Ernest Hemingway reportedly said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Becoming a writer requires hard work and discipline, but not only that. Pursuing a career as a professional writer takes courage. Combine hard work with dedication, and a recipe for a successful career as a writer is possible. In order to write full-time, while being paid for your efforts, you must understand the practical side of becoming a writer.
Some of the best online degrees for writers explore all forms of communication. Professional writers must be excellent readers, have a love for language, and understand their creative sides. Thankfully, there are degrees available for writers that hone skills, craft, and talent.
We’ve put together a list of the top online degrees for aspiring writers. While many of the degrees listed below vary in curriculum and course study, they have a common thread. All require a passion for communication and a love for writing.
Top 20 Online Degrees for Writers
Below is a list of the 20 best online degrees for writers and writing. We hope this list helps you determine which major fits your needs while pursuing your love and passion for writing.
#20 – Online Master’s in Theatre Arts
A master’s in theatre or theatre arts is a diversified degree program that emphasizes training and knowledge in theatre while honing students’ performance skills. An online theatre degree can be earned at performing-arts schools or in various colleges and universities. Students take a series of theatre courses that cover topics like acting and beginning scene study, modern theatre history and literature, and production. Courses prepare students who want to pursue a career in writing by sharpening their knowledge of storytelling through performing arts. Some programs offer concentrations in screenwriting, directing, and production. Students also write papers, study plays and literature, and learn about stage management.
Schools offering an online theatre-arts degree:
#19 – Online Bachelor’s in History
An online bachelor’s in history from a reputable institution can serve as preparation for a writing career. Most history programs are designed to develop strong research and writing skills. Through the exploration of history, students learn how to draw comparisons to current issues and trends. Since papers are a major component of a history major, students develop writing skills needed to effectively write for blogs, journals, magazines, and newspapers, as well as other forms of media. Graduates of history programs can utilize their analytical and problem-solving skills and put their writing muscle to work. Industries for individuals with online bachelor’s degrees in history include business, education, journalism, law, publishing, and research.
Schools offering an online history degree:
#18 – Online Bachelor’s in Mass Communications
A writer, whether they are composing fiction or technical pieces, must know how to communicate. One of the best online degrees for writers is an online bachelor’s in mass communications. A mass-media communications degree program focuses on journalism techniques as well as communication issues in culture, history, society, and technology. Students can expect to become equipped with skills that help them analyze media and prepare them for a broad spectrum of careers. Many mass-communications majors pursue jobs in advertising, broadcasting, publishing, and writing. This online degree for writing is versatile, preparing students by helping them develop skills that hone their communication abilities.
Schools offering an online mass-communications degree:
#17 – Online Bachelor’s in Technical Writing
Technical writers work in any industry that utilizes technology — so, basically anywhere. In an online bachelor’s in technical writing program, students hone their technical-writing skills and abilities and learn how to translate complex information or instructions into organized and readable materials. Common courses offered in a technical-writing program cover topics like document design, graphic communication, online documentation, technical writing and editing, and technology and information. Students may also learn about grant writing, persuasive-writing techniques, and writing for business and government. Graduates of a four-year technical-writing degree program often pursue roles as documentation designers, engineering writers, information developers, and, of course, technical writers.
Schools offering an online technical-writing degree:
#16 – Online Bachelor’s in Linguistics
A degree in linguistics can help you understand how language works. Linguistics students examine the acquisition, development, structure, and use of languages around the world. Courses cover topics like acquisition of phonology and syntax, experimental pragmatics, historical and comparative linguistics, language myths, second-language acquisition, and the language of our ancestors. Some programs offer concentrations that allow students to focus on a particular area of interest. Common concentrations include communication disorders, computation, second languages, sociolinguistics, and world languages. Common careers for linguistics graduates include ESL teachers, interpreters, language researchers, and translators.
Schools offering an online linguistics degree:
#15 – Online Bachelor’s in Technical Communications
Students pursuing an online Bachelor of Science degree in technical communications learn how to create, design, and manage information. Communication platforms are examined and applied within the workplace and across various audience types. Students learn how to use technical communication to their advantage as they become experts in the field of communication. Course topics include professional publication, proposal writing, visual communications, and writing and technology. At the foundation of the technical-communications program, students establish superb English and logic skills that help them address topics in all areas of critical writing. These foundational elements make a technical-communications degree one of the best online degrees for writers, especially for those pursuing journalism, law, and marketing.
Schools offering an online technical-communications degree:
#14 – Online Bachelor’s in Literature
An online bachelor’s in literature or English literature is the perfect degree for writers, media hounds, and bibliophiles. Students study the classics as well as contemporary hits that impact the world we live in. Depending on the literature program, specializations might also be offered. Specializations may cover specific genres of literature or focus more on time periods. Some literature programs spotlight arts and humanities, while others hone creative-writing skills. A literature degree is a good match for aspiring writers, because students are required to read works written by some of the best writers in the world. Classical literature, modern British literature, romance literature, and Shakespeare studies are all explored within a literature program, giving students an opportunity to hone their reading tastes, writing ability, and critical-analysis skills.
Schools offering an online literature degree:
#13 – Online Master’s in Library Science
If you do not have the certainty of a publishing career, or if you are hesitant to become a full-time writer and want to have a career to fall back on while improving your craft and finding your voice, an online master’s in library science may be of interest to you. An online master’s in library science provides the perfect working environment. What better working space than a room surrounded by books to inspire an author? Online master’s in library science programs offer courses that cover topics like data and digital stewardship, information innovation through design thinking, and leading and managing information organizations. Students should seek only accredited programs that align themselves with the American Library Association. Steps to becoming a librarian include acquiring a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, gaining some work-related experience, earning an MLS degree from an ALA-accredited program, obtaining state licensure, and pursuing a librarian career.
Schools offering an online library-science degree:
#12 – Online Bachelor’s in Art History
If you have a passion for art, photography, or multimedia, and if you want to turn these passions into marketable professional skills as a writer for a magazine or online publication, consider earning a bachelor’s in art history. An art-history program provides useful skills, including critical analysis, identification and classification, history, and writing. Graduates of art-history programs pursue careers as archivists, curators, museum workers, and art and architecture magazine writers and editors. Courses offered in an online bachelor’s in art history program cover topics like art from Renaissance to Modernism, art of Africa, art of Asia, history of photography, and research methods. While some students only major in art history, others study a minor alongside the degree. Popular minors for art-history majors include digital photography and graphic design.
Schools offering an online art-history degree:
#11 – Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts
Majoring in liberal arts provides a broad overview of the humanities, and it prepares the aspiring writer through hands-on experience. The online bachelor’s in liberal arts program includes courses in history, humanities, literature, philosophy, and writing. The program offers an overview of studies in various fields that provide the student with much information to think about. After all, a writer requires material and experiences to share. Also, the courses required for a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts require a wealth of writing opportunities. Students can expect to write papers, give oral presentations, and hone their writing skills. A liberal-arts degree is one of the best online degree programs for writers because of its broad education and the diverse topics explored.
Schools offering an online liberal-arts degree:
#10 – Online Master of Arts in Theatre
For students wanting to become playwrights or screenwriters, an online Master of Arts in theatre provides an interesting educational approach to a writing career. Not only is the graduate program the perfect online degree for writers, but it offers career prospects directly out of college. While pounding on the keys at night and honing your craft, you can pay your bills during the day working at a local theatre or acting school. An online Master of Arts degree in theatre provides the skills necessary to work as a casting director, set designer, theatre company manager, and various other roles within the field of performing arts. These roles allow you to explore different writing mediums, learn about scene development, and grasp the important aspects of storytelling.
Schools offering an online theatre degree:
#9 – Online Bachelor’s in Journalism Studies
An online bachelor’s degree in journalism or journalism studies emphasizes writing for media. Students learn how to write journalistically while honing research and editing skills. The journalism program is among the best online degrees for writers because it provides courses that emphasize both oral and written communication. Students interested in public relations are encouraged to pursue this online degree. Also, students who aren’t sure which area of writing they want to pursue as a long-term career may explore options within the journalism program. Students learn news reporting, broadcast writing, social-media management, and media writing, which help to form a comprehensive skillset for aspiring writers. Some journalism programs also offer concentrations that allow students to explore areas of interest. Popular concentrations for journalism majors include broadcast journalism, general journalism, and photojournalism.
Schools offering an online journalism-studies degree:
#8 – Online Bachelor’s in Creative Writing
An online creative-writing degree, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, is beneficial to the career of a writer. Learning to write well is a skill that can only be perfected by experience. While there are various types of writing degrees, an online bachelor’s in creative writing provides hands-on experience for those pursuing a career as an author of fiction or poetry. The major offers extensive practice in creative writing, as well as in reading classical and contemporary works of fiction. Most online creative-writing degree programs provide opportunities for the writer’s work to be edited, critiqued, and reviewed. Students learn how to take criticism, which is sometimes the downside of a professional writing career. In some programs, a final project may be required. Final projects may be a publishable piece of fiction.
Schools offering an online creative-writing degree:
#7 – Online Bachelor’s in English
An online English degree provides students with the skills required to read, study, and analyze literature in an in-depth fashion. Students spend most of their time reading and analyzing literature, which prepares them with the ability to analyze, critique, and write. Students can expect to learn how to think critically, write in a clear and polished manner, and explore a passion for reading, which makes the English degree one of the best online degree programs for writers. English majors may pursue careers in publishing, editing, and writing. Some graduates have even entered law school, library science, and master’s-level fine-arts programs with the help of their English degree. Add-on concentrations make an English degree even more versatile. Popular concentrations for English majors include creative writing, film and media, and screenwriting.
Schools offering an online English degree:
#6 – Online Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
MFA programs are among the best online degrees for writers because they offer various areas of specialty and hone the aspiring writers’ creative skills. MFA programs may include such specialties as education, technology and digital arts, and creative writing. The creative-writing program may or may not require residency. Some programs are presented fully online and provide students with creative-writing workshops and flexible courses. The online MFA in creative writing allows students to create and perfect a publishable manuscript in a genre of their choice. For students with aspirations of becoming a published author, the online MFA degree in creative writing provides a promising path. Many students graduate the program having secured a literary agent, and sometimes a book deal.
#5 – Online Bachelor’s in a Foreign Language
For those with a love for travel and a passion for writing, an online bachelor’s in a foreign language might be the perfect degree option. If you’ve studied a foreign language in high school, you may enroll in a similar program in college, as most colleges and universities have foreign-language requirements that must be met. However, you do not need to study the same language that you studied in high school. College is a great time to explore a new language. Some of the different foreign language programs offered at schools include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Placement testing is offered for students who have prior experience in their foreign language of choice and desire to earn credit for their efforts. If you have no prior experience with a language, you will likely enroll in an introductory course.
Schools offering an online foreign-language degree:
#4 – Online Bachelor’s in Marketing
Undergraduate degrees in marketing are fairly common, as most schools offer this program, but some colleges offer specialization options in copywriting for those interested in a unique writing program. This combination degree is ideal for those aspiring writers who would prefer to work in a corporate environment following graduation. However, freelance writers may also enjoy this major. Coursework for copywriting and marketing programs explores topics like analytical reading, digital fundamentals, digital imaging, media and society, and persuasive writing. The program also prepares students for graduate degrees in marketing or advertising. In both program levels, students learn how to create content that is appealing to a given audience, create advertising slogans for ad campaigns, and write appealing copy.
Schools offering an online marketing degree:
#3 – Online Bachelor’s in Psychology
Psychology students learn a lot about communication, presentation, and writing during their time in class. Psychology programs and careers combine the knowledge of human behavior with the written word. In most undergraduate psychology programs, students hone their writing and editing craft. They research and write papers, give presentations, and work collaboratively on projects. Through extensive practice, students work on their writing and communication abilities. Undergraduate psychology courses cover topics like abnormal psychology, behavioral neuroscience, child psychology, cognitive psychology, and social foundations in general psychology. As a psychology major, writing is emphasized. The major is designed to prepare you for a career that depends on communicating effectively with others. Most of the writing required as a psychology major is academic writing. You will learn how to support your assertions, avoid overstating an argument, and improve the way you think about writing.
Schools offering an online psychology degree:
#2 – Online Bachelor’s and Master’s in Publishing
While it is a relatively new major, there are a few online bachelor’s in publishing programs available at select colleges and universities. The stand-alone publishing degree is designed for students looking to land a position with a publishing house following graduation. These students may also have professional-writing aspirations. Publishing majors require a large amount of writing and editing that could prove useful for aspiring authors, editors, and freelance writers. An undergraduate publishing degree prepares students for graduate degrees in publishing, such as the MFA in publishing. Courses in graduate-level publishing programs include both business and publishing topics. Common topics include copyright law in print and cyberspace, ethics in publishing, fundamentals of electronic publishing, marketing strategies, and production management. Most graduate programs in publishing take two years to complete.
Schools offering an online publishing degree:
#1 – Online Bachelor’s in Education
One of the most versatile majors for an aspiring writer is education. An online bachelor’s in education degree focuses on pedagogy and curriculum development, along with the creation and development of written materials. This degree is a potential choice for individuals who want to specialize in writing for schools or reference and education markets. Since the field of education is a highly fertile career niche, plentiful editing and writing opportunities are available. Some career choices may be editing jobs with curriculum-development companies or textbook publishers. As an education major, you will be able to choose an area of education to specialize in. Your options may include curriculum and development, elementary education, and more.
Schools offering an online education degree: