Literature and Creative Writing Degree

Cultivate your skills in creative writing and literary analysis through close study of fiction, screenplays, theatrical works, and poetry. Through a range of literature courses, writing exercises, and collaborative peer review, you learn tools and techniques to strengthen your craft.

Key learning outcomes

Through the graduate program in the field of literature and creative writing you build:

  • The ability to critically analyze and appraise literary text, understand language and genre definitions, and edit and revise works.
  • A solid understanding of narrative and craft, story development, and voice.

Program Overview

The degree includes nine courses—at least three taken on campus—and a thesis.

  • Get started. You begin by completing three admission courses from the program curriculum. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student.
  • Apply to the program. While you are completing your third admission course, you submit your application. We have application periods in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered online, but due to the in-person, workshop teaching method of our creative writing courses, the majority of the courses are available only on campus.
  • Complete your thesis. The thesis is broken down into two parts—your creative work and an introductory critical piece, in which you explain the influences on your work of art. Influences may be particular authors, or a particular subgenre or leitmotif, or something such as approaches to third person narrative or the establishment of authorial voice. In the end, you produce a creative and theoretical body of work worthy of publication.
  • Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: Literature and Creative Writing.

Explore Courses & Requirements

Learn about admission, courses & on-campus study

Degree Course Listings

Once you've explored the degree requirements, you can search for course offerings that count toward the degree. See the degree courses


Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2016–17 graduate tuition is $2,550 per course; the total tuition cost of earning the graduate degree is approximately $25,500

There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.