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Creative Writing

Program Description

Just the Facts

Creative Writing. A program that focuses on the process and techniques of original composition in various literary forms such as the short story, poetry, the novel, and others. Includes instruction in technical and editorial skills, criticism, and the marketing of finished manuscripts.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

In creative writing, the writing you produce is far more important than the name of your school or your degree.

Creative writing degrees can be offered as a bachelor of arts, fine arts or liberal studies, with a major in either English or creative writing. The average program length is four years, but some can be completed in three.

Many community colleges offer shorter programs -- one or two years long -- which lead to diplomas or associate's degrees.

The goal of most programs is to produce published writers. A good school will help you find and hone the talent, tools, inspiration and discipline needed to succeed.

As with other majors, a bachelor's degree in English or creative writing will require you take subjects in other areas as well.

That's a good thing; as a writer, you should learn about as many subjects as you can. You may think you don't need the biology class you're taking, but it may provide the inspiration for a sci-fi novel about a strain of super-viruses that take over the world.

Many writers choose to get a master's degree. This allows them to concentrate on one or two types of writing. Advanced degrees also provide for more career options, such as teaching at the college or university level.

Not all colleges offer a major in creative writing, but nearly all offer an English major with creative writing concentrations or courses.

At the undergraduate level, some universities (like Southern Oregon University) do not accept students into the creative writing program until their second year.

Once you're in a program, you can expect to take general literature and creative writing classes, as well as those in your particular area of interest -- poetry, short story writing, novel writing, screenwriting, playwriting and so forth.

At many schools, coursework often includes learning to sell and market writing.

Take as many literature, English and writing courses as you can in high school. Any course or activity, "that has to do with language, such as school magazines or debate clubs" can be helpful, says Hilary Masters, a writing teacher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

Aside from tuition, books are the main expense in this program. Literature courses often require that several novels and other books be read throughout the semester.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Writers and Authors

Types of Creative Writing
Explore the different genres of creative writing

Novelists Inc.
Get some writing tips and learn the tools of the trade


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