Earn a Master's in Creative Writing
- $627/credit (36 credits)
- Inclusive creative writing community
- 24/7 online access – attend class at your convenience
- 100% online – no residency required
- 4 genre options for concentrations
- Complete in as few as 15 months, or at your own pace
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:
- Marketing and communications
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
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.
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 script writing to marketing.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median wage for writers and authors is $63,200 per year as of May 2019.2
- 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.
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 BLS reports that the median wage for writers and authors is $63,200 per year as of May 2019, 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 2019 that technical writers earn a median pay of $72,850 per year.2
- 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.
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.
- 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, 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."
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 $63,200 per year as of May 20192, it also reports people in the production industry earn a median wage of $74,420.2
- Screenwriting Fundamentals
- Fiction and Film
- Screenwriting Thesis Writing
- Screenwriting Thesis Completion
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. 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,” said Jacob Powers, associate dean of liberal arts at SNHU.
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.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online English and Creative Writing Degree
Why SNHU for Your Master's in Creative Writing
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, Southern New Hampshire University 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 Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
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.
If you're looking for the chance to get involved as an online student, SNHU's the place for you. Our opportunities to join the ranks of fellow writers include:
- Submitting to, and being published in, our online literary journal, the Penmen Review.
- Joining Word for Word, our bimonthly live-streamed event, to hear published authors read their work aloud and discuss both their creative process and their path to publishing success.
- Entering our annual short-story competition (known as the Fall Fiction Contest) for the chance to win SNHU scholarships, publication in the Penmen Review and other prizes.
- Viewing, or participating in, our Student Writers Spotlight, a live-streamed event where our talented creative writing students share their work.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.1Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand 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 — with no GRE or GMAT required.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms.
How to Apply
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions, and walk you through the application process, which includes:
- Completing a graduate application
- Providing undergraduate transcripts
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 to 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.
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.
You'll also have the choice of four literary genres:
Or, you can customize your program and study multiple genres.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|MA in English & Creative Writing|
|Courses May Include|
|MA in English and Creative Writing Online|
|ENG 510||Studying the Craft||Reading is an essential part of the writing process. To write an effective piece, an author must first read the essential creative works that have informed the genre and delivered on similar themes. In this course students will study the craft of creative writing in close detail. Understanding and identifying the core, foundational elements of quality storytelling, regardless of genre, is crucial to the advancement of a creative writer. In preparation for the development of their own creative works and techniques, students will study the strategic use of common storytelling elements in self-selected texts, and practice applying them in their own work.|
|ENG 520||Story and Concept||How do authors generate creative ideas? How do they know when to reveal certain information? Do the chapters flow naturally from the broader story concept, or should they be planned? What makes for a rich environment? These are the types of questions we will consider in this course. With these in mind, students will conceptualize a writing project of significant length. The focus will not be on the writing of actual scenes or chapters from this work, but on the drafting of plot arcs, detailed outlines, character sketches/development, world-building, and thematic development. The concepts developed in this course may indirectly or directly inform writing projects in future courses.|
|ENG 550||Graduate Studies in English Language||This course is an introduction to the following topics in English linguistics: history of English, etymology, vocabulary 'morphology', phonology, dictionaries, syntax, semantics, dialects, discourse analysis, and child language acquisition. The course is designed for students who want to learn about the English language as preparation for teaching, or becoming better writers, or for studying literature. Students will have the opportunity to research, write about, and present on a linguistic topic of individual interest, such as the language of advertising or propaganda.|
|LIT 500||Graduate Studies in Literary Theory||This course is an introduction to the major schools of contemporary literary theory, and an examination of principal exponents of these theories. The student will become familiar with the most important features of psychoanalytic criticism, Marxism and feminism and examine the meaning of structuralism and post-structuralism. In addition, the course affords an opportunity to practice applying the theories to specific literary texts.|
|Total Credits: 36|
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 15 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it ever too late to become a writer?
It’s rarely too late to learn something new. One of the best things about online education is the flexibility to learn something that has always interested you at your own pace. All you need to become a writer is a little imagination, a lot of hard work and the commitment to get started.
One of the biggest requirements to becoming a writer is the ability to accept and apply critical feedback, no matter your age. With our master's in creative writing degree, you’ll learn about story and craft, the English language and literary theory. Each of these elements can help create the foundation from which you can develop your own writing style.
And remember, international bestseller John Grisham practiced law for nearly a decade before he sold his first novel. J.K. Rowling was in her 30s before she sold the first Harry Potter book. If you become a professional writer as a second or third career, or later in life, you'll be in good company.
How do I start my career as a writer?
Any writer will tell you that a successful career is the result of hard work, learning the craft and more hard work. While earning a master’s in creative writing is not a requirement to become a working writer, the skills you'll learn in this degree program are invaluable.
A formal writing education – whether it be an undergraduate creative writing degree or an advanced degree like a master's in creative writing – can help you learn how to give and receive critical feedback. It can also help you learn to write in different styles and genres. Perhaps more importantly, you can receive practical advice from your faculty about how to work as a writer.
It’s important to keep in mind that being a working writer isn’t just about being a novelist. A career in writing can lead you to become a marketing copywriter, a screenwriter or a technical writer. You may become a development writer and use your writing skills to raise money for nonprofit causes. Perhaps you'll teach the craft of writing to others.
Because strong writing skills are necessary for most professions, an advanced writing degree can help you succeed in just about any career field you choose.
What can you do with a master's in creative writing?
Writing just may be one of the most versatile career fields around. With a master’s in creative writing, you can sharpen your skills and abilities, and eventually pursue careers in the copywriting, editing, or publishing industries. Perhaps you’ll write policy or fundraising pieces for government organizations and nonprofits, or pick up an adjunct position at a local community college. And, during a time when working from home is on the rise, many people decide to work as freelance writers and create content for websites and blogs.
Some great examples of careers for writers and authors are:
- Content writing: Content writers create long- and short-form articles for a variety of print and digital media. They often work as freelancers or as part of a marketing team.
- Copywriting: Similar to content writing, copywriting is geared more toward advertising and marketing. Copywriters use words to help sell products or ideas for brands and advertising agencies.
- Speechwriting: People in the public eye need someone to write their speeches. It takes someone skilled in written communication to craft words that will have the greatest effect.
- Technical writing: As the name implies, this style of writing focuses on technical materials, such as white papers, manuals and supporting documents. Technical writers share complex ideas in an accessible way.
- Editing: A master’s in creative writing gives you the skills needed to be a wordsmith in every way. This includes helping others strengthen and revise their writing while checking for grammatical and spelling errors.
Is a master's in creative writing worth it?
Like with any degree, only you can decide the right path for you. Having strong writing skills can set you apart in just about any career field you can name. There are endless opportunities to work professionally as a writer in business, government or in creative fields. Marketing and advertising, for example, are fields where strong writing skills and a creative mind are highly valued.
Jobs for writers and authors are expected to hold steady between 2018 and 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Writers in the media and communication fields are predicted to enjoy a 4% increase in job growth in that same time period.2 Writing as a career field is both diverse and competitive. Having a master's in creative writing can give you an edge over the competition.
What's better, an MFA or MA in Creative Writing?
If you're leaning toward a career in media, marketing, public relations, business or copywriting, a master’s in creative writing is probably the way to go. You can learn about literature, literary theory and literary analysis while working on your own creative process. A master’s in creative writing is also faster to complete than an MFA, with fewer credits required.
An MFA program is more focused on the single goal of helping students pursue creative writing as a profession. Thus, an MFA degree is best for people who want a career as a writer or as a writing teacher. MFA programs typically point you toward creative work in fiction or nonfiction and involve more intensive work on completing a finished novel or manuscript.
You can earn either degree online with Southern New Hampshire University. Our MA in Creative Writing allows for a number of free electives so you can customize your pathway. We also have one of the only fully online MFA programs in the country, as well as a low-residency MFA.
How long does it take to get a master's degree in creative writing?
The MA in Creative Writing at SNHU can be completed in as few as 15 months, or you can take as long as you need. The courses are fully online, so you can learn at the pace that's right for you. All students can take courses in studying the craft of writing, story and concept. The program also provides instruction in the English language and literary theory. And with a choice of 4 genre concentrations, or the opportunity to study multiple genres, you can enjoy customizing the coursework as well.
With our fully online programs, Southern New Hampshire University offers 24/7 access, academic advisors available to assist you around the clock and the flexibility to learn at your own pace.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
1According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/OOH/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm (viewed May 29, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm (viewed May 29, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/OOH/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm (viewed May 29, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/OOH/entertainment-and-sports/producers-and-directors.htm (viewed May 29, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm (viewed May 29, 2020)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.