Online Creative Writing Degree Overview & Career Information
Online creative writing degrees are available at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels, with most traditional writing careers requiring a bachelor’s degree. Online coursework will equip graduates with critical skills to analyze, interpret, and create written work. For most creative writing careers, building a strong portfolio of writing samples is more important than completing internships or any specialized training.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Creative Writing
An online bachelor’s in creative writing requires completion of general education classes in addition to preferred topics of study, which should enhance the student’s ability to analyze and diversify his or her writing. Though there are not many colleges that offer creative writing degrees, many offer a concentration of creative writing to give you the expertise and breadth to be an effective writer in a multimedia culture with practical skills alongside creativity. Topics of study will include scriptwriting, editing, journalism, screenwriting, and poetry.
Standard admissions require a 2.5 GPA or higher, SAT or ACT scores, and a personal essay. Traditionally, the programs require 120 credit hours for completion.
Accreditation for Online Creative Writing Degrees
Accreditation is a valuable way for students, future employers, and governing entities to know that quality education is being provided. Online programs need to be accredited in order for students to qualify for federal funding such as grants and loans, and graduating from an accredited program is often required to sit for state licensure exams. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is the supreme accreditation board for this country. It is a non-governmental, private organization committed to quality assurance and rigorous standards, and students should check with the Department of Education’s website in order to ensure the school they are considering is accredited.
The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) is a governing body that evaluates MFA programs to ensure a high level of education and contribution to the written word. The AWP postulates that a valuable writing program offers extensive literary study, strong thesis advisors, accomplished faculty, and a small student-to-teacher ratio, which is something students should consider when evaluating an online MFA program.
Careers in Creative Writing
An online degree in creative writing can provide a breadth of career opportunities, from editing to marketing communications to grant writing. Depending on career goals and experience, areas of focus can vary greatly within creative writing careers.
Companies often hire individuals based on their “soft skills,” which include critical thinking, situation analysis, communication skills, and their ability to communicate effectively across a multitude of media interfaces. An online bachelor’s degree in creative writing can prepare you for a career path in editing and copywriting, advertising, public relations, and publishing, for example.
A master’s program will prepare graduates to teach at a collegiate level, or further critical skills in authorship, which can be essential to getting work published.
Common Online Classes for Creative Writing Students
Creative writing is a field that encapsulates many specialities, so there will likely be a variety of online courses offered. Listed below are some common online classes:
- Forms and Techniques of Fiction: This class gives students the tools to analyze and imitate important pieces of fiction in order to gain a historical understanding of the creative process.
- Advanced Poetry Writing: This online course delves into framework and finding your poetic voice through identifying expressive resources and elements.
- Storytelling in Film and Literature: Students will explore narrative techniques and how they transpose to film, examine the role of the reader and the structure of the meaning, and investigate political, social, and aesthetic issues within the narrative.
- Scriptwriting: This online class studies the process and elements of film scriptwriting, including character building, three-act structure, plot points, and formatting.
- Fiction Workshop: This allows students to share their work with peers and receive feedback. It also explores the complexities of fiction writing, from developing characters and plots, to setting a foundation while remaining concise.
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing: Students explore the rules of sci-fi and fantasy writing and the tools embedded in these genres. They will utilize poetic language, horror, and alternate realities to create short stories based on prompts.
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