20 Best Online Degrees for Writers and Writing

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

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. But in order to write full-time, while being paid for your efforts, you must understand the practical side to 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.

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 Bachelor’s in Theatre Arts

A bachelor’s in theatre or theatre arts is a diversified degree program that emphasizes training and knowledge in theatre while also honing performance skills. An online theatre degree can be earned at performing arts schools or 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:

Regent University

#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 that hire individuals with online bachelor’s degrees in history include business, education, journalism, law, publishing, and research.

Schools offering an online history degree:

Arizona State University
Oregon State University

#18 – Online Bachelor’s in Mass Communications

A writer, whether 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 spectrum of careers. Many mass communications majors pursue jobs in advertising, broadcasting, publishing, and writing. This online degree for writing is versatile, preparing students with skills that hone their communication abilities.

Schools offering an online mass communications degree:

Southern New Hampshire University
University of Maryland University College

#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:

Arizona State University
University of Arkansas Little Rock

#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, computational, second languages, sociolinguistics, and world languages. Common career choices for linguistics graduates include ESL teachers, interpreters, language researchers, and translators.

Schools offering an online linguistics degree:

Boston University
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

#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 address topics in all areas of critical writing. The foundational elements make a technical communications degree one of the best online degrees for writers, especially those pursuing journalism, law, and marketing.

Schools offering an online technical communications degree: online theatre degree:

Arizona State University
Northeastern University

#14 – Online Bachelor’s in Literature

Earning 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. Depending on the literature program, specializations might also be offered. Specializations may cover 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:

UMASS Dartmouth
University of Central Florida

#13 – Online Master’s in Library Science

If you do not have the certainty of a publishing career, or 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 the author-to-be. 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 MSL degree from an ALA-accredited program, obtaining state licensure, and pursuing a librarian career.

Schools offering an online library science degree:

Drexel University
University of South Carolina

#12 – Online Bachelor’s in Art History

If you have a passion for art, photography, or multimedia, and 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 writers and editors for art and architecture magazines. Courses offered in an online bachelor’s in art history program, for example, cover topics like art from Renaissance to Modernism, art of Africa, art of Asia, history of photography, and research methods. While some students major in art history, others earn a minor alongside the degree. Popular minors for art history majors include digital photography and graphic design.

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, and prepares the aspiring writer through hands-on experience. The online bachelor of 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, becoming a writer requires having material and experiences to share. Also, the courses required for a bachelor of liberal arts degree 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 diverse topics explored.

Schools offering an online liberal arts degree:

Greenville University
University of Massachusetts Online

#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 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 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:

Regent University
University of Northern Colorado

#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 provide 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:

North Dakota State University
University of Massachusetts

#8 – Online Bachelor’s in Creative Writing

An online creative writing degree, whether undergraduate or graduate, 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 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:

Lesley University
University of Central Florida

#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 students 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, or screenwriting.

Schools offering an online English degree:

Arizona State University
University of Colorado Denver

#6 – Online Master in 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, or creative writing. The creative writing online 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 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.

Schools offering an online MFA degree:
Boston University
Liberty University

#5 – Online Bachelor’s in a Foreign Language

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 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 earning credit for their efforts. If no prior experience with a language, you will likely enroll in an introductory course.

Schools offering an online foreign language degree:

Oregon State University
University of Maryland Global Campus

#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 prefer to work in a corporate environment following graduation. But freelance writers, too, may 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:

Michigan State University
Temple University

#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 over-stating an argument, and improve the way you think about writing.

Schools offering an online psychology degree:

Penn State World Campus
Southern New Hampshire University

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

While a relatively new major, there are 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:

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, 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. Possible choices may include curriculum and development, elementary education, gifted and learning education, and more.

Schools offering an online education degree:

Drexel University
The University of Arizona Global Campus

BDP Staff
October 2021

Related resources:

30 Best Marketing Degree Online Programs (Bachelor’s)
30 Best Online Bachelor’s in English Degrees
30 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Communications Degrees Online: Small Private Colleges
Top 30 Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Psychology
Ultimate Guide to Liberal Arts Degrees and Careers

This concludes our article on the 20 best online degrees for writers and writing.

Brenda Rufener
Author

Julie McCaulley
Expert

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief