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The Best Online Bachelor's in Writing Programs

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Unlike field-specific majors, which prepare graduates for work in particular industries, writing degrees provide versatile career options.

Highly transferable skills in communication, editing, and critical thinking allow writers to excel in journalism, advertising, corporate communications, and popular writing, including mediums like novels and screenplays.

Writers and authors earn a median annual salary of $63,200, with top earners working in the performing arts and sport industries. While employment in newspaper, book, and magazine publishing is projected to decline between 2018-2028, writers enjoy growing opportunities in online publications and services.

This page contains important details for distance learners considering an undergraduate writing program. Read on to learn more about online education formats, curriculum requirements, learning outcomes, and admissions criteria for the 15 best technical and creative writing online degrees.

Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Writing Programs 2020

#1 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
#2 The New School New York, NY
#4 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#5 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
#6 Missouri State University Springfield, MO
#7 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
#8 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA
#9 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#10 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
#11 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, AR

The Best Online Bachelor’s in Writing Degree Programs

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5

Regent University 

Virginia Beach, VA

About this school

Founded in 1978, Regent began as a graduate-level institution to train Christian professionals. Today, Regent offers more than 135 undergraduate and graduate programs and holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The 120-credit, online bachelor of arts in English offers nine concentrations, including a writing option. The concentration in writing establishes foundational skills applicable to business, media, web, and creative writing careers. Learners take classes on writing for animation, editing, proofreading, and technical language.

During a senior seminar, students explore Christ-centered perspectives on English. Learners culminate the degree with a capstone requirement, preparing and defending a major academic project and degree portfolio.

Both in- and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rate. Applicants must submit transcripts, a questionnaire, and a copy of a government-issued identification.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
59%
Percent Receiving Loans
93%
6

Missouri State University 

Springfield, MO

About this school

Established in 1905, MSU serves more than 26,000 students annually. The school emphasizes global citizenship, scholarship, and public affairs, offering programs through eight academic colleges and schools.

MSU's online bachelor of science in professional writing includes 36 credits of major coursework. Designed for transfer students, the program includes courses in communications, writing with technology, and scientific and technical writing. Required classes include writing for health professions, writing grant proposals, and writing for the web.

Learners must also complete a required minor or second major. Potential areas of study include literature, linguistics, creative writing, and folklore. Students culminate the degree with a career focus capstone, preparing a portfolio of individual research projects related to MSU's public affairs mission.

To apply, individuals need a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA from previous college coursework or a 2.75 GPA from the most recent 30 credits of coursework. MSU holds regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
7

Central Washington University 

Ellensburg, WA

About this school

Founded in 1891, CWU serves more than 13,000 learners annually through over 135 academic programs. CWU maintains regional accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The online bachelor's degree in professional and creative writing is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for careers in business, government, and education. Required courses explore the creative writing process and environment, poetry and poetics, grammar, and writing for publication.

Additionally, students complete 27 credit hours of writing electives, choosing from topics like grant writing, research methods for writing, and screenwriting fundamentals. The program also integrates writing colloquia and practicum courses to facilitate interactions among creative-minded learners and professionals.

Applicants must submit transcripts. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
59%
8

Nicholls State University 

Thibodaux, LA

About this school

Serving southern Louisiana since 1948, Nicholls provides more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 students each year. The military-friendly institution is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The 120-credit, online bachelor of arts in English with a concentration in creative writing includes general education, major, elective, and specialization courses. Major classes explore topics like writing and research; world, British, and American literature; and technical and professional writing.

Creative writing courses explore poetry, fiction, and nonfiction forms. Learners also examine writing in film, drama, and short stories before completing a capstone course. During the capstone experience, degree-seekers complete an advanced research project and a portfolio.

Nicholls' creative writing online degree prepares students for careers in editing, publishing, and education. Students also develop the knowledge and skills needed to pursue graduate study. Applicants must submit transcripts.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
9

Southern New Hampshire University 

Manchester, NH

About this school

Established in 1932, SNHU offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs and holds regional accreditation through the New England Commission of Higher Education. The school's online bachelor of arts in creative writing and English prepares learners for careers in publishing, journalism, communications, and law.

The 120-credit degree includes 24 credits of major courses on topics like writing, the English language, and literary theory. Students must complete three genre workshops as part of the creative writing concentration. Workshop options include playwriting, nonfiction writing, poetry writing, and fiction writing.

As a culminating exercise, degree-seekers write a senior thesis on a genre of their choice. SNHU offers students the opportunity to publish their work in the student literary journal. Students also have access to the institution's creative writing club and literary contests.

Applicants must submit transcripts from previous college coursework and sign an electronic attestation form affirming high school graduation or equivalent.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
62%
10

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus 

Denver, CO

About this school

Founded in 1864, DU is the oldest independent institution of higher education in the Rocky Mountain region. The school hosts more than 11,000 students annually and holds regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

DU's online bachelor of arts in English writing, rhetoric, and technology includes 120 credits of coursework. Learners can complete the program entirely online or through a hybrid format. Learners gain the critical thinking and communication skills needed for careers in business, government, and education.

The program explores topics like writing research and theory, multimedia composition, digital publishing, and academic writing. Classes in magazine writing, linguistics, and creative writing accompany courses in grammar, rhetoric, and style.

Students also participate in genre writing workshops, focusing on the writing process in the context of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia writing. The program also integrates classes in business and technical writing. Applicants must submit transcripts.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
48%
Percent Receiving Loans
37%
11

University of Arkansas at Little Rock 

Little Rock, AR

About this school

Formed out of the merger of Little Rock University and the University of Arkansas in 1969, UA Little Rock is one of eight campuses within the University of Arkansas System. The school offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs to over 11,000 students annually and holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The 120-credit, online bachelor of arts in professional and technical writing offers concentrations in nonfiction and technical writing. Graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to work as grant writers, teachers, technical writers, and editors.

Major classes explore topics like editing for style and clarity, persuasive writing, document design, and theories of rhetoric and writing. The nonfiction concentration emphasizes publishing, grant writing, writing and research, and advanced persuasive writing. Technical writing courses focus on legal writing, reasoning, and argument; topics in technical communication; writing for business and government; and writing on the web.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must provide transcripts from all previous college and university coursework.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
39%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
13

West Virginia State University 

Institute, WV

About this school

Established in 1891, WVSU is a historically black college that offers its more than 3,500 annual enrollees a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. WVSU holds regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

WVSU's online bachelor of arts in English with a specialization in technical writing emphasizes the intersection of business and technical writing, preparing graduates for careers as public relations generalists, editors, communications specialists, and content production strategists.

The 120-credit curriculum includes classes in practical English writing and grammar, writing for business, editing for technical writers, and information design. Students also explore digital literacies, literature, and technical report writing.

Degree-seekers can transfer up to 72 credits toward the degree. To apply, first-year students must submit high school transcripts reflecting a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applicants with a GPA below 2.0 must provide ACT or SAT scores as well. Transfer students must submit transcripts from previous college coursework with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
29%
Percent Receiving Loans
63%
14

University of Wisconsin-Superior 

Superior, WI

About this school

Founded in 1893, UW-Superior joined the University of Wisconsin System in 1971. The school's more than 2,600 annual enrollees benefit from a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Home to four research centers and 12 academic departments, UW-Superior holds regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The 120-credit, online bachelor's degree in writing prepares students for careers as technical writers, editors, public relations specialists, and publication coordinators. Students develop strategies for drafting, revising, and proofreading as they engage in all stages of the writing process. Coursework also emphasizes grammar, mechanics, and writing for specific audiences.

Learners participate in writing workshops in creative fiction, poetry, and cross-genre writing. Additional classes include the art of persuasive writing, nature writing, and women in writing. During a writing capstone requirement, students complete a portfolio of their work.

Applicants must submit transcripts. UW-Superior accepts up to 72 credits of transfer credits from two-year institutions within the University of Wisconsin System.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
36%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
15

Indiana University East 

Richmond, IN

About this school

A regional campus of Indiana University, IU East provides more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs to over 4,500 enrollees annually. IU East is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

IU East's online bachelor of arts in English, technical, and professional writing is a degree-completion program designed for students with at least 60 credits of previous coursework.

The program prepares students for careers in advertising, public relations, social services, and publishing. Students take classes on topics like advanced literature, professional writing skills, and technical writing. Learners also explore literary genres, grammar and usage, digital writing, and composition in anticipation of a senior seminar.

Applicants must submit transcripts reflecting a minimum 2.0 GPA. General education prerequisites include coursework in quantitative reasoning, scientific ways of knowing, and social and behavioral ways of knowing.

School Type
Public Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
41%
Percent Receiving Loans
45%
16

Calvary University 

Kansas City, MO

About this school

Born out of the merger of Kansas City Bible College and Midwest Bible College in 1961, Calvary participated in a second merger with Citadel Bible College in 1987. An institution based in Christian faith, Calvary offers undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs and holds regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The 126-credit bachelor's in English and creative writing program at Calvary includes 30 credits of biblical education coursework and 36 credits of general education requirements. Degree-seekers also complete 12 credits of foreign language courses.

The major curriculum includes classes in rhetoric; history of the English language; and creative writing for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The program culminates in a creative writing capstone or senior thesis based on literary analysis.

Applicants must submit a pastoral reference form, a personal reference form, ACT or SAT scores, and transcripts.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
29%
Percent Receiving Loans
43%
17

National University 

La Jolla, CA

About this school

Founded in 1971, NU is the flagship institution within the National University System and holds regional accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

NU's online bachelor of arts in English program includes 180 credits of coursework. The comprehensive program includes classes in literature, composition, language and linguistics, and communication studies. Students prepare to work in areas like education, media, advertising, and publishing.

Students can pursue a concentration in creative writing that explores poetry and fiction writing to develop strategies to improve and critique creative work. Degree-seekers learn to assess their own work critically and accept constructive feedback from others.

Applicants must submit transcripts. As a Yellow Ribbon School, NU accepts the post 9/11 GI Bill and awards discounted tuition to active-duty service members and their dependents.

School Type
Private Nonprofit
Graduation Rate
36%
Percent Receiving Loans
0%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Bachelor's in Writing Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Bachelor's in Writing Degree?

A bachelor's degree in writing helps students develop skills related to the written word. These include technical skills in writing, grammar, and editing as well as related skills like literary analysis. Writing programs often include workshops, where students receive feedback on writing projects from peers and professors.

A bachelor's degree in writing helps students develop skills related to the written word.

While aspiring novelists and authors are the most likely candidates for enrollment, writing degrees often attract diverse groups of students interested in both creative and technical careers. The degree is well suited for those interested in journalism, marketing, technical communication, or public relations. Writing graduates can also go on to law or business school.

By emphasizing a combination of hard and soft skills, online writing degrees turn students into competent verbal and written communicators, critical thinkers, and creative problem-solvers.

Choosing an Online Program

Because online programs allow students to attend college without being limited by their geographic location, distance learners can find it challenging to narrow down a long list of potential schools. Check out the link below for tips on choosing the best online program for your unique needs.

How To Choose Your Major

What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Writing Program?

Curricula for creative writing online degrees typically consist of general education, major core, and elective courses. The major core is made up of lecture courses and peer workshops, focusing primarily on literature study, writing craft, and writing critique. Other courses may cover editing, technical writing, and other genre- or career-specific skills.

Writing Curriculum

  • Multicultural Literature: A course on multicultural literature strives to increase understanding of various peoples, typically with a focus on broadening the student's exposure to different experiences, values, and belief systems. Students read, study, and discuss historical and contemporary works of multicultural literature, often with an eye toward historically oppressed groups. Topics include key historical figures and the development of various genres.
  • Technical Writing: A technical writing course teaches students how to effectively and professionally communicate technical subjects. Students learn how to research, draft, and edit technical reports, proposals, instructions, and professional correspondence. Coursework typically requires a combination of studying written material and completing practical assignments.
  • Creative Writing: Writing degrees often require several creative writing courses, including an introductory course and several workshops. In workshops, students write short pieces of fiction or poetry and then share with their peers and professor, who provide critique and feedback. Coursework strives to develop each student's creative voice and technical ability.

Writing Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are an invaluable resource for personal growth, career development, and community networking. Membership can be especially beneficial for college students looking to expand their professional networks and make connections. Take a look at three of the top professional organizations for writing professionals below.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

AWP is a nonprofit literary organization providing support, advocacy, and resources to approximately 50,000 writers and 550 university creative writing programs. Students can apply for membership at a reduced rate. Benefits include access to job listings, current and archived issues of The Writer's Chronicle, and a mentorship program.

National Association of Independent Writers & Editors

NAIWE is a professional association for writers, editors, and other related professionals. The association focuses on helping members build portfolios and create multiple streams of income. Membership benefits include access to a personal NAIWE webpage, an exclusive job board, professional development resources, and writing opportunities.

Authors Guild

With a history dating back to 1912, the Authors Guild is the nation's oldest and largest professional organization for writers. The guild advocates for the right of all authors to create without interference and to receive fair compensation. Membership benefits include legal assistance, website services, and career resources. Students can join at a reduced cost.

Writing Careers

A bachelor's in writing provides highly transferable skills in communication, critical thinking, and analysis. Whether you decide to seek traditional employment or work on a freelance basis, every industry needs talented writers and editors to help reach audiences, communicate effectively, and sell products and services.

The list below highlights three popular occupations for writing degree graduates. In many ways, however, a graduate's career options are limited only by their ingenuity and determination. With additional study, work experience, or professional certification, skilled writers can pursue positions in many creative and technical fields.

Writers

Writers and authors create original written content for media, including books, magazines, advertisements, performing arts, movies and television, and online publications. Writers may be employed with a single organization, such as a marketing agency, or they may work with a variety of clients as a freelance contractor. Tasks commonly include research, writing, and editing.

There is no industry standard entry-level requirement for this career, but employers often prefer writers with a relevant bachelor's degree and prior experience. Writing jobs are highly competitive. Writers need strong creative, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Median Annual Salary

$63,200

Projected Growth Rate

0%

Technical Writers

Technical writers create digital and hard-copy materials that communicate complex information to a target audience. These professionals commonly compose instruction manuals, journal articles, assembly instructions, and other support documentation. Tasks include researching products, determining user needs, collaborating with tech professionals, and drafting and editing written materials.

A bachelor's degree is usually required to work as a technical writer. Many employers prefer writers with work experience or knowledge of a related technical field. Optional professional certification is available from organizations like the Society for Technical Communication. Technical writers need excellent critical thinking, teamwork, and organizational skills.

Median Annual Salary

$72,850

Projected Growth Rate

8%

Editors

Editors plan, coordinate, and revise written material for publication in books, magazines, newspapers, and websites. Job duties vary depending on the type of media an editor works with or the type of editing they do. Common tasks include reviewing story ideas and submissions, revising errors in text, verifying facts, and approving final versions of content.

Employers typically prefer editors with a bachelor's degree in communication, journalism, or English. Relevant work experience may be required for editor positions dealing with specific subjects, like fashion, finance, or technology. Editors must be meticulous and detail-oriented, with strong interpersonal and creative skills.

Median Annual Salary

$61,370

Projected Growth Rate

-3%

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Bachelor's in Writing Program?

A bachelor's degree typically takes about four years of full-time study to complete. Students who have transfer credits or enroll in summer classes often finish faster.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Writing?

Baccalaureate writing degrees prepare graduates for career opportunities in fields like marketing, journalism, communications, and publishing.

How Much Do You Make as a Writer?

Income potential varies by occupation, employer, and geographic location. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), writers and authors make a median salary of $63,200 per year.

What Is a Bachelor's in Writing?

A bachelor's in writing is a versatile humanities degree that develops skills in critical and creative thinking, writing and editing, and literature analysis.

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