Our Major and Minor

As mentioned in Program Features, our major and minor draw on three main areas of Professional Writing: Rhetorical Theory and Practice, Creative Writing/Editing and Publishing, and Digital and Technical Writing. Each of these concentrations prepares students for a different professional trajectory.


Rhetorical Theory and Practice

This concentration prepares students to be future scholars in fields like rhetoric, rhetoric and composition, professional writing, creative writing, and technical communication. Students choosing this concentration study the history, theory, and scholarship of these fields, as well as practical applications of academic work within communities, cultures, workplaces, organizations, and institutions, and via a variety of scholarly, creative, and digital media.

Core Classes (6 credits from any of the following)

PWR 415: Experiments in Creative Writing OR PWR 413: Contemporary Poetics
PWR 409: The Evolution of Writing
PWR 410: Digital and Technical Writing for Community Development

Creative Writing/Editing and Publishing

This concentration prepares students to work with publishing companies and to be promoters and creators of a variety of writerly genres, from working with magazines and newspapers to blogging to composing short stories, novels, and poems. Students choosing this concentration study and refine their creative voice through a variety of genres and media as well as learning how to become part of the complex networks of communities, organizations, and institutions that make writing available to public audiences.

Core Classes (6 credits from any of the following)

PWR 324: Grantwriting
PWR 425: The Publishing Industry
PWR 401: Writing for Online Publication

Digital and Technical Writing

This concentration prepares students to be technical writers and communicators, web designers, digital content management specialists, events and promotion/social media specialists, grant writers, and web developers within non-profits, civic organizations, and small and large businesses. Students choosing this concentration study and practice extensively within the extra-academic contexts in which writing happens (e.g. workplaces, communities, organizations, and institutions), learning the tools, skill sets, and creative capacities to be successful writers within a large variety of professional contexts.

Core Classes (6 credits from any of the following)

PWR 393: Technical Writing
PWR 324: Grantwriting
PWR 410: Digital and Technical Writing for Community Development

Required Courses for Major

(19 credits)

PWR 210: Writing in the Digital Age
PWR 295: Introduction to Professional Writing
PWR 395: Revising and Editing
PWR 399: Rhetoric
PWR 495: Internship in Professional Writing
PWR 497: Senior Seminar in Professional Writing

Professional Writing Electives

(15 credits, with at least six hours at the 400-level)

The purpose of our major is to provide students with a broad understanding of the technical, professional, and intellectual foundations of the diverse field of professional writing while providing them with an opportunity to focus their education, in consultation with their advisors, to best serve their particular professional goals.

Some of our students are very interested in creative writing and intend to pursue graduate degrees in that area. For those students, our program allows enough freedom to take several creative writing workshops. Other students are more interested in editing or professional communication or technical writing. Those students also have an opportunity to take more advanced courses in their areas and pursue more in-depth internships, including study-abroad internships.

Required Courses for Minor

PWR 295: Introduction to Professional Writing
15 hours of PWR electives, with at least nine credits at the 300-level or higher

Like our major, our minor offers students a high degree of flexibility. Some students come to us to take creative writing courses. Others want to hone their writing skills for a competitive job market or broaden those skills by learning to write in a variety of genres or in the context of emerging technologies. We highly value students who minor in our program as they bring with them an enriching range of interests and knowledge that enliven our writing community.