Masters Degree in Writing: Program Overviews

Master's degree programs in writing provide students with advanced training in the craft of writing, as well as editing and writing education. Student writers will take writing workshops and critique the work of their peers under the guidance and instruction of professors.

Essential Information

Students looking for advanced training in writing and editing can get that through a master's degree program in writing offered at 4-year colleges and universities. Most programs culminate in a thesis that may be a completed novel, a book-length collection of poems, or a memoir.

Graduate programs in writing will normally require prospective students to have attained at least a bachelor's degree. Most programs also require the submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and writing samples to demonstrate skills and creative interests. In addition to master's degrees, some schools also offer Ph.Ds. in writing. Some degree programs in writing may be taken online, depending on the particular school.

Master's Degree Programs in Writing

Students in master's degree writing programs often focus their studies in one genre, such as poetry or fiction. Common courses include the following:

  • Novel writing
  • Memoir writing
  • Editing techniques
  • Crafting a voice
  • The teaching of writing
  • Screenwriting

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, there were 136,500 professional writers and authors employed in the U.S. in 2014, about two-thirds of whom were self-employed. This number is expected to grow by two percent between 2014-2024, with notable growth in online publications. Salaried writers and authors made a median annual salary of $60,250 in 2015. Freelance writers have widely varying income from their craft; they often rely on other sources of income for support.

Continuing Education Information

Many employers, such as colleges and universities, consider a master's degree in writing to be a terminal degree. However, Ph.D. programs in writing are increasingly available. More so than with a master's degree, Ph.D. programs in writing prepare students for careers in writing education at the postsecondary level.

Most students with a Bachelor's degree who wish to pursue a career in writing can pursue writing Master's degree programs, either in person or online. These programs will provide all necessary instruction, feedback and advice on how to improve writing and editing skills for a professional audience.

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