20 Online Writing Degrees for a Professional Writing Career

Becoming a writer takes hard work. Ernest Hemingway reportedly said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Sound painful? It takes courage and discipline to be a professional writer. But if you mix the right kind of education with this recipe for success, your efforts can pay off.

An image of a typewriter for our article on the 20 Best Online Degrees for Writers and Writing

College Degrees for Writers

There are benefits to earning a writing degree. In college, you learn how to write. You also improve your existing writing skills. But most of all, you uncover your voice and get to know your creative side.

If you have a love for language and want to work as a writer, you should consider earning a degree in writing. Writing degrees include studies in:

  • Communication
  • Creative writing
  • Literature
  • Technical writing
  • Theater

You don’t only have to study writing to succeed in a professional career as a writer. Authors, for example, have degrees in subjects other than writing. Some earn degrees in English and history, while others major in linguistics. And if you want to earn your degree online, you can. In fact, you can find many degrees for writers online.

Read on to learn more about the best writing degrees if you want to find work as a professional writer.

Top 20 Online Degrees for Writers

Below is a list of 20 best degrees in writing, many of which you can find online. These degrees can help you discover your passion for language and the written word.

#20 – Online Master’s in Theatre Arts

A master’s in theatre arts (Master of Arts) is a diversified degree program. It emphasizes training and knowledge in theater. It also hones your performance skills.

So, how does a theater degree help your writing? Besides theater courses in acting and production, you can sharpen your storytelling skills. Courses that prepare you for writing careers include:

  • Directing
  • Production
  • Screenwriting

Your classes have many writing requirements. You write papers about history and literature. You can also write your own plays and performances. You can also earn a concentration in an area that enhances your writing abilities. Many students pick up a concentration in playwriting or screenwriting.

Your courses ask you to read scripts and study performances. You learn from cinema and stage masters. The skills you learn as a theater major can help you become a better writer.

Find a degree for writing at:

Regent University

#19 – Online Bachelor’s in History

A bachelor’s degree in history from an accredited school can help you achieve a career in writing. History degree programs help you develop strong research and writing abilities.

As a history major, you learn how to draw comparisons to current issues and trends. You do this by writing papers. In most of the classes you take, you will write papers and improve your writing abilities. These skills can help you write for different platforms, such as:

  • Blogs
  • Journals
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Other forms of media

Graduates of history programs have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. In graduate school, you exercise and grow your writing muscle. You build on the skills you developed as an undergraduate and become a seasoned writer.

Once you’ve discovered your voice, you can work in industries that want writing skills. You can find work in:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Publishing
  • Research

Schools offering history degrees for writing:

Arizona State University
Oregon State University

An image of a writer for our list of 20 Online Writing Degrees for a Professional Writing Career

#18 – Online Bachelor’s in Mass Communications

If you want to write fiction or technical pieces, you should have good communication skills. One of the best online degrees that writing schools offer for improved communication skills is mass communications. In this kind of program, you learn how to communicate and develop your communication skills.

You study all kinds of media while earning your bachelor’s degree. From advertising to publishing, you learn about different communication platforms. You work on your writing skills and see how they will carry you into careers in:

  • Advertising
  • Broadcasting
  • Professional writing
  • Public relations
  • Publishing

A mass-media communications degree program also gives you journalism experience. You learn how to communicate issues in:

  • Culture
  • History
  • Society
  • Technology

Schools offering an online mass communications degree:

Southern New Hampshire University
University of Maryland Global Campus

#17 – Online Bachelor’s in Technical Writing

Technical writers work in any industry that uses technology. An online bachelor’s in technical writing program teaches you how to write for the industry. You learn how to translate complex information into readable forms.

The program also teaches you how to write for specific platforms. You learn how to write journal articles and training guides.

Depending on where you work, you might write policies and grants. You learn a valuable skill set that employers value.

Technical writing courses you take cover topics such as:

  • Business writing
  • Document design
  • Graphic communication
  • Online documentation
  • Technical writing and editing
  • Technology and information

You also take classes in specialty writing, such as business and grant writing. No matter what writing courses you take, you learn how to write with persuasive techniques that technical writers use.

Graduates of a four-year tech writing program can look for work as technical writers. Other jobs you can qualify for include:

  • Documentation designers
  • Engineering writers
  • Information developers

Here you can find a writing degree online in technical writing:

University of Arkansas Little Rock

#16 – Online Bachelor’s in Linguistics

A bachelor’s degree in linguistics can help you understand how language works. It helps you improve your writing skills through your language studies.

You examine the use of language around the world. You also study language structure and development. Your courses cover topics such as:

  • Historical and comparative linguistics
  • Language myths
  • Second language acquisition
  • The language of our ancestors

In a linguistics program, you can earn a concentration. A concentration allows you to focus your studies on an area of interest. Popular concentrations include communication disorders, computation, second languages, and world languages.

Once you graduate, you’re ready for a writing career as an ESL teacher, language researcher, and more.

Schools where you can find an online linguistics writing degree:

Boston University
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

#15 – Online Bachelor’s in Technical Communications

An online bachelor’s degree in technical communications teaches you how to create, design, and manage information. Communication platforms exist in the workplace and across various audience types. You use them to communicate with colleagues, staff, and others.

In this bachelor’s degree program, you learn how to use technical communication. You also learn how to write proposals and press releases. You use this type of communication to publish articles. You take classes such as:

  • Professional publication
  • Proposal writing
  • Visual communications
  • Writing and technology
  • Writing instruction manuals

At the foundation of this program, you establish strong writing and communication skills. Your skills help you address topics in all areas of critical writing. The foundation you get in this business writing degree program helps you find work in journalism. You can also go to work in law, marketing, and publishing.

You can find college degree for writers programs at:

Arizona State University
Northeastern University

An image of a writing student for our list of 20 Online Writing Degrees for a Professional Writing Career

#14 – Online Bachelor’s in Literature

An online bachelor’s in literature or English literature is the perfect degree for:

  • Bibliophiles
  • Media hounds
  • Professional writers

You study the classics as well as contemporary hits that impact the world we live in. Depending on the literature program, you can earn a specialization. Specializations cover specific genres of literature or focus more on time periods. You can also pick up a creative writing major or minor.

Some literature programs spotlight arts and humanities. Others help hone your creative writing skills. A literature degree is a good match for aspiring authors. In this program, you read works written by some of the best professional writers in the world.

Literature programs offer courses in both literature and writing. You can take classes in modern British literature and Shakespeare. You can also study fiction writing or take part in writing workshops. By reading and writing, you improve your reading tastes and writing abilities. You also develop your critical analysis skills.

Schools offering an online literature degree:

UMASS Dartmouth
University of Central Florida

#13 – Online Master’s in Library Science

Are you hesitant about becoming a full-time writer? Want a career to fall back on while you improve your craft and find your voice?

Your writing education doesn’t have to be linear. An online master’s in library science gives you access to books while providing a steady paycheck. What better place to work than in a room surrounded by books? Even better if your dream is to become an author.

In a library science program, you take courses that cover different topics, such as:

  • Data and digital stewardship
  • Information innovation through design thinking
  • Library science writing
  • Managing information organizations

To become a librarian, you should find accredited programs. These programs align themselves with the American Library Association. Steps to becoming a librarian include:

  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in any discipline
  • Gaining some work-related experience
  • Earning an MLS degree from an ALA-accredited program
  • Obtaining state licensure
  • Pursuing a librarian career

Schools that offer an online library science degree:

Drexel University
University of South Carolina

#12 – Online Bachelor’s in Art History

Do you have a passion for art, photography, or multimedia? Want to turn these passions into marketable professional skills as a writer? Consider earning a bachelor’s in art history.

An art history program provides useful writing skills. You learn critical analysis through your research and writing assignments. You also learn about history and how to write about past events.

Graduates of art history programs find work as:

  • Archivists
  • Curators
  • Editors of art magazines
  • Museum workers

While taking courses for your degree, you study subjects that improve your critical thinking skills. You study topics like:

  • Art from Renaissance to Modernism
  • Art of Africa
  • Art of Asia
  • History of photography
  • Research methods

Art history is a standalone major. But some students earn a minor alongside the degree. If you’re interested in fiction writing or another writing degree, you can study other subjects. You can also write for the camera while studying art. You find this unique blend of studies in a digital photography or graphic design program.

Schools offering an online art history degree:

Arizona State University

#11 – Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts

Majoring in liberal arts provides a broad overview of the humanities. It prepares a future writer through hands-on experience. You take courses that let you discover your interests. You also improve your writing skills.

An online liberal arts degree program includes courses that cover broad subjects, such as:

  • History
  • Humanities
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Writing

You get an overview of studies in various fields. It is the exposure to different subjects that help you expand and grow your experiences. After all, professional writers tap from their well of experience and share these experiences with the world.

Your courses prepare you for a writing career. They include many writing classes. They also offer many different writing opportunities. You can expect to:

  • Give oral presentations
  • Write research papers
  • Work on your own writing

A liberal arts bachelor’s degree is a top choice for writers because of its broad education.

Schools offering an online liberal arts degree:

Greenville University
University of Massachusetts Online

An image of a typewriter for our list of 20 Online Writing Degrees for a Professional Writing Career

#10 – Online Master’s in Theater

Do you want a job as a playwright or screenwriter? Want to turn an acting hobby into a writing career?

A Master of Arts in Theater degree gives you a unique approach to your writing studies. This program teaches you how to write plays and performances.

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.

Jobs for Theater Majors

This online degree helps you develop skills to work as a:

  • Casting director
  • Set designer
  • Theatre company manager

As a student in an undergraduate or graduate level theater program, you explore different writing media. You also learn about scene development and setting. These skills help you learn important aspects of storytelling. They also prepare you for a career as a writer.

Schools offering an online theater degree:

University of Northern Colorado

#9 – Online Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism Studies

An online bachelor’s degree in journalism program focuses on writing for media. This program teaches you how to write like a journalist. It also hones your research and editing skills.

Why does this program work for writers? Because your writing classes emphasize both oral and written communication.

If you’re interested in writing majors that cover public relations, this degree can help. It is also a good degree if you aren’t sure which area of journalistic writing you want to work in. The program covers many different topics, including:

  • Broadcast writing
  • Media writing
  • News reporting
  • Social-media management

All these help to form a comprehensive skillset for budding writers.

Some journalism programs also offer concentrations. This means you can explore areas of interest. Popular concentrations for journalism majors include:

  • Broadcast journalism
  • General journalism
  • Photojournalism

Schools offering journalism majors include:

North Dakota State University
University of Massachusetts

#8 – Online Bachelor’s in Creative Writing

An online creative writing degree benefits a writer’s career. Creative writing programs teach you the skill of writing through hands-on experiences. It is a great major for a career as author of fiction or nonfiction.

A creative writing degree program offers extensive practice in creative writing. You also study classic and contemporary works of fiction. Online creative writing programs provide opportunities for a writer’s work to be:

  • Critiqued
  • Edited
  • Reviewed

Creative writing students learn how to take criticism on their work. This is a critical part of being a professional writer. In some programs, you will complete a final project. This includes finishing your own writing, such as a short story or manuscript. Creative writing majors land book deals and find work as authors. They also work in the publishing industry.

Schools offering online creative writing degrees:

Lesley University
University of Central Florida

#7 – Online Bachelor’s in English

An online English degree can prepare you with good reading and study skills. You learn how to analyze works of literature and research topics. You spend most of your time reading books and writing papers.

In an English program, you can expect to explore your passion for books and reading. Students interested in writing learn how to draft, edit, and revise their work. Some programs offer writing workshops where you can have your papers edited.

There are many different writing opportunities for English majors. Students interested in improving their writing find an English degree a good choice.

With the help of an English degree, graduates have gone on to law school. They have also entered other master’s-level fine-arts programs. College students can find work in:

  • Library science
  • Public relations
  • Publishing industry

Some college students choose to earn a concentration. Add-on concentrations make an English degree more versatile. Popular concentrations for English majors include:

  • Creative writing concentration
  • Fiction writing concentration
  • Film and media
  • Screenwriting

Schools offering an online English degree:

Arizona State University
University of Colorado Denver

An image of a writing student for our list of 20 Online Writing Degrees for a Professional Writing Career

#6 – Online Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

An MFA degree program is a top choice for a writing career. It offers different areas of specialty that help develop a writer’s skills.

MFA programs let you specialize in an area of interest. Specialties include:

  • Creative writing
  • Education
  • Technology and digital arts

The creative writing program may or may not have a residency. Others let you learn online. But all provide you with creative writing workshops and flexible courses.

An online MFA in creative writing program also teaches you how to create and improve a publishable manuscript or short story collection. You can complete this work in a genre of your choice. For students who want to become a published author, the MFA can help. Many students sign with a literary agent before they graduate. Some land a book deal.

Schools offering an online MFA degree:
Boston University
Liberty University

#5 – Online Bachelor’s in a Foreign Language

If you love travel and have a passion for writing, a new language can be a good degree option.

Did you study a language in high school? If so, you might want to enroll in a similar program in college. Most schools have foreign-language requirements. But 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. Different programs offered at schools include:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Spanish

You can take a placement test if you have prior experience in a language. You can also take a placement exam if you want to earn credit for your past efforts. If you have no prior experience with a language, you can enroll in an introductory course.

Schools offering online language degrees:

Oregon State University
University of Maryland Global Campus

#4 – Online Bachelor’s in Marketing

Undergraduate degrees in marketing are common. Most schools offer this program. But some colleges have specialization options in copywriting. This unique writing add-on gives you a combination marketing degree. It is great for aspiring writers who want to work in a corporate environment.

But freelance writers can also get value from this major. Coursework for copywriting and marketing programs covers topics like:

  • Analytical reading
  • Digital imaging
  • Media and society
  • Persuasive writing

The program also prepares you for graduate programs, such as degrees in marketing or advertising. It also prepares you for work. In this type of program, you learn how to:

  • Create content that is appealing to a given audience
  • Create advertising slogans for ad campaigns
  • Write persuasive copy

Schools offering an online marketing degree:

Michigan State University
Temple University

#3 – Online Bachelor’s in Psychology

How can a psychology degree help you learn how to write? You don’t study creative writing. You don’t spend your days writing instruction manuals. But, you do write. Psychology students learn about communication and presentation. They research and write papers. They also edit and revise abstracts.

The many tasks you do in a psychology program prepare you to pursue careers in writing. So, while you study human behavior, you also learn how to write.

Through hands-on experience, you work on your writing and communication abilities. Undergraduate psychology courses cover topics like:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Child psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Social foundations in general psychology

In these classes, you write. Your major prepares you for a career that depends on communicating with others. Most of the writing required as a psychology major is academic writing. But the principles you learn work in any setting. Your classes teach you how to:

  • Avoid overstating an argument
  • Improve the way you think about writing
  • Support your assertions

Schools offering an online psychology degree:

Penn State World Campus
Southern New Hampshire University

#2 – Online Bachelor’s and Master’s in Publishing

Publishing is a new major for many schools. Few programs are available online. But if you plan to work in a publishing house after you graduate, this is a good stand-alone degree.

It is also a good degree for college students with professional writing aspirations. Publishing majors spend a lot of time writing and editing.

Jobs for Publishing Graduates

Publishing skills help you land jobs as:

  • Authors
  • Editors
  • Freelance writers

This degree also prepares you for graduate degrees in publishing. You can earn an MFA in publishing.

Courses in graduate-level publishing programs cover many topics. Some focus on the business side, while others focus on publishing.

Common topics you study include:

  • Copyright law in print and cyberspace
  • Ethics in publishing
  • Fundamentals of electronic publishing
  • Marketing strategies
  • Public relations

Most graduate programs in publishing take two years to complete.

Schools offering an online publishing degree:

Emerson College
George Washington University

#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
  • Teaching and instruction
  • The creation and development of written materials

If you want to write for schools and education markets, this is a good degree choice. You will get plenty of editing and writing experience in and out of class. Since education jobs are in demand, you will find a strong job outlook. Possible career choices include editing jobs with curriculum-development companies or textbook publishers.

As an education major, you can specialize in an area of education. Your options may include curriculum and development, gifted learning, or elementary education.

Schools offering an online education degree:

Drexel University
The University of Arizona Global Campus

An image of a typewriter for our list of 20 Online Writing Degrees for a Professional Writing Career

What can an online degree in writing teach you?

An online writing degree can teach you how to communicate. Students learn how to research, write, and deliver concise content. Depending on your target audience, a writing program can help you reach many different audiences.

If you’re looking for skills to launch your career as a writer, the first step is to earn a degree. An accredited writing program prepares you with plenty of writing opportunities. You can take part in writing workshops and have your pieces edited. You learn how to take constructive criticism. You also learn what it feels like to have your work read and reviewed.

There are many benefits to a writing degree. Read on to find out more about how a writing degree can help your career.

What are the benefits of a creative writing degree?

Besides the obvious–you learn how to write–there are many benefits to earning a degree in creative writing.

1. You develop thick skin

It’s not easy having your work critiqued and edited. It’s also not easy to hear your story read in public. But as a creative writing major, you see what it’s like to go through the scary process of sharing your work.

You learn not to take critiques personally. Receiving feedback is part of the course. But you will also get to experience how to give feedback to your peers.

2. You get to meet people like yourself

As a writer, you spend much of your time alone. But in a creative writing degree program, you meet others with like-minded interests. You share ideas and talk shop. You can also join a writer’s group where you exchange stories and help edit each other’s works.

Regular meetings with other writers can help sharpen your skills. You learn new techniques and expose yourself to different genres. You might also take an interest in an area you don’t write in because of your exposure to it.

3. You get practical experience

If you’re looking for experience before you search for writing careers, a degree can help. While earning your degree, you study writing. But you also learn how to edit and revise. Writing workshops also help you hone your craft and skill.

4. You learn about the industry

Many writing programs teach you about the writing community and publishing industry. Nowadays, your ability to network is as important as your knowledge. A creative writing program can help you learn about the industry in which you want to find work.

5. You make connections

You never know who your writing partner is or will be. You could share a creative writing class with the next Toni Morrison or Stephen King. In a writing program, you make connections. Your network grows. Even your professors can introduce you to world-renowned authors and publishing industry professionals.

BDP Staff
July 2022

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