What Is the Best Degree for Becoming a Writer?

Degree-to-Become-WriterYou’ve written short stories since you first learned how to hold a pen. You ask for novels and notebooks for Christmas and birthdays. Your favorite class in high school was English. You’ve known your entire life that you want to be a writer, but what is the best college major for becoming a writer?

English

Of course, English is one of the most prominent degrees for aspiring writers. Along with related degrees like creative writing, literature and writing, English teaches students how to write. By pursuing a degree in English, you’ll write poems, short stories, research papers and analyses. You’ll study classic works of literature and emulate those styles. You will be required to produce massive amounts of writing, all of which will receive feedback from experienced professors. You can go on to become any type of writer. Companies are eager to hire English majors for communications and technical writing positions. Of course, you could become a novelist like Stephen King or write songs like Sting or Paul Simon; all three of these men have English degrees. No matter what type of writer you want to become, an English degree will give you a solid background in the art of writing.

History

To earn your degree in history, you will fill reams of paper with your writing. After English and creative writing courses, history is one of the most writing-intensive avenues of study. Every class you take will give you the opportunity to complete one or more research papers. However, many liberal arts degrees require extensive reading and writing, so what makes history a better course of study than anthropology or political science? History majors consider the broad span of human existence. As a history major, you might learn about Roman peasants, American settlers and Asian aristocrats in a single semester. Even more, you’ll study how small political decisions can impact an entire nation. With a history degree, you will be an expert world-builder and well-prepared to create riveting novels or popular works on history. Many famous writers, including Malcolm Gladwell, Karl Marx and H.G. Wells, have used their studies in history to launch successful careers.

Natural Sciences

Yes, a degree like biology, chemistry or physics could help you become a science writer. Textbooks, journals, magazines and newspapers desperately need writers who can translate dense scientific jargon into readable prose. The Council for the Advancement of Science Writing recommends that aspiring writers take courses in natural sciences and journalism.
If your passion is science fiction, then your bachelors of science degree will come in handy. Your fans will appreciate your expertise. Think of the fantastical creatures you can dream up with a solid foundation in existing biology. Imagine the realistic future technology you can describe if you finish a degree in engineering. Isaac Asimov earned a chemistry degree, Arthur C. Clarke took certificates in mathematics and physics and Robert Heinlein graduated with a bachelor’s in engineering. With proper training in scientific though, perhaps you can be the next sci-fi legend.

Any degree can start your career as a writer. You’ll have to consider your writing talents and future ambitions when choosing the best degree for your individual needs. You can achieve success with any degree as long as you’re committed to a future as a writer.

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