Courses are available through certificate, bachelor's and master's degree programs in English, literature, professional writing, creative writing and journalism. Students who want to simply improve their writing skills without earning college credits or a degree can pursue continuing education and online programs for individuals. For example, there are courses in business, television, culinary, grant and creative writing.
Here is an outline of common concepts explored in writing courses:
- Editing grammar and punctuation
- How to tell a story
- Developing ideas and selling stories
- Self-expression and expository essays
- Writing fiction
- Creative writing
- Introduction to screenwriting
List of Writing Courses
Introduction to College Composition
A course required by most associate's and bachelor's degree programs, college composition is one of the fundamental writing courses. The course covers both writing mechanics and argument construction. Basic rhetorical skills are taught by giving students example essays that they respond to and by writing college papers on special topics chosen by the course instructor. Most colleges and universities require that all students complete introductory writing courses within their first two years; the course itself has no prerequisites.
Writing Qualitative Arguments
Qualitative research focuses on observations and characteristics of a research subject instead of numerical data, and is most common in social sciences. In qualitative writing courses, students learn to research qualitative arguments and support them with effective reasoning, rather than quantitative research. Students work from classic essays and special topics of argument, learning to analyze both their own and other people's writing. Writing courses at this level require the completion of an introductory college composition course.
Creative writing courses are intermediate-level courses that give students the opportunity to write short fiction. This includes short stories and different forms of poetry. In-class activities include free-writing and evaluating classmates' work. Often, students read books on writing to gain perspective on different story-lines and find ways to create stories that sell. Many classes also provide information for students to find magazines or other places where they can publish their work.
News writing classes are typically for advanced students who plan to look for jobs at a newspaper upon graduation. The class identifies standard formats for writing news pieces and teaches students to make sure the lead is clearly identified. Most programs encourage students to write for the school paper to gain practical, published experience, which also allow students to cover sports events and speeches, and to conduct interviews. Students gain experience writing both hard and soft news pieces.
Typically, magazine articles take longer to develop than newspaper articles, so they're more in-depth and are written over a long period of time. The course provides students the opportunity to develop and sell stories and story ideas. Students in a magazine writing course work on writing queries, gathering sources and putting the piece together in a style magazine editors like. Often, students practice interview and research techniques as well.