English Writing Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in an English writing bachelor's or master's degree program? Read about English writing bachelor's and master's degree program requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and master's degree program and potential careers.
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Studying English Writing: Degrees at a Glance

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in English writing teach students the art of writing and how to begin a career as a writer. You will be able to choose an area of concentration in your writing, such as fiction, journalism, poetry, or advertising. In an English writing bachelor's or master's degree program, you will have the opportunity to work closely with professors in classes and workshops and to publish your work in student publications. You will also be able to work with authors who visit the university campus and give readings or lectures.

Bachelor's Master's
Who is this degree for?Individuals who want to become writers or who plan to go to graduate school in writing People who want to work full-time or part-time as professional writers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Writer ($68,000)*\ - Writer for newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers ($54,000)*\ - Writer for advertising, public relations, and related services ($78,000)* \ - Writer for motion picture and video industries ($100,000)* \ - Writer for radio and television broadcasting ($64,000)*\ - Writer for other information services ($64,000)* Career paths for the master's degree are similar to those of the bachelor's degree, although there might be more advancement opportunities for candidates holding a master's degree
Time to Completion4 years, full-time 2-3 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 20 courses - About 12 courses \ - Thesis
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent Bachelor's degree
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

English Writing Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree program in English writing prepares you to become a writer in the real world. You will be able to concentrate in a certain area of writing, such as journalism or creative writing, and develop expertise in that style. You will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with professors and to write for student publications, including newspapers, yearbooks, or literary magazines.

In addition, English writing bachelor's degree programs will have writing centers where you can work with tutors to develop your writing skills. You can bring in drafts of an academic paper and receive feedback and editing help.

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor's Degree in English Writing

Pros

  • You will be able to choose a concentration in the kind of writing you enjoy the most
  • You will have the opportunity to get published in student publications to build your writing portfolio
  • You will gain practical experience in writing that can be applied to writing jobs after you graduate

Cons

  • You will need to be able to receive critical feedback about your writing
  • If you choose to become a freelance writer after graduation, you will most likely need to work on many projects at once and continuously look for work
  • Much of your work as a writer will be done in solitude, so it may not be the best field for a people person

Courses and Requirements

In a bachelor's English writing degree program, you will have the opportunity to take courses in the areas in which you have the most interest, and thus practice your writing. Some common courses include:

  • Creative writing
  • Business writing
  • Proposal and grant writing
  • Technical writing
  • Second language writing

Online Course Info

Courses for English writing degree programs are available online. In some cases, it may be possible to complete all of your coursework online and to have 24/7 access to classes. You may also combine online study with coursework on campus.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

You can focus on developing a portfolio of professional-quality samples of writing. This will help you gain practical experience in professional writing and also help you to find a good job when you graduate.

If you want to stand out, you can also participate in student internships. As an intern, you can learn how to interview people, write articles, and conduct research.

English Writing Master's Degree

A master's degree program in English writing provides an opportunity to work closely with faculty and other students to fulfill your literary objectives. Graduate programs give you a chance to complete an intense study and practice of writing with authors who have been published. Classes are usually small, and students have the chance to have individual conferences with professors. Students may also have the opportunity to meet well-known fiction and non-fiction writers who visit campus and give readings and lectures. A master's degree program in English writing helps you develop more advanced writing skills and prepares you to become a full-time or part-time professional writer.

Pros and Cons of a Master's Degree in English Writing

Pros

  • You will have the opportunity to work closely with faculty
  • You can develop professional writing skills to work full-time as a writer
  • You will be able to work closely with published authors

Cons

  • You will need to complete a master's thesis
  • Professional writers often have to work nights and weekends to meet a deadline
  • The job market for writers is very competitive

Courses and Requirements

Students in a graduate program will need to complete a master's thesis, which typically involves writing a manuscript for publication and passing an oral defense. Some courses you may take in a master's English writing program include:

  • Advanced essay writing
  • Advanced non-fiction writing
  • Advanced poetry workshop
  • Teaching writing
  • Advanced memoir writing

Online Course Info

Online master's degree programs in English writing are available. In them, you can take all of your courses and submit your necessary assignments online, which will prepare you to work as a professional writer in fields such as business, industry, and government. Continuing education classes in writing are also available.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

You can stand out by learning skills to work with online media and developing expertise in computer software and editing tools. For instance, if you would like to get writing experience and exposure to a readership base, you may want to consider writing an Internet blog.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Creative Writing for Entertainment
      • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Creative Writing for Entertainment
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Human Communications
      • B.S. General Studies - Communication
      • B.S. Communications
  • Ames, IA

    Iowa State University

  • East Lansing, MI

    Michigan State University

  • Moscow, ID

    University of Idaho

  • Harrisonburg, VA

    James Madison University

  • Online Programs Available
    8. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Humanities (Communication Studies)

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Creative Writing for Entertainment

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BS Human Communications
  • B.S. General Studies - Communication
  • B.S. Communications

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Excelsior College

  • BA in Humanities (Communication Studies)

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