Online Creative Writing Courses Offered Free by Top Universities and Educational Websites

About this article
Free courses are a great way to improve your writing skills. The courses shown here focus on several types of creative writing, including poetry, essay writing and fiction writing.
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Free Creative Writing Courses

Creative writing requires the application of hard work, discipline and much practice. Use these free creative writing courses online to hone your skills and become a better writer.

Open University

Open University offers a plethora of writing courses, on topics such as poetry and fiction. Read through these lessons on the website or download them as a single eBook.

Creative

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT offers courses in fiction, editing and publishing, in addition to courses on writing essays. The fiction course has required reading with titles like Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Textbooks for the writing and editing course include Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers by Maasik, Sonia and Jack Solomon and Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide by Lunsford, Andrea and Frank Horowitz. The advanced essay workshop entails readings from literary magazines and the science essay course assigns eight sets of readings on topics like literary techniques and public health.

Purdue University

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers free online writing lessons. Subjects include poetry and proofreading. These quick lessons can be downloaded and printed.

Yale University

Yale University offers a free online course in modern poetry. Texts include The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. Vol. 1, Modern Poetry, in addition to selections from the course packet, with readings from The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Selected Poems from Ezra Pound. Students can choose from 25 audio lectures, on poets like Williams Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, and more.

The Crafty Writer

This free online tutorial offers individuals text lessons in the form of an article on topics like writing short stories, character development, poetry, and more. Lessons also recommend books for purchase.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing

This science fiction and fantasy writing course is offered online for free by science fiction writer, Jeffrey A. Carter. A multitude of lessons are available, in a variety of subjects like language and style, creating characters, rewriting, alien creatures, conflict and plot, and much more.

Creative Writing Prompts

This website offers free writing prompts. Use this as a resource to get your writing started.

WritingClasses.com

This website offers two questionnaires for writers. Answer questions about characters in order to help your development process for writing.

Free Online Creative Writing Courses At a Glance

Course & School Program Level Format Assignments Quizzes & Exams Downloadable
Writing What You Know course from Open University Beginner Text lessons Yes No Yes
Start Writing Fiction course from Open University Beginner Text lessons Yes No Yes
Approaching Prose Fiction course from Open University Intermediate Text lessons Yes No Yes
What is Poetry course from Open University Beginner Text lessons Yes No Yes
Approaching Poetry course from Open University Intermediate Text lessons Yes No Yes
What is Good Writing course from Open University Beginner Text lessons Yes No Yes
Introduction to Fiction course from MIT Undergraduate Text Yes No Yes
Writing, Editing and Publishing in Cyberspace course from MIT Undergraduate Textbooks Yes No Yes
Advanced Essay Workshop course from MIT Undergraduate Workshop Yes No Yes
The Science Essay course from MIT Undergraduate Readings/writing essays Yes No Yes
Pattern and Variation in Poetry course from Purdue University Undergraduate Text lesson No No Yes
Proofreading Your Writing course from Purdue University Undergraduate Text lesson No No Yes
Modern Poetry course from Yale University Undergraduate Text/audiovideo lectures Yes No Yes
Intro to Creative Writing course from The Crafty Writer Beginner Text lessons Yes No No
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy course from Writesf.com Beginner Text lessons No No Yes
200 Creative Writing Prompts from CreativeWritingPrompts.com Beginner-advanced Writing prompts Yes No No
Character Questionnaires from Fiction Writing Workshop Beginner Questionnaire Yes No No

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in English and Creative Writing - Fiction
      • MA in English and Creative Writing
      • MA in English and Creative Writing - Nonfiction
      • MA in English and Creative Writing - Poetry
      • MA in English
      • MA in Communication
    Bachelor's
      • BA in Creative Writing - Screenwriting
      • BA in Creative Writing - Poetry
      • BA in Creative Writing - Fiction Writing
      • BA in Creative Writing & English
      • BA in Creative Writing - Nonfiction Writing
      • BA in Communication - Professional Writing
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Arts in Communication
    Certificate
      • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Human Communications
      • B.S. General Studies - Communication
      • B.S. Human Communications
    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Communications
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Communications
  • Campus and Online Programs
    5. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Creative Writing for Entertainment
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MEd - Reading Education
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Penn Foster Career School

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Certificate - English: Comprehensive Skills in Reading & Writing
      • Career Diploma: Freelance Writer
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA/English
  • Gainesville, FL

    University of Florida

Featured Schools

The schools and programs listed below are popular educational options, and tuition varies based on program and location

Southern New Hampshire University

  • MA in English and Creative Writing - Fiction
  • MA in English and Creative Writing
  • BA in Creative Writing - Screenwriting
  • BA in Creative Writing - Poetry

What is your highest level of education?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Science Writing
  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BS Human Communications
  • A.S. General Studies - Communications
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Communications

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Creative Writing for Entertainment

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • MEd - Reading Education

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster Career School

  • Certificate - English: Comprehensive Skills in Reading & Writing
  • Career Diploma: Freelance Writer

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

What is your age?