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Professional Poetry Writing (Master's)

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Refine your passion for writing poetry, ground that passion in the evolving creative tradition, and build connections within the writing community through the master’s concentration in Professional Poetry Writing. You will have the support you need to develop a writing practice that is both focused and flexible enough to sustain you on the journey to publication. Gain the skills needed to craft poetry that expresses your deepest insights in ways that move your audience. You’ll learn to:

• Identify and analyze key elements of poetry
• Apply knowledge of poetic fundamentals to your own creative work
• Discover and cultivate personal habits of thought and behavior to sustain your creative efforts
• Create strategies for developing a professional presence in the poetry world

To learn more about the program outcomes, please view the Professional Creative Writing program overview page.

Professional Creative Writing Outcomes

This program prepares students to:

  • Craft writing with a keen awareness of the limits and opportunities of the writing's genre
  • Cultivate writing routines and habits that support creative productivity
  • Develop a sophisticated knowledge of literary structures and reader expectations
  • Apply professional editing standards to evaluate both published writing and writing for your peers
  • Assess your own writing and learn how to enhance its strengths and eliminate its weaknesses
  • Define your audiences and write in ways that move and entertain them

Required Courses

Requires completion of 48 credit hours (12 courses). Speak with an advisor to determine your degree plan.

Core courses - 20 qtr. hrs

Core courses help students to understand the scope of activity, historical development, future direction and trends, and typical types and roles of organizations that operate within a career field. The Capstone course is the culminating academic endeavor of our degree programs, in which students explore a problem or issue within their field of study.


  • The Writing Life: Concepts, Practices, and Professionalism
  • Literary Genres for Writers: Drama, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
  • The Writers Workshop: Responsive Critique for Creative Revision
  • Professional Research for Creative Writers
  • Portfolio Capstone

Concentration courses - 16 qtr. hrs (Choose 4)

Concentration courses allow students to focus on a specific professional area within the larger industry sector in which they are working or wish to work, and master the skills needed to excel in that area.


  • Masterworks: Poetry
  • Writing Poetry: Foundational Concepts, Skills, and Practice
  • Writing Traditional Verse and Contemporary Song Lyrics
  • Writing Improvisational Verse and Prose Poetry

Elective courses - 12 qtr. hrs (Choose 3)

Electives may be chosen from among all courses in Professional Creative Writing program. You may also select courses from other University College graduate programs with approval from the academic director.

After you submit your academic plan, your academic advisor will help you select electives that align with your career and personal goals, and your advisor will obtain any necessary approvals from the academic director.

Popular electives for students pursuing Professional Creative Writing program include:

  • Writing and Healing
  • Natural Science and Literature
  • Children's Literature
  • Literature to Film
  • From Romance to Realism
  • Literary Translation


Careers in Professional Poetry Writing

Titles
Poet Writer, Editor, Song Writer, Libretto Writer, Copywriter, Writing Coach, Teacher, Marketer

Responsibilities
Developing written content for poems and online publications; crafting written works of poetry; editing written content for grammar, punctuation, and readability; revising written content based on customer and editor feedback; transcribing content on behalf of others; preparing works for publication; performing poetry.

Outlook
Be prepared to produce marketable poetry, whether a freelance or full-time poet or writer. New revenue sources are on the rise for poets, as spoken word poetry and online poetry blogs continue to surge in popularity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual median salary of $60,250 for all writers and authors, though most professional poets pursue a freelance career.

Careers In Professional Creative Writing

Be prepared to publish!
Whether you want to be a novelist, screenwriter, poet, or literary journalist, your love for writing combined with a master's degree or graduate certificate will prepare you for a career in creative writing. From developing a professional writing presence to applying expert editing standards, you'll learn to master the fundamentals of writing for various genres and be prepared to submit your written works to an editor or agent.

The future of digital reading has arrived!
With the rise of mobile-reading—Nielsen says 54% of ebook buyers read from a smartphone on the go-be prepared to write prose people can't put down. Also be prepared to go global, with the growth of opportunity in international markets, according to the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Career Services

Enhance Your Career
As a student, you'll gain access to a range of free services offered through DU Career Services. From resume and cover letter assistance to individual career counseling and assessments, you'll have valuable career support during and after your program.

Ready to Apply

It's time to gather your materials and apply to your program of choice. Remember to include:


How to Apply


Need More Information

Interested in attending University College, but need additional information before you make a decision? No problem−we're here to help. You may request additional information about a specific program and specialty, review and ask questions in our Frequently Asked Questions section, or contact University College directly.

Want to Take a Class

Even if you missed the application deadline, you can start taking courses for one quarter before you have to submit a completed application. We know how important it is to get started when you're ready, so review the class schedule or start the registration process now.

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