Christian writers spend a lifetime cultivating their gift, striving to create beautiful, effective pieces that change minds and penetrate hearts. We long to glorify God through elegant prose and carefully crafted messages that display the creativity of the Creator. Many writers build a foundation for their talents by writing from a young age, telling stories, and constructing arguments. But some of the greatest development for writers comes through formal education in a writing major.
Many Christian Universities offer strong writing programs that nurture students’ natural talent but also explore how faith and writing relate. While not an exhaustive list, here are 10 of the best Christian Universities to study writing (no particular order).
1. Cornerstone University
Cornerstone resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan and offers three writing degrees: (1) Creative Writing, (2) Professional writing, and (3) Publishing. These programs have a similar core, but each has distinct classes that allow writers to explore different ways to write professionally. The three writing programs are all either 43 or 44 credits, so students typically have room to minor in something that supplements their skills.
Creating Writing majors study poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, Professional Writing majors investigate writing of the workplace, like grant writing, feature writing, or news reporting, and Publishing majors explore how to work well in the publishing industry, especially through editing.
Cornerstone’s writing majors have enough in common that students can easily switch from one to another, and they do an excellent job of encouraging students to take beneficial courses outside their department.
- Introduction to Publishing
- Feature Writing
- Fiction Writing
2. Cedarville University
Cedarville University is near Dayton, Ohio and only an hour from both Cincinnati and Columbus. It has both an English and Professional Writing program. The core of the English major has a significant amount of literature courses but it also contains two writing-centric concentrations: (1) Creative writing and (2) Composition and Rhetoric.
The Professional Writing program uses the core skills of writing, editing, and design to prepare students to write in publishing houses, corporate settings, or nonprofits. Students get opportunities to proofread for a publishing company, manage the major’s blog, and write or edit campus materials to build their writing portfolio.
Both programs offer attractive minors that bring the two programs together. The English major has a creative writing minor that is popular among Professional Writing students while Professional Writing has an Editing and Publishing minor that many English majors take.
- Professional Editing
- Content Strategy and Development
- Creative Nonfiction
3. Taylor University
Taylor University, located in Upland, Indiana, has a broad Professional Writing major, focusing on many genres within both fiction and nonfiction. Jerry Jenkins, the author of the Left Behind series, has praised the program, saying that students learn the publishing industry “from the inside out.”
Students write creatively for businesses and the publishing industry and even learn some basic design skills. The Professional Writing program also hosts a yearly writer’s conference. The conference includes a workshop where attendees get feedback on their writing and revise it, and a few sessions on how the writing industry works, like how to pitch your writing.
- The Writer’s Craft
- Book Editing and Publishing
- Magazine Production and Feature Writing
4. Oklahoma Baptist University
Oklahoma Baptist is located in Shawnee, Oklahoma and has an excellent creative writing program taught by a strong faculty. Of special note, Dr. Alan Noble is editor-in-chief of Christ and Pop Culture, the popular online magazine and wrote the book Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, published by Intervarsity Press.
The curriculum requires students to take a core that is heavy on literature and then gives them a chance to explore creative writing. Students also get to choose electives that correspond with their interests, such as courses on playwriting, newswriting, and feature writing.
- Introduction to Non-Fiction Writing
- Writing for Online Spaces
- Intermediate Fiction Workshop
5. Calvin University
Calvin University is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they have a broad degree called Writing. While the major has fewer credit hours than most, 36, it has maximum flexibility. Students have only two core courses and then select the rest of their credits from long lists of choices.
Many of these choices are literature courses, but the variety of literature allows students to study genres in which they are interested. They also take one business or journalism class. The small amount of required credit hours means that students can easily take a minor or even another major, adding even more flexibility to the Calvin writing experience.
- The Craft of Writing
- Creative Writing: Fiction
6. Biola University
Biola is located in Southern California and has an English degree with a Writing concentration. The core curriculum for English majors is 30 hours and requires students to take mostly literature courses. Students in the writing concentration then get to take five writing-centric courses that range from more creative genres to technical communication.
One of the most interesting things about Biola’s program is their literary journal, Inkslinger. This student-run publication features writing and artwork by students and alumni. Current students get real world experience in editing and publishing, and Inkslinger provides an outlet for others to published their work.
- Studies in Specialized Writing
- Creative Writing: Fiction
- Creative Writing: Nonfiction
7. Liberty University
Liberty resides in Lynchburg, Virginia, and like Calvin University, has a broad major called Writing. The major is only 36 hours and gives students 34-40 hours of free electives they can use to explore other writing courses or supplement their skills. Even within the Writing core, students have plenty of options to fulfill literature and writing course requirements.
Liberty also has a literary journal, Lamp, that publishes all types of creative writing and art. Faculty advisors help publish the journal on a bi-annual basis, giving students multiple opportunities a year to submit their work.
- Editing, Layout, & Publishing
- Introduction to Inspirational Writing
8. Messiah College
Messiah is located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and has an English major with two writing concentrations: (1) Creative Writing and (2) Professional Writing. Both concentrations require a variety of literature courses and then give students the freedom to pick writing courses that fit their needs.
Students who study Professional Writing will study how to write for media and the workplace. They explore how to use rhetoric to accomplish the goal of their newspaper, magazine, or organization.
The Creative Writing concentration encourages students to take workplace writing courses as well, but it also offers poetry classes and an Introduction to Creative Writing course.
- Writing for Social Change
- Magazine Writing
- Writing: Formal Poetry
9. Wheaton College
Wheaton is located near Chicago and has a Writing concentration in its English major. After students take a core of literature courses, they select 16 hours of writing classes from an impressive list. This list includes both creative and rhetorical writing courses.
The program also has three publications: a weekly newspaper, a yearbook, and a literary magazine called Kodon, which publishes students creative writing and artwork once a semester. Wheaton offers three writing contests as well, one that’s focused specifically on Creative Writing.
- Writing and Community Art
- Short Story
- Long Form Fiction
10. Corban University
Corban resides in Salem, Oregon and offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Creative Writing. Students take 18 hours of literature courses and then 24 hours in writing studies. The lower credit hours allows students to minor in a related discipline if they wish.
Creative writing students work with a strong faculty, including Corban’s Writer in Residence, Gina Ochsner. Ochsner has won several awards for her short stories and novels, and publications like The New Yorker and Kenyon Review have published her stories.
Finally, the major promotes a poetry club called Stinky Bagels where students come to discuss poetry. As you might imagine, they also eat bagels.
- Script and Screen Writing
- Short Story Writing
- Poetry Writing
Christ-centered Focus to Studying Writing
All ten of these programs will strengthen your writing skills and help you explore the intersection of faith and writing. Many of their faculty have published their writing and have the expertise to guide you as you cultivate your own talent. To learn more about these programs, see their websites and contact their faculty.
For those who are looking for a job, we provide an overview of the top 10 writing and editing jobs. If you are looking to improve your writing skills without a formal education, read our article on the top 10 free writing resources online.