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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Writing

Majors Overview February 8, 2015

Those interested in reporting breaking news, showing people how to use their new electronics, or spinning narratives should look into bachelor’s degree programs in writing.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Journalistic Writing

Schools offer bachelor’s degrees in journalistic writing, including either a major in journalism or communications with a focus on print journalism. These studies focus on developing skills in research and interviewing and in improving critical and analytical thinking. Students are taught about ways of using these skills to write news articles for newspapers and magazines.

Coursework

As these bachelor’s degrees focus on journalism rather than on English, few classes in literature are included in the coursework. Often, students are required to complete an internship or practicum. Coursework may include specialized subjects such as the following:

•Laws and ethics for mass media
•Journalism principles
•Writing features and editorials
•Techniques of media research
•News editing, writing, and reporting
•Technical and scientific editing and writing
•Public relations

Job and Wage Outlook

Employment growths of 17% and 6% have been predicted for technical writers and writers, respectively, in the decade of 2010 – 2020 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, authors and writers made an average annual salary of $55,940 (BLS). During the same year, technical writers banked an average annual salary of $65,500.

Continuing Education

Students looking for further education should look into graduate programs in journalism. Both Ph.D. and master’s programs are offered. The doctoral programs usually focus on preparing researchers and theorists rather than actively reporting journalists.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Professional and Technical Writing

Technical writing focuses on the material and reader and provides an explanation or instruction of specialized subjects. The outcome may be an explanation of types of surgeries, science grant proposals, or instructional manuals for washing machines.

Technical writers may not always be experts in the fields for which they write, although they must be able to analyze the information, write a clear explanation, understand the audience, and research topics.

Technical writers may also use various multimedia formats to simplify information; therefore, must be able to use the appropriate programs or tools. Bachelor’s degree programs will teach all of these skills.

Coursework

Coursework in technical writing programs is similar to that in creative writing programs in that it includes the same American and English literature courses. Courses in writing nonfiction or fiction may also be included. Coursework may include specialized topic areas such as the following:

•Technical writing and editing
•Science rhetoric
•Writing grants and proposals
•Production of publications
•Graphics and document design
•Rhetorical theory
•Writing for interactive media

Career Choices

Technical writers are employed by many industries. In the course of their jobs, technical writers write for industry professionals or the general public (the College Board). These professionals may choose from careers such as:

•Management consulting services
•Engineering and architectural services
•Research and development
•Electronic manufacturing
•Computer systems design
•Software publishing
•Technical and scientific consulting services

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of the bachelor’s degree program may seek continuing education aimed at becoming competitive in the job market or specializing in some technical fields; to this end, they may complete master’s degree programs in English with a focus area of technical communication or other degrees of similar nature. Such degrees are offered in online formats by some schools.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Creative Writing

Schools most commonly offer degrees in creative writing as Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees; a creative emphasis may be offered through B.A. and B.S. degrees in English or literature and writing. Creative writing includes movie scripts, plays, nonfiction, fiction, or poetry and primarily involves the writer’s feelings, ideas, and imagination without much concern about the target audience.

An individual that wishes to be published must have the ability to express their ideas cogently on the basis of good composition and grammar regardless of how expressive a creative writer is. These basic mechanics skills can be provided through a suitable bachelor’s degree program that encourages the development of creativity by students.

Coursework

Coursework in creative writing usually covers courses in various genres of English and American literature. Students are taught about ways of writing numerous types of manuscripts through actual writing classes. These manuscripts may include:

•Poetry
•Plays
•Short stories
•Creative nonfiction
•Biographies and autobiographies
•Novels
•Scripts

Career Choices

The classifieds do not include advertisements for careers such as poet and novelist. In addition to freelance jobs, there is hardly any direct focus on creative writing in staff positions for employees. Graduates from a bachelor’s degree program in creative writing could seek job positions such as:

•Copywriter
•Website content writer
•Junior editor
•Greeting card writer

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates from a bachelor’s degree program in creative writing may seek continuing education by earning a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing and seriously pursue a professional writing career. The focus of the degree programs is centered on workshops of short duration and interaction of high intensity with visiting writers or faculty, among other activities of a professional nature. Students spend the rest of their time writing and adopt the desire to publish one or more works as their goal.

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