the poetry curator for an array of journals, magazines and even bookstores. And the ability to write clever, concise and compelling copy is also a great fit for advertising and marketing positions.

“Before SNHU, I hadn’t been published since middle school,” said Washington. “And before completing the program, I would be invited to read my work at a Poetry Series in Takoma Park, MD; I would start a literary journal, Lucky Jefferson, and I would go on to be published several more times in publications like The Cincinnati Review and The Washington Writers’ Publishing House, even winning an award for my journal and building a network of more than 6,000 writers and artists.”

Her list of accomplishments doesn’t stop there.

“I’ve been invited to speak on panels about my work in the literary world as well as to help found a roundtable for Editors of Color,” she said. “It’s really nice realizing that I could accomplish my goals and that I believed in myself.”

Courses include:

  • Poetry Fundamentals
  • Poetry Thesis Writing
  • Poetry Thesis Completion

We live in an increasingly visual society. The online Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Screenwriting program at Southern New Hampshire University is an advanced exploration of the world of film and video, from shorts and episodic serials to feature-length blockbusters and documentaries.

This concentration is based on a comprehensive study of film, with a special focus on story structure, character development and creative writing. At the culmination of the degree program, you’ll have developed your own screenplay that you can then share with others and put out into the world if you so choose.

While an understanding and analysis of literature – whatever the genre – is at the core of this MA degree, the screenwriting concentration places a special emphasis on visual storytelling. Designed by experienced and distinguished faculty, this master’s in screenwriting program can give you a powerful understanding of how story, character, theme, action, visuals and dialogue intertwine to create an immersive experience. In this concentration, you’ll also have the opportunity to work closely with peers and faculty to workshop your pieces, which can help push your creative work to new heights.

Take it from José Roldan Jr. ’17G who, with the support of his friends, family and his SNHU advisor, was able to enroll in the online MA in English and Creative Writing with a concentration in Screenwriting program while balancing his full-time job and full-time performance schedule, along with additional acting gigs and auditions.

“That support just allowed me the strength to say, ‘You know what? I can get this done. There are so many people who believe in me to do it, that I can get it done,'” Roldan said. “It wasn’t easy, but it’s possible. It’s possible.”

Career outlook:

Whether you dream of writing for the big screen one day or writing scripts at a regional level, in the screenwriting concentration you can hone your craft for television, commercials, news, feature films, short films and even video games. There are multiple ways you could use this degree in the media world, from adapting an existing work into a movie or writing your own script, to working closely with producers on funding and producing projects.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median wage for writers and authors is $67,120 per year as of May 2020 2 , it also reports people in the production industry earn a median wage of $76,400. 2

Courses include:

  • Screenwriting Fundamentals
  • Fiction and Film
  • Screenwriting Thesis Writing
  • Screenwriting Thesis Completion

Career Outlook

Whether it’s telling your story or telling someone else’s, your online master’s in creative writing can equip you with detailed knowledge about the worlds of publishing, communications, copywriting and the role of the professional writer. As world markets continue to shift toward a demand for online education and digital media technology, the technical skills learned in this program should continue to be in demand for a long time. The enhanced writing and communication skills you’ll develop can be applied to many professions, from publishing, print and film to journalism and marketing.

“The Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing provides students the opportunity to further identify and develop a voice in their genre of choice,” said Jacob Powers, associate dean of liberal arts at SNHU. “The program provides peer and instructor dialogue through workshops, and gives students the ability to strengthen technical skills in editing and proofreading, which transfer to a variety of careers including content and freelance writing, copyediting and strategic and institutional communications.”

“The major takeaway I have gotten from my classes is that there is a viable career in literature, creative writing, and English,” said student Joshua Yarbrough. “I feel confident in having the necessary skills to either work for myself or an employer and the training I have received at SNHU has made it possible.”

The master’s in creative writing is also ideal if you’re interested in pursuing your PhD or teaching at the collegiate level. Additionally, the MA in Creative Writing is also a great option for high school instructors or other educators who wish to level up their salaries, as well as those whose districts require a Master of Arts for sustained career growth.

“I believe there’s a nice balance here for the program — for students who wish to pursue publication, we offer the tools, resources and faculty to help guide them. For students who wish to advance in their current career, or learn creative writing skills but also strengthen other skills (like editing, proofreading, etc.), the program offers that, as well,” Powers said.

SNHU does not guarantee that the completion of this program will result in endorsements or rank and salary increases for teachers and strongly encourages interested individuals to contact their state education licensure board prior to enrolling. SNHU provides additional information for education-related outcomes on our Licensure and Certification Disclosures page.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online English and Creative Writing Degree


With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.


As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we haven’t raised our online tuition rates, some of the lowest in the nation, since 2012.

Prior coursework and work experience could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 12 credits from your previous institution. You could also earn college credit for previous work experience.


Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 150,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is institutionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.

Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:

  • “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
  • A $1 million grant from to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
  • Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium


At Southern New Hampshire University, you’ll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you’ll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.

96.5% of students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2019 survey of 9,200+ online students). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.

Expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials:

  • Completed free application
  • Undergraduate transcripts, which we can retrieve for you by submitting a transcript request form

Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms.

Master’s degree candidates must also submit a personal statement. Students with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are eligible for provisional acceptance.

If you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going:

  • Complete free graduate application
  • Submit undergraduate transcripts
  • Work with an admission counselor to explore financial options and walk through application process

Courses & Curriculum

The master’s in creative writing online exposes you to powerful examples of writing and provides you with an outlet to refine your skills as a writer. SNHU is home to the New Hampshire Writer’s Project and is also a destination for nationally recognized writers who perform readings and participate in workshops and lectures. This can give you additional context and insight into the industry you’ll eventually be joining. All of our courses were also created by subject matter experts in their field, many of whom are critically acclaimed writers themselves.

Not only are the courses created by experts, they’re taught by them, too. Just ask student Joshua Yarbrough.

“I have worked with professors who are well versed and accomplished in their field,” he said. “They have provided valuable feedback to me in terms of preparing for my next steps as a writer and educator.”

If you’re looking for a degree program with collaboration built in, look no further. The online MA in English and Creative Writing has an added emphasis on peer workshops for additional feedback. Each concentration requires students to take three workshops, so you’ll have the chance to fine-tune your editing and proofreading skills both for your peers and for yourself.

You’ll also be required to take one of two teaching courses, Seminar in Writing Instruction or Online Teaching Experience. This can give you a background for teaching creative writing or English composition, depending on which interests you more. As a whole, this degree program is highly customizable, allowing you to focus on what types of creative writing interest you most.

In addition to working on your writing craft, you’ll take several literary courses that focus on analysis and reflection, while learning about the history of the publishing industry. This can give you the chance to sharpen your editing and professional communication skills, while also giving you the edge you need to advance your writing career.

Graduate Alec Biron ’17 ’21G agrees. “One course that stood out to me, in particular, was “The Editor”. This course was both writing and editing intensive, allowing us to review the work of our peers while optimizing our own narratives,” he said. “The Editor went beyond simple proofreading, and taught me how to edit for structure, character development, syntax, language and tone.”

You’ll also have the choice of four literary genres:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Screenwriting
  • Poetry

Or, you can customize your program and study multiple genres.

What’s more, there’s plenty of opportunity to build your network and hone your craft outside of normal class time. Once enrolled, you’ll have access to SNHUconnect, a community built exclusively for our online learners. With plenty of clubs and events at your disposal, you might find that the Creative Writing Review Club is right up your alley. Wrote a few poems and want a critique? Need an audience to run your plot ideas by? Here, you can share your nonfiction, fiction, poetry and screenplay works – and even seek peer revising if you desire.

Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is the only one of its kind and single-minded in its focus to help students become better writers at their own pace. We do this by creating an exclusive community that includes well-known literary personalities and published authors; students also learn the practical skills needed to hone their craft.

This is a highly competitive program for serious writers with the potential for great literary significance.

A master’s degree in creative writing is perfect for students who

  • Work full-time and want to go on to pursue a career in writing or teaching at the university level
  • Are serious writers who want to publish
  • Need to learn strategies to become better writers
  • Want to be a part of an international community of writers without borders

We also offer an optional low-residency opportunity every summer in Europe, in such cities as London, Paris, and Madrid. The UTEP Career Center provides graduates with resources to help them pursue their career goals.

Still wondering if this degree can help you get a job? Here’s some info that might help you make up your mind.

” I am actively trying to publish my first novel. ” – David Place, Graduate


Learn With Award-Winning Faculty

Our department is filled with world-renowned, award-winning, bilingual faculty who bring their talent to the classroom; among our ranks are Andrea Cote Botero, José de Piérola, Tim Z. Hernandez, Sasha R. Pimentel, Jeff Sirkin, Lex Williford, Sylvia A. Zéleny and Daniel Chacón. We currently have currently have two visiting faculty members: Jessica Powers and JD Pluecker, who teach children’s/YA literature and poetry respectively. In the past, we have had award-winning writers who have served as visiting faculty and shared their expertise with our students:this list includes Natalie Diaz, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Heather Hartley and Carolina Ebeid.

MEET TIM HERNANDEZ, a n award-winning writer and performance artist and assistant professor in the MFA in Creative Writing program at UTEP. He teaches Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry. He also teaches foundational courses, such as Narrative Theory & Poetics, as well as more specialized courses, like Variable Topics: Turning Research Into Writing, Antropoesia, and Social Action Writing.

Course Overview

The online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a highly competitive program that requires a total of 48 semester credit hours; this includes 42 semester credit hours of workshops and literature classes, and six hours of thesis during which students complete a publishable manuscript in poetry or fiction.

Like what you see? Here are some tips to get you accepted and on your way to becoming a successful writer!