Ranking Low-cost Online Writing Master’s
Submitting well-organized samples for online Master’s in Writing programs can help working adults refine their English language expertise for plotting career promotions. Writing master’s degrees train creative post-grads on the best grammar, narrative, and character structure to craft eloquent prose. Forbes chose writing as the number five most important skill making good leaders great. Whether they’re in-house or freelance, organizations need writers to aptly articulate messages to diverse audiences. That’s especially true online where Google indexes 30 trillion pages and websites like The Washington Post publish around 1,200 articles daily. According to EContent Magazine, the United States will spend $103 billion each year on content marketing by 2019. Though shrinking recently, the book printing industry cited by the AAP Statshot Survey still boasts net annual revenue of $27.78 billion. Online writing master’s open great opportunities for silver-tongued students to channel their inner Ernest Hemingway or Virginia Woolf.
The Grad Hub School staff sought to help fellow bookworms save money on the next chapter of their education by weaving a compelling story of low-cost Master’s in Writing online. We used the NCES College Navigator database as our table of contents for browsing advanced distance education programs in creative, technical, and general writing. Google was consulted to nix graduate certificates from our 48 results. Next, we checked every master’s degree for regional accreditation on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation directory. Nationally accredited programs, such as Full Sail University’s Online Creative Writing MFA, were edited off the list. Our final stage was comparing the schools by average in-state graduate tuition and fees for 2016-17. In descending order, we’ve published the 10 least expensive online writing master’s that train imaginative literary geniuses for under $15,000!
Ranking Cheap Writing Master’s Online
10. East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
Online M.A. in Professional & New Media Writing
East Stroudsburg, PA
Average Graduate Tuition: $14,804 per year
Gifting $28.54 million in annual financial aid, including the Martha L. Martin Fiction Writing Award, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania is a public, civic-engaged PSAC liberal arts school that’s located on a 65-building Pocono Mountains campus and delivering eLearning on Blackboard to 1,135 post-grad Warriors. ESU was deemed America’s 224th best online graduate education school by the U.S. News & World Report, 103rd top value in Washington Monthly, and 221st most conservative college on Niche. Since 2014, the English Department has awarded the Online M.A. in Professional & New Media Writing with zero campus trips. Chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Hotz, the 30-credit, non-GRE program accepts $50 applications until June 1st and November 1st from graduates with minimum 2.75 GPAs. Asynchronous, discussion-based online courses like Advanced Grammar, Visual Rhetoric, American Journalism, and The Professional Document lead to the capstone writing thesis. Two other online ESU offerings are the M.Ed. in Reading and M.S. in Health Education.
9. New England College
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Writing Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $13,080 per year
Linked to 9,942 LinkedIn alumni, including writers Mariela Griffor and Allen Steele, New England College is a private, nonprofit business-oriented institution established after World War II that’s currently endowed for $11.6 million to teach 1,500 Pilgrims online via Blackboard from its 225-acre campus along the Contoocook River. NEC was applauded for America’s 173rd best online graduate education on the U.S. News & World Report, 21st most diverse students in TIME Magazine, and 186th highest service participation by Washington Monthly. The School of Graduate & Professional Studies confers 11 NEASC-accredited options online, including the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Writing. Organized by Dr. Nelly Lejter, the 36-credit curriculum has an accelerated, 12-month format for building Web-based portfolios in courses like New Media, Writing for Public Relations, and Technical Communication. Working toward the capstone rhetoric project requires a bachelor’s GPA above 2.5 and TOEFL score over 550. New England’s online degrees include a Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing, M.Ed. in Literacy, and MBA in Digital Marketing too.
8. Mount St. Mary’s University
Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Los Angeles, CA
Average Graduate Tuition: $11,001 per year
Built in 1925 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Mount St. Mary’s University is a private, Catholic women’s liberal arts ACCU member devoted to “Deus Illuminatio Mea” that’s endowed for $65.4 million to instruct 2,707 unstoppable Athenians at its 56-acre, ocean-facing Brentwood campus and online via Canvas. MSMU is crowned America’s 350th best private college in Forbes, 131st top value by Money Magazine, 18th best female-centric school on Niche, and 489th best university overall in Times Higher Education. The WASC-accredited Graduate Division is authorized to provide its Online Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing across 34 states and multiple genres. Directed by Johnny Payne, the author of La Muerte de Papi, the 36-credit, 24-month program offers Spanish bilingualism and a low-residency format that requires only six sessions in Los Angeles. Meeting the June 1st and December 1st application deadlines opens online courses like Poetry, Playwriting, and Creative Non-Fiction before the required thesis. The Mount also confers the MA in Humanities and MFA in Film & Television.
7. Northern Arizona University
MA in English with Professional Writing Emphasis Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $10,001 per year
Publishing Thin Air Magazine for 20 years, Northern Arizona University is public, doctoral-granting RU/H Big Sky institution established in 1899 under Almon Nicholas Taylor that’s budgeting $700 million to enroll 31,057 Lumberjacks total at its 707-acre Coconino County campus, 30 locations, and online on Blackboard. NAU was distinguished for America’s 107th best online graduate education on the U.S. News & World Report, 240th best faculty by the CWUR, and 15th fastest-growing admissions on PolicyMic. The College of Arts and Letters created the Master of Arts (MA) in English with emphases in Literature, Rhetoric, Digital Media Studies, and Professional Writing online. Coordinated by Dr. Jean Boreen, the 36-unit, fieldwork-optional curriculum immerses students with cumulative GPAs over 3.0 into the production of reader-driven content. Study culminates with a capstone project after virtual courses like Technical Editing, Information Design, and Composition Theory. Also check out Northern Arizona’s Online Master of Administration with Professional Writing Emphasis and MA in Communication.
6. Louisiana Tech University
Online M.A. in English – Technical Writing Concentration
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,603 per year
Hosting the Shakespeare Birthday Festival each April, Louisiana Tech University is a public, coeducational quarter-based research hub originated by W.C. Friley in 1880 that’s awarding $70.76 million in financial aid to 12,873 Techsters logging into Moodle or visiting the 86-building Ruston campus in Eastern Ark-La-Tex. LA Tech was judged America’s 261st top value in Money Magazine, 200th best university on Plexuss, 237th best master’s institution in Washington Monthly, and 183rd top college by the CWUR. The College of Liberal Arts utilizes the Global Campus to grant the Online M.A. in English with concentrations for British and American Literature or Technical Writing. Managed by Dr. Susan Roach, the 36-credit, non-GRE program takes just six 10-week online terms for graduates with minimum 2.75 GPAs to advance written communication skills. Students select the thesis or non-thesis track after 500-level courses like Technical Editing, Specification Writing, and Teaching College Composition. Notice that Louisiana Tech presents a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Communications Online too.
5. Old Dominion University
Master of Arts in English: Professional Writing Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $9,168 per year
Bestowed four Silver Communicator Awards of Distinction for Monarch Magazine, Old Dominion University is a public, sea-grant SURA member of Conference USA that’s grown since its 1930 founding by Robert Hughes to generate $88 million for research and enroll 5,508 post-grad Big Blue from its 250-acre Norfolk campus. ODU was proclaimed America’s 280th best public college on Niche, 128th best English school by the U.S. News & World Report, fifth smartest choice on Super Scholar, and 182nd top university by the CWUR. Boasting 95 percent satisfaction, the ODUOnline Division has the Master of Arts in English: Professional Writing on Blackboard. The 30-credit program chaired by Dr. Sheri Reynolds requires minimum “B” averages for undertaking textual analysis in asynchronous online courses like Visual Rhetoric, Document Design, New Media Theory, and Management Writing. For capstone, Monarchs select a thesis, oral exam, or portfolio project of at least 10,000 words. Other Old Dominion opportunities include the Online Professional Writing Certificate and Ph.D. in English for Writing and Discourse Studies.
4. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Online Master of Arts in English, Writing and Linguistics Concentration
Average Graduate Tuition: $8,487 per year
Attracting authors like Colin Winnette Laurie Ann Cedilnik with its Cane River Reading Series, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public, goals-oriented UL System constituent initiated in 1884 that’s budgeting $74 million to teach 9,002 Demons in Natchitoches, Shreveport, Alexandria, Leesville, and online on Moodle. NSULA was picked America’s 291st best online graduate school by the U.S. News & World Report, 319th best English value on College Factual, and 399th top master’s university in Washington Monthly. Home to a Sigma Tau Delta Chapter, the College of Arts & Sciences conveys the Online Master of Arts in English with concentrations for Writing and Linguistics, Literature, Folklife/Southern Culture, Generalist, and TESOL. The first 30-credit program headed by Dr. Jim Mischler considers graduates with minimum GPAs of 3.0 and verbal GRE scores of 150. Online courses like Syntactical Theories, Classical Rhetoric, Digital Culture, and Editing end with a thesis or two capstone papers. There’s also an Online Writing for Business, Industry, and Technology Certificate at Northwestern State.
3. Texas Tech University
Master of Arts in English: Creative Writing Concentration Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $7,849 per year
Producing The Daily Toreador weekly since 1925, Texas Tech University is a public, Hispanic-serving research APLU member of the Big 12 that’s attracting 6,251 post-grad Red Raiders to eLearning on Blackboard and a Lubbock campus described by author James Michener as the “most beautiful west of the Mississippi.” TTU is honored for America’s 152nd best communications programs on Niche, 95th top public education in the U.S. News & World Report, and 277th best alumni employment by the CWUR. Fulfilling STC certification, the College of Arts & Sciences has a Master of Arts in English: Creative Writing Concentration Online open until November 1st yearly. The 36-credit major overseen by Dr. Brian Still admits Spring cohorts with a mean GPA of 3.75 for nurturing literary talent in diverse genres. Six hours of thesis follow portfolio-building online courses like Book History, Comparative Literature, Applied Linguistics, and Fiction Writing. Related Texas Tech programs are the M.A. in Strategic Communication and M.A. in Technical Communication Online.
2. University of Arkansas at Monticello
Online Non-Residency MFA in Creative Writing
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,520 per year
Merged with Great Rivers Technical Institute in 2003, the University of Arkansas at Monticello is a public, master’s GAC liberal arts school that’s budgeting $49.8 million to educate 3,925 Cotton Blossoms, publish The Voice, and deliver online Blackboard courses from its 1,400-acre forested campus near Pine Bluff. UAM is declared America’s 473rd safest college on Niche, 223rd best university in Washington Monthly, and 451st top value in Money Magazine with a mid-career salary averaging $66,000 on PayScale. Chaired by Dr. Mark Spencer, author of A Haunted Love Story, the School of Arts & Humanities launched an Online Non-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. The 48-credit program mandates hopeful applicants with minimum 3.0 GPAs submit 20 pages of writing in poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction. Offering optional retreats like the MacDowell Arts Colony, the two-year Monticello curriculum blends online courses like Magazine Design, Simple Art of Murder, and Mind Memoirs with a thesis sequence.
1. University of Nebraska-Omaha
Writing MFA Program Online
Average Graduate Tuition: $6,438 per year
Known for its Writer’s Workshop Reading Series, the University of Nebraska-Omaha is a public, space-grant RU/VH metropolitan college founded at Kountze Place in 1908 that’s generating an economic impact of $605.4 million yearly by training 15,526 Mavericks on Blackboard and face-to-face at the 78-acre Dodge Campus. UNO was congratulated for America’s 210th best faculty by the CWUR, 215th best research expenditures in Forbes, 211th top public education on Niche, and 170th best opportunities by the Social Mobility Index. The College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media charges our list’s lowest price and funds $300,000 worth of scholarships with a Writing MFA Program Online. Directed by Dr. Miles Waggener, the 60-unit, low-residency curriculum takes 24 months with concentrations for Fiction/Young Adult, Poetry, Playwriting/Screenwriting, and Nonfiction. Four 16-week online studio seminars are paired with five brief conferences in Omaha before the thesis defense. Also consider UNO’s Online M.A. in Critical and Creative Thinking or M.S. in Literacy.
Which Careers Can Benefit From Master’s in Writing Online Degrees?
Online Master’s in Writing graduates aren’t destined to be “starving artists” because they’ll be competitive for landing several well-paid media and entertainment gigs. Writing proficiency serves well in diverse careers from public relations manager to translator, novelist, greeting card designer, proofreader, and film critic. The MFA is also considered a terminal degree, which means colleges could even offer adjunct or tenured faculty positions in their English departments. Master’s degrees are particularly powerful when online students add industry credentials. For example, the American Medical Writers Association offers the MWCC certification for passing a 125-question, 2.5-hour exam about healthcare information. The American Grant Writers Association launched the CGW distinction with review courses costing $699 for the full-day exam. Let’s outline five potential job descriptions where communications chops from a cheap writing master’s online would be advantageous:
Magazine Editor- Master’s in Writing online graduates make skilled editors for strengthening articles featured in the over 7,390 periodicals nationwide that saw a 6.2 percent readership increase according to Magazine Media 360° from 2015. Magazine editors choose editorial policies, plan published content, research audience needs, assign writing ideas, set deadlines, review submissions, suggest draft changes, place images, and approve final prints.
News Reporter- One News Media Alliance poll found that 58 percent of people have encountered “fake news” in 2017, so writing online master’s students might be called to restore journalistic integrity. News reporters investigate current events, pitch story proposals, conduct thorough research, interview reliable sources, vet topic tips, write feature articles, proofread for proper phrasing, update for new developments, and contribute to TV broadcasts.
Technical Writer- Getting a cheap writing master’s online could lead to the U.S. News & World Report‘s 85th best job creating instructions or how-to guides for mechanical items that are hard to comprehend. Technical writers study product designs, ask scientists for clarification, identify likely user difficulties, organize detailed step-by-step content, create diagrams or charts, input demo videos, address FAQs, and edit material with consumer feedback.
Content Strategist- America’s 68th best job on CNN Money with an “A” for telecommuting places online master’s writing graduates at the helm of digital material production to boost corporate communication. Content strategists establish website styles, generate online post ideas, edit writers’ work, schedule the editorial calendar, attract readers with SEO, fix marketing fails, connect with social media influencers, and stay current on industry news.
Screenwriter- Movie production is a cutthroat niche where ScriptMag says the odds of writers’ success is just 20 percent in 1 million, but advanced online master’s in writing study might keep Oscar hopes alive. Screenwriters innovate original film concepts, develop storyboards, flesh out character traits, write witty dialogue, visualize camera sequences, truncate unnecessary plots, pitch to production crew, and collaborate with directors on set.
What is the Salary Potential for Writing Master’s Online Graduates?
Hunting down cheap writing master’s online degrees is vital because Fortune Magazine’s 15th worst major has a humble earnings outlook. Writers report pay that hovers around the mean master’s wage of $69,732 on SmartAsset, but higher income is possible. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average salary for writers and authors was $71,920 in May 2016. Technical writers earn slightly more at $73,160 on average. The 97,170 book, magazine, and journal editors reached a mean annual wage of $66,080. While news reporters and translators made lower means at $49,770 and $46,120 respectively, content strategists brought home median profits of $84,400. On Salary.com, the median earnings for speechwriters is currently $127,370. Other high averages include $95,507 for copywriting managers, $98,642 for internal publications managers, and $207,854 for communications executives.
How is the Job Outlook After Online Writing Master’s Programs?
Putting pen to paper for a Master’s in Writing online could be one’s byline to success in a global entertainment and media sector poised for 4.2 percent, or $41 billion, growth through 2021 according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Demand for writers and authors is projected by the U.S. Department of Labor to rise 8 percent for 10,000 jobs by 2026. Content marketing managers can expect faster-than-average increases of 10 percent. Public relations specialists are poised for a 9 percent hike to 282,600 total employment. Interpreters and translators will have the fastest writing job growth of 18 percent this decade. Hiring of editors will drop slightly by 1 percent for a 1,800 cut though. The Huffington Post highlighted Chicago, Charleston, Austin, Asheville, Bellingham, and Saint Paul as the best cities for writers. Words can’t express the job search value of affordable online master’s in writing degrees.