Top 10 Undergraduate Creative Writing Programs

Written by susan breen
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Top 10 Undergraduate Creative Writing Programs
College Board lists 299 schools that offer undergraduate degrees in creative writing. (notebook image by dinostock from

Good undergraduate writing programs share important characteristics, according to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs: They teach literature as well as writing; they provide an accomplished faculty and a diverse curriculum; and they have small class sizes, rigorous reviews of written material, and opportunities for students to work on a literary magazine. The best colleges make it possible for young writers to flourish.

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa's English department offers a "creative writing track." The program is highly selective and only open to juniors and seniors. The track revolves around small writing seminars. Participants also have the opportunity to study at the university's prestigious graduate program. The Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa is the first creative writing program in the country and has hosted a steady parade of respected visiting authors, among them Francine Prose and Ron Hansen.

The University of Iowa

Department of English

308 English Philosophy Building

Iowa City, IA 52242-1499


University of Virginia

University of Virginia's undergraduate creative writing is unique because of its emphasis on poetry. Participants in this highly selective program take poetry-writing seminars and a senior-year "capstone course" that leads to the creation of a collection of poetry.

University of Virginia

Department of English

219 Bryan Hall

Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121


University of Houston

The University of Houston's English department offers an undergraduate creative writing concentration. The program has a wide array of classes, ranging from the study of vampire literature to drama to medieval literature. Undergraduates benefit from their association with the school's prestigious and well-funded graduate program, which awarded one of the first PhD's in Literature and Creative Writing. The university has been aggressive about recruiting top-level professors and writing fellows. Students have published work in The New Yorker and The Atlantic magazines.

Department of English

University of Houston

229 Roy Cullen Building

Houston, Texas 77204-5008


Kenyon College

Kenyon College offers a small, internationally recognised writing program that has been home to novelists E.L. Doctorow and William Gass, among many others. Class sizes are small and mentoring is encouraged. Undergraduate creative writing students at Kenyon work as interns at The Kenyon Review, an award-winning literary magazine associated with the college. Students at this small Ohio college can also get involved in Kenyon's annual writer's workshop. In addition, the Richard L. Thomas Chair in creative writing brings internationally renowned writers to campus.

Kenyon College

Department of English

Lentz House and Sunset Cottage

Gambier, OH 43022


Columbia College

Columbia College, the undergraduate arm of Columbia University, encourages its creative writing students to take both intensive writing classes and seminars in literature. Students benefit from the rich variety of classes Columbia offers, as well as living in the publishing centre of the world.

Columbia College

1130 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027


Stanford University

Stanford University's English department offers a minor in creative writing with concentrations in poetry or fiction. Undergraduates are encouraged to take classes at the Stanford Creative Writing Program, Stanford's highly ranked graduate school. There, they can learn from winners of the prestigious Stegner Fellowship. Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff and Scott Turow were Stegner Fellows. Undergraduates receive individualised attention from participants in the graduate program through one-on-one tutorials.

Stanford University

Department of English

Building 460

Margaret Jacks Hal

Stanford, CA 94305


University of California at Irvine

Students at the University of California at Irvine can take a creative writing emphasis that is added onto their bachelor's degree. Students work to create a "Completion Portfolio," which consists of fiction or poetry written while at UCI. Students also benefit from working on "Faultline," UCI's literary magazine.

Department of English

University of California, Irvine

370 Humanities Instructional Building

Irvine, CA 92697-2650

949-824- 5985

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan's sub-concentration in creative writing is highly competitive and open only to university juniors who have excelled in English and workshop classes. Admitted students work intensely with professors to create a prose or poetry manuscript. The University's English department defines its goal as helping "students develop their creative abilities through a continuous, interrelated cycle of writing, rewriting and literary analysis." Many students have received scholarship assistance through awards offered by the Hopwood Program.

University of Michigan

Department of English Language and Literature

435 South State Street, 3187 Angell Hall

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003


New York University

With instructors that includes writers Junot Diaz, Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer, NYU can boast one of the most exciting faculties in the country. The creative writing program, located in a town house in Greenwich Village, provides a convivial and challenging atmosphere for new writers. Undergraduates work on "West 10th," a student-edited journal.

New York University Creative Writing Program

Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House

58 West 10th Street

New York, NY 10011


Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins University has a long history of teaching writers. Offering a wide array of classes to its creative writing students, Johns Hopkins encourages its students to study broadly and offers a wide array of classes to its students participating in the creative writing program. Requirements for a bachelor of arts degree in The Writing Seminars include classes in literature, history and philosophy.

The Writing Seminars

The Johns Hopkins University

Dell House, Suite 702

3400 North Charles Street

Baltimore, MD 21218


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