Choosing the Right Degree to Pursue a Writing Career

Editor’s Note:  This is a guest post from Maria Rainer.  Please read more about Maria in the bio footer.

In today’s harsh economic atmosphere, our society has become (not unreasonably) preoccupied with our careers or potential careers. Where college was once a place that fostered education for the sake of education, many schools and degree programs have become more focused on occupational training.

Degrees have become the first step in attaining our dream careers. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing; it’s just the way society has been heading. As new students enter the world of higher education, they strive to choose a major that will properly prepare them for their desired career.

While some careers match up with their majors pretty clearly, not all are as clean cut. I am a firm believer that you should study the subject that interests and inspires you most in college. However, if you know that you wish to be a professional writer after you graduate, there are several specific majors that may prepare you more thoroughly for the position you wish to obtain in the future.

1. Major in English

Obviously, English is one of the most popular majors among aspiring writers. Regardless of the type of writing you wish to do in the future, the English major will provide all of the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

While actual writing experience is a huge advantage for writing hopefuls, the critical thinking and researching skills obtained with an English degree is also endlessly useful. English majors will read, write, and evaluate text over and over again. This regular practice and honing in on writing skills provides a wonderful background for a powerful career in writing.

2. Major in Communications

A degree in communications can lead to a career in many different areas of the professional world. For those wishing to pursue a career in technical writing or copywriting, a communications degree may be extremely useful.

The communications major educates students in the classic study of rhetoric, teaching them to read and respond to their audience. Most Communication programs seek to instill careful and thoughtful reading in students.

This major will help you gain perspective on various texts of all different contexts. This general skill is essential to freelance and professional writing. You must be able to read your audience and social context in order to create the most appropriate and successful material.

3. Major in Creative Writing

For individuals wishing to pursue a career as a poet or fiction writer, Creative Writing is an obvious degree choice. Though not all programs have a dedicated major for Creative Writing, many do and others offer it as a concentration within the English major.

In a Creative Writing degree program, students learn to master the use of creative language and creative plot structure. This program will foster new avenues for creative inspiration and motivation, as well as ample practice in editing and meeting deadlines.

Receiving and responding to feedback on your writing is one of the most important and challenging aspects of being a writer. In a Creative Writing major, you will receive constant feedback on your work from both professors and peers. This is wonderful practice for after graduation.

There are a few other degrees that will help you with your writing career, including Journalism if you want to get into magazine or investigative writing,. A degree in advertising or marketing will be useful if you decide to go into copywriting. While a degree is not necessary to become a professional writer, it can help you learn more about your field and give you a valuable education that will help you throughout your career.


  1. Hi Maria,

    Although degrees are a big part of securing employment and more and more degrees are getting more practical there are big challenges using just that degree to secure employment. Experience and attitude are gaining equal status to get work these days.

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  2. I agree overall with the article, but I just wanted to note that you don’t necessarily need to write for a profession in order to enjoy it or get something out of it (as you have mentioned one way or another in some other articles). You also don’t need a degree (though I do fully agree that having one as you mentioned will help you if you aim for that to be your profession).

    My wife and I used to write to each other quite a bit in college many years ago, but then we went for years without writing anything creatively or just for enjoyment. What recently inspired us to write more was the creation of a blog about something we love to do: hiking. Since starting the blog, my wife particularly has been writing several times per week. It has awoken something in her. Basically what I mean is that as long as you have some kind of outlet or inspiration, writing can come very easily and be thoroughly enjoyable. It also is quite a relief to be able to write more casually in a blog atmosphere than in a professional atmosphere.

    • This is true! You definitely don’t need a degree to be a writer, but for those who are considering that option, these are just a few degrees to choose from. Inspiration from writing can come from all different avenues and hiking is one of my favorites! Congrats on your new found inspiration! :)

  3. Great article i appreciate first we need greater English language and degree because that will help you with your writing career, Obviously if you decide to go into valuable education that will help you throughout your career. Thanks
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  4. Great Article, I will share this one to my friend’s in order that they will become a good Writer… Thank’s for the tips.
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  5. The tips are really helpful and useful to bloggers especially to the beginners…Thanks a lot for the shared ideas here…
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  6. I am major in communications and I can say that my degree is really a big help if you want to be a writer someday. There are lots of learning and practices that you can encounter in this degree as well as the other two. For more deeper writing, you can choose the degree in creative writing and it will help you on your extensive writing.

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