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Writing Studies Major

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Writing Studies

3,877 Master's Degrees Annually
151 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#46 in Popularity (Master's)
$75,500 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Writing Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many writing studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 3,877
Graduate Certificate 240
Doctor’s Degree 151

What Writing Studies Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to writing and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Writing Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skills for Writing Majors

A major in writing prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for Writing Majors

As a writing major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

What Can You Do With a Writing Studies Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with writing:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Copy Writers 7.6% $62,170
English Language and Literature Professors 9.8% $66,590
Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers 7.6% $62,170
Professors 9.4% $65,660
Technical Writers 10.9% $71,850

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Writing Studies?

3,877 Master's Degrees Annually
66% Percent Women
24% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Writing Studies runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #46 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 3,877 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major is dominated by women with about 66% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of writing majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Writing Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 155
Black or African American 285
Hispanic or Latino 323
White 2,514
International Students 152
Other Races/Ethnicities 448

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Writing. About 3.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • India
  • United Kingdom

How Much Do Writing Studies Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that writing studies students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $33,250 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $29,250 (25th percentile) and $38,425 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to writing.

Salaries According to BLS

Writing majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $73,090 to $76,990 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Writing Studies Major  ( 73090 to 76990 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with writing may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for writing careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 6.3%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 3.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.4%
Some College Courses 7.7%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.5%
Bachelor’s Degree 42.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.6%
Master’s Degree 12.8%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.5%
Doctoral Degree 16.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online Writing Studies Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 736 schools offered some type of writing studies program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 108 19
Certificate (1-2 years) 25 1
Certificate (2-4 Years) 3 0
Associate’s Degree 60 13
Bachelor’s Degree 87 21
Post-Baccalaureate 108 19
Master’s Degree 324 36
Post-Master’s 14 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 33 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Writing Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a writing grad is $75,500 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 89% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $712,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to writing.

Major Number of Grads
General English Literature 5,257
Literature 191
English Literature (Other) 175

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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