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School of Graduate and Professional Studies

Master of Arts in Professional and Creative Writing

Why pursue a Master of Arts in Professional and Creative Writing degree at North Central College?

The online Master of Arts in professional and creative writing helps writers be successful, whether they are looking to write a novel or polish their professional writing skills. Our program cultivates the writing, reading and critical thinking skills necessary for business professionals and creative writers. Our students are often both.

Our classes center on a community of writers who share common goals and practices, and they are led by faculty mentors, who publish widely and who care deeply about the success of each student. There’s a strong emphasis on personal development and skill-enhancement. The degree honors the entirety of the writer who aspires to write for internal and external audiences within and beyond the workplace.

Students will be able to build a graduate thesis around their passions, interests and professional goals and will receive exceptional faculty support tailored to their needs. Current students are working on science fiction, crime novels, children’s literature, screenplays, and creative nonfiction. The program gives students the structure and freedom to thrive as writers. 

  • Cohort Model
  • Cohorts begin each Fall semester
  • 100% Online

Launch with a group of students who have shared interests and progress through the program taking each course together.  Providing support, teamwork, and shared resources.

Learn More

Busy schedule? Watch a Recorded Information Session


Benefits of a Cohort Model

  • Structured program that supports busy graduate students through faculty mentorship and a community of writers
  • A comprehensive program that can be completed in 2 years
  • A thesis course that results in a polished creative or professional project


A Unique and Balanced Combination

The unique professional and creative writing curriculum balances both theory and practice in meaningful and engaging ways.

The program is ideal for those professional writers who understand the value of creative writing as a means to enhance their competencies. At the same time, the program is designed for creative writers who wish to enrich their professional and technical writing skills.

Our intentional, holistic program will help you develop the industry-standard skill sets that will help you become a dynamic, flexible and well-rounded writer.


How to Write and Publish a Book

Learn tips about the publishing process from Jennifer Smith, Chair of English and explore what it takes to be a professional and creative writer.

Master of Arts in Professional and Creative Writing Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Professional and Creative Writing is 10 courses (30 credit hours) and includes:

  • Core courses focused on the fundamentals of professional and creative writing
  • Specialized courses in learning to write grants, book proposals, and articles for print and web sources
  • Creative writing courses tailored to the craft of fiction, memoir, and screenwriting
  • A capstone thesis that allows each student to produce a major project of their own design

Courses are offered in asynchronous, seven-week sessions allowing you to learn on your own schedule but with close faculty mentorship. Take one course every session to complete your degree in two years.

Professional and Creative Writing, M.A.

A minimum of 30 credit hours to include:

Online Certificate in Creative Writing

If you are looking to obtain an additional credential or certificate to augment your professional skills sets, the online certificate in creative writing provides you the continuing education that will meet your professional and personal passions in creative writing and publishing. 

The certificate is a 3-course, 9-credit hour online program. 

Core Course

Elective Courses

Two of the following:

Pathway to the M.A. in Professional and Creative Writing

If you want to further your study in our M.A. in professional and creative writing program, you can apply your 9-hour certificate credit to the 30-hour professional and creative writing master’s degree. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What makes this program unique?

The fact that this program is entirely online and blends professional and creative writing makes this program, if not unique, really appealing to students. Here’s what a current student had to say: “I decided to join NCC's professional and creative writing program because, coming out of undergrad, I knew I wanted to incorporate writing in my future but didn't want to limit myself to just one type of writing. A lot of grad programs are either technical writing or creative writing, and it didn't seem smart or fun for me to be so segmented like that. I really appreciate that North Central allows you to explore both types of writing and that the grad program has the flexibility of being online.”

Do I have to major in English or Creative Writing to do this program?

Absolutely not. While some of our alumni and students come from English programs, others studied psychology, journalism, media studies, music, and other programs. Some hold advanced degrees in library science or other master's degrees.

What is the typical workload?

Students report that they spend between 5-10 hours each week on the program. Students take one course at a time, and most courses have weekly assignments, as well as longer-term projects. The classes are online and asynchronous, which means there is no set and scheduled meeting time, allowing students to take the course on their own schedule.

How much does the program cost?

The program is 30 credit hours, and costs $789 per credit hour. So, total out of pocket cost is $23,670. Learn more by visiting northcentralcollege.edu/financial-aid/graduate

How do I apply?

Please visit northcentralcollege.edu/admissions/graduate/how-to-apply for application instructions and important deadlines.

Am I eligible for federal loans?

Graduate students are eligible for up to $20,500 annually (summer, fall, and spring). For assistance or to learn more, please visit northcentralcollege.edu/financial-aid/graduate or contact the Office of Financial Aid at 630-637-5600 or finaid@noctrl.edu. Visit northcentralcollege.edu/paymentplan to read more about payment plans.

Are tuition discounts available?

North Central College offers a number of tuition discounts, including reduced tuition for employees of 501(c) non-profits, employees of our Education Alliance partner businesses and schools, Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce members and employees of NACC-affliated companies, and North Central College alumni. Learn more at northcentralcollege.edu/financial-aid/graduate.

Are graduate assistantships or scholarships available?

Yes, students who are accepted to the program can apply to be graduate assistants. The 2-year GA position is designed to aid students in the successful completion of their degrees and to enhance their career opportunities through applied professional experiences. Students are offered tuition remission and a stipend. Master of Arts in Profession and Creative Writing students accepted into a GA position would still have to pay for the 6 credit hours that take place in summer sessions. Learn more by visiting northcentralcollege.edu/graduate/graduate-assistantships.

Graduate Online Learning

We pride ourselves on giving personal attention to our students. Our faculty are committed to getting to know their online students and work diligently to foster community within the program. Our online programs are personal but flexible. They are rigorous and challenging, yet supportive and encouraging. Our online students will not only walk away with a meaningful degree but also a community.

Learn more about graduate online learning at North Central College.