List of Writing Schools and Universities in the U.S.

Authors , writers and editors generally must have a college degree. Certificate, undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. degree programs are available in writing. Consideration of the program's curriculum, as well as career goals, will aid in selecting a writing school.

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Students who are interested in attending a writing school or university need to first consider the curriculum and decide on a major concentration in the study of English, communications or journalism. These degrees can normally be found at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Writing Schools

The schools listed below all offer programs suitable for students interested in writing-related degrees. There are a wide range of degrees and fee rates available at both public and private schools:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees
(2015-2016)*
Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 4-year, Public Undergrad Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,158 in-state, $25,458 out-of-state (undergrad); $11,304 in-state, $23,274 out-of-state (graduate)
Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's $11,850 in-state, $23,670 out-of-state (undergrad); $11,770 in-state, $17,600 out-of-state (graduate)
Delaware State University Dover, DE 4-year, public Bachelor's $7,531 in-state, $16,138 out-of-state
Lewis & Clark College Portland, OR 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's $45,104
Marquette University Milwaukee, WI 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Postgrad Certificate $37,170 (undergrad); $18,900 (graduate)
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $49,047 (undergrad); $49,064 (graduate)
Portland State University Portland, OR 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, $8,034 in-state, $24,009 out-of-state (undergrad); $14,100 in-state, $21,300 out-of-state (graduate)
SUNY Buffalo State Buffalo, NY 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's $7,669 in-state, $17,519 out-of-state (undergrad); $11,565 in-state, $22,905 out-of-state (graduate)
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, public Undergrad Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $15,188 in-state, $25,494 out-of-state (undergrad); $16,144 in-state, $21,832 out-of-state (graduate)
The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 4-year, public Undergrad Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,806 in-state, $34,676 out-of-state (undergrad); $10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state (graduate)
University of Missouri-St. Louis 4-year, public Saint Louis, MO Undergrad Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $9,394 in-state, $23,812 out-of-state (undergrad); $10,459 in-state, $25,176 out-of-state (graduate)

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Different schools can have very different approaches to writing programs, and it's important to compare your personal learning goals against a school's resources and opportunities when considering where to study. A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Some universities offer professional assistance, such as helping students build up their resume or gain exposure to agents or publishers, or offering guidance on converting a dissertation into a book and getting it published.
  • The school should have opportunities for experience in areas such as a school newspaper, magazine and website.
  • Writing contests, writing clubs, workshops and associations are offered on many campuses.
  • Aspiring writers should keep in mind that although many certificate programs are advantageous, a degree is generally required for employment.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts programs in English can provide experience in many types of writing, including expository, analytical, technical and creative writing. Students are also exposed to literature from a variety of time periods and cultures, which can help inform their own writing. Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and professional Bachelor of Journalism programs focus on writing for the purpose of news dissemination, and an internship at a media organization may be offered or required. Bachelor's degree programs in communication typically combine writing and media studies. They train students to write effectively for a wide variety of audiences and for many purposes, including news reporting, business interactions and advertising.

Master's Degree Programs

At the graduate level, writers can hone their skills through master's degree programs in English, communications or journalism. These programs offer more advanced coursework than their bachelor's-level counterparts, and they may also require a thesis. Another master's-level option is an MFA in Creative Writing. Students in these 2-3 year programs generally choose a specialization in either poetry or fiction with writing education provided through workshops and advanced literature courses.

Ph.D. Programs

Ph.D. programs in English prepare writers for academic research and university-level teaching positions. Candidates take high-level courses in their particular interest area, and they research and write a publishable dissertation. Doctoral programs in journalism are less common, but they are also research-oriented and may allow students to focus their studies on writing-related aspects of news media.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs in writing are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They may focus on a particular type of writing, such as professional writing or creative writing. Some programs are offered in standalone formats as a short series of writing-focused courses. Other certificates can be earned at the same time as broader undergraduate or graduate-level degrees.

A university degree can be beneficial to people interested in writing professionally, as the job market is highly competitive. When selecting the right school, students should consider the practical opportunities and quality of mentorship offered to them through different programs, as this could have a significant effect on their future success.

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