COLUMBUS, Miss. – After just one semester, Mississippi University for Women’s master’s of fine arts program in creative writing has received a No. 1 ranking.

Ranking 1 0f 50 colleges and universities in the “Best Online Master’s in English & Creative Writing: Students Before Profits Award 2015-2016,” the program was notified by that the The W excels in the categories of affordability, accreditation and nonprofit status.

“We are proud to have been recognized by a national organization dedicated to affordable online education. We share their concerns about the rising cost of tuition, especially among for-profit colleges and universities, and over rising student debt, and we applaud their efforts to highlight institutions who put students first before profit,” said Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, professor of English and director of creative writing.

Starting with 11 students in August of 2015, the program was designed to be flexible. Students may study full-time or part-time and come to campus for four individual residencies according to their schedule, while other classes were taught fully online. Cross-genre and mixed genre writing options allow students to craft a program of study that best meets their schedules, their interests and their goals.

Currently, 16 students have enrolled for the 2016 spring semester. The MFA has gathered interest from The Netherlands, Canada and California, while enrolled students hail from Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina.

“The list of top schools is a distinguished one, and The W compares well both in terms of tuition and in terms of the quality of our degree,” added Dunkelberg. “We are pleased to be considered alongside other established programs. This will undoubtedly mean greater exposure for our young MFA.” rankings were designed to help prospective students make a smart choice about where to invest their time and money in earning their online degree. Schools and programs were evaluated based on publicly available information about accreditation, academic quality, student satisfaction, reputation in the field and cost.

The “Students Before Profits Award” was created to promote nonprofit colleges and universities offering online degree programs that put students before profits and education before the bottom line.