Schools for Aspiring Editors: How to Choose

Aspiring editors can choose from undergraduate and graduate degrees in English composition, literature, communications, journalism and other closely related fields. An editing certificate may also be a continuing education option and takes up to 2 years to earn.

As no degree currently exists specifically for editing, a student may wish to select a school with a strong English or writing curriculum. Curricula in related certificate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs can help students acquire a better understanding of language, grammar and other essential editing tools.

Ten Schools with Writing or Communications Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in fields including journalism, writing, English and communications.

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's In-state $10,970; Out-of-state $17,562
University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $7,071; Out-of-state $21,302
University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Graduate Certificate, Master's, Doctoral In-state $7,447; Out-of-state $17,169
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $11,839; Out-of-state $34,143
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $47,750
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Doctoral $51,351
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth North Dartmouth, MA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Graduate Certificate, Master's In-state $12,588; Out-of-state $26,173
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's $50,665
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $50,277
University of Missouri Columbia, MO 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $9,509; Out-of-state $25,166

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

When choosing an editing program there are many things to consider:

  • Consider schools offering on-campus learning opportunities, such as participation in student-produced newspapers and magazines, public or internet radio stations and student-run advertising agencies.
  • Programs with media internships at local TV and radio stations agencies may have greater appeal.
  • Greater opportunities for networking may lie with schools located near major markets for print publication, such as New York or Chicago.
  • Students pursuing a journalism track may prefer schools recognized by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC.)

Bachelor's Degree in Communications

A communications degree is broad-based enough to allow for a flexible career path. These programs focus on analytical thinking, research and communication skills as well as technological skills used in new media. Concentrations might include entertainment studies, media studies, journalism and public communication.

Bachelor's Degree in Journalism

Journalism programs teach students to discover, collect, analyze and present information. A journalism program might offer courses in magazine, television, radio and photojournalism. It may include specific courses in visual editing and news editing. At some schools, students can choose a self-designed concentration based on their interests.

Master's Degree in Professional Writing

Editors are expected to be communications specialists with a wide range of media skills. Students should choose a master's degree program that emphasizes traditional, foundational writing skills while also providing training in emerging media. Along with coursework, students usually take one or more professional seminars, complete a portfolio and participate in an internship.

Certificate in Editing

Certificates in editing can be found through the continuing education departments of some larger, urban universities. They are generally offered as non-credit, career-focused programs of study that aim to prepare students to take on various editorial roles. Students learn the hard skills of copyediting and proofreading along with how to think like book and magazine editors and use professional etiquette. Students generally take several core courses along with electives.

Students can pursue degrees in English, journalism, communications, creative writing, professional writing and technical writing to enhance their skills and prepare for a career as an editor. It's also an option to complete a certificate in editing.

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