Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Writing Courses Offered by Colleges

Students looking for colleges with great writing programs have a wide variety of options, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Although students may have a set preference for a writing program, they can vary significantly and it's important to ensure that the program suits ones needs.

Going to a traditional college or university may not be a feasible option for aspiring writers. Many people who wish to earn a degree may live too far from a traditional school or have work or family obligations that prevent them from receiving further education. For people in the situation, online education may be a viable option. A great place to start looking for online programs would be Accredited Online Colleges.org.

College students also need to consider other factors associated with the school, such as the location, class size, faculty, and cost before applying to the program. CollegeTimes recently shared what they think of as the top programs.  Here is a list of great writing courses offered by colleges across the country:

  • Emory University – Emory University is often considered one of the best schools for writers. Emory’s programs are highly flexible; the only required course for Emory’s English majors is poetry. English majors at Emory can also double major in creative writing through their undergraduate creative writing program. Their highly regarded creative writing program offers instruction on various genres of literature, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, play writing, screenwriting. Writing classes are also highly personal, as classes keep the limit of 15 to 25 students.
  • Hamilton College – Hamilton College is known for its high-quality options for English majors. Their academic quality and highly regarded writing center are both great resources for writing students. Hamilton College also allows their English students to concentrate their studies on either English literature or creative writing. Their creative writing program consists of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting courses.
  • Johns Hopkins University – John Hopkins University is one of the most highly regarded universities in the nation and their English department has a long history of producing successful writers. Although the university offers courses in creative writing, the focus is more on literary writing, critical analysis, and education of literature in order to improve writing skills. The programs at John Hopkins University are best for students who want to become masters of the English language, but not for those who would like to have the opportunity to take part in writing workshops. The school also boasts a highly regarded faculty and small classroom settings.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology – While Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is most well known for its engineering and computer science programs, it also offers a unique writing program that prepares students for their careers. Instead of having a single English department, MIT has two different departments that cover writing and literature individually. Their writing program instructs students on creative writing, science writing, and digital media. Faculty within the departments consist of people from a variety of fields such as historians, scientists, biographers, novelist, and more.
  • New York University – New York University (NYU) is another acclaimed institution whose English program has a variety of concentrations students can take. Creative writing graduates from NYU look forward to a prestigious career as their program is highly regarded with award-winning faculty and a variety of courses.
  • Washington University – Washington University’s creative writing programs offer unique courses like the short-short, sudden fiction and microfiction, literary journalism, and stories from the suburbs. The program also emphasizes the use of workshops and critical reading in order to produce writers who are experts in the craft. Washington University's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program is often ranked near the top of collegiate MFA programs each year.
  • University of Iowa – The University of Iowa’s creative writing MFA programs are often labeled as the best to study fiction writing and poetry. The school has successful graduate and undergraduate writing tracks for its students. Core subjects include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting, translation, and new media, so students looking for diverse experiences will find something in their program.
  • Columbia University – Many great writers have come from Columbia University's writing programs. Langston Hughes, J.D. Salinger, Eudora Welty, and Hunter S. Thompson are just a few examples. Columbia is generally known for its journalism program, but they also have a great program for creative writing. The program has intensive writing workshops and seminars, studying literature at a writer's perspective. Their graduate MFA program is often the best range programs every year.
  • University of Michigan – The University of Michigan also offers undergraduate writing programs for their English majors. Faculty encourages students to practice creating effective analytic arguments while also encouraging creative writing.
  • Colorado College – Colorado College’s English program allows students to concentrate in various subjects like creative writing for film studies. Their creative writing concentration allows students to review each other's work and collaborate on projects. Those within film study focus on story development and film writing.


  1. Wish I'd had this list when I was applying to colleges! Very helpful, thanks. Which do you think is the best? Emory? Iowa?

    1. It depends on your focus. i.e. If tech related, MIT would be best.


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