Best Colleges for Creative Writing

avatar

Kate Sliunkova

AdmitYogi, Stanford MBA & MA in Education

·

·

17 min read

Best Colleges for Creative Writing

Introduction

Writing is an essential part of our lives, whether we realize it or not. It's how we communicate, express ourselves, and tell our stories. And for those who aspire to become professional writers, a good college creative writing program can provide the skills, guidance, and support they need to turn their passion into a career.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in writing, you may be wondering which colleges offer the best creative writing programs. In this article, we'll explore some of the top colleges with good writing programs, based on program reputation, faculty quality, curriculum quality, student support, and alumni network. We'll also highlight some of the unique features and success stories of each program, as well as important factors to consider when choosing the right creative writing program for you. Whether you're a high school student exploring your options or a college student looking to transfer, this guide will help you make an informed decision about your future as a writer.

Criteria for Selecting the Colleges

When selecting colleges with good writing programs, it's important to consider a variety of factors to ensure that you find the right fit for your needs and goals. Here are some of the key criteria that we used to identify the top colleges for creative writing:

1. Quality of Faculty

A good creative writing program is all about the quality of its faculty. Make sure to find programs with experienced and accomplished writer-professors who are actively publishing and contributing to the literary community. These faculty members can provide valuable insights and guidance to students, helping them hone their craft and find their way in the publishing world.

2. Curriculum and Course Offerings

Another important aspect of a great creative writing program is a solid curriculum. Make sure to find programs that provide a variety of courses in various genres, styles, and writing forms, along with chances for interdisciplinary learning. This way, students can acquire a diverse skill set and explore different facets of the writing realm.

3. Writing Opportunities and Support for Students

In addition to coursework, good creative writing programs should also provide students with ample opportunities to practice and improve their writing skills. Look for programs that offer writing workshops, writing groups, literary journals, and other platforms for students to share their work and receive feedback. Additionally, look for programs that offer robust student support services, such as advising, tutoring, and career services.

4. Program Reputation and Awards

When picking a creative writing program, the program's reputation can be pretty important. Look for programs known for producing successful writers and those that have been recognized with awards and accolades for their achievements.

By considering these criteria, you can better evaluate which creative writing programs are best suited to your needs and goals. In the following sections, we'll take a closer look at some of the top colleges with good writing programs that meet these criteria.

Creative Writing Program Rankings

University of Iowa

#1. The University of Iowa

Located in Iowa City, the University of Iowa is widely regarded as one of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States. The university's Iowa Writers' Workshop, in particular, has a long and prestigious history of producing some of the most celebrated writers of our time. Founded in 1936, the workshop is known for its rigorous curriculum, world-renowned faculty, and supportive community of writers.

The faculty at the Iowa Writers' Workshop includes some of the most esteemed writers in the literary world, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove, MacArthur Fellowship recipient Marilynne Robinson, and bestselling novelist John Irving. These faculty members offer a wealth of experience and knowledge to their students, as well as mentorship and guidance on their writing projects.

The curriculum at the Iowa Writers' Workshop is designed to challenge and inspire students, with courses in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting. Students are also encouraged to explore other areas of the writing world, such as literary translation and publishing, through interdisciplinary courses and workshops. Additionally, the workshop offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, reading series, and literary journals.

The Iowa Writers' Workshop has a strong reputation for producing successful writers, with alumni including Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver, and Kurt Vonnegut, among many others. Graduates of the program have won numerous awards and accolades, including Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and MacArthur Fellowships.

Brown University

#2. Brown University

Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is home to the highly respected Literary Arts Program, which offers an excellent creative writing program for undergrads. The program is known for encouraging students to experiment, combine various fields of study, and engage with the community. Additionally, it features an incredible team of professors and a diverse range of students.

The Literary Arts Program boasts an incredible team of faculty members, including award-winning writers from various genres. You've got poets such as C.D. Wright and Forrest Gander, the gifted novelist Edwidge Danticat, and the outstanding playwright Marcus Gardley. Each of them contributes a wealth of experience and expertise, and they're all committed to fostering a warm, inclusive atmosphere for every student.

In the Literary Arts Program, the curriculum is all about exploring and experimenting. You'll find courses covering poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and beyond. Plus, students are urged to check out classes in other humanities and arts fields, like film studies, visual arts, and music. On top of that, the program provides loads of writing opportunities, such as workshops, readings, and getting published.

The Literary Arts Program at Brown University has produced many successful writers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Tracy K. Smith and Peter Balakian, novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, and playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes. Graduates of the program have gone on to win prestigious awards and fellowships, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Award, and the Whiting Award.

Columbia University

3. Columbia University

Located in New York City, Columbia University is home to one of the oldest and most prestigious undergraduate creative writing programs in the country. The program offers a diverse range of courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting, as well as opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration.

The faculty at the undergraduate creative writing program includes some of the most celebrated writers in the world, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, bestselling novelist Gary Shteyngart, and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Lydia Davis. These faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, as well as a commitment to fostering a supportive and collaborative community for their students.

In the undergraduate creative writing program, the curriculum is crafted to both challenge and inspire students through a range of genres and forms. Students are also urged to explore other areas within the humanities and the arts, like film studies, art history, and theater. Plus, the program provides a bunch of writing opportunities, such as workshops, reading series, and publications.

Columbia's undergraduate creative writing program has a long and impressive track record of producing successful writers, with alumni including Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, and J.D. Salinger. Graduates of the program have gone on to win numerous awards and fellowships, such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the MacArthur Fellowship.

Emory University

4. Emory University

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University is home to the undergraduate creative writing program, which offers students the opportunity to develop their writing skills in a supportive and inclusive community. The program is known for its focus on interdisciplinary study, social justice, and community engagement.

The faculty at the undergraduate creative writing program includes award-winning writers in a variety of genres, such as poet Jericho Brown, novelist Tayari Jones, and nonfiction writer Kevin Young. These faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, as well as a commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the literary world.

The curriculum at the undergraduate creative writing program is designed to encourage students to explore their interests and experiment with different forms of writing. Students can choose from courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting, as well as courses in literary translation, editing, and publishing. Additionally, the program offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, readings, and literary magazines.

The creative writing program for undergrads at Emory has given rise to a bunch of talented writers, like Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, fiction writer Alice Walker, and nonfiction author Annette Gordon-Reed. Those who've graduated from the program have managed to snag a bunch of cool awards and fellowships, like the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

MIT

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is not often associated with creative writing programs, but its undergraduate writing program is one of the best in the country. The program is known for its focus on science and technology writing, as well as its interdisciplinary approach and supportive community.

Our undergraduate writing program is proud to have a team of talented writers and journalists, as well as experts in science and technology communication. These instructors not only share their one-of-a-kind perspectives and skills in the classroom, but they're also committed to helping students enhance their writing in a way that's relevant in today's world.

The curriculum at the undergraduate writing program is designed to encourage students to explore the intersection of science, technology, and writing. Students can choose from courses in science journalism, science fiction, technical writing, and more. Additionally, the program offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, publications, and internships with tech companies.

The undergraduate writing program at MIT has given rise to numerous accomplished writers and communicators, like Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Harmon, sci-fi author Ted Chiang, and science writer John Horgan. Alumni of this program have ventured into careers in science communication, tech writing, and various other domains that demand solid writing abilities and a profound grasp of science and technology.

6. New York University

Located in the heart of New York City, New York University (NYU) is home to the undergraduate creative writing program, which offers students the opportunity to study with some of the most celebrated writers in the literary world. The program is known for its focus on experiential learning, cultural exchange, and community building.

The faculty at the undergraduate creative writing program includes award-winning writers in a variety of genres, such as poets Sharon Olds and Terrance Hayes, novelist Zadie Smith, and playwright Tony Kushner. These faculty members bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom, as well as a commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community for their students.

The curriculum at the undergraduate creative writing program is designed to encourage students to experiment with different forms of writing, as well as explore the intersections of writing and other art forms. Students can choose from courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and playwriting, as well as interdisciplinary courses in topics such as film, art, and music. Additionally, the program offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, readings, and publications.

NYU's undergraduate creative writing program has produced many successful writers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Frank Bidart, novelist Hannah Tinti, and screenwriter Beau Willimon. Graduates of the program have gone on to win numerous awards and fellowships, such as the National Book Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Stanford

7. Stanford University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University is home to the Creative Writing Program, which offers a highly regarded undergraduate creative writing program. The program is known for its focus on interdisciplinary study, global perspectives, and social justice.

The faculty at the Creative Writing Program includes award-winning writers in a variety of genres, such as poet Elizabeth Tallent, novelist Adam Johnson, and nonfiction writer Janine Zacharia. These faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, as well as a commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community for their students.

The curriculum at the Creative Writing Program is designed to encourage students to explore a wide range of writing styles and forms, as well as interdisciplinary study. Students can choose from courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and more. Additionally, the program offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, readings, and publications.

Stanford's Creative Writing Program has produced many successful writers, including novelist Chang-rae Lee, poet Louise Glück, and nonfiction writer Rebecca Solnit. Graduates of the program have gone on to win numerous awards and fellowships, such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the MacArthur Fellowship.

8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor offers an excellent undergraduate creative writing program for students interested in pursuing a degree in writing. The program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education in the craft of writing, as well as exposure to a wide range of literary traditions and styles.

The undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is part of the larger English department, which offers students the opportunity to explore a variety of topics in literature and writing. The creative writing program itself is small and selective, with a focus on close mentorship and individual attention. Students can choose from courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and more, and can also participate in writing workshops, readings, and publications.

The faculty at the undergraduate creative writing program includes award-winning writers in a variety of genres, such as poets Tarfia Faizullah and Laura Kasischke, and fiction writer Peter Ho Davies. These faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, as well as a commitment to fostering a supportive and collaborative community for their students.

Graduates of the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor have gone on to publish their work in prestigious literary journals and magazines, and have won numerous awards and fellowships, such as the Hopwood Awards for creative writing. By attending this program, students can gain the skills, experience, and connections they need to build a successful career as a writer.

9. University of Virginia

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia is home to the Creative Writing Program, which offers a highly respected undergraduate creative writing program. The program is known for its focus on literary excellence, small class sizes, and one-on-one mentorship.

The Creative Writing Program's faculty is made up of award-winning writers who specialize in different genres, like poet Rita Dove, novelist Jeffrey Eugenides, and nonfiction writer John Casey. These talented faculty members not only bring a ton of experience and know-how to the table, but they're also dedicated to creating a tight-knit, supportive community for their students.

The curriculum at the Creative Writing Program is designed to encourage students to develop their writing skills in a variety of genres and forms, as well as explore other aspects of the writing world, such as editing and publishing. Students can choose from courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and more. Additionally, the program offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, readings, and publications.

The Creative Writing Program at the University of Virginia has produced many successful writers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, novelist Ann Beattie, and nonfiction writer John McPhee. Graduates of the program have gone on to win numerous awards and fellowships, such as the National Book Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the MacArthur Fellowship.

10. Yale University

Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University is home to the Creative Writing Program, which offers a highly regarded undergraduate creative writing program. The program is known for its focus on literary excellence, small class sizes, and close collaboration between faculty and students.

The faculty at the Creative Writing Program includes award-winning writers in a variety of genres, such as poets Carl Phillips and Claudia Rankine, novelist Alexander Chee, and nonfiction writer Samantha Power. These faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, as well as a commitment to fostering a supportive and collaborative community for their students.

The curriculum at the Creative Writing Program is designed to encourage students to develop their writing skills in a variety of genres and forms, as well as explore other aspects of the writing world, such as editing and publishing. Students can choose from courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and more. Additionally, the program offers a variety of writing opportunities for students, including workshops, readings, and publications.

The Creative Writing Program at Yale University has produced many successful writers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill, novelist Michael Cunningham, and nonfiction writer David Grann. Graduates of the program have gone on to win numerous awards and fellowships, such as the National Book Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the MacArthur Fellowship.

Honorable Mentions

While the universities mentioned above are widely regarded as some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States, there are many other institutions that offer excellent undergraduate writing programs. Some honorable mentions include:

  • Washington University in St. Louis: The undergraduate creative writing program at Washington University in St. Louis, while short, is known for its focus on literary excellence, interdisciplinary study, and community building.
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington: The undergraduate creative writing program at UNC Wilmington is known for its focus on experiential learning and community engagement, as well as its diverse student body and world-class faculty.
  • Oberlin College: Home to one of the oldest undergraduate creative writing programs in the country, Oberlin College offers students the opportunity to study with acclaimed writers in a supportive and collaborative environment.

Conclusion:

If you're an aspiring writer looking to hone your craft and develop your skills, attending a college with a strong creative writing program can be an excellent choice. The universities listed above are widely regarded as some of the best colleges for creative writing in the United States, offering students the opportunity to study with award-winning writers, explore a variety of genres and forms, and connect with a supportive and inclusive community of fellow writers.

Whether you're interested in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or screenwriting, these colleges have something to offer. They also offer a wide range of writing opportunities, such as workshops, readings, and publications, that can help you develop your skills and gain valuable experience in the literary world.

However, it's important to note that attending a college with a strong creative writing program is not a guarantee of success as a writer. Ultimately, it's up to you to put in the work and dedication necessary to develop your skills and build a career as a writer. But by attending one of these colleges, you'll be giving yourself the best possible chance to achieve your goals and fulfill your creative potential.

If you're thinking about getting a creative writing degree, why not check out these colleges and find out if one of them is a good match for you? With a mix of talent, commitment, and a helping hand, you might be on the path to a thriving writing career.

Read applications

Read the essays, activities, and awards that got them in. Read one for free!

Profile picture

Joshua Glass

MIT (+3 colleges)

Profile picture

Tina Z.

Stanford (+1 colleges)

Profile picture

Indiana VA

Harvard (+11 colleges)

Related articles

International Student Guide: How to Apply to College in the United States

Applying to college as an international student in the United States can be difficult, as there are many requirements to follow. In this article, we'll discuss how to apply for college in the United States as an international student, the advantages of attending a US college, student timelines to keep in mind, how to research colleges and universities, which major or degree to pursue, required standardized and English language tests, and more.

International Student Guide: How to Apply to College in the United States

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Pre Med

Choosing the right college is a critical decision for pre-med students, as it sets the foundation for their medical education and career. The right college not only prepares students for medical school but also helps them to develop the necessary skills, experiences, and networks to become successful physicians.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Pre Med
AdmitYogi
AdmitYogi

About

Product

👩‍🎓

Profiles

📝

Essays

Website

admityogi@gmail.com

Based at Stanford. Copyright © Admit Yogi LLC 2023. Legal Disclaimer: Not endorsed by/affiliated with the Common App in any way.