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10 Best Degrees for Writers What to study if you want to write for a living

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If you’re a great writer, you have a versatile skill that is useful in just about every occupation. If you’re a storyteller, you might want to major in a subject that teaches you how to craft a narrative that elicits emotion. Writers with other interests can combine their passions. For example, if you’re fascinated by engineering, you could major in technical writing. The following degrees allow you to learn marketable skills and are ideal for someone who wants to write for a living.

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1. Liberal Arts

A liberal arts degree is one of the most general and flexible options for writers. Some schools offer distinct majors under the liberal arts umbrella. Others offer specific degrees in liberal arts.

You can take courses in several categories for a liberal arts degree. This area of study includes science, technology, engineering, art, communications, economics, political science, history, psychology and sociology. Once you begin, you’ll likely narrow down your path to match your interests and talents.

A history degree can give you the foundation to research and write scripts for documentary films, for example. An economics degree can spur a career in finance writing.

Liberal arts degrees often teach soft skills, which are not easy to quantify. For example, this adaptable degree program enhances creative thinking, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Students can round out their knowledge by taking some courses that teach hard skills, such as statistical analysis or medical writing.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

A liberal arts degree prepares you for a broad range of professions. It’s a good option for people who are interested in writing and creative pursuits but aren’t sure what career path they’d like to follow. Many liberal arts students are interested in expressing themselves, helping their communities and enhancing their communication skills.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Liberal Arts Degree?

A liberal arts degree can help you get a job in just about any field. If you’re a writer, some career paths that might interest you as a liberal arts major include public relations, non-profit administration, marketing, human resources and academic research. You’ll have a chance to use your writing and communication skills in any of these positions.

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2. English

A degree in English exposes students to a wide variety of literature. You’ll read works by historic and contemporary authors, writing analyses and critiques. Students will also learn effective communication, time management, critical thinking and creative skills.

There are typically two concentrations within an English degree program. You can choose to major in English language and literature or composition and rhetoric. If you want to be a writer, getting plenty of time to practice is important.

Some people think that an English degree is too general to help you secure a good job. However, the major allows you to be flexible. It teaches marketable skills that will help you succeed in any industry.

English majors do a lot of reading. You’ll become better acquainted with the classics and learn what made them impactful. You may not receive direct instruction on the business of writing. However, you can complement this major by minoring in a specialty to which you can apply your skills. You might want to take courses on blogging or social media marketing, for example.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

People who want to develop strong written communication skills are excellent candidates for an English degree. This is a flexible option for creative thinkers who enjoy reading and writing and want to set up a flexible foundation for their career and further studies.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With an English Degree?

Surprisingly, the most common jobs for English majors are in education and law. However, many graduates with this degree also work in proofreading, editing, copywriting, technical writing and journalism. Some other career choices for writers with an English degree include grant writing positions and public relations. The average salary for someone with an English degree is $75,096.

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3. Creative Writing

A creative writing degree is ideal for someone who is extremely verbal and drawn to expressing themselves with words. A creative writing major will spend a lot of time reading, interpreting and examining existing works of literature. They’ll also practice expressing emotions, thoughts and messages in a variety of ways.

Analyzing other writers’ work exposes you to different ways of structuring your own writing. Creative writing majors do a lot of reading. You’ll learn how to critique other artists’ work as well as your own. Regular feedback will help you improve your skills. You’ll also be required to write under pressure and meet deadlines, which are valuable skills in any market.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

Do you write in your spare time? A creative writing degree is ideal for people who already spend a significant portion of their life writing. You’ll be assigned plenty of writing homework while you pursue this major. If composing essays is your least favorite task, this may not be the degree path for you.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Creative Writing Degree?

While you don’t need a formal academic degree to get your work published, you will learn how to infuse your projects with expression and meaning if you pursue a creative writing degree. This can help you find work as a novelist or poet. But it takes time to write a book, and you need a job immediately after college.

A specialization in creative writing fosters skills that are in demand across industries, such as effective communication, critical analysis and self-discipline. Many creative writing majors go on to work in marketing and advertising, copywriting, ghostwriting, editing, screenwriting or journalism.

Interestingly, approximately 50% of creative writers are age 40 or older. This may indicate that graduates with this degree pursue jobs in other fields before writing the next great novel or take on other roles early on in their careers.

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4. Media and Journalism

A journalism or media degree sets you up to write for newspapers, magazines and broadcast news. It focuses on communication skills and using rhetoric to generate a clear, persuasive message. Creativity is important in this field, but so are accurate research, fact-checking and non-fiction writing. Students will learn how to present accurate information in an objective but engaging way.

Media and journalism majors may also study politics, ethics and law. They should have a good grasp on current events and have interest in learning about the political landscape. The media shapes many of society’s conventions and beliefs. Journalism majors will learn principles of persuasion, which help you build solid relationships in any workplace. Students pursuing this degree will also learn how to analyze data and statistics.

The journalistic environment is constantly evolving. The best media and journalism majors offer up-to-date courses that resonate with today’s media landscape. You might want to learn about social media influence and video editing along with formatting principles for news environments.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

A journalism degree is ideal for individuals who want to make an impact on the world using their communication skills. You’ll round out your proficiency in writing by learning how to adapt your message to other media channels. If you enjoy working with people, have a curious nature and excel at organizing information into a clear, accurate message, you may be an excellent candidate for a journalism degree.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Media and Journalism Degree?

Many journalism majors work for print and broadcast news outlets. They may write the scripts for news stories or work as investigative journalists in the field. Journalists earn an average base salary of $62,000 per year. A degree in journalism can also prepare you for a job in marketing. The ability to transform data into an engaging message is essential in marketing. The confidence and communication skills that you gain in this area of study also position you to adapt well to a career in public relations or law.

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5. Theater and Film

Theater and film majors aren’t just for actors. These degrees help writers develop the necessary skills for screenwriting, playwriting, arts journalism and film criticism. Courses often require students to read scripts and watch performances that are crafted by stage and cinema masters. You’ll learn about the structure and artistry behind story development in plays and movies.

Most theater and film degree programs offer plenty of courses in writing. You will develop a strong grasp of different storytelling devices. By the time you graduate, you should be well-versed in different areas, such as dramatic, expository and episodic writing. You’ll supplement your writing skills by learning about visual storytelling elements and different genres too.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

People with an interest in performance art make good candidates for a theater and film degree. Many students seek to enter this field because they have a strong interest in watching films and plays. You’ll have to be able to collaborate with others and adapt your work based on external feedback.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Theater and Film Degree?

Students with this degree will be ready to write for the screen and stage. Film and theater graduates often pursue jobs in the motion picture industry, advertising and computer technology. Learning more about the back end of performance art prepares you to work behind the scenes in a variety of production categories.

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6. Professional and Technical Writing

Professional and technical writing majors are extremely specific subsets within the liberal arts category. Some schools offer specialty courses in this category under other degree programs, such as creative writing or business. Others have distinct professional and technical writing degree programs.

Some of the subcategories of technical writing programs include technical communication, medical writing and scientific writing, and business communications.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

Technical and professional writers must have a solid grasp of the English language. They must be able to organize complex information into structured documents. This degree is ideal for people who enjoy doing in-depth research and can adhere to deadlines. A love of learning helps; technical writers have to familiarize themselves with the subjects that they write about. This field usually requires technological proficiency.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Professional and Technical Writing Degree?

Many companies hire technical writers for instruction manuals, journal articles, professional documents and training handbooks. Many professional writers also compose press releases, draft memos and document policies. They may work in health care, law, business or the arts. The median annual salary for technical writers is $74,650, and the growth outlook is above average.

7. Linguistics

Linguistics degrees are often packaged with liberal arts, literature and creative writing programs. However, some educational institutions offer linguistics degrees as standalone majors.

Linguistics teaches you the basics of language history, semantics, grammar and rhetoric. You might study the way that different cultures have used language. Linguistics compares languages and studies their evolution. Delving into the details of language can help you craft your own writing more effectively.

You’ll develop the ability to recognize various writing styles, which makes you a more adaptable writer. Students will also learn about different aspects of discourse and persuasion.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

People who love language generally enjoy diving into its particularities. Those with an affinity for writing will benefit from understanding the background of various words. Critical thinking skills are important because students will learn how to analyze language from a data-driven perspective.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Linguistics Degree?

A linguistics degree sets you up to be an excellent communicator. You can work in education, business, creative pursuits or the public sector. This field of study interconnects with anthropology, philosophy, psychology and sociology. Many linguistics majors go into publishing, information technology, international relations, speech therapy and language education. If you want a job that makes the most of your writing skills, you could work as an interpreter, translator, marketing specialist or editor.

8. Marketing

A marketing degree allows you to hone your writing skills while learning how to research, plan and implement effective promotional strategies. Students will learn how to research target markets, use visual, audio and verbal communication strategically and analyze the results of their efforts.

Successful marketing involves some knowledge of psychology. It’s important to understand why people behave and think the way that they do. That knowledge allows you to craft promotional strategies that will achieve the desired results.

A marketing degree program will provide some insight into psychology, linguistics and philosophy. Many marketing programs offer education about specific niches, such as digital and social media marketing.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

Strong communication skills are essential for marketing. You could choose this degree program if you have a passion for sharing information in unique, creative and convincing ways. Marketing students must also be dynamic and flexible. You have to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the industry. You’ll have many opportunities to collaborate with others, which is an essential part of the marketing industry. You should be able to brainstorm with other people and develop ideas as a team player.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Marketing Degree?

A marketing degree is practical and highly adaptable. Every business should use strategic marketing to promote their offerings. Someone with an interest in writing can look for jobs that require top-notch verbal and language skills, such as developing social media campaigns or writing copy for printed brochures. Anyone with strong communication skills can write marketing material. A marketing degree lays the framework for you to understand intricate concepts and put them to use in industries such as entertainment, law, business, health care, retail and blogging.

9. Publishing

A publishing degree provides writers with an alternative way to influence the literary environment. Studying the publishing industry will give you a comprehensive background on business, marketing, communications and technology.

Students will learn traditional and contemporary publishing techniques. They’ll focus on industry trends and advancements. They’ll combine their visual and verbal skills to build their knowledge of design and layout standards.

Business skills are crucial for people in the publishing industry. Students who pursue this degree will learn about financial and operational functions in business. You must be able to recognize a profitable piece of literature, which involves understanding consumer markets, sales strategies and publishing channels.

Undergraduate degrees in publishing exist, but they’re not plentiful. Many students choose a more general major for their bachelor’s degree and pursue publishing at the master’s level.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

If you have a love of the written word, you may want to immerse yourself in the industry. Studying publishing lets you approach writing from a business perspective. Ideal candidates for this degree are passionate about sharing important messages with the world.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Publishing Degree?

With a publishing degree, you can work in any department of a publishing company. You may have a hands-on position that requires some writing and editing. Alternatively, you may work in a business-oriented department, such as sales or marketing. Other publishing jobs include publicist, literary agent, production manager and contract manager.

10. Business

There is more to a writing career than putting pen to paper or fingers on a keyboard. To earn money by writing, you have to understand concepts such as supply and demand, management, entrepreneurship and economics. A business degree allows you to work behind the scenes in any field. It also provides a solid background for writers who want to self-publish or become entrepreneurs.

A business degree helps students develop soft and hard skills. You’ll learn leadership and motivational strategies that are applicable to any industry. You’ll also receive training on quantitative skills, such as accounting, data analysis and project management.

Who Is This Degree Good For?

Many writers want to create content. However, others become interested in the business of writing. A business degree complements strong communication, leadership and teamwork skills. It can be an ideal area of study for people who want to expand their abilities beyond writing. You won’t have as much writing-specific coursework in this degree area as you might in English or creative writing. Still, business majors are required to complete a good amount of writing assignments.

What Kind of Work Can You Get With a Business Degree?

Strong writing skills enhance any company’s quality and reputation. If you understand business concepts and have excellent verbal skills, you will be an asset to businesses in any industry. If you’d like to use your written skills in your job, look for a position as a business writer, marketing content creator, curriculum developer or research analyst. You could also start your own business as a publisher, literary agency or publishing relations firm.

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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?