Best Online Master’s in English & Creative Writing: Students Before Profits Award 2015-2016

Best-Online-Master’s-in-English-&-Creative-Writing---Students-Before-Profits-Award-2015-2016Our Students Before Profits Award was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line.

For our 2015-2016 Online Master’s in English and Writing award winners, we selected online programs from accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities with objectively lower than average tuition cost and have ranked the programs according to their affordability.

The graduate degree in English, and especially the alluring M.F.A. in Creative Writing, are both making a big comeback in the academic world. Though our contemporary society is certainly one of utilitarian practicality as concerns educational pursuits – wherein the intrinsic value of a particular discipline is determined by the promise of financial stability and excess – the preservation and evolution of the humanities are being touted and defended by major academic journals and mainstream periodicals. English and writing professionals not only bring enduring skills to the workplace, but function as the protectors, interpreters, advocates – and in some sense, arbiters – of our diverse cultural heritage and artistic future. Recent graduates often find work in the arts, in advertising, education, publishing, for non-profit organizations, and in public relations.

Affordability, accreditation and nonprofit status are our primary criteria when it comes to ranking these programs, but many of these programs are consistently ranked among the top by other national publications and we believe they deserve to be considered among the best online master’s in English & Creative Writing programs available.

Note that tuition rates listed below are based on costs for out-of-state, full-time students. In-state rates are often less expensive, and part-time cost per credit hour is often more expensive.

#1. Mississippi University for Women

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Mississippi University for Women was founded in 1884 in Columbus, Mississippi, and was the first public women’s college in the United States. The school began offering graduate-level degree programs in 1974, and became coeducational in 1982. The school affirmed its long-standing purpose in furthering women’s education in 1988 when the Board of Trustees stated that MUW offers and will continue to offer excellent programs for all students, but will remain committed to emphasizing opportunities for women. Notable alumni include many renowned female scientists, politicians, lawyers, authors, playwrights, and Pulitzer Prize winner Eudora Welty.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Mississippi University for Women’s M.F.A. program is a new program beginning in August of 2015. The 48-credit low-residency degree will often be completed in two to three years; students who attend part-time will take longer. Short residency courses are required approximately two to three times per year, and last about a week. Students are encouraged to be present at the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium offered in the fall – this first short residency functions as an orientation to the M.F.A. program, the campus and its history, and to Columbus at large. Examples of coursework include a smattering of Literature and Form classes and Workshops in Writing for New Media, Poetry, Fiction, Translating, and Copywriting.

Accreditation

Mississippi University for Women is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $12,000

#2. Arizona State University

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Founded in 1885 and located on several campuses across Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona State University is a national space-grant institution and the largest public university in the country by enrollment. Arizona State University’s online campus was ranked #1 in online Student Services and Technology by U.S. News & World Report and offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Online Master’s of Arts in English Overview

Arizona State University offers a completely online Master’s of Arts in English with courses in rhetoric, linguistics, film and media, cultural studies, literature, and writing. Graduates will leave the program with strong critical thinking, writing, and communication skills, and will be prepared to work in a variety of communications careers as teachers, editors, scholars, and writers. Students may begin the program in either January or August.

Accreditation

Arizona State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Schools.

Tuition: $15,906

#3. Sierra Nevada College

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Sierra Nevada College was founded in 1969 and is located in Incline Village, Nevada. A private, liberal arts university, the school offers unique programs in skiing and snowboarding, and hosts Summer Visiting Artists Workshops which regularly welcome acclaimed artists.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Sierra Nevada College’s two-year low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing is a challenging, artistic program with a low faculty-to-student ratio. Five eight-day residencies are required, complete with seminars, workshops, readings, and more. Every student will do one overseas residency, and each one – local and/ or global – takes place in either January or July.

Accreditation

Sierra Nevada College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Tuition: $16,920

#4. Morehead State University

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Located at the foothills of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Morehead, Kentucky, Morehead State University was founded as a religious teacher-training school in 1887. MSU became a state school in 1922, a four year college in the late 40s, and by 1966 had achieved university status. MSU was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Top 25 public universities in the South, and as an extremely veteran-friendly institution by G.I. Jobs magazine.

Online Master’s of Arts in English Overview

Morehead State University’s online M.A. in English is a traditional postgraduate literary degree with accompanying creative and technical writing courses. This degree is one of the few in its class: an advanced, completely online master’s degree in English. The program is self-paced, and 33 credits are required for graduation.

Accreditation

Morehead State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $19,107

#5. Wilkes University

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Founded in 1933 as a satellite campus of Bucknell University, Wilkes University branched off to become an independent institution in 1947, taking the name of British radical politician John Wilkes. The private, non-denominational institution is located on 35 acres in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and enrolls approximately 5,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Notable alumni include, among others, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, poet Catherine Chandler, novelist Marlon James, and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, Steve Poleskie.

Online Master’s of Arts and Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Wilkes University’s low-residency Creative Writing degree is a mentorship-focused program with a heavy emphasis on publishing. Students are encouraged to develop a daily routine and disciplined practice that aligns with that of the archetypal working writer. All final manuscripts are examined by a producer, publisher, agent, or editor, and hundreds of such projects have been published throughout the program’s decade-long history. Specializations are available in Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Creative Nonfiction, Publishing, and Documentary Filmmaking. Residencies are eight days long and take place twice yearly; semester coursework may be completed fully online in a cohort format that allows students to begin and end the program with the same community of student writers.

Accreditation

Wilkes University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $19,410

#6. West Virginia Wesleyan College

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Established in 1890 in Buckhannon, West Virginia, West Virginia Wesleyan College is a Methodist liberal arts college enrolling approximately 1,500 students. The campus is situated on 100 acres and boasts a variety of native plant life; the major buildings reflect Georgian architectural style due to former president Stanley H. Martin. The school has been recognized as a top regional college by the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

West Virginia Wesleyan College offers a two-year, 49-credit low-residency M.F.A with the option of specialization in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. This central Appalachian M.F.A. program emphasizes writing from a sense of place, a major focus being a willingness to explore identity and culture – though this is secondary to the development of excellent craftsmanship. Summer and winter residencies partner students with mentors that vary by semester: each ten-day residency initiates a semester of one-on-one correspondence and predetermined study with a particular faculty member. One of the five on-campus residencies can be substituted with a field seminar in another locale; students have traditionally chosen to attend Ireland’s Dublin Writers’ Festival.

Accreditation

West Virginia Wesleyan College is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $20,825

#7. Oregon State University

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A branch campus of Oregon State University, Oregon State University – Cascades is an urban institution located in Bend, Oregon. The school enrolls about 1,000 students, but plans to increase enrollment to 5,000 by 2025. Twenty different undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered on campus; OSU – Cascades is also affiliated with Central Oregon Community College.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Oregon State University – Cascades’ low-residency M.F.A. program approaches the craft of writing from an ecological standpoint; the whole writer is valued not in spite of the terrain each had to navigate to come to the page, but because of such geographies: social, spiritual, physical, aesthetic, political. The programs stated principles include writing as an act of solidarity with global persecuted artists, writing with political motivation, cultivation of practical discipline to induce artistic discipline, and many more. No student will be limited to a specific genre throughout their course of study, and may even question the concept of genre itself. The professor-student ratio never exceeds 1:5, and individualized curriculums are devised for each student writer. 56-credit hours along with four residencies are required for graduation.

Accreditation

Oregon State University – Cascades is regionally accredited by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $21,176

#8. Lindenwood University

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Founded in 1827 as The Lindenwood School for Girls, Lindenwood University is a private, co-ed liberal arts institution located on 500 acres in Saint Charles, Missouri. The campus structures include a number of historic nineteenth-century buildings as well as modern and contemporary projects. The eastern part of the historic campus is marked by a forest of old-growth linden trees and contains the site of the original log cabin wherein the first classes were held almost 200 years ago. Lindenwood University offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees from ten distinct colleges and schools, and boasts enrollment of over 12,000 on-campus students.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing Overview

Lindenwood’s 48-credit hour M.F.A. program can be completed without any residency requirement – all coursework is available online, including craft classes, literature classes, and online writing workshop. Specialized tracks are available in poetry, literary fiction, genre fiction, the novel, creative nonfiction, narrative journalism, scriptwriting, and literary journal editing, however, students do not have to declare any concentration and may instead choose coursework from a variety of genres. The program culminates in a literary thesis in the genre of the student’s choosing.

Accreditation

Lindenwood University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $21,744

#9. Eastern Oregon University

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Eastern Oregon University is located in La Grande, Oregon, and is part of the Eastern Oregon University system. Founded in 1929 as Eastern Oregon Normal School, EOU is located in the center of the Blue Mountain Range between Portland, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

The Eastern Oregon University low-residency M.F.A. program is a two-year program with two two-week residences required per year – one in June and one in October. The residencies are intense and time-consuming; residents should expect to devote all of their energy to full participation during their time away from their home communities. The program’s residencies represent the core of the curriculum and consist of personal study, writing, public discussion, workshops, seminars, lectures, and readings by faculty and visiting writers. EOU’s M.F.A. program is home to the unique Wilderness Writing Concentration, a specialization emphasizing reinvention of the “nature writing” genre wherein students study the concept of place-based literature through Vedic writings and Native American narratives. Students concentrating on Wilderness Writing will spend much of their residencies outdoors and on wilderness retreats, and will complete, prior to graduation, either a conservation project local to their particular community or a self-directed wilderness experience.

Accreditation

Eastern Oregon University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Tuition: $21,924

#10. Southern New Hampshire University

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Southern New Hampshire University is a private university located between Manchester and Hookset, New Hampshire. Its online campus boasts over 200 regionally accredited undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, and also has specialized accreditation for some of its degrees and programs.

Online Master’s of Arts in English and Master’s of Arts in English And Creative Writing Overview

Southern New Hampshire University’s online M.A. in English is a postgraduate literature degree with an emphasis on both traditional and nontraditional topics including Shakespeare, Victorian literature, Romantic literature, multiethnic literature, gender studies, and American Modernism. Foundational courses include American and British Literature, Global Literature, Graduate Studies in Literary Theory, Composition Theory and Teaching of Writing, and Graduate Studies in English Language. Electives are available in Postcolonial Encounters, Black Literary Tradition, Medieval Literature, American Realism and Naturalism, and more. SNHU’s M.A. in English and Creative Writing is available with the option of four concentrations: Poetry, Screenwriting, Fiction, and Nonfiction. Students will choose to focus on writing or teaching by taking a seminar in either, and will study literary theory and the English language. Along with their genre concentration of choice, students will be able to choose from electives including The Editor; Fiction and Film; and Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Other Popular Fiction.

Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $22,572

#11. Eastern Kentucky University

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Located in Richmond, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University is an undergraduate and graduate teaching and research university. The school offers over 25 online degree programs and more than 160 on-campus programs. EKU was founded in 1906 and has a campus of almost 900 acres.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Bluegrass Writers Studio of Eastern Kentucky University was created to help students become better writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The community, despite distance, is close-knit, supportive, and offers instruction in both literary and genre writing. Summer and Winter residencies are offered in either Lisbon, Portugal or Lexington, Kentucky, and both function as two-week intensives bringing together faculty, published authors, editors, and peer writers for workshops, lectures, and casual gatherings. The program requires 48-credit hours for graduation; this figure includes the three to six credits acquired from attending single residencies – students must attend four over the course of their M.F.A. study. Participants of EKU’s Bluegrass Writers Studio keep up a literary blog on the university’s website.

Accreditation

Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $23,280

#12. Converse College

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A private, liberal arts masters university located in Spartanburg, North Carolina, Converse College is made up of an undergraduate women’s college and a co-ed graduate school. Founded on seventy acres in 1889, the school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with eight Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, and Neoclassical style buildings dated between 1891 and 1915. Converse College enrolls over 800 undergraduate students and approximately 550 graduate students.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Converse College offers a low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing with concentrations available in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, YA Fiction, and Environmental Writing. The program is designed so that most instruction is delivered through the master-writer and apprentice mentoring relationship, with students and mentors gathering face-to-face during biannual nine-day residencies. The 48-credit program culminates in the completion of a book-length creative thesis and subsequent oral defense. Many alumni have been celebrated with numerous literary awards and book deals; Converse College’s M.F.A alumni also boasts Julia Peterkin, the only South Carolinian to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

Accreditation

Converse College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $23,856

#13. University of Southern Maine

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Part of the University of Maine System, the University of Southern Maine is a multi-campus institution with campuses in Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston. The school currently enrolls approximately 17,000 students. Founded in 1878 as a normal school, and then as two separate universities, the University of Southern Maine is an important part of the region’s civic, economic, and cultural life.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

The Stonecoast M.F.A. program at USM offers coursework in creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and popular fiction. Electives are available in nature writing, writing for young adults, performance, scriptwriting, and translation. Students are required to attend four ten-day residencies throughout the course of the program; winter residencies are held in Freeport, Maine, and summer residencies in Brunswick. Throughout the four distance semesters, students will send packets of their writing to their mentors for evaluation and critique. The program culminates in a writing project in one of six emphases – craft, creative collaboration, publishing, social action, teaching, or theory – and in a creative thesis that will be presented at the final residency. An innovative and selective summer residency in Ireland is available for those who qualify.

Accreditation

The University of Southern Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $23,952

#14. University of Arkansas Monticello

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The University of Arkansas at Monticello is a public liberal arts college that was established in 1909 to address the academic needs of southern Arkansas. Home to Arkansas’ only forestry school, UAM is comprised of eight schools as one specialized division – its Division of Music. In 1971, the University of Arkansas Monticello joined the University of Arkansas system and assumed its current name.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

The University of Arkansas Monticello’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing is a non-residency degree program. 48-semester hours are required for graduation, and students must apply to be accepted into one of three genres – poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. A small number of Graduate Assistantships – in which M.F.A. students will teach online sections of undergraduate writing courses – are available to qualifying students. The curriculum emphasizes development of effective communication skills, creative and critical intellectual competence, and the awareness and articulation of sensitive local and global issues. The final twelve hours of coursework are focused on the thesis: a publishable book-length manuscript, and a critical essay indicating a student’s grasp of literary history and proficiency as a reader.

Accreditation

The University of Arkansas Monticello is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $24,592

#15. Mercy College

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Mercy College is a private, nonsectarian liberal arts college located in New York State. Founded in 1950, Mercy College’s main campus is located in Dobbs Ferry, New York and spans 55 acres alongside the Hudson River; there are three additional campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Yorktown Heights. The college began including distance education in the late 1980’s, and now offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees that can be completely entirely online.

Online Master’s of Arts in English Literature Overview

Mercy College’s distance M.A. in English Literature emphasizes advanced methodologies of literary criticism regarding primarily British and American literature, as well as some World literature. The online program is identical to their graduate English degree offered at campuses in Dobbs Ferry, Brooklyn, Yorktown Heights, Bronx, and Manhattan. Classes are categorized as either Literature courses or Writing and Literary Forms courses, and will prepare students pursuing a doctorate degree, earning licensure to teach at the secondary level, or wishing to work in creative or technical communications. Students may also choose to enroll in a dual degree program wherein they are able to earn their Master’s of English Literature online at an accelerated pace, while simultaneously earning their undergraduate English degree.

Accreditation

Mercy College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.

Tuition: $24,840

#16. Regis University

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Formerly known as Regis College, Regis University is a private Jesuit university located in Denver, Colorado. Founded in Las Vegas in 1877 by a group of exiled Italian Jesuits, the school adopted the name Regis in 1921 in honor of John Francis Regis, a 17th-century Jesuit who worked with the poor in Southern France. Regis has a long history of charity and community service and has hosted Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Regis’ Mile-High M.F.A. is a low-residency, two-year terminal degree program in which students choose to focus on literary fiction, creative nonfiction, young-adult fiction, poetry, or playwriting. The program was not designed for casual or “hobby” writers, but rather for those ready to define themselves as serious writers seeking to make the creative pursuit into a professional vocation. Regis’ program is one of two Jesuit M.F.A. programs in the country, and requires students to not only engage with their home communities as contributors and instructors, but also prescribes that before graduation, students create a “Writing in the World” plan that dictates their intentions regarding social action and communal involvement through the written word. Five nine-day residencies must be completed throughout the two-program: in summer students will go whitewater rafting, and in winter, skiing. Students may also choose, with the approval and aid of their mentor, to enroll in a dual-genre study which will indicate the need for an additional semester of distance-writing and another intensive residency. Students are expected to write seriously for approximately 25 hours per week during the semester. Along with the hundreds of pages students create and revise throughout the length of the program, graduates will leave with a manuscript-length thesis that is of a publishable quality and is considered original and distinct.

Accreditation

Regis University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $24,840

#17. Northern Arizona University

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Northern Arizona University is headquartered in Flagstaff, Arizona, and was founded as the Northern Arizona Normal School in 1899. The school began offering bachelor’s degrees in education in 1925, and during WWII, briefly became a Navy V-12 program training site. NAU has 36 satellite campuses in the state of Arizona, and its main campus in Flagstaff is surrounded by the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the United States. Additionally, rumors of hauntings and other supernatural activity in two of the campus’ main dormitories have given the school extra-curricular pop-media attention.

Online Master’s of Arts in English Overview

Northern Arizona University’s College of Arts and Letters offers an online M.A. in English is available with three concentration options. Students may choose an emphasis in Literature; Professional Writing; or Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies. All master’s programs at NAU require a minimum of thirty credits of study for graduation, and these must be completed within six consecutive years with a grade point average of at least a 3.0. The Literature option is a 36-credit program designed to broaden and refine a student’s knowledge and experience of English literature. Alumni have gone on to work as editors, university professors, secondary education teachers, and community college teachers. Also a 36-credit degree program, the M.A. in English with an emphasis in Professional Writing will develop highly valuable communications skills including writing grants and proposals, reports, policy statements, and other kinds of workplace communication. Graduates with this skillset will be capable of working successfully in a variety of fields – healthcare, science, engineering, and finance, to name just a few. The M.A. emphasizing Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies is a cutting-edge program that combines a traditional understanding of English literature and Classical tenets of communication with new media. Graduates often work as teachers, writers, and communication specialists.

Accreditation

Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

Tuition: $24,888

#18. The Institute for American Indian Arts

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The Institute for American Indian Arts is a comprehensive multi-tribal art college and was established by the United States Department of the Interior in 1961. The school is located on 140 acres just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico and operates the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and the Center for Lifelong Education. IAI was created to address the need for higher education for American Indians and, in concert with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, to strengthen tribal nations in geographically isolated areas. Renowned faculty include Anishinaabe writer Gerald Vizenor, Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday, and Navajo -Tenino – Wasco – Yakama artist and author Elizabeth Woody.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

IAI’s low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing was designed to “to empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and outreach.” The curriculum is primarily comprised of the written work of First Nations and Native American peoples, and though admission is open to writers of all backgrounds, IAI remains committed to its initial purpose. Students must complete 48-credit hours for graduation, including a ten page craft essay, a professional book-length manuscript in the genre of a student’s choosing, a public reading, a public lecture or craft talk, and successful defense of the final thesis, among other requirements. Brief residency periods take place twice annually during the summer and winter seasons.

Accreditation

The Institute for American Indian Arts is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $24,945

#19. Pine Manor College

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A small liberal arts college on over fifty acres in Chestnut Hill outside of Boston, Pine Manor College is a private institution known for the diversity of its student body. The school offers just nine undergraduate majors: Biology, Business Administration, Communications, English, History and Culture, Liberal Studies Psychology, Social and Political Systems, and Visual Arts. PMC’s sole postgraduate offering is their low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Pine Manor College has been a women’s institution from its establishment, though men were admitted for the first time in 2014.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program is offered as a low-residency master’s-level study of literary craft, theory, and criticism. Students who wish to teach at the collegiate level may choose the Applied Pedagogy Track to receive instruction in planning, assessment, grading, and all other aspects of teaching composition. The program is structured so that students gather for ten days twice a year on Pine Manor’s wooded campus to participate in panel discussions, lectures, readings, and workshops. The residencies take place just five miles from downtown Boston, and are intensive community experiences. At the end of each residency students will be matched appropriately with a faculty mentor for the following six-month distance semester. Pine Manor’s M.F.A. is truly diverse – economically, ethnically, geographically – and celebrates the outside commitments of family and career in order to encourage writers in developing a sustainable lifelong practice.

Accreditation

Pine Manor College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $25,000

#20. Stetson University

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Located in central Florida, Stetson University is comprised of four colleges and schools; the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, the School of Music, and primary postgraduate campus are located in Deland. The school was founded in 1883 by Henry Addison Deland as Deland Academy, and in 1889, the academy’s name was changed to Stetson University to recognize benefactor and founding trustee John B. Stetson. The 175-acre campus is nationally recognized by the National Register of Historic Places for housing Florida’s oldest collection of academic buildings. Stetson University has recently been recognized by U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Known as “The M.F.A. of the Americas,” Stetson’s low-residency M.F.A. encompasses all of the Americas, both culturally and geographically, through its faculty and the locale of the intensive residencies. A two-year program, Stetson’s M.F.A. curriculum requires two ten-day residencies per year in which students gather for workshops, readings, and craft talks with writer-teachers, other beginning writers, and renowned contemporary authors. Residences are held in Florida, Mexico, Brazil, and Columbia. Students will choose to specialize in either Fiction or Poetry in an Expanded Field, and in between residencies will exchange four packets of work with their primary instructor, as well as complete the reading of a book list established collaboratively with the aforementioned faculty member. The program culminates in a book-length thesis presented both in a public reading and an academic lecture. Stetson’s curriculum is aligned with the guidelines and best practices outlined by AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Accreditation

Stetson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $25,120

#21. University of Houston Victoria

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The University of Houston-Victoria is part of the University of Houston system. Located in Victoria, Texas and founded in 1973, the school originally offered only upper-division courses and graduate courses and admitted only juniors, seniors, and graduate students. The university began admitting freshmen and sophomores in 2010. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, UHV is the fourth-most affordable public university in Texas.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

A low-residency creative writing program, UHV’s M.F.A in Creative Writing is a graduate program require twelve hours of Creative Writing core courses in the form of a writing workshop, eighteen hours of electives, and a six-credit manuscript-length literary thesis. Elective courses include Introduction to Publishing, Publication Design, Digital Publishing, Style and Editing, Literary Theory, Genre Studies, Studies in Latino Literature, and more. Guidelines for the thesis currently state that a poetry manuscripts must be at least fifty pages in length, short fiction must be 125 pages, and a novel must include a minimum of 150 pages.

Accreditation

The University of Houston-Victoria is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $25,189

#22. Arcadia University

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Arcadia University is a master’s university located outside of Philadelphia in Glenside, Pennsylvania. The school was founded in 1853 in Beaver, Pennsylvania as the Beaver Female Seminary, though did offer admission to men from 1872 to 1907 before again limiting enrollment to women. In 1972, Arcadia introduced its first graduate-level degree programs and again extended admission to male students. Currently, the institution boasts 4,000 coeds and over eighty undergraduate fields of study, and is considered the creme de la creme of study abroad programs.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Arcadia University’s low-residency M.F.A. is a unique combination of distance coursework, weekly online workshops with faculty and peers, and a study abroad experience in Edinburgh, Scotland. Students will choose between either poetry or fiction; each program takes approximately two years to complete while taking six to nine hours every term. Students consistently communicate with their faculty advisors via e-mail and Skype, and toward the end of the program will develop a plan for the publication of a book-length manuscript. After graduation, student writers will be prepared to teach at the collegiate level, and to maintain a professional writing practice.

Accreditation

Arcadia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $25,920

#23. University of Texas at Tyler

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The University of Texas at Tyler was founded as a local college in 1971, and in 1979 was absorbed by the University of Texas System. Until the late 1990s, UT Tyler was a “senior” institution and only taught classes for upper-level students.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

The University of Texas at Tyler offers an online M.A. in English with the option of both the Thesis and Non-Thesis tracks. Students will take courses including Bibliography and Methods of Research, Studies in Creative Writing, History of the English Language, Literary Theory and Criticism, Studies in Composition, and more. After completing the foundational courses, students will choose to focus on either Early Modern Literature or Later Literature, or instead will handpick nine hours of electives within the Department of Literature and Languages to suit their personal interests. Both the Thesis and Non-Thesis tracks require 36-credit hours for program completion.

Accreditation

The University of Texas at Tyler is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and schools.

Tuition: $26,316

#24. Texas Tech University

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Founded in the 1920s in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech University is a public research university originally known as Texas Technological College. The university is located on almost 2,000 acres in Lubbock, Texas – on the only campus in the state housing an undergraduate university, law school, and medical school on the same grounds. Texas Tech is classified as having “high research activity”, the most popular areas of research being epidemiology, grid computing, pulsed power, nanophotonics, wind energy, and atmospheric sciences. Notable alumni include folk singer John Denver, astronaut Rick Husband, former Texas governor Preston Smith, former president of the Republic of Panama Demetrio B. Lakas, and country singer Pat Green.

Online Master’s of Arts in English Overview

Texas Tech’s online M.A. in English is identical to their onsite program regarding admissions, applications, most available coursework, faculty, and requirements for graduation. Students begin the program by studying a variety of different literary periods and genres, and gradually begin to focus their work in preparation for a specialized thesis. This program is compatible with careers in secondary education, creative and technical writing, publishing, editing, and pursuit of a doctorate degree. During the 36-credit hour program, all students will take basic coursework in American and British Literature, Pedagogical Methods, and Writing for Publication. The fifteen remaining hours may be used to pursue specific instruction in Early British Literature; Later British Literature; American Literature; CLGT (Comparative Literature, Globalization, and Translation); Creative Writing; Linguistics; Book History; Film & Media Studies; Nineteenth-century Studies; and Literature, Social Justice, and Environment. Six of those fifteen hours may be used to study a subject outside of the English discipline; popular choices include history, philosophy, art history, theatre, and women’s studies.

Accreditation

Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $27,561

#25. Western New England University

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Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University was originally a part of Northeastern University – the Springfield Division – until 1951, when the division became Western New England College. Sixty years later, in 2011, Western New England University obtained university status. The private, not-for-profit institution enrolls over 5,000 students on the 215-acre campus. Notable alumni and faculty include Academy Award-winning film producer Anthony Katagas, a number of senators, university presidents, professors, and authors.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Western New England University offers a low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing with an individualized curriculum emphasizing all dimensions of fiction writing. Prior to each distance term, students meet for weeklong intensive residencies comprised of workshops, craft classes, courses in special topics, readings, and panels made up of literary agents and editors. Students are assigned a different author-mentor each term, and upon graduation will have a substantial portfolio complete with annotations, footnotes and personal letters of reference from said mentors. After graduation, a fifth and final optional residency is available – and tuition is covered – for those who wish to attend.

Accreditation

Western New England University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $28,080

#26. The University of Texas at El Paso

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Founded in 1914 as The State School of Mines and Metallurgy, The University of Texas at El Paso is a four-year public university located on over 350 acres in the mountains and deserts of Far West Texas. The largest university in the U.S. with a majority of Mexican-American students, UTEP overlooks the Rio Grande and is part of the binational metropolitan area of El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. In the 1910s, after being inspired by a National Geographic issue on the Kingdom of Bhutan, Kathleen Worrell (wife to the dean) suggested that many of the buildings on campus be designed in the Bhutanese architectural style due to a slight resemblance in terrain. Thus the school’s early buildings were constructed in the characteristic dzong style, as were some of the more modern facilities.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

UTEP’s online M.F.A. in Creative Writing is able to be completed fully online; there is no residential requirement. Fourteen required courses are followed by six hours of a thesis in which students will complete a professional, publishable manuscript in either poetry or fiction. The most important criteria for admission is a potential student’s portfolio; UTEP is looking for excellent, distinctive writers with a unique cultural and social awareness. Due to the lack of residency requirement, UTEP does not have a fixed number of students they will accept each year. Current courses include The Contemporary Latin American Short Story, Advanced Poetry Writing, Asian American Poetry, and more.

Accreditation

The University of Texas at El Paso is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $29,373

#27. Queens University of Charlotte

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Queens University of Charlotte is a private university located in North Carolina. Founded as the Charlotte Female Institute in 1857, Queens University was originally a Presbyterian seminary for women. Male students gained admittance for the first time in the late 1940s. In 1912 the school was renamed to commemorate Queen’s Museum – a classical school founded in Charlotte in 1771 – and to honor Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland for nearly six decades. Recently, the university has been favorably recognized in many categories by the U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review; their low-residency M.F.A. program has been held in high regard nationally – ranking in Poets & Writers top ten low-residency Creative Writing programs.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

The low-residency M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte addresses the paradoxical needs of working writers, which are: to sustain a fixed practice of solitude and to engage regularly with a like-minded writing community. Coursework is offered in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and writing for stage and screen. Students meet twice yearly for weeklong intensive residencies emphasizing workshops and discussion tables, and the rest of the time they write in the privacy of their own homes, keeping up their personal and professional engagements. The student-faculty ratio is never more than four-to-one, and throughout the course of study students will be exposed not only to the program’s published faculty but also to influential editors and agents. The first, and still one of the only, low-residency programs to implement the workshop model, the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte is committed to the development of a supportive and analytical artist’s community that will remain long after students graduate.

Accreditation

Queens University of Charlotte is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $29,984

#28. Miami University

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Located in Oxford, Ohio, Miami University is a public research university considered to be one of the original eight “Public Ivy” schools, second only to Princeton in quality of undergraduate education. Miami University was founded in 1809 and is one of the oldest public universities in the country. The school is named for the Miami Valley, the land surrounding the Great Miami River in southern Ohio. Miami University’s affordability, campus beauty, undergraduate and graduate programs have received acclaim from Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Miami University’s low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing is structured as an individualized course of study including creating and revising original works, as well as mapping out a 25 book reading list of canonical and contemporary authors. Students will work with different mentors during the distance semesters, and after the first year will choose to specialize in creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or screenwriting.

Accreditation

Miami University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $31,119

#29. Cedar Crest College

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A women’s college in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Cedar Crest College was founded in 1867 and is historically affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The school is located on 84 acres next to the city’s Cedar Beach Park, and enrolls over 3,000 students. Cedar Crest College has long been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Colleges.”

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Cedar Crest College offers a Pan-European M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a low-residency model; students will meet annually in a different European locale every summer, for a total of three residencies over the course of the program. These summer residencies are in Barcelona, Dublin, or Vienna, and the locations rotate yearly so that every student will have the opportunity to travel to all of them. Student writers work from home during the academic year, preparing a book-length thesis and a critical essay regarding their chosen genre.

Accreditation

Cedar Crest College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $31,200

#30. Fairfield University

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Founded in 1942 by the Society of Jesus, Fairfield University is a private teaching-university and member institution of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The school emphasizes a liberal humanistic approach to curricula, along with ethical values and social responsibility. Located on 200 acres in Fairfield, Connecticut, Fairfield University houses the Bellarmine Museum of Art, Theatre Fairfield, and the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts – considered the “cultural epicenter of Fairfield County.” Fairfield has been recognized by Newsweek, the Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and USA Today for such diverse attributes as undergraduate and graduate business programs, affordability, diversity, valuing open dialogue, and dedication to the Roman Catholic faith.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Student’s of Fairfield University’s low-residency M.F.A. program will choose from specializations in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and scriptwriting/ playwriting. Further concentrations are available in spiritual writing, literary health and healing, and publishing/editing. Students will earn sixty course credits throughout the course of the program, and will attend four nine-day residencies on Ender’s Island, a tranquil, traditionally Catholic retreat in Mystic, Connecticut. Fairfield’s Prior Learning Assessment is a new option designed for qualified students who have already written or published significant work. Student writers whose work meets the criteria for the PLA will graduate in three semesters instead of four. Additionally, Fairfield University offers a postgraduate teacher-training program to aid M.F.A. students in obtaining teaching jobs at the college level.

Accreditation

Fairfield University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $31,800

#31. Ashland University

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Affiliated with the Anabaptist Church of the Brethren, Ashland University is located on 135 acres in Ashland, Ohio. The school was conceived in 1877 by members of the German Baptist Brethren Church, and experienced most of its significant growth from the 1950s onward. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report and GetEducated.com, Ashland University currently offers over seventy undergraduate and pre-professional programs, and a number of postgraduate degrees.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Ashland University’s low-residency dual-genre M.F.A. program is the only one in the nation: students may choose to specialize in fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry – or they may choose a cross-genre option. A single yearly residency will take place over a two-week period every summer; along with a final graduate residency, these conferences ensure that student writers will spend six weeks in community with fellow writers and faculty mentors over the course of the program. Ashland only admits five writers per mentor, and students will submit four writing packets for analysis and criticism during each distance semester.

Accreditation

Ashland University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $31,995

#32. Western Colorado State University

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Located in Gunnison, Colorado, Western Colorado State University is a public liberal arts school with unique state-funded programs in petroleum geology and professional land and resource management. Popular undergraduate programs include recreation and outdoor leadership, exercise and sport science, biology, and business administration. Founded in 1901 as a normal school, Western was the first college established on Colorado’s Western Slope.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Western Colorado State University’s low-residency M.F.A. is a program designed for writers who would like to not only become more proficient at their craft, but who desire to have their work published, as well. Students will earn a degree in one of three tracks: Popular Genre Fiction/Nonfiction, Poetry with a Focus on Versecraft, and Screenwriting for Feature Film and Television. Every summer, student writers will meet for two-week intensive residencies that include lectures, individual projects, workshops, and face-to-face meetings with faculty mentors. Full-time students will complete the degree in two years, part-time students may choose to take three to four years to graduate, and all students must attend three consecutive summer residences during the course of their study.

Accreditation

Western Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $33,600

#33. Drew University

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Nicknamed the “University of the Forest” in honor of its celebrated 168-acre wooded campus, Drew University is a private Methodist institution located in Madison, New Jersey. Founded by railroad tycoon Daniel Drew in 1867, Drew University was originally a theological seminary. In 1928 the seminary grew to include undergraduate liberal arts programs, and in 1955 began offering graduate studies. Only 25 miles west of New York City, Drew’s campus is an oasis of dense native and non-native flora populated by diverse species of birds such as Canada geese, ducks, and herons. The campus is home to an arboretum, a forest preserve, and two glacial ponds that are inhabited by thriving populations of turtles, catfish, goldfish, and muskrats.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Poetry Overview

Drew University’s low-residency M.F.A. program employs some of America’s finest working poets as faculty mentors. Student poets and poet translators will sharpen their skills while studying the craft of the greatest American contemporary poets as well as poets from other cultures and periods. Specialized tracks are available in Poetry, Poetry Translation, and a combination of the two which requires an additional distance semester and an additional on-campus residency. On-campus residencies are ten days long and are comprised of workshops, lectures, public readings, and planning for the following mentorship semester.

Accreditation

Drew University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $33,728

#34. Murray State University

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One of the top-ranked regional universities in Kentucky for the last quarter-century, Murray State University of Murray, Kentucky enrolls approximately 12,000 students. Extended campuses include Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Henderson. Murray State University was founded in the early 1920s as a normal school, evolved into a state college by 1948, and achieved university status in 1966.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Upon receiving admission to the program, students of Murray State University’s low-residency M.F.A. will choose a genre: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Each student writer will be assigned a mentor and will participate in residencies and online workshops. New Madrid, the department’s national literary review, is run by graduate students and incoming student writers will be expected to contribute and to edit the journal. Study abroad experiences are often available during the mandatory biannual residency periods. However, students who have pressing personal or professional commitments are permitted to attend just one residency per year and can compensate for those hours with an online tutorial. Murray State’s visiting writers are published widely and held in national esteem; these presently include Mark Doty, Padma Viswanathan, Linda Bierds, Richard Bausch, Lorraine Lopez, Holly Goddard Jones, Ross Gay, and more.

Accreditation

Murray State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $33,832

#35. Western Connecticut State University

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Located on 400 acres in Danbury, Connecticut, Western Connecticut State University is part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Home to the Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies since the early 1990s and the Center for Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation since 2010, WCSU is one of only two universities in the country to be recognized as a “University of Compassion.” Western Connecticut State University is comprised of four distinct schools as well as their Division of Graduate Studies, and enrolls over 6,000 traditional on-campus students.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing Overview

Students of Western Connecticut State University’s low-residency M.F.A. program congregate in Danbury, Connecticut twice yearly – in August and January – for intensive weeklong residencies that serve, among other purposes, to dictate the course of study for the upcoming semester. Upon admission to the program, students will choose a two, three, or four year schedule that will best serve them in developing and maintaining a writing practice while accommodating existing personal and professional commitments. The curriculum is made of five essential building blocks: residences, coursework, a local practicum or internship, an enrichment project, and a thesis. Coursework includes Reading for Writers, Multi-Genre Workshops, Writing in the Primary Genre, Writing in the Secondary Genre, The Individual and the Aesthetic Process, and more.

Accreditation

Western Connecticut State University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $34,480

#36. Warren Wilson College

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A private college in the Swannanoa Valley near Asheville, North Carolina, Warren Wilson College employs a unique curriculum structured around the concept of the Triad: a combination of academics, on-campus work, and community service. On-campus Work Crews include the Aquatics Crew, the Computing Services Crew, the Blacksmith Crew, the Chemistry and Physics Crew, the Community Bike Shop, the Landscaping Crew, the Farm Crew, and many more. Warren Wilson College’s bucolic campus houses a 275-acre working farm and market garden, and 625 acres of forest with 25 miles of interweaving hiking trails. The institution was conceived and the land purchased in 1893 out of a growing concern for the availability and quality of education for underprivileged Americans in rural mountain communities. The school was among one of the first Southern colleges to desegregate, inviting Alma Shippy, a local African-American youth, to attend the school and reside in the dorm in the fall of 1952.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Warren Wilson College’s M.F.A. Program for Writers is a four-semester, non-competitive postgraduate degree. The low-residency model allows M.F.A. students to travel while studying or stay in their home communities with their existing jobs and families. Intensive residencies are ten days long and take place twice a year; this time is filled with workshops, lectures, readings, preparatory conferences for the upcoming distance semester, and informal gatherings where the student-faculty ratio is never more than 5:1. All students will work one-on-one with a supervisory faculty mentor, but potential students should be wary of applying to the program in order to find an editor for existing creative work. Also, though aspiring teachers and professors will undoubtedly benefit from the instruction received at Warren Wilson, this particular program should not be undertaken for the sole purpose of obtaining future employment. The curriculum is a balanced amalgamation of advanced literary study and personal craft development, the stated goal to aid in the maturation of practicing, disciplined writers.

Accreditation

Warren Wilson College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $34,700

#37. New England College

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New England College was founded in 1946 to serve men and women attending college after World War II, many of them on the G.I. Bill. The private liberal arts school is located in rural Henniker, New Hampshire, and enrolls just over 3,000 students. Known for promoting environmental education throughout the region, New England College is close to the White Mountains and the Contoocook River.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Students of New England College’s M.F.A. program are individually mentored by the program’s distinguished faculty throughout academic semesters, and meet twice yearly for intensive residencies on the school’s serene campus. Students may choose poetry, fiction, or a dual-genre specialization. Throughout the home-based semesters, students will send four packets of work to their mentors – these packets include original and revised work, reading journal, and special projects like translations or critical essays. During the final home-semester, students will complete their book-length thesis – in either poetry or fiction – and prepare to present their work at the graduation residency. New England College, unlike any other college or university in the nation, offers its student writers Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships; these are often partially, and even fully, funded.

Accreditation

New England College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $34,752

#38. Goucher College

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Goucher College is situated on 287 forested acres in Towson, a suburb north of Baltimore. A women’s college for many years, Goucher was founded in 1885 in association with the Methodist Church, though students of all faith backgrounds have always been accepted. Newsweek refers to the modern, wooded campus as unusually “bucolic”; the grounds house a population of about fifty deer that, due to the lack of natural predators, must be culled yearly. Notable alumni include poet Ellen Bass, suffragist Emily Newell Blair, naturalist Jean Worthley, anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker, Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor recipient Laura Amy Schlitz, and a number of prominent female artists, actresses, athletes, politicians, and academics. Women still make up a majority of the student body.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Overview

Goucher’s low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction employs successful writers from around the country who have been published – and worked as editors – in memoir, narrative, personal essay, and literary journalism. The program places a heavy emphasis on publishing: finances for the working writer are discussed, and editors and agents attend summer residencies to deliver talks and meet with student writers. An annual trip to New York – focused entirely on the process of publishing – is available to second-year students. The program has not been in existence for even twenty years, yet in such time alumni have published almost one hundred books and won a variety of well-known literary awards, including the New York Book Festival Award, Atlantic Media’s Michael Kelly Award, and the honor of being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Accreditation

Goucher College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $35,475

#39. University of Alaska Anchorage

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A public research university located in Anchorage, Alaska, the University of Alaska Anchorage was founded in 1954 – as its first incarnation at Elmendorf Air Force Base – before Alaska became the 49th U.S. State. The school manages four community campuses across the state; these are Kenai Peninsula College, Matanuska–Susitna College, Prince William Sound Community College, and Kodiak College. UAA enrolls over 20,000 students, and is affiliated with dozens of centers and institutes working toward the common goal of northern economic development, social justice, and the proper management of local resources.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, or Poetry Overview

A 45-credit degree program, UAA’s low-residency M.F.A. will take students three years to complete. Throughout the course of study, students will intentionally develop the necessary balancing skills that will sustain their writing practice amid the distractions and demands of their personal and professional lives. UAA’s M.F.A. curriculum revolves around the broad concept of “landscape” that includes the exploration of relationships between humanity and the natural world, diverse cultures and wilderness, and interior life and experience. Students will attend summer residencies on-campus and at nearby state parks; optional and required field excursions will make up part of the residency experience, as well as traditional workshops, readings, and lectures.

Accreditation

The University of Alaska Anchorage is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Tuition: $36,000

#40. Chatham University

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Chatham University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was founded in 1869 as Pennsylvania Female College. The campus is situated on 39 acres and, with over 115 different varieties of tree species, was designated an arboretum in 1998 by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. Namesake of William Pitt the Elder, the 1st Earl of Chatham and British statesman for whom the city of Pittsburgh was named, the school became Chatham College in 1955 and received university status in the spring of 2007.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Chatham University’s low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing is extraordinary in its focus on travel writing, nature writing, social outreach, and the development of a place-based, community practice. Students may choose from concentrations in teaching, publishing, travel writing, or nature writing, and will additionally choose a primary genre focus: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s writing. A dual-genre focus is also available. In 2009, Chatham alumni developed the university’s Words Without Walls Program – a creative writing program for local inmates run by students – which represents one of many such Chatham programs emphasizing social outreach and community development. Chatham alumna Rachel Carson, remembered for her scientific and socially progressive works as well as her lyrical contributions, influences and inspires both faculty and students in their respective journeys toward conjoining creativity and social justice.

Accreditation

Chatham University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $36,834

#41. University of Central Florida

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Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida is part of the State University System of Florida and is, by undergraduate enrollment, the largest university in the United States. The university was founded by the Florida Legislature as Florida Technological University in 1963 with the intent of training personnel to support the U.S. Space Program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Center. The school’s name was changed to the University of Central Florida in the late 1970’s to better reflect the diversification of its academic reach. A Tier 1 National University, UCF has been recognized very favorably for its value and academic standing by The Princeton Review, USA Today, Kiplinger, and U.S. News & World Report.

Online Master’s of Arts in English Overview

The University of Central Florida’s online M.A. in English with a Technical Communication concentration is available fully online. Students will develop their existing writing skills to create documents for government, nonprofit, education, and corporate entities. Prospective students can come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, but all should possess some measure of critical thinking skills and a desire to work with communication technologies. The 33-credit distance program culminates in a formal thesis, a research project, or a 6000-level course in Technical Communication.

Accreditation

The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $36,013

#42. Spalding University

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A Catholic university founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Spalding University is located in urban Louisville, Kentucky. Founded in 1814, the school was, until recently, the oldest Catholic university west of the Allegheny Mountains. Spalding was originally a school for women – and Kentucky’s first four-year Catholic women’s college. In 1973, Spalding offered admission to men and students of all faiths.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing Overview

Spalding University’s low-residency M.F.A. program is highly selective: only students who demonstrate exceptional talent will be accepted into the program. Students and alum are widely published and have received various awards in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, playwriting, and writing for children and young adults. Between semesters, residencies are available on-campus in Louisville and in Athens, Paris, Rome, and other international capital cities. Residencies are demanding, ten-day long conferences comprised of interactive workshops, readings, craft lectures, and special sessions. Students explore the process of getting published, and work with at least three different mentors throughout the course of the program. Spalding’s low-residency M.F.A. program has been recognized in Poets & Writers’ top-ten list for many years.

Accreditation

Spalding University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $36,075

#43. Hamline University

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A private not-for-profit liberal arts university in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Hamline University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state. The university was founded as a coeducational academic institution in 1854 in affiliation with the United Methodist Church, and is made up of five schools, including a school of law. Hamline University has recently been ranked in the top ten Midwestern universities by the U.S. News & World Report.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults Overview

Hamline University’s M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults is one of the only programs in its field, offering thorough instruction in penning picture books, literature for the early reader, middle-grade and young-adult fiction, poetry, nonfiction, the graphic novel, and comics. The M.F.A. program is comprised of four distance semesters, five eleven-day residencies in Saint Paul, and monthly correspondence with faculty mentors. Alumni have gone on to become award-winning authors, collegiate writing instructors, editors, and publishers.

Accreditation

Hamline University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $36,140

#44. Goddard College

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A progressive, private liberal arts college located in rural Plainfield, Vermont, Goddard College was founded in 1938 as an alternative institution of higher learning according to the philosophy and educational reforms of John Dewey. The college values non-traditional educational experiences, operates on a low-residency model, and encourages lifelong learning and responsible social action. The faculty facilitates student progress through narrative evaluations rather than issuing grades, and students study autonomously after designing their own curriculum.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Goddard College offers an innovative, low-redsidency M.F.A. in Creative Writing with emphasis areas spanning many different genres. These concentrations include Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction/ Memoir, Playwriting, Libretto Writing, Screenwriting, Television Writing, and Graphic Novel Scriptwriting. Students will convene twice annually for intensive residencies on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula or in rural Vermont. Each student will be assigned an advisory actively writing in his or her craft, and who will work with them throughout the length of the program in creating a manuscript-length thesis. Before graduation, students will create and conduct a teaching practicum in their home communities – in retirement homes, elementary schools, colleges, and more – not only to prepare graduates who wish to teach after completion of this terminal degree, but to encourage all students to connect with others through their craft.

Accreditation

Goddard College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Tuition: $36,320

#45. Lesley University

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Lesley University was founded as Lesley Normal School in 1909 as a private women’s school that trained kindergarten teachers. In 1941, the school began awarding baccalaureate degrees, and in the late 1990’s merged with The Art Institute of Boston. Lesley University became fully coeducational in 2005, and obtained university status and its current name in 2001. The university was named one of the “Best Northeastern Colleges” by the Princeton Review and its Audubon Expedition Institute was recognized by Backpacker Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Outdoor Education” programs.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Lesley University’s low-residency 49-credit master’s program in Creative Writing is offered with five concentrations: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing for Stage and Screen, and Writing for Young People. Students will attend a nine-day residency twice a year, and will work from their particular homes while communicating one-on-one with personal faculty advisors during the four distance semesters. The intensive residencies include craft seminars, workshops, readings, community meals, receptions, and publishing conferences. Both alumni and faculty members are widely published, renowned in their communities and the academic world at large, and have won a variety of literary awards.

Accreditation

Lesley University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Tuition: $36,995

#46. University of Nebraska Omaha

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The University of Nebraska Omaha was founded in 1908 as Omaha University. Located near the Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Bellevue College, the school initially recruited much of its staff from the seminarians and academic faculty of the two institutions. In 1968, the University of Nebraska Omaha joined the University of Nebraska system and received its current name. UNO is classified as a doctoral/research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and many of its schools, divisions, and degree programs have been recognized by the U.S. News & World Report.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Students of the University of Nebraska Omaha’s low-residency M.F.A. program will be able to keep up with their personal and professional commitments while devoting approximately 25 hours per week to structured literary studies and an individual writing practice. Degree specializations are available in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Students writers will meet biannually at the Lied Lodge Conference Center in Nebraska City for ten days of craft and theory lectures, manuscript workshops, pre-semester planning, and original readings. Sixty credits are required for graduation, and all but fifteen of those are intended to be completed from each student’s home community.

Accreditation

The University of Nebraska Omaha is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $37,560

#47. Bennington College

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Located in Bennington, Vermont, Bennington College is a private, nonsectarian liberal arts college. Founded in 1932 as a women’s institution, Bennington admitted male students for the first time in 1969. The school is selective: the average G.P.A. of incoming freshman is 3.5, and the faculty to student ration is 8:1. Notable faculty has included Pulitzer Prize-winning poets W.H. Auden, Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, and Theodore Roethke, literary critic Camille Paglia, novelists Arturo Vivante, Bernard Malamud and John Gardner, and modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. Alumni include feminist activist Andrew Dworkin, gender theorist Judith Butler, journalist and food activist Michael Pollan, and writer Donna Tartt.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing Overview

Bennington’s low-residency M.F.A. in Writing was named one of the nation’s best by The Atlantic, and Poets & Writers magazine included the program in the top three low-residency postgraduate writing degrees in the world. The core faculty is made up of renowned and celebrated writers including Amy Hempel, Jill McCorkle, David Gates, George Scialabba, April Bernard, and Timothy Liu. Sixth-month tutorial periods are bookended by intensive ten-day residencies comprised of readings, lectures, workshops, musical events, seminars, craft sessions, and more. These rigorous communal events are meant to contrast the regular independent study periods that individual writers develop in their home communities. Student writers should be prepared to spend a minimum of 25 hours per week writing and reading; the low-residency model can actually serve as an impetus for self-reliance and a reminder not to eschew solitary practice.

Accreditation

Bennington College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $39,080

#48. Antioch University

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Antioch University was founded as a nonprofit college in 1852 and was established according to educator Horace Mann’s dream of a nonsectarian, coeducational, classical institution that emphasizes, to the same degree, science, modern literature, and history. Rather than being intrinsically competitive, the institution encourages students to read what they deem worthwhile, to present papers on topics of their own interest, and to channel their energy into the pursuit of personally significant social, political, artistic, and intellectual issues. Antioch received university status in 1978 and currently operates out of five campuses located across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Yellow Springs of Ohio, and Keene of New Hampshire.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Antioch University offers a low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing comprised of five ten-day residencies preceding distance semesters in which students will complete a literary project. Specializations are available in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Writing for Young People. Antioch’s program was founded by Eloise Klein Healy, LA’s first Poet Laureate, and emphasizes community engagement and social justice. The program exists to help students enter into a professional manifestation of the literary life: to finish a polished manuscript, and to find a publisher. The Atlantic recently included Antioch’s M.F.A. as one of their top five national postgraduate creative writing programs.

Accreditation

Antioch University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $42,140

#49. Union Institute and University

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Union Institute and University began in 1964 as part of a consortium of schools experimenting with alternative educational philosophies. Soon after, the Union began focusing on bringing education to nontraditional students and now specializes in distance learning programs. The school obtained regional accreditation in 1985 and has its main campus in Cincinnati, Ohio. From its establishment, the Union has prioritized social relevance in its coursework, and perhaps consequently, has quite an interesting lineup of notable alumni.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Students of Union Institute and University’s M.A. in Literature and Writing will have the opportunity to shape their degree to fit their own particular literary interests. This is not a creative writing degree; however, students may choose to integrate their personal writing into their coursework. This master’s program culminates in a thesis based on the aforementioned literary interests, and is expected to be of a professional quality, the result of rigorous research in combination with evolving mentorship with faculty members. Graduates have gone on to pursue doctoral study and to work in publishing, creative and technical writing, radio and television, and teaching at the community college level.

Accreditation

The Union Institute and University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $46,680

#50. Naropa University

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Naropa University, located in Boulder, Colorado, was founded in 1974 by Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Oxford University scholar Chogyam Trungpa. The university is the namesake of eleventh-century Indian Buddhist sage Naropa. Nonsectarian and Buddhist-inspired, in 1988 the school was the first Buddhist-inspired (and Buddhist) university to obtain regional accreditation in the United States. Naropa University promotes contemplative education – an educational philosophy that integrates traditional learning with insight, awareness, and compassion for oneself and others. The ancient practices of meditation, walking the labyrinth, and other contemplative disciplines are integrated into the university’s core curriculum.

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Overview

Naropa University’s low-residency M.F.A. – offered by the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics – is a two-year, 48-credit program with fourteen days of intensive residency in Boulder, Colorado per year. The June residency coincides with the Jack Kerouac School’s Summer Writing Program – students will attend workshops, lectures, one-on-one conferences, and will be present at readings by significant contemporary authors. Naropa has been offering their low-residency M.F.A. since 2003, and students with careers, families, and home communities have benefited immensely from the open-genre curriculum and the emphasis on contemplative writing practices. The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics teaches and encourages experimental approaches to creative writing, and alumni have been published widely and received a variety of literary awards including the NEA Fellowship, American Book Awards, Fulbright, PEN/Hemingway Award, and Next Generation Indie Book Award.

Accreditation

Naropa University is regionally accredited by the Nrth Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tuition: $47,760