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Best Creative Writing programs

vlv92vlv92 8 replies22 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited November 2013 in College Search & Selection
I trhink I might want to be a fiction writer. What is the best college for creative writing? The difficulty of entrance is not relevant.
edited November 2013
76 replies
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Replies to: Best Creative Writing programs

  • hawkphoenixhawkphoenix 478 replies64 threadsRegistered User Member
    To be very general, all the Ivies have strong writing/English programs. You will find very strong creative writing programs at small liberal arts colleges like Amherst, Williams, etc. In my opinion, Kenyon is the best college for creative writing.
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  • khsstitcheskhsstitches 580 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    "Best" is a very subjective term, but in addition to the Ivies I would suggest Hampshire, Champlain, BU.
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  • WeskidWeskid 1286 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    JHU also has a very impressive and well-known program.
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  • teenage_clicheteenage_cliche 3505 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I second JHU and Kenyon. On a less selective level, Knox.

    However, to get a better feel for each school, go on its website and look at the Creative Writing courses offered. For some schools, Creative Writing is a minor taken as part of an English major; at some schools, it's a major all its own. And some schools just have poetry and fiction while others have many more types of creative writing (i.e. playwriting, creative non-fiction).
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  • collegehelpcollegehelp 6322 replies275 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Creative writing

    in addition, from Rugg's Recommendations:
    Bard
    Middlebury
    Beloit
    Barnard
    Bennington
    Brown
    Carnegie Mellon
    Columbia
    Creighton
    Denison
    Eckerd
    Emerson
    Fla St
    Grinnell
    Hamilton
    Hobart
    U Iowa
    John's Hopkins
    Kenyon
    U of Michigan
    SUNY New Paltz
    NC State
    Northwestern
    Oberlin
    U Oregon
    U Pitt
    Redlands
    San Fran St
    Sarah Lawrence
    Susquehanna
    Sweet Briar
    Temple
    UVA
    Wheaton (MA)
    Wittenberg


    School U. S. and World Report Ranking for graduate creative writing programs
    1. University of Iowa 4.5
    2. John Hopkins University (MD) 4.2
    3. University of Houston (TX) 4.2
    4. Columbia University (NY) 4.1
    5. University of Virginia 4.1
    6. New York University 4.0
    7. University of California, Irvine (CA) 4.0
    8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MI) 4.0
    9. University of Arizona 3.9
    10. Boston University 3.8
    11. Cornell University 3.8
    12. University of Massachusetts, Amherst (MA) 3.8
    13. University of Montana (MT) 3.8
    14. University of Washington 3.8
    15. Washington University (MO) 3.8
    16. Brown University (RI) 3.7
    17. Indiana University, Bloomington (IN) 3.7
    18. University of Arkansas (AR) 3.7
    19. University of Utah 3.7
    20. Arizona State University 3.6
    21. Emerson College (MA) 3.6
    22. George Mason University (VA) 3.6
    23. Hollins College (VA) 3.6
    24. Sarah Lawrence College (NY) 3.6
    25. Syracuse University (NY) 3.6
    26. University of Florida 3.6
    27. University of Maryland, College Park (MD) 3.6
    28. University of Pittsburgh 3.6
    29. Warren Wilson College (NC) 3.6
    30. University of California, Davis (CA) 3.5
    31. University of Southern Mississippi (MS) 3.5
    32. University of Texas, Austin (TX) 3.5
    33. Iowa State University 3.4
    34. University of Missouri, Columbia (MO) 3.4
    35. University of Oregon 3.4
    36. University of Southern California (CA) 3.4
    37. Bennington College (CT) 3.3
    38. CUNY--City College of New York (NY) 3.3
    39. Florida State University 3.3
    40. Ohio University 3.3
    41. Ohio State University 3.3
    42. Penn State University, University Park (PA) 3.3
    43. University of Alabama (AL) 3.3
    44. University of Denver (CO) 3.3
    45. University of North Carolina, Greensboro (NC) 3.3
    46. San Francisco State University 3.2
    47. University of Cincinnati 3.2
    48. University of New Hampshire 3.2
    49. Western Michigan University (MI) 3.2
    50. American University (DC) 3.1
    51. Colorado State University (CO) 3.1
    52. Eastern Washington University 3.1
    53. Georgia State University 3.1
    54. New Mexico State University (NM) 3.1
    55. Saint Mary's College of California 3.1
    56. San Diego State University 3.1
    57. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (IL) 3.1
    58. Temple University (PA) 3.1
    59. University of Colorado, Boulder (CO) 3.1
    60. Virginia Commonwealth University 3.1
    61. Wichita State University (KS) 3.1
    62. Brooklyn College (NY) 3.0
    63. California State University, Fresno (CA) 3.0
    64. Mills College (CA) 3.0
    65. SUNY, Albany 3.0
    66. University of Georgia 3.0
    67. University of Hawaii, Mano (HW) 3.0
    68. University of Illinois, Urbana--Champaign (IL) 3.0
    69. University of Minnesota (MN) 3.0
    70. Vermont College of Norwich University (VT) 3.0
    71. SUNY--Binghamton (NY) 3.0
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  • whitesox24whitesox24 573 replies19 threadsRegistered User Member
    I've always heard that Iowa and Knox are good for creative writing.
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  • Phead128Phead128 2076 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    University of Iowa I think is rolling out an undergraduate degree in Creative writing.

    Johns Hopkins is very fine in that area, as well as in English as well.

    University of Houston, UC Irvine, UMich, Columbia, NYU to name a few.
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  • faransaafaransaa 185 replies25 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Bard
    Barnard
    Bennington
    Brown
    Goucher
    Hampshire
    Kenyon
    Oberlin
    Sarah Lawrence
    Skidmore
    Vassar
    Wesleyan

    Of these, which are the best colleges for creative writing/English in general?
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  • 1980collegegrad1980collegegrad 1350 replies153 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hamilton is well know for it strong Creative Writing program. Only downside is that it is in upstate New York and very rural. Another one to look at with better location outside Boston is Holy Cross.
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  • miawritesmiawrites 131 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I want to major in Creative Writing too... I did so much research on this...

    So, definitely Kenyon. They've got the Kenyon review and everything...

    Hamilton has a whole mission about teaching its students to write and to speak well.

    Middlebury's got the Breadloaf Writing Center.

    I heard that Carnegie Mellon was good too, from a professor at Bucknell, but that's surprising... It's so big on technology. Although, it's one of the only schools that recquires you to submit a portfolio...

    U. Iowa is really great. And Stanford has a two year fellowship, the Stegner Program.

    Additionally, Amherst, Oberlin, Vassar, Bard, St. Lawrence...
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  • 1980collegegrad1980collegegrad 1350 replies153 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Obama's Chief Speechwriter is Holy Cross class of 2003. Now that is some creative writing....
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  • robertsont06robertsont06 583 replies43 threadsRegistered User Member
    U of Houston (great fin aid)
    U of Iowa (Amazing faculty and everything)
    U of Wyoming (simply beautiful scenary)
    BU (You'll love Ha Jin)

    Definitely make sure to look at the financial aid packages they offer. You should never pay to get a degree in Creative writing.
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  • ginab591ginab591 1052 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A degree in Creative writing will not help you at all in becoming a fiction writer. I doubt there is any job that you are qualified for with a creative writing major. I don't think you're even qualified to teach English.
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  • AlexandreAlexandre 24274 replies433 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Below are the top 20 graduate programs in Creative Writing according to the USNWR. This ranking is dated (late 1990s) but it those are among the better Creative Writing programs.

    1. University of Iowa 4.5
    2. John Hopkins University 4.2
    2. University of Houston 4.2
    4. Columbia University 4.1
    4. University of Virginia 4.1
    6. New York University 4.0
    6. University of California-Irvine 4.0
    6. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 4.0
    9. University of Arizona 3.9
    10. Boston University 3.8
    10. Cornell University 3.8
    12. University of Massachusetts-Amherst 3.8
    12. University of Montana 3.8
    12. University of Washington 3.8
    12. Washington University-St Louis 3.8
    16. Brown University 3.7
    16. Indiana University-Bloomington 3.7
    16. University of Arkansas 3.7
    16. University of Utah 3.7
    20. Arizona State University 3.6

    There are also many excellent LACs, such as Kenyon College, Midlebury College and several others.
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  • poetsheartpoetsheart 5489 replies103 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you're a woman, Hollins offers an extremely strong creative writing program. For for small liberal arts college, it boasts some heavy hitters in the fiction writing world, who are graduates of their program.
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  • djdietzdjdietz 102 replies33 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This seems like a really tuff one to define. I think when you get to a subject like Creative Writing, there are some many variables to measure the success of such a program. This is one of three areas that my daughter is very interested in studing next year when she starts college. She already has a very good grasp in this field, having been published in national writing periodicals for HS students.

    One school that I have not seen mentioned in this tread yet is Coe College in Cedar Rapids Iowa. This doesnt completely surprise me as they seem to "fly under the radar" so to speak. It is small (1300) and they seem to have typical Midwestern humbleness about them. BEAUTIFUL campus, friendly faculty.

    Even though I am only 3 hours away, they might not have popped up in our search if my cousin in Arizona had not been looking there a few years ago specifically for their Writing Program.

    A few interesting things that stood out to me. The VAST majority of their English/Writing staff is from Iowa State (which ranks #1 in most poles on this sibject) and many have been through the Iowa Writers Workshop. The ones who did not go there are from schools listed in every ranking I have seen on this subject. I believe that the IRWS was found by a Coe Alumni also. They have VERY good conections if you are thinking of pursuing a Graduate Degree and are interested in the IRWS. The also have one of the largest Writing Centers in the county, and a couple of great nationally recognised literary publications that student can be involved with. They also have one of the strongest "writing across the ciriculum programs that I have seen.

    Overall academically they are ranked #2 in Iowa (behind Grinnel) and in the top 100 nationally for LAC's. There average student I believe has about a 25 ACT and 3.6-3.7 GPA. Average class size of about 20. We sat in on a Essay class of 6 and a Psych. class of about 20 when we visited. Also they have very good aid and are a FAFSA only school which is nice paper work wise. My daughter had a 28 ACT and 3.8 GPA and was offered about a 22K scholarship before loans to put our out of pocket cost at about 12K - cheaper than our big "State U".

    So....if your open to considering the Midwest, I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a small school and great writing (creative or otherwise) to check it out.

    DJD
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  • KeilexandraKeilexandra 5360 replies132 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Coe is a great hidden gem. Was that 22k scholarship need-based or merit-based (or a mix of both)? I would also put in a caveat regarding Cedar Rapids--I have heard from local residents that the downtown area is still far from revitalized after the recent floods.
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  • djdietzdjdietz 102 replies33 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    The scholarship was a combination of; 16K merit based on ACT/GPA, 1K extra for interview in English Dept., 5K "Need" based of FAFSA. She is also invited back to interview for a Fellowship in the Writing Center that would be worth about 1.5K if I remember right.

    The 5K "need" is based on an EFC of about 12K. They also offered the standard Staford & Perkins (I think) loan options too. My understanding is that the "need" grant would be higher if our EFC was lower. The FinAId people were VERY willing to work with us on any special circumstances too, but also mentoned that part of the reason was because our D is in the upper ranks of their student profile.

    If that is where she chooses (not sure yet) I am going to call to negotiate a little more as a big part of our income was a "one time event". Our normal EFC would be about 6K. She (D) also likes UW Madison (many profs from IRWS too) and has not heard from Carleton, St. Olaf, or Macalster yet. How does UW Madison fit in with the others - Im not sure, but she really likes it and only 1 hour from home too :).

    DJD
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  • mephist0mephist0 694 replies40 threadsRegistered User Member
    Am I the only one who feels that "creative" writing shouldn't be something you learn in a classroom?
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  • neltharionneltharion 776 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    @ mephist0: I agree. It sort of defeats the purpose of creative writing, but I've never taken any creative writing courses, so I can't really speak from experience. (Well, one course, but I'd call it more of a speedwriting class rather than a . . . creative writing class). That being said, I'd be interested to hear what they actually teach in such a course. Plotting, structuring, characterizing, worldbuilding (for those fantasy/sci-fi writers)?

    Of course, the best way to become a better writer is just to . . . write more. And read more; it's amazing how much you can learn just from paying attention to how other authors craft their own stories. It hardly requires a class . . .
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