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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: January 01 Classes Start: January 03

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.

“Traditional MFA programs, whether full-time or low residency, are out of reach for many writers,” said Paul Witcover, associate dean of creative writing. “The SNHU online MFA was designed to make the MFA experience accessible to all fiction writers, opening the door to diverse voices excluded for too long from the literary conversation. Our program is dedicated to giving writers the tools to succeed on the page and beyond 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
  • Use 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

The Value of an Online MFA

Emily Jones ’20 embraced a transformational experience through the online MFA in Creative Writing program, which supported her in taking her writing career to the next level. “I can now say, without even a hint of imposter syndrome, that I am a writer,” said Jones. “And that is because of Southern New Hampshire University.”

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors made a median annual salary of $67,120 in 2020, while editors made $63,400.1

Paul Witcover with the text Paul WitcoverBut 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.

“Our mission is to give students a degree and associated practical skills they can use to forge successful pathways in academia, business, or by blazing their own career trail,” said Paul Witcover, 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 2020, postsecondary teachers made a median annual wage of $80,560, and you can expect to see a 12% growth in available positions through 2030, according to the BLS.
  • 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, ebooks 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 stories in a compelling way. Help readers relive the experiences of historic figures and pop culture icons as a biographer.

Tara Lynn Conrad with the text Tara Lynn ConradEarning 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.

For Tara Lynn Conrad '21, that means having her name on the cover of a book.

"I have already been offered a publishing contract for my first novel, which is due to release very soon," she said. "I’ve also been doing some freelance editing and proofreading. I get complimented all the time by my clients on my attention to detail and finding errors that they missed."

Start Your Journey Toward an Online MFA in Creative Writing

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.

Jamilla Geter with the text Jamilla GeterWhile 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.

"I liked MFA-514 (Advanced Studies in Genre Literature) best," said student Jamilla Geter. "It was a great look into the different genres. It really helped me narrow down what genre I wanted to write in."

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.

That was a major bonus for Tara Lynn Conrad '21.

"A major selling point for me was the classes SNHU offered on the business side of writing," she said. "That was something none of the other schools offered."

Felicia Warden with the text Felicia WardenThat practical side made much more sense to Felicia Warden '20 once she was in these classes – like MKT-635: Websites and Search Engine Marketing/Search Engine Optimization.

"Though it was not writing exactly, its connection to it – especially in our digital world – was made clear almost immediately," she said. "Writing is not just providing content of value to your readers, but also creating avenues of access so those readers can find your content. This course helped me to understand that and to learn how I can create those avenues."

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.

Learn more about the online teaching of writing graduate certificate.

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.

Learn more about the professional writing graduate certificate.

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.

"All instructors within my program were extremely knowledgeable and helpful," Warden said. "I learned a lot about the different career paths my instructors chose. ... The course instruction, along with their anecdotal experiences, helped in offering knowledge in different areas of our field.

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.

Kathleen Harris with the text Kathleen HarrisIt 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.

"My three thesis classes for the MFA degree were the most helpful," said Kathleen Harris '21. "I was actually writing a book as my thesis, so it was both enjoyable and advantageous for the degree. And it was the end of a very long milestone of accomplishments."

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