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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: July 27 Classes Start: July 29

Earn an MFA in Creative Writing Online

  • $637/credit (48 credits total)
  • Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
  • 100% online – no residency required
  • Four fiction genres to choose from
  • 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 one of our four offered genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance and Speculative. 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.

What You'll Learn

  • The business and technical sides of professional writing
  • How to navigate the publishing ecosystem, identify agents and editors, and market your work to appeal to decision-makers
  • Using social media to gain a following and build your brand
  • How to teach writing in a classroom setting

How You'll Learn

At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.

Why Emily Chose Online MFA in Creative Writing

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 $69,510 in 2021, while editors made $63,350.1

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 2021, postsecondary teachers made a median annual wage of $79,640, and you can expect to see a 12% growth in available positions through 2031, 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, 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.

Higher Education

Instruct writing courses in higher education at a college or university, either in-person or online.

Advertising

Influence consumer action through copywriting, from print ads to digital advertising and broadcast commercials.

Marketing

Create written content such as blog posts, ebooks and podcasts to attract and retain customers.

Entertainment

From movies and plays to comedy and podcasts, writers often find success in the entertainment industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts favorable job growth in postsecondary education. And while statistics are not available for all job settings mentioned above, the BLS reports the following:

Job Growth

The BLS predicts an 8% growth in available postsecondary teaching positions through 2032.1

Potential Salary

Writers and authors made a median annual salary of $73,150 in 2022, while editors made $73,080 and postsecondary teachers made $80,840.1

Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

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 offers students immersion in four broad genre categories: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, and Speculative. 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. Ultimately, you will write and revise a complete novel in one of the four genres we offer.

"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.  

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 required to be a novel of at least 50,000 words in one of the four genres the program offers: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, and Speculative.

Every Southern New Hampshire University online MFA student who graduates from the program will do so with a revised novel manuscript in their chosen genre, which is completed in a three-course thesis series. Throughout your tenure in the program, you can either work on a singular idea that you will develop during the three thesis courses, or you can begin a new project for your thesis. You can also combine elements of the four genres offered in the program for your thesis. For example, your thesis might be a YA Speculative Fiction novel.

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."

University Accreditation

New England Commission of Higher Education 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.

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 $1,911 $637 $9,555 
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.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs:
Course Materials ($ varies by course). Foundational courses may be required based on your undergraduate course history, which may result in additional cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

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