Professional Writing Curriculum

The Bachelor of Arts with a major in Professional Writing is designed for students who wish to engage with the theory and practice of writing for various purposes and in different print and digital media. Students choose one of four tracks:

  1. Digital and Technical Communication
  2. Editing in Professional Contexts
  3. Public Writing and Rhetoric
  4. Intercultural Rhetoric and Writing

The major requires 36 hours: five core courses (15 hours); five track courses, one of which is required (15 hours); and two elective courses in any 200-level or above course in the English Department (6 hours). (Note: You may not “double-dip” a course as both a track-elective and an open-elective.)

PW Contact

Tim Lockridge, Director of Professional Writing


Current Professional Writing Requirements

  • for students beginning August 2018

Pre-Fall 2018 Professional Writing Requirements

  • for students beginning major prior to August 2018. Note: Select bulletin year, College of Arts and Sciences, Professional Writing Major

Professional Writing Outcomes

As professional writers and as Professional Writing students and faculty, we recognize the rhetorically complex, multi-mediated nature of writing. We think and act rhetorically, which means we recognize the constructed nature of knowledge, and we acknowledge, consider, and respond to multiple audiences, cultural contexts, power relations, and the situatedness of all writers. When we engage in new networks and communities, we have an array of rhetorical strategies to navigate, participate, and contribute ethically in social action.

To prepare students to be professional writers, students in the Professional Writing major will gain experience and meet learning outcomes in the following areas.

  • Composing Processes

    Students will design, develop, draft, revise, and edit writing purposefully and reflectively, recognizing that writing processes vary depending on context, genre, medium, technology, and adapting accordingly.
  • Rhetorical Theory

    Students will assess the contexts for written communication (e.g., audience, purpose, social and cultural context). Synthesize, and apply rhetorical theories for researching, analyzing, and composing texts that are effective and ethical for their context.
  • Civic & Public Engagement

    Students will collaborate with communities in designing and revising communications that meet their needs, participating in and shaping public discourse in ethical and inclusive ways.
  • Intercultural Communication

    Students will analyze culturally-specific communicative and knowledge-making practices and compose with rhetorical awareness, recognizing the relationship among rhetorics, cultures, and power relations in local and global contexts.
  • Digital & Multimodal Design

    Students will apply principles of visual rhetoric and design to analyze, evaluate, and create multimodal texts (e.g., data visualizations, conceptual maps, charts and graphs, infographics, social media content, websites, videos, brochures), applying coding, accessibility, and usability standards for digital and multimodal production.
  • Writing Networks

    Students will recognize and analyze the social relationships among human and non-human actors in communication networks, and produce writing and content strategy for network circulation.
  • Project Management & Collaboration

    Students will identify and apply collaborative and project management strategies for researching, evaluating, and addressing client’s communicative needs and user needs.
  • Usability/User-Experience

    Students will analyze, evaluate, and apply approaches for researching users’ behaviors, expectations, and experiences to design usable, useful, and accessible communications.
  • Professionalization

    Students will investigate career opportunities for professional writers, and develop the ability to articulate the unique knowledges and skills they can bring to organizations.