Online Literature and Writing Graduate Programs

Online Literature and Writing Graduate Programs may be the perfect learning format for working professionals seeking advanced theory courses or to refine technical writing skills. Distance-learning is often a convenient and flexible solution for students who live too far from graduate school or are juggling an advanced degree with other responsibilities. Whether you are interested in studying and critiquing literary genres or learning how to write for a specific milieu or media, an Online Literature and Writing Graduate Degree is worth considering.

Literature and writing degrees online

Online Literature and Writing Graduate Program Essentials

Online Literature and Writing Graduate Programs are offered as masters and master of fine arts degrees as well as doctorate and graduate certificate programs. Often, prospective students are asked to furnish writing samples as well as fulfill the university’s other requirements. As a general rule, Master of Arts programs are considered less intensive than Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs which may be thesis-oriented and used to prepare students for doctorate programs and potential careers in academic teaching.

Types of Online Literature and Writing Graduate Programs

Students can choose between a general online Literature and Writing Graduate Degree or a more focused program such as:

  • Online Comparative Literature Graduate Programs
  • Online Creative Writing Graduate Programs
  • Online Literature Graduate Programs
  • Online Professional Writing Graduate Programs
  • Online Technical Communication Graduate Programs

Which Online Literature and Writing Graduate Program is Right for you?

Graduate school is your opportunity to focus your studies from general undergraduate to more specific in terms of theory or practice and technique. A general Literature and Writing graduate degree program usually involves both readings of literature and

rhetorical analysis and research. On the other hand, for students who have specific interests, choosing either a literature or a writing graduate program may be a better option.

FUN FACT: Some master’s degree programs are academically focused; that is, the primary objective is to study a subject in greater depth. Other programs are geared toward preparing you for a job in the occupation (BLS).[i]

Literature vs. Comparative Literature

As an academic study, literature is a wide-spread topic with many sub-areas that one might be drawn to. For instance, general online literature programs may focus on a specific narrative style or genre (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poetry), a specific language or culture (e.g. English Literature), an era or time period (e.g. Modern). In the case of English literature programs, these are likely to examine the study of authors whose works were originally written in that language. 

Comparative Literature, on the other hand, involves the study of other literatures, optimally read in their original languages (but also sometimes read in translation).

Creative Writing vs. Technical Writing

One could argue that ‘writing’ is ‘writing’ since both technical and creative writing are governed by grammar, textual style and take their audience into consideration. However, the intention of creative writing (e.g. poetry, screen writing, fiction) is to entertain and educate through skillful penmanship and the author’s creative voice and talent.

Technical writing is not written with this intention as much as to inform about a specific topic in a formal manner or to use writing in order to sell a product or service.  

Potential Features of Online Literature and Writing Graduate Programs

Distance learning can bridge the gap between working professionals and an advanced degree. Also, because many graduate schools now how both online and campus formats, if you have always wanted to go to a specific university but it is too far to commute, you may be able to enroll in the same program in the online variation, which often has the same faculty and course choices. So what else makes online learning unique?

Learning Delivery

Online Literature and Writing Graduate programs share the feature of having web-based courses that students access via course management portal, although formats and software technology vary between online universities. Some programs use the cohort method which means that e-learners follow a predetermined course sequence. In online programs where courses are delivered asynchronously, students have the flexibility to be able to log in and view the seminars when it is convenient (access is 24/7). If the program is synchronous, courses may be live-streaming and students have to ‘participate’ remotely by logging in at the designated time.

Computer vs Commuter

The nature of an Online Literature and Writing Graduate program is that students are required to have working computers with reliable Internet (and preferably high speed) access. E-mail and computer software such as PDF readers, audio and video players, are typically required as well. Other software, textbooks and instructional materials may be required for online courses, though online libraries and publications may also be utilized, especially for research and study. Students may learn of specific requirements at the beginning of their online program in the form of an introductory, not-for-credit course.

100 % or Partially Online

Some literature and writing online graduate programs may have campus requirements which means students have to attend in-person classes on campus. These may be referred to as ‘limited residencies’ and may take the form of a summer or weekend intensive, but is variable. This allows students to interact with, and learn from, other writing professionals, or learn constructive critical theory through participatory exercises, such as reading their work out loud. At other times, staying connected to others might be through email, text, chat or online group discussion boards, and there is usually a digital way to keep in touch with your professors.

Take the Next Step

Ready to review sponsored listings for Online Literature and Writing Graduate Programs? makes it easy to explore programs such as Online Master of Arts in Science Writing, online MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) and Online Master of Arts – Literature and Writing. Connect with prospective online graduate schools with the green tab to request info, or get a feel for the program using the orange tab to visit their school site. Some programs even offer part-time flexible options!

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  • No application fee for April & June terms
  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
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