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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Creative Writing

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Creative Writing

Value
The best online master’s degree in counseling for value is the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), which offers an online Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. UTEP ranked among PayScale.com’s top 2012 ROI Rankings, with an annual return on investment (ROI) of 5.4%, and an annual ROI of 7.1% for students receiving financial aid. U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Texas El Paso among the top national universities in the U.S., and also notes that the most popular majors at this university include business, Management, marketing, education, health professions, engineering, and interdisciplinary studies. The average freshman retention rate, which is widely recognized as an indicator of student satisfaction, is 70.5%.

Flexibility
The award for flexibility goes to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) for its online master’s degree in creative writing. Students on CollegeProwler.com gave UTEP a high rating for academic flexibility, and, as noted on Walden.edu’s Online Education page, this is one of the only online creative writing master’s degree program of its kind — writers can complete this degree with the flexibility and convenience of working from anywhere in the world, as there are no on-campus or residency course work requirements. UTEP’s dedicated Creative Writing faculty are operating with a singular goal in mind: to prepare serious writers for publishing and teaching careers.

Career Support
At the University of Denver, whose University College of Professional and Continuing Studies offers an online master’s degree in creative writing, online students are provided access to a multitude of career services. University of Denver’s Graduate Career Services department empowers current graduate students with the tools needed to develop careers in their respective fields of study. Career Services provides support for finding internships and job opportunities, making career choices, and developing professional goals. Students can sign up for one-on-one career counseling sessions, participate in a vast range of networking events and workshops, and get online access to both the UD career directory, as well as the school’s professional network of prospective and current employers. For all this, the University of Denver wins the award for best career support for its online master’s degree in creative writing.

Financial Support

The University of Denver also wins the award for best financial support for its online master’s degree in creative writing. On DU.edu, students can research tuition costs, types of financial aid available, how to apply, eligibility and university policies, and how to understand student loans and financial aid, once they’ve received their awards. Also in this section of the website, UD addresses frequently asked questions and offers advice about how to repay loans and exit counseling, once a student’s degree is complete.

Technology Support
The award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for technology support goes to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The Technology Support department offers help with all of the programs and applications used for learning at UTEP, via its Help Desk services. Here, students can contact the tech support team via phone, email, or in-person, for help with laptop computers, desktop computers, connecting to the UTEP network, logging on to the university’s intranet systems, and even printing from the school’s computer labs. The UTEP Technology Support team promises to be the “premier provider of technological customer service for the entire UTEP Community”, including students, faculty, and staff.

Student Engagement
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for student engagement. Through the Student Development Center at UTEP, students can find activities and leadership opportunities through the Campus Activities Board (CAB); the Leadership Development office; the Inclusion program, to promote multi-cultural awareness; the Rainbow Miner Initiative, which promotes a bias-free institution; or by joining one of the many registered student organizations, sororities, or fraternities. UTEP also offers many additional awareness programs and organizations, as well, in order to encourage student engagement.

Disability Support

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for disability support. UTEP’s Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS), at the Division of Student Affairs, offers disability services like academic counseling, tutoring, and learning and enrichment classes for students, faculty, and staff. The CASS web page features the latest news and updates, front and center, along with a schedule of upcoming events relating to disability and public service awareness. Students can also visit the department’s Facebook page.

Library and Research Support
The University of Denver wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for library and research support. At UD’s Penrose Library students can search multiple online catalogues, reference online citation guides, get access to library software and applications, and even ask a librarian their questions, by phone, email, live chat, or at the library’s reference desk. Students can also take part in library workshops, as well as course-related library instruction sessions, offered each quarter, which cover basic and advanced research sources and strategies.

Learning Support
The award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for learning support goes to the University of Denver. As outlined on the Graduate Student Resources section of DU.edu, graduate students can take advantage of the many academic and research support services that this university has to offer, including the Writing Center, the Research Center, Penrose Library, and Westminster Law Library. In addition, UD offers the Learning Assistance Program, and the Graduate Student Association Council, for peer support. Students on CollegeProwler.com gave UD high scores for “best academic advisors” and “best student centers.”

Faculty Credentials
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for faculty credentials. As noted on the Faculty and Staff section of UTEP.edu, the school celebrates diversity among its expert faculty: “Our 1,183 faculty come from diverse backgrounds, but they have one thing in common: they are dedicated to seeing that students are given every opportunity for success in their academic careers.” And, the commitment to small class sizes and personal attention is working to win over the students at UTEP: on CollegeProwler.com, they gave the University of Texas as El Paso very high scores for “smartest professors” and “best student-faculty ratio.”

Faculty Accessibility
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for faculty accessibility. According to the College of Liberal Arts at UTEP, which offers the creative writing program, the university is “proud of the dedication to research that faculty and students show in all our disciplines.” Among the UTEP roster of nationally recognized faculty and their many collective achievements, various faculty members have been recipients of the Outstanding Achievements Awards over the past 4 years. Students on CollegeProwler.com gave the University of Texas as El Paso very high scores for “smartest professors” and “best student-faculty ratio.”

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Alumni Engagement
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for alumni engagement. On the Alumni Relations web page of UTEP.edu, alumni can discover available alumni resources, connect and interact with fellow alums, via the alumni newsletter, the online news center, or “Miners on the Move.” Joining the UTEP alumni association means unique benefits for alums, including access to select campus facilities, as well as discounts on many local services.

Prior Learning Options
The University of Denver wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for prior learning options. On the Apply section, students can find all of the information they need to know to consider transferring academic credits, including which credits are transferrable; examples are college credit, prior learning assessments, and professional experience course work credits. This web page also features accessible information for international students, high school “early experience” students, and a handy application checklist. There is even a separate application form, exclusively for transfer students, on DU.edu.

New Online Student Orientation
The University of Denver wins the award for best online master’s degree in creative writing for its new online student orientation resources. Through the Discoveries Orientation page, UD offers orientation services for all new students — first-year undergrads, transfer students, and online learners. Here, students can find everything they need to get acquainted with life at the University of Denver, including a comprehensive checklist, for resources such as arranging for transcripts, placement exams, and preparing laptop technical settings, among many others.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing

A master’s degree in creative writing is the perfect education path for those aspiring to make their fiction or nonfiction writing careers more marketable and enhance their writing and story-telling abilities. Typical master’s degree programs in creative writing require students to complete 45 to 48 class hours. This translates to about two years for full-time students; but some colleges may require more or less course work. Part-time students can expect to take more than two years to complete a program.

Class Curriculum

Master’s-level creative writing students take writing-intensive courses that will teach them new techniques to access their creative sides and write enthralling pieces. Students are also taught the fundamental elements creative writing pieces require. Though students can tailor their education towards the writing genre in which they wish to make a career, many programs expose students to a variety of genres to ensure a well-rounded education. A few courses students may take while earning their master’s degree are:

  • Introduction to Creative Writing. An introductory course in creative writing exposes students to techniques for essential elements of the craft, such as organization, story focus, and story coherence. This course also touches on the basics of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
  • Fiction Writing Fundamentals..
  • Fiction writing fundamentals teaches students important methods and the necessary components for fiction writing. Students learn and apply, for instance, how to turn their experiences into creative stories, how to maintain their creative pace, and how to continue developing their characters and stories.

  • Thesis. Perhaps the most important class a student will take in this master’s program is their thesis class. In it, students are required to develop and write a novel of their own, and are commonly encouraged to choose the genre that most interests them and that they plan to center their career on. The goal of this course is for students to develop a manuscript for publishing in the future.

Throughout a student’s education in this program, students will be asked to complete exercises and writing projects to apply what they’ve learned in their various classes. Additionally, students are given creative writing assignments in which they must practice their editing and revision skills, while accommodating instructors’ suggestions and corrections. Some programs engage students in peer review sessions, where they can learn to better their craft through the giving and taking of constructive criticism.

Building a Career

A master’s degree in creative writing offers students the opportunity to develop their writing, story-telling, and creative skills to enter or better their careers as authors, teachers, and screenplay writers. In 2010, the median annual salary for an author or a writer was $55,420, and the industry is expected to see employment growth of 6% through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Writers might engage in academic, online, or print writing for newspapers, magazines, companies, and the like. Authors generally write novels and poetry of various genres for publication.

Data suggests that teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, on the other hand, make a mean salary of $56,790, states the BLS. Education is among the fastest growing industries in terms of employment, with an average annual growth rate projected at 2.4% through 2018, the same source reports.

Screenplay writers, i.e., writers of movies, plays, and television shows in the motion picture and sound recording industry, are estimated to earn the highest of the three careers, with a mean salary of $100,060 according to the BLS; the BLS also states that employment has stayed relatively the same over time, seeing a slight decrease in 2010 but growth since that time.

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