Professional Writing Graduate Programs

Professional writing graduate programs may be offered as Master of Fine Arts degree programs or certificate programs, and you can study topics like technical writing, grant writing and online publishing. Find out more about what you can learn in such a program, what residency options are available, and what your career prospects are like. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Professional Writing Graduate Programs Are Available?

You'll find that most schools offer either a professional writing certificate program or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Professional Writing program. If you choose full-time study you can complete an MFA in 2 to 4 years, depending on whether you decide to take on a teaching assistantship. The certificate program can be completed in a year.

Program Options Graduate certificate, master's degree
Common Courses Editing, copywriting, technical writing
Online Options Limited residency programs are common
Possible Careers_ Grant writer, technical writer, freelance writer
Median Salary (2018)$71,850* (for technical writers)
Job Outlook (2016-26)11% growth* (for all technical writers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

You'll take courses in many different forms of writing, and you'll learn to analyze and compare different writing styles in order to strengthen your editing skills. In an MFA program, you'll usually be expected to compile a portfolio of your best work; this will often serve as your thesis. Topics may include electronic publishing, grant writing, copyediting, technical writing or copywriting.

Most campus-based programs will also expect you to participate in a variety of workshops, and some may match you with a fellow classmate. You'll be partnered throughout the program, offering each other help with assignments as well as homework critiques. Teaching assistantships and internships are also available.

Can I Earn It Online?

Many online MFA programs are limited residency; this means the majority of your classes are taken online, but you'll still be asked to attend campus-based seminars or workshops each semester. You'll log into the school's website to access your coursework, sit in on lectures, chat with fellow students, contact your advisor and submit assignments. A computer with Internet capability is required.

What Can I Do With My Degree or Certificate?

With a master's degree or graduate certificate in professional writing, you'll be qualified for many different writing-related jobs, including technical, freelance or grant writing. According to, technical writers earned between $38,218 and $89,683 in 2018, while freelance writers made between $30,536 and $169,750. Grant writers earned between $32,841 and $80,735 during the same year. In addition, your degree or certificate may be valuable in a range of related fields, like public relations, non-profit administration or government.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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