Colleges With a Creative Writing Major

February 16, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Colleges With a Creative Writing Major

What Is a Creative Writing Major?

Creative writing is a field that has been growing in popularity in recent years, as more and more people are looking to pursue careers in writing and related disciplines. Today, colleges with a creative writing major also span across the country. Writing skills are required for various jobs, and most curricula highlight broad liberal arts competencies. A degree in creative writing might prepare you for a career in numerous fields.

Now, what is a creative writing major? A creative writing major is an academic degree that trains students in writing original compositions in a wide range of literary works and genres.

Creative writing programs also teach students about the theoretical foundations of contemporary writing. These include the aesthetics and technical aspects of writing and traditional formats for various types of works like poetry, fiction, nonfiction, scripts, and screenplays.

Creative writing courses may include courses in television scriptwriting, biographical writing, article writing, science writing, and other subjects.

Theoretical courses are also available. These often contain courses for various literary genres, literary devices and notions such as “what is imagery,” general literature, and other specialized subjects like Shakespeare.

Three students working in together.

The expertise of its faculty mainly determines the coursework offered by colleges with a creative writing major. Of course, generic technical writing courses and seminars are also common.

Seminars and workshops, as well as other skill-building activities such as internships, may be required by schools for credit. Students must also present their B.A. thesis in the form of a polished manuscript as a graduation requirement. Moreover, students will be trained to specialize in a literary form or genre. It could be a play, a novella, or a collection of poetry or short stories.

What Colleges Have the Best Creative Writing Program?

Choosing a college or university with a strong creative writing program can be challenging as there are many excellent programs across the United States. While there are many factors to consider when choosing a college, including location, size, and cost, the quality of the creative writing program is often a key factor for aspiring writers.

So, what colleges have the best creative writing program? Let’s explore some of the best colleges with a creative writing major among competitive schools in the US.

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is often cited as having one of the top creative writing programs in the country. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, established in 1936, is the oldest and most prestigious writing program in the United States.

The program has produced many notable writers, including Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver. The program offers courses in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, and students work closely with faculty members who are accomplished writers.

Northwestern University

Northwestern’s undergraduate creative writing program has renowned academics and an unrivaled track record of producing excellent writers (including Divergent author Veronica Roth and short-story writer Karen Russell).

Outside of the classroom, you can contribute to the student-run literary journal, intern at a local publication, or enter the Department of English’s annual writing competition. The university also has a premier journalism department, so you will have plenty of opportunities to try your hand at nonfiction as well.

Columbia University

One of the most popular and best colleges with a creative writing major is Columbia University. It is home to the well-respected MFA Writing Program. The program offers courses in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and students can work with faculty members who are well-known writers. The program also hosts a reading series, which brings in established writers to speak to students and the wider community.

Columbia also benefits from its location in New York City, a city brimming with publishing firms, literary periodicals, and talented authors.

Emory University

The Emory University Undergraduate Creative Writing Program encourages students to approach literature creatively, including through their own personal interests in specific genres such as poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting.

The Creative Writing Program annually supports the Creative Writing Reading Series, which brings four to six internationally famous and prize-winning authors to Atlanta, GA, to discuss writing with Emory students.

Oberlin College

The program is available as a major and a minor at Oberlin College’s Department of Creative Writing. Students can completely explore fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting with 57 courses and nine affiliated teachers.

Even after acceptance, the program might be competitive. All upper-level workshops require students to apply along with the submission of 12 pages of their finest work. The best applications will be rewarded with a seat in a classroom at its magnificent Peters Hall.

Hamilton College

Hamilton College’s Literature and Creative Writing Department offers a creative writing curriculum that stresses small classes and the development of superior reading and writing skills.

Students can also take advantage of writing research opportunities and apply for the college’s Emerson Grants program. Students in Hamilton, New York, are just over a few hours away from the publishing industry which is a great advantage for aspiring editors and publicists.

Stanford University

Wallace Stegner, a prominent writer and environmentalist, launched Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program in 1946. Stanford University offers an undergraduate major in English with an emphasis on creative writing. A minor in Creative Writing is also available for students pursuing majors other than English, including tracks in prose and poetry.

The Creative Writing Program offers the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, which accepts five fiction and five poetry fellows each year. While there is no degree associated with this, it serves as a writer-in-residence opportunity and is guided by Stanford faculty.

Brown University

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is home to the MFA Program in Literary Arts. The program offers courses in fiction, poetry, playwriting, and literary translation, and students work with faculty members who are accomplished writers. The program also offers opportunities for students to work with literary journals and to attend readings and events on campus.

In addition, the English Department at Brown University offers a variety of courses that allow students to explore their interests and improve their writing skills. As expected from a liberal arts college with such a good reputation, an undergrad specialization in creative writing from Brown would be a worthwhile attempt.

There are many excellent colleges and universities across the United States that offer strong creative writing programs. The schools listed above are just a few examples of the many institutions that provide opportunities for aspiring writers to develop their skills and gain experience in the field.

When considering colleges with a creative writing major, it is important to consider factors such as faculty, curriculum, resources, and location, and to find a program that is the best fit for your individual goals and interests.

Should You Major in Creative Writing?

Should you major in creative writing? This is a common question among high school students who want to pursue writing as a career or those who want in-depth learning about creative writing.

Young woman walking in the campus.

While a degree in creative writing can provide you with valuable skills and knowledge in the craft of writing, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before making a final decision

Pros of Majoring in Creative Writing

  • Develop your writing skills: Majoring in creative writing can provide you with the opportunity to hone your craft and develop your writing skills through workshops, writing assignments, and critique from professors and peers.
  • Gain valuable feedback and mentorship: Creative writing programs often provide students with one-on-one mentorship and feedback from experienced writers, which can be invaluable in improving your writing and helping you grow as a writer.
  • Build a writing portfolio: A creative writing major can help you build a portfolio of writing that you can use to apply for writing jobs, submit to literary magazines, or use to pursue other writing opportunities.
  • Prepare for a writing career: A degree in creative writing can provide you with valuable skills and knowledge that can help prepare you for a career in writing, such as copywriting, journalism, publishing, or teaching.

Cons of Majoring in Creative Writing

  • Limited career opportunities: While a degree in creative writing can provide you with valuable skills and knowledge, the career opportunities in the field can be limited and competitive. Many writers work as freelancers, and it can be difficult to find full-time writing jobs.
  • Subjectivity of writing: Writing is a subjective art form, and what one person considers to be great writing may not be the same for another. It can be challenging to receive feedback on your writing and navigate the often subjective nature of literary critique.
  • Limited earning potential: Unless you become a bestselling author, the earning potential for writers can be limited. Many writers supplement their income with other jobs or freelance work.
  • Difficulty finding work: The writing industry is highly competitive, and it can be challenging to find work as a writer, especially if you are just starting out.

If you are passionate about writing and have the desire to improve your craft and pursue a career in writing, then majoring in creative writing may be a good fit for you. It is important to remember, however, that a degree in creative writing is not a guarantee of success in the field, and that the industry can be competitive and challenging to navigate.

If you decide to major in creative writing, it can be helpful to supplement your degree with other skills and knowledge, such as marketing, business, or digital media, to help prepare you for a wider range of career opportunities. It can also be helpful to pursue internships, participate in writing groups, attend conferences, and seek out mentorship from established writers to help build your skills and network in the field.

What Can I Do with A Major in Creative Writing?

If you’re considering majoring in creative writing, you may be wondering “What can I do with a major in creative writing?” While there are some common options, such as becoming a novelist or a poet, there are many other opportunities for writers with a creative writing degree. Here are some of the career paths available to those with a major in creative writing.

Fiction Writing

One of the most common career paths for creative writing majors is to become a fiction writer. This can include writing novels, short stories, or screenplays. However, it can be a difficult field to break into, and many fiction writers supplement their income by working in other related areas, such as freelance writing or editing.

a sociologist interviewing a couple


Journalism is a field that requires strong writing skills, and a degree in creative writing can be an excellent preparation for this career path. Journalists may work in print, digital, or broadcast media, and may cover a wide range of topics, from breaking news to feature stories.


Copywriting involves writing advertising or marketing content for businesses or organizations. This can include writing product descriptions, advertising slogans, or promotional emails. Many companies have in-house copywriters, or may work with freelance copywriters.

Technical Writing

Technical writing involves writing manuals, instructions, or other technical documentation for businesses or organizations. Technical writers must be able to communicate complex information in a clear manner and may work in fields such as engineering, software development, or scientific research.

Three students talking to a teacher.


If you’re interested in the publishing industry, a degree in creative writing can be a valuable asset. Many publishing companies hire editors, publicists, and other staff members with solid writing skills. In addition, some creative writing majors start their own publishing companies or literary magazines.


Finally, many creative writing majors go on to teach writing at the high school or college level. Education can be a fulfilling career path for those who enjoy working with students and helping them to develop their writing skills.

There are many career paths available to those majoring in creative writing. While some writers may pursue traditional paths, many other opportunities are available in fields such as copywriting, technical writing, publishing, and education.

As with any career, success in writing will depend on a combination of talent, hard work, and perseverance. However, many exciting opportunities are available if you are passionate about writing and have the skills to succeed.

If you want to study creative writing but are torn between colleges with a creative writing major, AdmissionSight can guide you in choosing the best fit. AdmissionSight also assists students through the admissions process as the competition for admission to colleges and universities gets more challenging each year. Feel free to set up an initial consultation with our experts today.

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