Online Writing Course Descriptions with Degree Options

Get information about online writing degree programs. Read on to learn about program requirements, course descriptions, as well as online learning methods.

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  • Creative Writing, General
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Essential Information

Distance learning degrees in writing are available from four-year colleges and universities. Students focus on developing expertise and knowledge to work as professional writers. Coursework can be intensive, and students are typically expected to produce quality, publishable work by the end of a degree program. Master's degree programs are more common through online learning, but individuals might be able to find on-campus low-residency or hybrid bachelor's degree programs in writing as well.

Distance learning programs in writing typically allow students to focus on a writing genre or specialty, such as fiction, poetry, technical writing, or professional writing. Some schools may not offer degree programs in writing only, but instead offer degrees in English, fine arts, or communications with an emphasis in creative, professional, or technical writing. It's important that students clarify their career goals and aspirations in order to know what kind of writing curriculum is a good fit for them.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Writing

Online bachelor's degree programs in writing are rare. Programs that do exist might require minimal on-campus residency. Online class formats vary with the instructor, but utilizing discussion boards, chat rooms, e-mail, and videos is common. Typical writing programs might focus on creative or professional writing styles.

Description of Courses

Typically, four-year degrees require fulfilling general education credits. Many writing programs engage students in a workshop environment, which allows for an exchange of student work through critical reading and writing exercises. Professional writing tracks offer courses that expose students to diverse genre writing. Students in either a creative writing or professional writing program might encounter similar coursework, including the following concepts:

  • Technical writing
  • Magazine writing
  • Poetry workshop
  • Fiction workshop
  • Writing for multimedia

Master's Degree Programs in Writing

Online graduate degree programs in writing are available in creative and professional writing and may take around three years to complete. Though the bulk of these programs' coursework is performed online, they may have some in-person requirements. Students might be expected to engage in on-campus visits for short periods of time. This gives students the opportunity to meet with advisors or to engage in on-campus workshops with peers. Students also interact with professors and peers through e-mail, Blackboard, and other multimedia formats.

Description of Creative Writing Courses

Online creative writing courses encourage the development of advanced writing and critical reading skills, and they develop students' expertise and knowledge in literature and theory. Coursework might also cover several genres of writing, such as screenwriting, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Students might have the opportunity to choose a specialized genre track. Completion of a thesis or publishable work is usually required. Common course topics include:

  • Comparative literary study
  • Screenwriting workshop
  • Fiction writing workshop
  • Creative non-fiction workshop
  • Studying the novel

Description of Professional Writing Courses

Professional writing master's programs train individuals to write documents and speeches for businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. Many programs offer a substantial amount of electives through which students can tailor their education to a specific area of interest, such as scientific, technical, or financial writing. Courses might include:

  • Grant writing
  • Blogging
  • Writing business proposals
  • Designing layouts

Students seeking a distance learning education in writing will have more options at the master's level, but most available programs will provide students with a comprehensive academic experience that encompasses workshops in various writing genres. Limited on-campus involvements and/or focused study in specialized fields may be offered for some programs.

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