What Are the Different Types of Writing Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: Vicki Hogue-Davies
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 10 May 2020
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A writing education can be earned in a variety of ways. There are writing degree programs for aspiring creative writers, technical writers, magazine and newspaper writers and others. Writing degree programs that range from two-year degrees to doctoral degrees are available within these subject areas and can be found at colleges and universities throughout the world. Online writing degree programs as well as traditional face-to-face programs are widely available. Certificate programs, which are typically shorter in length, are also available in a variety of writing areas.

Creative writing degree programs are generally focused on teaching people to write fiction. Classes in short story and novel writing, poetry, screenwriting and writing for the stage often make up the core curriculum. Classes in creative nonfiction or docufiction might also be taught in some creative writing degree programs. Creative writing programs also seek to teach people to be stronger and more critical readers, so literature classes are often part of creative writing program curriculums.

Technical writing degrees train people to write computer hardware and software manuals, engineering specifications, white papers and other technical and scientific documentation. Technical writing degrees are sometimes called technical communications degrees. Along with classes in how to organize and write specific types of technical documents, design and layout, concepts in technical illustration and technical editing courses are also typical of technical writing degree programs. Some technical writing programs are more general, preparing students for a variety of fields, while others offer focus areas in engineering writing, medical communication, science writing and other technical subject areas.

Degree programs focusing on magazine writing and newspaper writing train students how to write for both online and print publications. Magazine and newspaper writing classes are typically offered as part of journalism, mass communications, mass media and similar degrees. Some four-year journalism and mass communications degrees offer focus areas in either magazine or newspaper writing and there are master's degree programs that allow students to focus specifically in their interest area. There are also journalism degree programs that focus on business and professional writing.

For students desiring a shorter educational path, certificate programs are offered in technical writing, creative writing and magazine and newspaper writing. Certificate programs are also offered in specific areas that provide very focused training for people wishing to come quickly up to speed in a certain area. Examples include certificate programs in grant writing, resume writing, copywriting and writing for the Internet.

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