Master's Degrees in Writing
At the master's degree level, you typically specialize in a genre of writing, like poetry, professional writing or creative fiction. The article below provides more details about such degree programs, the admissions requirements, online availability and what you can do after graduating.
What Can I Study in a Master's Degree Program in Writing?
When you enroll in a master's degree program in writing, you typically specialize your studies in a particular style of writing. For example, in creative writing programs you may study fiction, poetry or non-fiction. Professional writing programs train you for more technical writing, such as journalism, public relations or advertising. In all of these programs, you complete extensive reading assignments, building your expertise by studying the leading writers in your genre of choice. These programs award degrees such as the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Writing, Master of Professional Writing or M.A. in Creative Writing.
|Degree Programs||Master of Professional Writing, Master of Arts in Writing or Master of Arts in Creative Writing|
|Prerequisites||Bachelor's degree, writing sample and possibly standardized test scores|
|Online Options||Fully online or low residency programs|
|Career Areas||Writing, academic, grant writing or speech writing|
|Median Salary (2018)||$62,170* (for writers and authors)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||8% growth* (for all writers and authors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What is Required for Admissions?
The most important factor in your application to a writing master's degree program is generally your writing sample. The colleges and universities where you apply will evaluate your creativity, technical skill and demonstrated commitment to writing through this sample. In addition, you typically must possess a bachelor's degree, though it does not need to be from a related field, such as English or journalism. Some programs require the submission of your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, though this is not a universal requirement.
Can I Earn This Degree Online?
You can find master's degree programs in writing offered through an entirely online format. In these programs, your independent writing is accompanied by online lectures, extensive reading assignments and correspondence with faculty through email and discussion boards. A common format for master's programs in writing is called low residency learning, in which you spend the majority of your time away from campus, communicating online with faculty and fellow students. These programs may also require periodic, intensive residencies during which you attend lectures, participate in workshops and attend readings by guest writers.
What Can I Do With This Degree?
A graduate writing degree program can prepare you for a career as a professional writer in a variety of genres. In addition to strengthening your writing skills, you may also use your master's program to develop contacts in the publishing industry and increase your chances for publication. You may pursue an advanced writing position that requires highly developed writing skills, such as grant writing for non-profits or speech writing for political campaigns. A master's degree, especially in a creative writing field, can also be used for positions in academic settings.