UCLA Extension

Creative Writing

Develop creative writing skills in multiple genres of interest including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and more. This customizable program culminates in a capstone project in which students make significant progress on a polished collection of work. This certificate can be completed online or in the classroom.

This program is perfect for...

  • Those new to writing who want to explore various genres while cultivating their skills
  • Writers looking to hone their craft and develop a solid portfolio of work in a particular genre
  • Writers considering graduate-level writing study, including those who wish to polish pieces for submission to MFA programs
  • Individuals who want to become part of a vibrant and supportive community of artists who share their passion

What you can learn.

  • Identify your creative writing goals and develop a plan to achieve them
  • Deepen your practice within a chosen genre, or explore various forms of creative writing
  • Discover techniques of powerful storytelling, craft compelling characters, and write memorable scenes and stories
  • Receive guidance from successful writers and workshop in a group of supportive peers

Achieve results and reach your writing goals.

Stack of books published by Writers Program instructors

Whether you are new to writing, have a specific project you'd like to get off the ground, or are preparing to apply to an MFA program, the Certificate in Creative Writing is an immersive program for developing professional writing skills.

Our fully customizable certificate honors each individual student’s journey, allowing you to pursue the coursework that is most meaningful to your specific writing goals and level of expertise. 

The program offers the opportunity to specialize in genres like poetry, short stories, novel writing, essay writing, memoir writing, or to explore writing across genres, hybrid genres, and new forms without the limitation of a prescribed curriculum. 

The only required course, the Creative Writing Certificate Capstone , allows you to compile and further refine your writing from prior coursework into a final portfolio representing the finest examples of your craft. 

Taught by a prestigious roster of instructors who are published writers and active professionals, courses in this certificate program can be taken onsite, online, or a combination of both. 

Expect more from your education.

MFA, fiction writer, author of the story collection Once Removed (UGA Press) and winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. 

Colette Sartor

The Write Process Podcast

Hosted by the director of the Writers' Program, each episode tells the story of how one writer took one project from concept to completion, whether it be a book, movie, or TV episode.

Season 6 is out now!

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My UCLA Extension coursework, teachers, and colleagues have shaped my writing life, fueled the creation of my novel, and provided continual inspiration.

Certificate Curriculum

The Certificate in Creative Writing is fully customizable. You may follow a Writers’ Program sample curriculum plan based on specific writing goals, or design your own program of study.

Students must complete 21 total units comprised of the 3-unit Creative Writing Certificate Capstone course and 18 units of 400-level Creative Writing coursework.

Sample Program Tracks:

Novel I WRITING X 411.1

Novel II WRITING X 411.2

Novel III WRITING X 411.3

Novel IV WRITING X 411.4

Novel V WRITING X 411.5

Dialogue and Point of View WRITING X 462.1

Creative Writing Certificate Capstone WRITING X 460

Personal Essay I WRITING  X 422.1

Personal Essay II WRITING X 422.2

Personal Essay III WRITING X 422.3

Storytelling for Social Justice WRITING X 424.21E

Writing the Thinkpiece WRITING X 424.15E

The Art of Creative Research WRITING X 461.23

Poetry I WRITING X 431.1

Poetry II WRITING X 431.2

Poetry Toolbox WRITING X 432.10E

Prose Poetry WRITING X 432.11E

Reframing the Form WRITING X 432.7E

The "F" Word: Innovative Poetic Forms WRITING X 432.8E

Cuento Poems WRITING X 432.32E

Click below to view the required and elective courses, if applicable, for this program.

Students must complete 18 units of elective coursework. Select from courses numbered WRITING X 400-499 in the following areas:

Students may select courses in the following area with advisor approval:

Editing and Publishing

How to Get Started

Courses in this program are open enrollment, and each course is paid for individually. You may take creative writing courses without committing to the program. However, establishing candidacy in the program allows you to receive a customized curriculum suited to your writing goals along with many benefits exclusive to our certificate students.

Exclusive benefits for Writers' Program certificate students:

  • Receive a 30 minute, one-on-one goal-setting consultation with a Writers’ Program advisor, who charts out certificate program curriculum based on your level of experience, interests, and writing goals.
  • Receive advance notice of upcoming Writers’ Program courses and enroll before the general public each quarter.
  • Receive preferential placement on wait lists.
  • Within six months of the completion of certificate program coursework, receive 50% off a one-on-one manuscript consultation . 
  • Interact, network, and share writing tips with fellow certificate program students through the Writers’ Program Certificate Students private Facebook group.

Advanced standing at Antioch University*

Students who complete the Certificate in Creative Writing can receive Advanced Standing in Antioch University Los Angeles’s MFA in Creative Writing .

Advanced Standing allows a student to enter the MFA program with the equivalent of one semester completed. In addition, you may be eligible for Antioch’s fellowships and scholarships.

Additional benefits exclusive to UCLA Extension certificate students:

  • Access to  Handshake , UCLA Career Center’s online job board, with access to thousands of job and internship postings.
  • Become a member of the  UCLA Alumni Association  (upon completing your certificate) and a nationwide network of Bruin family.
  • Join us for the annual UCLA Extension  Graduation Ceremony  on campus to celebrate all your hard work.
  • Get access to  UCLA Recreation  facilities as a student affiliate.**
  • Open an affiliate/Guest UCLA  Bruin ID Card ** for a number of student-related benefits.
  • Access to UCLA Extension’s  Career Resources  including online career coaching, workshops and networking events.

How to Apply: New Students

  • Click the Apply Now button below
  • Login or create a new student account
  • Once you are logged into the student portal, you can select “My Applications” from the left side menu at any time to return to your application. Click the yellow “Start” button to proceed.
  • On the Certificate Application page, follow the instructions and click save. Then submit your application. 
  • Proceed to checkout and pay the nonrefundable candidacy fee to finalize your application. 

How to Apply: Fiction or Creative Nonfiction Certificate students enrolled prior to June 1, 2020

To start, please review the  FAQ’s for Fiction and Creative Nonfiction certificate students .

  • To transfer to the new Certificate in Creative Writing, please complete this form . 
  • To finish your original Fiction or Creative Nonfiction program, no action is necessary.
  • Unsure which program better suits your writing goals? Our Student Affairs Officer, Carrie Truong can be reached at  [email protected] .

Estimated Cost Breakdown

All courses in this program are paid for individually, unless otherwise noted. An application form is required to establish candidacy in this program. From the 'Apply Now' button, complete the online application and pay the application fee if applicable.

Application & Candidacy Fee

Estimated program tuition, estimated program textbook/materials.

*The Application & Candidacy Fee establishes your candidacy in the program for a period of time covering normal progress toward completion and may allow you to access a variety of program benefits.

Internship

Internships Available

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VA Benefit Eligible

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Financial Aid

Federal Financial Aid

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that, “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; occupational profiles; on time completion rate; and for the most recent award year: the number of students who have completed the program, the number of students who complete the program within the estimated duration, the job placement rate, and the median Title IV and private loan debt incurred by those who complete the program. For gainful employment information for this program, visit our  Financial Aid page.

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About the Creative Writing Program

Delivery method.

  • Live Online

creative writing certificate

Required Courses

Students must complete all 5 courses listed below. Classes can be taken in any order.

Grammar Lab WCWP-40234

Units:  3.00

Grammar Lab (WCWP-40234)10 Weeks | OnlineThis ten-week online Grammar Lab course is skillfully designed to meet the needs of all students. It is beneficial for those with little grammar experience and...

Upcoming Start Dates:

The art and craft of creative writing wcwp-40107.

The Art and Craft of Creative Writing 10 Weeks | Online Course Description/Goals: Creative writing begins when the spark of an idea ignites the fuel of language. The writer picks up a pen or presse...

Developing Unforgettable Characters WCWP-40245

Units:  2.00

Whether you are writing short fiction, a novel, or memoir, characters are what draw your reader in and make them care enough to read on. This course offers methods for creating three-dimensional chara...

Finding Our Voices, Telling Our Stories: Part I WCWP-40142

Within you there dwells an innate sense of storytelling and a unique voice with which to tell your stories. In this course you will explore writing techniques to help you locate and refine the natura...

Writers' Workshop: Read and Critique WCWP-40252

­­­Literary criticism is not a form of negatively critiquing a writing piece, but rather conscientiously and carefully analyzing written works through various lenses. Reading and critiquin...

Students must choose minimum 2 units of Literature from any of the classes below

Women and Madness LIT-40069

In the 19th century, a strange marriage of art, literature, science, and psychology catapulted society’s obsession with the archetypal madwoman into the mainstream. Pathologies that had once been used...

Gender Identity and Literature: Him, Her, Us LIT-40071

Gender is infinitely more intricate than the biological question of sex. Uncover the cultural, social and political implications of gender identity in three powerful works. Kiss of the Spider Woman, b...

Ernest Hemingway: Titan of American Literature LIT-40064

Ernest Hemingway wrote “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwar...

American Literature: Stories of Immigration LIT-40022

Explore this Unique Take on Immigration Stories Immigration has once again taken center stage in the national spotlight, giving artists, writers and thinkers another opportunity to consider and help r...

Glittering Wit: Three Works by Oscar Wilde LIT-40099

Famous, and infamous, for his brilliant turn of phrase, seething social commentary and flamboyant personality, Oscar Wilde was the toast of the literary world throughout the 1880’s and 1890’s. Join us...

History of Children's Literature LIT-40093

Gain a deep understanding of the history of children s literature by studying classics of post-enlightenment writing for children. This course provides children s book writers, illustrators and enthus...

Students must choose 12 units of electives from any of the classes below

Novel Writing I WCWP-40187

The greatest challenge to writing a first novel may be deciding where to start. This course will help you write an engaging first paragraph and a draft of at least the first chapter. You may also work...

Novel Writing II WCWP-40297

Are you ready to develop a significant portion of your novel? This workshop will bring you valuable feedback on your work, including suggestions for revision. Class discussion will focus on the struct...

Novel Writing III WCWP-40254

This class will prepare you for the big picture review of your novel. With the use of contemporary and classic novels as examples, you will evaluate the progress on the plot arc and character developm...

Creative Non-Fiction

Memoir writing wcwp-40200.

Many of us have had fascinating lives, whether lived inwardly or outwardly, during childhood long ago or in the past decade. But when it comes to writing a memoir, where do we begin? The day of our bi...

Self-Editing and Publishing for the Web WCWP-40313

The ability to edit your own written work is a skill that s highly valued by employers and publishers. This class focuses on strengthening your writing for the web using journalistic techniques. Wheth...

News and Feature Writing WCWP-40276

The goal of this course is to introduce you to the purpose of journalism and the fundamentals of news and featue writing. In this ever-changing media landscape, one thing can remain constant: an indiv...

The Writer's Art of Interviewing WCWP-40123

Effective interviewing techniques translate to writing that is clear, lively, and depending on the writer s mission instructive or entertaining. This course will encompass all the integral compone...

Finding Our Voices, Telling Our Stories: Part II WCWP-40338

This course is a continuation of Finding Our Voices, Telling Our Stories: Part I. In this course students will continue to build upon the story they created in the first section of this series of clas...

Children's Writing

Writing children's picture books wcwp-40261.

Let the wild rumpus begin! Do you dream of imaginary lands and mythical creatures? Learn how to inspire a child s imagination by giving them the tools necessary to explore the world around them. The ...

Writing for Children I: Introduction WCWP-40186

Have you ever told yourself that someday you will write a children s book? Now s your chance! Join us as we demystify the writing process and examine the wide variety of books offered to children: pi...

Writing for Children II: Intermediate WCWP-40315

Revision is the key to improving your work to reach the next level: publication. But often the hardest part is to figure out which words to cut, which to leave in, and how to tighten up the rest. Thi...

Writing for the Middle Grade/YA Reader WCWP-40274

Discover how successful middle grade and young adult books are crafted, and begin to plot out and write a tale of your own. In this course, we will consider how a plot works, what makes a compelling ...

Writing Non-Fiction and Informational Books for Children WCWP-40327

The market for children s nonfiction and informational books and articles has never been better. In this course, which can be taken by those familiar with writing for children and those just beginnin...

General Electives

Forms of poetry wcwp-40308.

Amy Lowell wrote, "No one expects a man to make a chair without first learning how, but there is a popular impression that the poet is born, not made, and that his verses burst from his overflowing he...

Nature Writing: The True Muse WCWP-40342

Nature Writing: The True Muse (WCWP-40342)6 Weeks | Online As writers, we are the witness and voice of our time, and as such, we are invited to translate what we experience to share and celebrate wit...

The Business of Writing

Building a business around writing wcwp-40321.

Units:  1.00

There a many avenues to building a business around writing. In this short course we will briefly discuss various possibilities including becoming a book author, freelance writer for hire, or journal...

The Art and Business of Blogging WCWP-40334

In this course students will learn the art of writing for an online audience, how to create a basic Wordpress site, insert blog posts, edit, and brand their blog. This course will also touch on how to...

Conditions for Admission

Students should have a native level of fluency in English and be able to write clear, logical and grammatically-correct sentences.

Certificate Guidelines

The program consists of earning at least 28 quarter units in Creative Writing and related courses. Students should be able to complete the entire certificate program in 2.5 years or less depending on their work load.

Students must pass all 14 units of required classes, 2 units of Literature, and choose 12 units from our listed electives in order to receive the certificate.

Advisory Board

Benjamin Doller

Professor and Author

UC San Diego

Author and Professor Emerita of Writing and Literature

University of CA, San Diego

Judy Reeves

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All applications are automatically accepted and there is no fee to apply. Twenty four to forty eight hours after applying, a button will appear in your MyExtension account that will allow you to pay the $95 certificate fee. Classes may be taken without being enrolled in the certificate.

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COMMENTS

  1. Best Creative Writing Courses Online with Certificates [2024

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  2. Online Courses: Creative Writing

    Creative Writing. Writing Certificate; Professional & Personal Development; Courses by ...

  3. Creative Writing Certificate Program

    Deepen your practice within a chosen genre, or explore various forms of creative writing. Discover techniques of powerful storytelling, craft compelling characters, and write memorable scenes and stories. Receive guidance from successful writers and workshop in a group of supportive peers.

  4. Creative Writing Certificate

    The Professional Certificate in Creative Writing is designed to provide you with the skills necessary to write in a variety of creative writing genres. You will learn core creative writing skills and choose from a selection of electives in the areas of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Children’s Writing, Poetry, and/or The Business of Writing ...

  5. Creative Writing Specialization [5 courses] (Wesleyan)

    Creative Writing Specialization. Craft Your Story Like the Great Writers. Craft an original story that will absorb a reader’s interest from the beginning to end. Taught in English. 20 languages available.