Writing Majors: Tips for College Students

Those students who want to get a college degree or look for a career in writing can choose from a variety of available writing majors. The variety of degree programs and majors is certainly good news for all the students.

When studying and pursuing a degree in writing, students should select a program and a college carefully. The size of the institution and geography become very important factors. If you’re not sure what type of writing you want to do or in what area you want to work, check out our tips at College-Writers blog to familiarize yourself with different writing genres.

When you know your preferred genre, you can choose a specific major and select a degree program that fits your objectives. Many students wonder if they need a college degree to become a writer. The truth is that the answer to this question depends on what kind of writing you’re going to do. However, a major in writing is always a good advantage.

1. General writing

There are many general writing degrees. For instance, you may choose a writing major at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. A general major includes many riding classes in completely different genres and prepares students for various writing careers. The program of this university allows students to select specific modules and to customize their education process, in order to become specialists in a particular niche.

2. Professional writing

This major is similar to the previous one, however, here you can find more creative elements, such as creative writing or poetry. It’s a nice choice if you’re looking for a career-oriented program, or if you want to become a freelance writer.

You may choose a BA in Professional Writing at Michigan State University. The Department of Writing and Rhetoric offers three specializations: technical/digital writing (a great choice for freelance writers), editing and publishing, or writing for nonprofits. Miami University also offers this major.

3. Technical writing

Business writing, technical writing, and science writing can be called user-oriented because they are aimed to explain some complicated information to users.

Technical writing requires you to create a simplified text about complex topics for people who need such information. Therefore, some classes may focus on understanding your audience. You will also learn how to work with various composition formats, including assembly instructions, white papers, manuals, etc.

If a major in technical writing is what you’re looking for, we suggest that you consider a BS in Technical Communication at Arizona State University. Michigan Tech also offers combined majors in technical writing and other disciplines.

4. Science writing and medical writing

As STEM and the health industry grow, medical and science writers get more career opportunities. Medical writing, science communications, science journalism, and science writing are all good options. You may pursue a  graduate-level major at MIT, a degree in science journalism at BU, or a major in science communications at UCSC. If you think about a medical writing major, you may choose University of the Sciences in Philadelphia or the University of Chicago.

5. Business writing

Business writing is often a part of business administration programs, and it is also often taught within business colleges. However, there are also some standalone majors, such as the Interdisciplinary Studies program at Baruch College. It’s a great option for those who want to get familiar with a corporate environment.

6. Creative writing

A BA in creative writing can provide you with the necessary feedback and practice. Creative writing is a useful discipline for both aspiring authors and freelancers. There are many creative writing majors available all over the country, including a BA at Columbia.

7. English literature/English

It’s a universal option if other specialized programs are not available. When pursuing a major in English, you need to write and rewrite a lot. This practice allows you to not only sharpen your skills but also understand what are your weak sides. You will learn how to read critically and how to properly research your subject.

8. Journalism

A degree in journalism will allow you to develop good writing skills. We suggest that you choose this major if you are going to write for magazines and newspapers. For example, you may get a Masters degree in Art Journalism at Syracuse University.

9. Publishing

This is a stand-alone major at various universities. This major isn’t intended specifically for writers, however, it will certainly be a good choice for those who plan to work for publishers. It’s also a good solution for freelance editors, as it teaches the necessary editing skills. If you’re looking for a program of this kind, check out Portland State University, Hofstra, Emerson, and Pace.

10. Linguistics

Those who hold an undergrad degree in linguistics know a lot about our language and know how to properly use syntax, as well as how to use their vocabulary in the best way possible. Linguistics can boost your writing so it’s a nice choice for writers of any kind. If you’re looking for a specialized program in linguistics, you may choose a BA in Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University.

11. Liberal arts

A degree in liberal arts includes various subjects aimed to develop both writing and research skills. At the same time, such a general degree will give you expertise in a certain specific subject matter. No matter where you live, you can find such programs easily.

12. Education

A major in education has a lot to do with curriculum development and pedagogy, also giving students the necessary skills for effective work with written materials. Therefore, it’s a potential option for writers who are going to write for schools and work with references.

This is a good choice in terms of career opportunities. Education writing is always in high demand. Curriculum development companies and textbook publishers also always need editors.

13. Rhetorical studies/Rhetoric

A major in rhetoric may be your choice if you like to analyze text, its structure, and composition. When studying rhetoric, students understand how different words and phrases influence the audience, triggering the necessary reaction and emotional feedback.

This is also a good choice for aspiring writers in politics, law, social justice, non-profit field, etc. If you’re looking for a major in rhetoric, we suggest that you consider such colleges as Bates and Berkeley.

14. Cinema studies/Theatre

If you want to build a career in screenwriting, script writing, arts journalism, or films criticism, this major will provide you with the necessary basis and give you an opportunity to prepare coursework on one of these topics. Cinema studies are also a part of various media studies programs and media departments. BU offers a degree in screenwriting and cinema/media studies.

15. Mass communications/Communications

There are also degrees in general communications available, as well as more specific options like media communications or mass communications. These studies are focused on various topics, including politics, television, etc. Thus, you have to narrow down your program or look for a program that has different specific options within the major.

Media communications and media programs are terms often used when referring to journalism. Make sure to choose a major carefully, since there are many different genres and topics.

16. Digital communications

Unlike the general communications program, a major in digital communications will most likely focus on mobile, interactive, and online communications. Those writers who create content for social media and websites may choose this kind of a major. In this case, the best option is a BS in Digital Communications at NYU.

17. Social media/Media/New media/Emerging media

This is also a good choice for those who want to write specifically for mobile platforms and online services. These degrees and programs are relatively new. Many general media degrees include certain topics from the curriculum of mass communications, however, this kind of degree is more focused on the emerging media market. The most specific programs in this area are an MA in Emerging Media at BU or a BS in Marketing at SNHU.

18. Marketing

This is a safe option for copywriters and some writers who plan to work in media. If you like a corporate environment, this will be a good choice for you. This degree will also help freelance writers learn how to look for lucrative clients.

You can easily find undergrad degrees in marketing everywhere, however, Webster University is the best option for copywriters.

19. Advertising

This is another opportunity for aspiring copywriters to get a certain professional basis for further development. If you’re looking for such a kind of education, you may check various advertising courses and advertising-copywriting programs.

20. Public relations

This degree will teach you how to effectively manage messages and to communicate with various types of clients. These skills are necessary for every freelancer. Moreover, a PR coursework will give you a basic experience in writing instructions. You can also minor in writing while pursuing your PR degree.

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