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Although a degree in writing is not required for many careers, some writers choose to earn a degree to receive more opportunities. Writing majors can prepare students for careers in journalism, creative writing or technical writing.
Students who want a career where they can utilize their writing skills might consider applying to colleges that offer degrees in various forms of writing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers prefer to hire candidates with degrees in writing, communications or journalism (www.bls.gov).
Whether students wish to pursue creative writing, publishing, journalism or technical writing, they can find a school that offers a targeted degree program. For example, aspiring news reporters would do well to apply to a school that has a strong journalism program. Those who wish to become children's book authors may gravitate toward schools that offer degree programs in creative writing, especially creative writing for children.
Prospective students should research the credentials of the professors who teach within the writing program. One important thing to consider is whether the professors have been published in the type of writing the student wishes to pursue. For example, fiction writers often choose to write in one of two styles, literary or genre. Literary fiction focuses on characters and their motivations, while genre fiction is more focused on plot. If the majority of the professors in a particular writing program write literary fiction, students who write genre fiction would probably prefer to choose schools with instructors who specialize in their preferred style of creative writing.
Before choosing a college, future writing students need to check if the school offers writing opportunities outside of class. Contributing to literary journals, school newspapers and other school publications is an excellent way for writing majors to gain additional writing experience. These experiences can be included on students' resumes when they graduate from the program, making them more attractive to potential employers and editors.
Undergraduate students enrolled in a writing program typically earn a bachelor's degree in English, creative writing, journalism, communications or technical writing. Some college writing programs lead to an associate's degree. After finishing a bachelor's degree, graduate students interested in a writing career may earn a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in Writing. Most graduate programs require that prospective students submit a writing portfolio in order to be accepted to a program.
|College/University||Student Population||Institution Type|
|Arizona State University||67,082||4-year, Public|
|Ohio State University - Main Campus||53,715||4-year, Public|
|University of Florida||51,474||4-year, Public|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||51,140||4-year, Public|
|University of Central Florida||50,121||4-year, Public|
|The University of Texas at Austin||49,984||4-year, Public|
|Texas A & M University||48,039||4-year, Public|
|Michigan State University||46,510||4-year, Public|
|Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus||44,406||4-year, Public|
|University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign||43,246||4-year, Public|
|New York University||42,189||4-year, Private not-for-profit|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||41,620||4-year, Public|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||41,028||4-year, Public|
|Indiana University - Bloomington||40,354||4-year, Public|
|College of Southern Nevada||40,310||4-year, primarily associate's, Public|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||39,675||4-year, Public|
|Florida International University||38,759||4-year, Public|
|Florida State University||38,682||4-year, Public|
|University of Arizona||38,057||4-year, Public|
|California State University - Long Beach||37,891||4-year, Public|
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics