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SNHU graduate, Felicia Ramos-Peters working on her computer. With the text Felicia Ramos-Peters '14

Online MFA in Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts

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Register By: November 28 Classes Start: November 30

Earn an MFA in Creative Writing Online

  • $627/credit (48 credits total)
  • Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
  • 100% online – no residency required
  • All fiction genres welcomed
  • Career-focused certificate included
  • No application fee or GRE/GMAT scores required

Online MFA in Creative Writing Program Overview

Share your story with the world and let the power of storytelling take your career to new heights with an online Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. As one of the only programs available that encourages a focus on genre fiction, our online MFA lets you hone your craft in an area specific to your strengths and interests. You'll also learn about the business side of creative writing, preparing you to market your work in the real world.

While most MFA programs require a residency, Southern New Hampshire University's online MFA in Creative Writing can be completed entirely online, with no travel necessary.

"The traditional MFA program is not feasible for a large majority of the population, nor does it benefit reading audiences everywhere," said Joan Smith, MFA, associate dean of creative writing. "We are eager to break these stereotypes and make this education attainable and practical as those who have the passion for writing seek to stoke it."

Graduates leave the program with a completed and revised novel in the genre of their choice. And with the included certificates in either online teaching of writing or professional writing, you'll have the skills to support your writing career, no matter where it takes you.

Learn how to:

  • Understand the business and technical sides of professional writing
  • Navigate the publishing ecosystem, whether you intend to publish traditionally or via self-publishing
  • Utilize social media to gain a following and build your brand
  • Market your work to appeal to decision makers
  • Develop materials for book promotion
  • Identify agents, editors or other industry professionals who may guide you in future publication
  • Teach writing in a classroom setting

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors made a median annual salary of $63,200 in 2019, while editors made $61,370.1

But we know becoming a successful novelist isn't always an easy or certain path. That's why our online MFA in Creative Writing program has a dual focus. First, to give you the training to hone your craft and graduate with a publishable novel. And second, to give you as many tools as possible to market yourself and increase your odds of career success.

Joan Smith and the text Joan Smith.

"We want students to be able to leverage this degree and the skills they acquire for jobs both in and out of traditional academia," said Joan Smith, MFA, associate dean of creative writing.

Earning one of the included certificates in online teaching of writing or professional writing will also be an invaluable addition to your resume for part-time, full-time and freelance jobs in a variety of fields, including:

  • Higher education. Instruct writing courses in higher education settings. In 2019, postsecondary teachers made a median annual wage of $79,540, and you can expect to see an 11% growth in available positions through 2028 according to the BLS.1
  • Advertising. Use your storytelling skills in a way that influences consumer action. As a copywriter, you could find yourself doing any number of writing projects from crafting emails and ads to writing entire commercials.
  • Marketing. If you're more comfortable with long form prose, many businesses have invested in content writers who create quality content such as blog posts, e-books and podcasts to attract and retain customers.
  • Entertainment. Good at building suspense or setting up punchlines? From movies and plays to comedy and podcasts, being a good storyteller and writer is important to finding success in the entertainment industry.
  • History. Every person's life has a plot, but it takes writers like you to tell their story in a compelling way. Help readers relive the experiences of historic figures and pop culture icons as a biographer.

Earning your Master of Fine Arts online will expose you to both the business and technical sides of writing – helping prepare you for wherever your career might take you.

Write Your Next Chapter

Once you’ve completed your MFA, you can further strengthen your writing abilities, and resume, by revising, reconceiving or completing a creative manuscript with a Advanced Certification in Creative Writing on campus.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Creative Writing Degree

Courses & Curriculum

If you're looking to earn your Master of Fine Arts online, you've found the right program. Even though there are no residency requirements, you'll still interact frequently with other students and faculty members in asynchronous discussions, critique workshops and within our online writer’s community, where students come together to share industry news, extend writing tips and develop critique partnerships.

While many traditional MFA programs shy away from genre fiction, SNHU’s online MFA will support you in writing the novel or story collection of your choice. You'll study the craft of writing throughout the program, selecting novels for close study of the elements of writing, authorial techniques, genre conventions and creative decisions.

There's more to a career in writing than perfecting your craft. You'll also learn about the publication process, helping you make informed decisions to get your work into readers' hands. That's why the online MFA program puts a strong focus on the practical skills you'll need to succeed.

Besides allowing you to focus on your own creative interests, part of our 48-credit online MFA curriculum requires you to choose from 2 certificate offerings designed to round out your education and better prepare you for a multitude of writing-related careers.

The first choice is a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching of Writing, which is tailored to those who see themselves teaching in an online classroom setting as a supplement to their writing careers. Students practice approaches to editing and coaching, learning how to establish a virtual instructor presence and cultivate methods for supporting and engaging students within online writing communities.

Students can also choose the Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing, which highlights the technical and business opportunities available to writers. Students will develop a range of skills, such as copywriting, social media, marketing principles, and/or content generation, learning many of the freelancing skills integral to today’s project-driven economy.

All of our courses are taught by accomplished authors and industry professionals who know both the craft and business of creative writing. They will work closely with you to develop both your creative and professional skill set.

MFA Program Thesis

The thesis for the Online MFA in Creative Writing is expected to be a novel-length work of fiction in a genre of your choice. The program focuses on novel-length storytelling, and while we read and celebrate short stories, it is expected your thesis will be a novel (or a novel-in-stories with a unified narrative arc).

Every Southern New Hampshire University Online MFA student graduates the program with a revised fiction manuscript in the genre of their choice, which is completed in a 3-course thesis series. Throughout your tenure in the program, you can either work on a singular idea that you will develop during the 3 thesis courses, or you can begin a new project for your thesis.

It is expected that prior to beginning your thesis courses, you have 15,000 words of your thesis complete (either through prior coursework, independent work or a mix of both). You'll build on that 15,000 word count in Thesis I and Thesis II, and then revise your manuscript during Thesis III. Your thesis instructor will deliver a final edit letter to graduates directly upon the program completion, after which you can decide what level of revision you will complete before pursuing publication.

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 
Degree/Certificates $1,881 $627 $9,405 
Degree/Certificates
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
$1,410 $470 $7,050 

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

Additional Costs:
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

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.

References