Although you don’t necessarily need a writing degree to succeed as a professional writer, a college course can help you improve your craft and learn the business side of writing. Whether you’re considering an undergraduate or graduate degree, writing courses sharpen your writing skills and build confidence in aspiring writers. Below is a list of the ten best writing courses offered by U.S. colleges.
1. Hamilton College – Clinton, NY
English majors at Hamilton College have the choice of concentrating in English literature and creative writing. In addition to writing courses, Hamilton College also provides writing workshops for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. For those interested in theater, there is even a workshop in playwriting.
2. New York University – New York, NY
Rare is the aspiring writer who doesn’t want to work and play in New York City at least once in their life. NYU’s acclaimed creative writing program bestows a certain prestige on their writing alumni. Aside from creative writing, NYU offers some of the best college degrees in several other English and writing concentrations.
3. Emory University – Atlanta, GA
Emory University’s writing program is a flexible one, allowing English majors to concentrate in creative writing via their specialized creative writing program. The biggest benefit of the writing courses at Emory is the class size: most English and writing courses have a maximum enrollment of a 15 students, with the largest enrollment capping out at 25 students.
4. John Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD
John Hopkins University’s writing programs are some of the best in the country. With a long and well-known history of producing talented and distinguished writers, John Hopkins University instills special skills in their writers such as critical analysis, literary writing, and literary interpretation. Small classes and a faculty of published, distinguished faculty make John Hopkins one of the best places to learn writing.
5. Washington University in St. Louis – St. Louis, MO
Washington University offers a creative writing course that is taught by an MFA faculty and second-year MFA students. In addition to the writing course, students can also enroll in Washington University’s special subjects, such as literary journalism, microfiction, and sudden fiction. Emphasis is on critical analysis and work-shopping. Washington University’s writing program is consistently listed as on of the top ten writing courses every year.
6. Columbia – New York, NY
If NYU is not your cup of tea, you may want to check out Columbia University’s writing program. Among Columbia’s prestigious alumni are Langston Hughes, J.D. Salinger, Hunter S. Thompson, and Allen Ginsberg. Their undergraduate writing program consists of workshops and seminars concentrating on literary and creative writing. For graduates, Columbia’s MFA program is one of the most respected in the country.
7. University of Iowa – Iowa City, IA
University of Iowa is often hailed as the best place to learn fiction writing. Writing undergraduates at this university study at graduate level, choosing from courses in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, new media, playwriting, and even translation. As with the other top writing universities, University of Iowa offers its students plenty of workshops and specialized courses.
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Cambridge, MA
MIT ‘s extensive writing program prepares aspiring writers for the business side of professional writing. Their writing courses cover not only creative fiction and non-fiction writing, but digital media and science writing as well. Creative writing students are encouraged to concentrate in a minor discipline as well, such as art, humanities, or social sciences. This produces some of the most well-rounded writing graduates in the country.
9. Colorado College – Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado College is a private liberal arts college that offers their English majors the option of concentrating creative writing or film studies. The creative writing track provides students the opportunity to grow as writers through collaborative projects and critique groups. Film students concentrate on storytelling and story development through visual media.
10. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan students learn effective literary analysis and debate. Undergraduates have the choice of taking courses in poetry and creative fiction writing. The writing program isn’t just limited to English majors, either; students in other concentrations are welcome to take the course as well.
The above are ten of the best college degrees in writing in the U.S. When choosing the best program for you, you’ll need to not only factor in class size, school size, and school location, you should also have a good idea what genre or style of writing you wish to study. Good luck!