Colleges in the US usually offer English majors with a concentration in Creative Writing or sometimes just a minor (such as NYU). Others offer rigorous programs that include courses, reading lectures and workshops in Creative Writing.
Apart from the renowned visiting faculty who would most probably be authors you’ve read or heard of, look out for professors who will actually end up teaching the courses. Consider if you’d like to create your own works by the end of senior year. Obviously, you want to be a part of student-led journals or magazines, so do go through those.
Here are some of the top colleges for Creative Writing you could consider applying to:
1) Northwestern University
Heard of ‘Divergent’? The best-selling novel popular amongst teenagers was penned by Veronica Roth while a student at Northwestern. The best part is the year-long sequence options which give you the chance to do everything from imitating & modeling to writing your own novella! And obviously, you would love its focus on inventive writing. The cross-genre minor appears to be one of the unique features of the Creative Writing program here.
NW also offers Honors in Creative Writing for those who are entirely dedicated to pursuing a future in this field. The Annual Writers’ Festival is yet another attractive feature of this program.
2) Columbia University
Drum roll: Columbia is one of those few universities that offer a Creative Writing major! The writing workshop, one of the core components of the creative writing program is extremely rigorous here. Known for its popular Core Curriculum, Columbia’s CW program ensures students are close reading, critically-thinking, and analyzing books from different genres. There is a strong emphasis on critiquing each other’s works which is believed to help the budding writers create their own through thoughtful consideration. Seminars such as the ‘Art of Translation’ add to the unique qualities of this program. Quarto, Columbia’s official UG Lit Mag is known for its top quality of student works.
Read more here: http://quartomagazine.com/
3) Emory University
The CW program at Emory offers a joint major in playwriting. The Creative Writing Reading Series is the chance to meet some of the best writers. Emory also offers an Honors in Creative Writing.
The Emory Wheel is a student newspaper while they also have a humor magazine named ‘The Spoke!’ The Lenaia Festival is an annual, student-run festival featuring staged readings of student plays-in-progress pushing them to put their best foot forward.
4) Brown University
Brown offers a UG Concentration in Literary Arts which gives the chance to cherrypick across genres. The most exciting aspect is the 6 reading-intensive courses which tie in with Brown’s culture of critical thinking and debate. You get to pick courses like Middle East Studies and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies which is seemingly uncommon. Keeping up with their tradition of doing different things and things differently, you will also find bizarre courses such as ‘Literary Hypermedia’ and ‘Plasticity in Playwriting.’
The MFA program also offers Writers-in-Residence which means you get to learn from some of the most popular writers, including David Foster Wallace!
5) Johns Hopkins University
Originally known for its biological sciences, JHU has amazing humanities offerings as well. The Writing Seminars major offered by the English Department requires you to obtain proficiency in a foreign language. This is really useful if you would like to engage in translating literary works in the future. Courses in Philosophy and History are compulsory so that you engage in a holistic understanding of how narratives are created and perceived.
6) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
At UMich, you take Creative Writing at the Department of English. They offer a Creative Writing sub-concentration for English majors which is small and selective. You are bound to love the ‘Course Clusters’ which is an interdisciplinary masterstroke of the UMich program. These are themed groups of classes such as ‘Reading Earth: Literature and the Environment’ which explores the representation of nature in literary works and ‘English for Leaders and Best’ focussing on the importance of telling the right story and the story right.
The UM English Street Team, popularly known as EST, allows students to “share curricular vision and marketing identity by participating in online brainstorming sessions, surveys, and social media initiatives.”
7) New York University
The Creative Writing Program offered by NYU is one of the most distinguished. While they don’t offer a major, you may minor in Creative Writing which is one of the most sought after. The MFA offers residency options, even in Paris! UGs can be a part of the popular ‘West10!’, the student-written literary journal sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.
8) Washington University in St Louis
WashU’s English major offers a Creative Writing concentration. You would love to be part of ‘The Spectacle’ which is a student-run magazine dedicated to representing the subaltern voices. WashU is known for one of the best CW programs in the country.
While this list is not exhaustive, these are just a few of the options you could explore to understand the overarching expectations from Creative Writing majors.
Careers in Creative Writing
Too often students (and parents) are hesitant in pursuing their passion for Creative Writing (or Arts, in general) because they feel they will probably end up with a job they don’t love. This isn’t necessarily true. With an increase in technology, new jobs for creative writing majors are on the rise. The world is looking at social media influencers and advertising geniuses; companies are always looking for people who drive content. The dynamics of language that often trouble NLP experts are now being deconstructed by linguists. The crossovers and blurring of traditional STEM and Humanities’ professions have certainly placed these students in great demand. While teaching and content writing remains to be dominant professions for this major, new avenues are sprouting up every single day.
Here’s a list of jobs directly linked to Creative Writing opportunities:
Marketing and Advertising
Social Media Manager
Public Relations Officer
Web Content Manager
Apart from these, there are ample opportunities in the fields of counseling, editing, public relations, and directing. Northwestern University shares a list of articles that explain the increasing need for Creative Writing/English majors: https://english.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/careers-english.html
We suggest you have a look!