The 10 Best Creative Writing Colleges and Programs in the US

Not only finding the write college, but a dedicated creative writing program is a challenge.

Even before you start worrying about getting in, the excitement revolving around studying creative writing can quickly wear off – especially when you’re not one hundred percent sure what you should be looking for.

Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up the best options – helping you to find the best colleges and programs in the US, for creative writing.

Why should you study creative writing?

Creative writing seems like a novel choice for many. It seems to scare off many students, as it’s such an open-ended subject – but that’s the beauty of it.

At the heart of creative writing is story-telling – which is essential in all aspects of life. This can be adapted in many ways, whether it’s through becoming an author, marketing, or even in politics. How you choose to use this degree is something you will discover in the year studying it.

Above all, creating writing is, well, creative. It demands that you utilize your creative bones, even when there’s nothing – that’s a true talent that’s needed in workforces.

You can get the chance to meet published authors, and make friends with unique, creative, like-minded people like yourself. Creative writing is, as you can imagine, extremely flexible and attracts people from all walks of life.

What should I look for in a college?

The first thing to consider is the college that you want to apply to.

Firstly, you should look if the college matches your spirit and intensity – many have different vibes or scenes which might not appeal to you.

Consider campus location, size, housing options, and diversity on campus.

Of course, you should also look at the clubs, societies, and organizations available to you. Here, you will find other students that may have taken a similar route to you  – but may not be on your program.

What should I look for in a program?   

Secondly, you should consider what you want from a program.

Think about what you want to major in, and perhaps what career possibilities you hope to gain. While this isn’t necessary, if you know this, then it’s definitely a head start.

Check out the curriculum of each program, and really consider if it seems right for you. Creative writing is so broad and flexible that individual programs may not take your desired route.

Never take college rankings as the complete truth. Use these as a simple guide, but ultimately always follow your heart.

What we considered? 

So, what did we consider in our quest to finding the best colleges and programs?

We did consider the MFA ranking. When a college has a strong MFA program, they’re likely to be taught by excellent professors.

We also looked into the general school reputation. How happy all students are, not just the creative writing ones, reflects heavily on the college.

Diversity of class options played a big part in our ranking. We looked out for classes with large varieties of genre options and interesting classes.

We also took the time to consider extracurricular opportunities. Creative writing spans way further than the classroom. We looked into internships, school magazines, and author readings.

Let’s dive in

Northwestern University 

You’ll have likely heard of this already. Northwestern’s undergraduate creative writing program boasts an unparalleled track record.

Successful writers were created here, often credited to the acclaimed professors.

Not to mention, when you’re not in the classroom, you can work on the literary journal, an intern at publications, and even submit to writing competitions. All of which look incredible on your resume.

Northwestern is also known for its journalism program, which is something to consider.

University of Iowa 

The University of Iowa’s graduate Writer’s Workshop is often considered the best MFA program in the country.

As a creative writing student, you’re treated to amazing classes from both young writers and established professors. Your subject to a wide range of topics – which makes the skills you learn transferable to other avenues.

The University also has a great literary community. You’re able to involve yourself in frequent readings, scholarships, and writing prizes.

“The University of Iowa is also home to the acclaimed literary journal – the Iowa Review.” — Jenna Hamilton, a senior editor at GrabMyEssay.

Columbia University  

Columbia is great for those who want to study creative writing and journalism alike. It’s also home to one of the best English departments in the US – giving you access to fantastic writing-related opportunities.

The location in New York City also makes it an excellent option for people passionate about the craft. It’s just the perfect location for creative writers, with tonnes of publishing houses, and talented authors around.


Perhaps a small school is a better option for you. Oberlin is a small liberal arts school in Ohio that has proven to be great for creative writers.

It’s true that you might not get the same experience, because of the location, the college and program make up for that.

The quality of teaching and the versatile course really makes this the perfect choice for so many creative writing students.

Not to mention, Lena Dunham studied here – if that’s not motivation enough, we don’t know what is.


Again, a small college, but Hamilton is (arguably) in a better location. Sitting in upstate New York, you have easy access to creative writing opportunities in the city.

“Hamilton is known for giving its students the room to pursue all their interests – both inside and outside the classroom. As a creative writer, you’re given the freedom to explore unique topics, which is a significant advantage.” — Emilia Bennett, an editor at Wowgrade and BestEssayEducation.

Washington University in St. Louis  

We based this choice solely on the MFA program – which Washington University truly excels at.

It has tonnes of particular class options, which is excellent for students that know their niche and interest already.

We love the generous number of scholarships available for creative writing students, which helps many in their future endeavors.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology  

You might not jump to this University for writing, but it surprisingly offers a great creative writing program.

We also love the support and guidance that this University gives. Creative writing can be a tricky job market, so help here is always appreciated.

The location also tends to be a favorite amongst writers.

Emory University  

You’ve likely seen this University while researching yourself. It’s known for its undergrad creative writing program, drawing in some of the best scholars and writers.

This gives you the chance to attend fantastic reading sessions and study a vast range of genres.

You can also compete for writing awards, which is always exciting.

Brown University  

It’s intense – you must take four creative writing workshops as well as six reading courses. However, that’s what makes it so great.

You can also study a range of topics and departments.

University of Michigan  

Lastly, if you want to attend a grand college with a great creative writing program – this could be for you.

This University has a fantastic MFA program and just an all-around excellent reputation.


That concludes our ranking of the best creative writing programs and the best Universities in the US for creative writing.

We hope this makes the researching and applying process much easier for you.

Unnati Vaidya is a freelancer Content Writer and SEO generalist. She is an enthusiastic reader of Novels and a big fan of watching Sci-fi movies and seasons!

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