The Best Creative Writing Colleges and Degree Programs to Enroll

You hear a lot these days about how liberal arts degrees aren't worth anything, and that in this economy the biggest favor you can do yourself is learn a trade. That may be true, but as is the case in life, things are not always black or white. Things are not always as clear-cut as people make it seem.

Each case is unique and the notion that getting a labral arts degree is a bad idea may very well be untrue for you. In fact, if you’ve always wanted to pursue a career in creative writing, getting a creative writing education from one of the top universities or colleges is always advisable.

Putting your dreams on hold just because others doubt its value is a mistake. The thing about dreams is that it's never going to be right for everyone, and 'the right time' to pursue it is always now. You just have to know what your dream is and get started making it happen regardless.

Nay-sayers will give you a million reasons why you can't or shouldn't follow your dreams, but if you’re clear on what you want and it's writing, go ahead and pursue that labral arts degree.

Actually, we'll tell you about some of the best creative writing colleges and programs out there that you should definitely consider enrolling.


Top Colleges to Pursue a Creative Writing Degree


Without further ado, here are some of the top universities and colleges you can enroll to get best-in-class labral arts degree programs in creative writing.


1. University of Iowa


The first entry on our list of best creative writing programs and colleges is the University of Iowa.

The University of Iowa is known for producing great writers, and a lot of that is due to its graduate writing program, or more accurately, programs. The University is home to several different types of workshops and writing programs.

The city itself has been recognized by UNESCO for its contribution to literature. After helping to mold writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, and Tennessee Williams, this comes as no surprise.

As if that wasn't enough, it's also home to 'The Iowa Review', a prestigious literary magazine.



2. Northwestern University


Illinois is the birthplace of many great writers, including Shel Silverstein, Ernest Hemmingway, Carl Sanford, and Ray Bradbury. It is also the home of Northwestern University, a college known for its creative writing program.

In terms of modern alumni, Northwestern is also the Alma Mater of Veronica Roth and Gillian Flynn. Roth is known for the popular Divergent series, while Flynn authored Gone Girl.

Northwestern has several places, known as writing places, specifically designed for students to write in. There are also two literary magazines run by the school and a writing competition every year.



3. Columbia University


Boasting alumni, such as JD Salinger, poet Allen Ginsburg, and Langston Hughes, Columbia University is one of the best colleges in the country when it comes to writing.

It is also home to 'The Columbia Review', which is older than any other college literary magazine in the country.

It's also located right in the Big Apple, so students should have no trouble finding inspiration. Not only is New York great for inspiration, but it's also home to various publishers, as well as other resources and connections that can do wonders for writers in the long run.



4. Emory University


This college in Georgia offers its students several different writing classes, many of which focus on separate genres. Emory also gives its students several opportunities to closely interact with visiting writers to better learn their own craft.

On top of all that, Emory also has five different publications that students can submit to. It's a good idea for writers to learn about more than just writing, so Emory offers several classes that are designed to make students look at classic literature in new ways.



5. Brown University


Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island may offer not just one of the greatest creative writing programs, but the coolest programs in general. While most colleges will have you take at least one writing workshop to graduate, Brown University insists you take four.

For budding writers pursuing a degree in what they love, four workshops might sound like a dream come true. As with all colleges, you have to take more than just writing classes to get a writing degree.

One of the biggest requirements is to take courses that require a lot of reading, many of which cover fascinating topics, such as Egyptology. Truth be told, you could probably make an entire career writing stories about Ancient Egypt.



6. Washington University


Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri is an interesting program because it helps to mold young writers in addition to just improving their skills. The problem with many students entering college is that they aren't sure what they want to do, and writers aren't always an exception.

Many know they want to write, but aren't sure what to write. Washington University offers classes on flash fiction and short plays, travel writing and several other genres as well.

There's a place for those who don't fit into any category as well. Its semi-annual publication The Spectacle, encourages writers to experiment with writing that doesn't fit into any specific genre.

Being abnormal is something a writer should never be afraid to do. After all, some of the greatest writing in history was done in opposition to genre standards.

Maybe you just want to minor in creative writing and go into something else, like working at Action Superabrasive. Most colleges with majors in creative writing also offer minors, so this shouldn't be a problem.



7. Emerson College


Finally, you can gain exposure to writing as an art form and as a professional pursuit at Emerson College in Boston, MA. The college offers a range of programs in different areas of creative writing, including literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They also have a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing that focuses on the actual practice of writing, as well as its literary foundations.

And to help students get their careers rolling, their long list of literary magazines offer opportunities to get your creative writings published, ranging from screenplays to comics.

Emerson’s general magazines immerse students in the learning process with on-the-job lessons in editing, reporting, blogging, copyediting, and photography.





This list of best creative writing programs and colleges is by no means conclusive, because it's difficult to list all the best creative writing programs and colleges. Every student is different and they may be more suited to one learning environment than another. A person who thrives in one of the colleges listed here might struggle in another.

That being said, these are some of the leading colleges that tend to produce the best writers. A lot of this is owing to their programs, which are regarded the best out there by popular opinion.

Even going by that standard, there are many other candidates that are also great colleges for writers that we didn't have room to mention in this list. We encourage you to do more research if you're interested in pursuing a creative writing career.

Remember, a college degree will give you the tools, inspiration, and experience you need to make your writing dreams a reality. If you're an aspiring writer or other creative professional, it’s worth it pursuing a college education. Many of the best writers are college educated.

George Mathews is a staff writer for He is passionate about personal growth and development.