Study Creative Writing at the University of Montana

Join one of the oldest and most prestigious creative writing programs in the nation. We offer outstanding opportunities to hone your writing skills for publication, prepare for jobs in the private sector or develop a portfolio for applying to an MFA program.

At UM, you can pursue creative writing as a concentration of the bachelor’s degree in English, or as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree — we are the only program in Montana to offer both. The BA offers a unique focus of literary study, allowing you to explore various works while creating your own stories, poems and essays. The BFA combines a workshop-based approach with a rigorous literature component, offering expanded internship and professional development opportunities. Both programs give you the unique opportunity to work with faculty from our nationally-ranked graduate program, as well as visiting writers who are known around the world.

The creative writing major at UM is distinguished by small, intimate classes that foster mentorship and personal attention. Collaborative workshops in fiction, nonfiction and poetry encourage you to explore diverse genres, as you learn to read with attention to writing craft and apply those lessons to your own creative works.


estimated average salary of UM's English bachelor's degree alumni


years ago the University of Montana added creative writing to the curriculum, only the second university in the US to offer creative writing as a subject of study.

What can you do with an English degree?

As a creative writing major, you’ll develop communication, creative thinking, computer proficiency and teamwork skills that are all among the top skills sought by employers. Whether your goal is to become a published author, pursue a job in business or take your studies to the next level in a top master’s degree program, you’ll be well prepared to launch the next stage of your career.

Graduates of our creative writing degree have gone on to operate their own businesses, work for advertising agencies, write speeches for political candidates, edit for presses or magazines and do research for corporate entities. They are hired by banks, independent newspapers, nonprofits, internet corporations and environmental groups. When you major in creative writing at UM, your potential opportunities are almost limitless.

Creative writing jobs

We have a long tradition of growing successful writers, communicators and educators. Examples of potential careers with an English major that connect to creative writing include:

  • Author
  • Web content developer
  • Technical writer
  • Social media writer
  • Copyeditor
  • Campaign organizer
  • Teacher
  • Journalist
  • Librarian

Creative writing salaries

According to recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, writers and authors earn an average of $69K per year nationally (and an average of $70K here in Montana).

We estimate that the average salary of our English bachelor’s degree graduates is $69,839.

“I never thought I’d get the chance to write for my supper full-time, especially right out of college, but that is exactly what’s happened. Part of what got me the jobs I have now was my experience as an editor with the Oval, lobbying ASUM for funds and being personable with people from all walks of life. These are things I learned to value through interaction with writers and readers in the Creative Writing program…and as part of the dynamic Oval staff.”

Brenna Rietmann, UM creative writing student

Experiential learning in the English major

Hands-on opportunities to apply your skills in the real world help make UM one of the best colleges for English majors, and nowhere is this more true than in our creative writing program. Experiences you gain in workshops, staffing and producing literary magazines, participating in internships and more will help you develop as a professional, practice meeting deadlines and hone your communication and collaboration skills.

Internships in the creative writing degree

As a creative writing major at UM, your opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Our students find internships with a wide range of nonprofits and local businesses — assisting with writing, editing and promotional work. We also offer internship opportunities with a variety of literary magazines and writers’ organizations including Cutbank, High Desert Journal, The Oval, and Beargrass Writer’s Workshop — and new internships are in the works all the time.

Literary and publishing experience in creative writing

Creative writing majors are at the forefront of our undergraduate literary magazine, The Oval, which publishes the best of our fiction, nonfiction and poetry from across campus. You’ll get a hands-on look at small press operations — from the call for submissions through editing and design to publication and marketing. If you’re interested in publishing work, we also encourage you to volunteer as a junior editor at CutBank Literary Magazine, which is led by our MFA creative writing program.

Study abroad for English majors

Explore other languages and cultures through one of our study abroad programs. We offer a variety of overseas opportunities and generally accept literature and writing credits taken in other countries toward our English bachelor’s degree. Learn more about study abroad opportunities at the University of Montana.

Career development in the English degree

When you major in creative writing at UM, you can count on getting the support you need to hit the ground running when you graduate, and faculty who are ready to go the extra mile to help you succeed. You’ll also benefit from the vibrant literary and arts community here in Missoula.

Readings, whether hosted by local bookstores or UM, are a great way to meet other aspiring writers. Our Montana Writers LIVE class, for example, showcases Missoula and Montana’s amazing community of local and regional writers reading from their work and answering your questions.

As you engage in internships with local businesses, community mentors will provide insight into different ways you can apply your skills — ways that your ability to research, analyze, summarize, write and edit fit into the operation of a small business, a homeless shelter or a political campaign. 

You can also participate in a wide variety of clubs and activities related to English and creative writing, including The Oval and Prose and Poems, volunteer for the Montana Book Festival and get involved with numerous other campus and community literary organizations and activities.

Creative writing faculty

One of the incredible opportunities you’ll have as an undergraduate in the creative writing degree at UM is to work with faculty from our nationally-ranked graduate program.

Our faculty include Guggenheim Fellows, New York Times Bestsellers, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellows. They are winners of the American Book Award, Montana Governor’s Arts Award, and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, among others. They serve as judges for the National Book Award, the PEN Faulkner award, and travel and lecture around the globe. Most of all, they share a powerful dedication to recognizing and nurturing developing writers.

Creative writing scholarships

Creative writers at UM are supported by thousands of dollars in scholarships each year, as well as those they may apply for as English majors. Explore creative writing scholarships and awards.

Creative writing major requirements

As a creative writing major, you’ll focus on crafting work in three areas of study: fiction, nonfiction and poetry. As you advance in your program, you’ll also have the opportunity to design an independent course of study based on your personal interests, allowing you to focus on a particular author, subgenre or school of writing. 

View all classes for the Bachelor of Arts in English – Creative Writing.

View all classes for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.