Creative Writing Online Master's Degrees

Creative Writing Online Master's Degrees

The creative writing master's degree can be a step in establishing oneself as a writer beyond the undergraduate degree of English. The experience of working on student newspapers, literary magazines and other publications, plus the specialized education earned with a master's degree in creative writing can set aspiring writers apart. Some courses that might be part of the program include:

  • American literature
  • British literature
  • Creative non-fiction
  • Fiction
  • Poetry

Attaining a master's degree in creative writing can offer a wider range of career choices than writers who have only an undergraduate degree in a subject such as English or Journalism. Many schools have literary magazines created by students in their respective creative writing master's degree programs. This type of real-world experience can be beneficial to students. Few doctorate programs exist for creative writing and an advanced degree of that kind is generally used as a means to become a teacher.

Some colleges and universities offer the option for an online creative writing master program. Some programs allow students to take classes solely online, while others have the option to attend traditional on-campus classes in addition to online classes.

Creative Writing Admissions Requirements

The requirements for admission will be unique to each school, but any master's program requires the student to have attained an undergraduate degree. Some schools prefer students have a bachelor's degree in English but it that is not a set requirement for most schools.

Many schools require applicants to have a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score, but not all do. Similarly some schools require prerequisite courses, such as English classes, or prior work and/or experience, or subject-specific assessment tests. Prospective students should check with the schools they are interested in to determine the exact requirements.

Career Opportunities after Earning a Master of Creative Writing

A master's degree in creative writing is rarely required to work in most writing fields, but it can be a way to differentiate skills and potentially earn a higher salary. Writers are often required to hold a bachelor's degree in order to be employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the field is also dominated by the experience factor. Writers who have worked professionally and also have an advanced degree may have the best chances for employment.

The job outlook for writers and authors according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is slower than average for all occupations; just six percent growth is expected between 2010 and 2020 (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). One of the major factors noted is the continuing demise of the traditional publishing industry, but because the rise in interest in the occupation is such that any available jobs will likely see stiff competition. Online publishing, self publishing and the increase in electronic readers could assist the market for writers.

Post-graduation Salary Information with a Master of Creative Writing

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't note the difference between the salary for writers and authors with a master's degree in creative writing and those with an undergraduate degree or no degree, but it reports the national mean annual wage as $68,420 in May 2012. Some writers work as editors, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes earned $62,440, while others work as technical writers, earning a national mean annual wage of $67,910 (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

Another employment option for writers might be teaching at public or private institutions. The academic job market generally pays more, but the competition is likely to be strong. Check with individual institutions for educational requirements to teach, some schools may require a doctoral degree.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Writers and Authors - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Projections, Education Pays…, 2013 - http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2012, Writers and Authors - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273043.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Writers and Authors - http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2012, Editors - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273041.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2012, Technical Writers - http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273042.htm
Columbia University, Writing MFA Program, http://arts.columbia.edu/writing/writing-mfa-program
Temple University, Creative Writing Program, http://www.temple.edu/creativewriting/program/description/index.htm
The Association of Writers & Writing Programs, 2011-12 Annual Academic Job Market Report https://www.awpwriter.org/application/public/pdf/2011-12Report_on_the_Academic_Job_Market.pdf

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