Although it is difficult to find a copywriting degree program, other programs can often serve as an avenue toward a career in copywriting. Degrees are typically sought in professional writing or communications and result in a Bachelor of Arts. The curriculum offers study in basic topics in mass communications, media writing and advertising. Professional writing bachelor's programs tend to offer more writing-focused coursework than communications programs.
For professionals wishing to enhance their writing skills, graduate certificate programs in professional writing are available. Graduate certificate programs generally require the completion of 15-18 credits and cover rhetoric theory, linguistics and technical writing.
- Program Levels in Copywriting: Bachelor of Arts in Communication or Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing; Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing.
- Prerequisites: A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for a bachelor's degree; a bachelor's degree is required for the graduate certification.
- Program Length: A bachelor's degree can be completed in four years; graduate certificate programs require 15-18 credit hours.
- Other Requirements: Internships may be required.
- Online Availability: Online courses and programs are available.
Bachelor of Arts in Communication
Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree programs provide a liberal arts education. Many schools allow students to choose a concentration track, such as journalism, advertising or marketing. Undergraduate communication degree programs encourage students to participate in an internship in their chosen concentration track.
Students must have completed high school or obtained a GED to enroll in a bachelor's degree program. Most programs require students to submit a personal statement or letter of intent and ACT or SAT scores.
Students are exposed to coursework that introduces them to the various types of communication. Course topics include:
- Writing for media
- Mass communication
- Human behavior and language
- Communication studies
Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing
Professional writing degree programs are career-oriented in nature, but most programs include a liberal arts education. Typically, professional writing degree programs are found within English departments. Students are introduced to practical topics that develop professional skills. Most programs require students to build a portfolio of work, which is useful in the work world, and many encourage an internship. A high school diploma or equivalent is the main educational prerequisite for a professional writing program.
In addition to the general education requirements of the bachelor's degree, coursework includes topics in writing styles, context, editing and culture.
- Professional writing introduction
- Multimedia writing
- Rhetoric, culture and persuasion
- Professional writing style and grammar
- Publishing and editing
Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing
Professional writing graduate certificate programs are designed for working professionals. These programs provide opportunities to enhance or develop skill sets for career advancement or change. Professional writing certificate programs include the most current topics in the field, such as writing for digital media.
For entry into a graduate certificate program in professional writing, individuals must have completed a bachelor's degree program. In addition to submitting transcripts, individuals are required to write a statement of purpose as a part of the application process.
Students are introduced to advanced topics in professional writing, such as the ones listed below:
- Theory of rhetoric
- Writing persuasively
- Research methods and principles
- Business and technical writing
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that employment for writers and authors, including copywriters, is projected to grow by about three percent between 2012 and 2022. In May 2014, the national median salary for writers and authors was $58,850 a year (www.bls.gov).