Online Classes and Degree Programs in Professional Writing

Essential Information

Online writing programs are commonly available at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Possible degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Professional Writing. Fully online and blended programs are available. Most require that students complete core courses and assignments through a virtual website, which also can allow students to share and critique their work in a virtual workshop experience. This type of critique is crucial to on-campus writing degree programs and transfers well to the online format.

Creative Writing Classes

Online creative writing programs are designed for individuals who would like to become professional novelists, poets or screenwriters. For this reason, many of the courses focus on a workshop experience, and assignments are designed to challenge students' individual creativity. Common classes in these programs are detailed below.

Plot Structure

A course in plot structure teaches students the elements that go into constructing a workable short story or piece of narrative fiction or nonfiction.

Modern Poetry

This class provides students with a solid knowledge of the representative American and British poets of the twentieth century. Students gain an understanding of the patterns that make up poetry, so that they might apply these patterns toward their own creative endeavors.

Art of the Novel

Much like modern poetry, this online class provides students with a solid background of the most revered novels in recent history. In this way, students can understand what elements went into individual novels to make them masterpieces.

Technical Writing Classes

Online technical writing classes are designed for those students who would like to make a career out of writing or editing technical manuals, reports and articles. Not many universities offer entire online programs devoted to technical writing, but many do offer individual technical or professional writing courses that cover mechanics of the field, such as the following.

Technical Communication

This class teaches students to use practical writing skills to demonstrate complex ideas in written form. Students learn to break down complicated ideas related to math and science into essays and articles that are easier to understand.

Technical Editing

Technical editing classes are composed of a number of classes covering grammar, spelling, punctuation and more. Students must have a firm understanding of these elements of style before going on to earn jobs as professional writers.


Professional writers must also have a firm grasp of how to perform the research necessary to write and publish scientific and technical works. Online courses in research teach students the various tools, interview skills and resources that come in handy for professional writers.

Aspiring writers can take a variety of technical editing and creative writing classes to work towards an online bachelor's or master's degree in professional writing.

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