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Professional Writing

Write to Make a Difference

Professional Writing focuses on writing effectively for a range of careers, communities, and contexts. Professional Writing majors engage with writing as action, learning to write in print and digital genres in impactful, culturally responsive, and audience-centered ways. This is an ideal first or second major if you love to write, are interested in learning more about writing, want to develop excellent writing skills, and/or seek to use writing to make a difference in the world.

Career opportunities for Professional Writing graduates are extensive because they develop skills, knowledge, and experience sought by employers. In fact, writing is a top-5 skill sought by employers in the 2023  National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey. 

Professional Writing alumni enter a variety of fields, including technical and freelance writing, corporate and organizational communications, marketing and social media, editing and publishing, education, and law.

Real-World Application

All Professional Writing majors have the opportunity to participate in class projects with local communities building valuable experience with real-world application. Projects have included designing websites, creating brochures, launching social media campaigns, and writing grants. These projects, described in more detail in a FAQ below, have significant positive impacts on local communities.


This 36-credit hour major offers a focused but flexible curriculum that allows you to tailor your studies to match your professional and academic interests and aspirations. Complete a core of five courses and then choose one of four tracks to specialize in:

  • Digital and Technical Communication
  • Editing in Professional Contexts
  • Intercultural Rhetoric and Writing
  • Public Writing and Rhetoric

As part of the major, you will participate in many seminar-style classes, where you can discuss and share writing with colleagues and faculty. The Professional Writing major also includes electives from other programs such as Creative Writing, Interactive Media Studies, Journalism, Linguistics, Literature, and Strategic Communications. In addition, you may (with prior arrangement with the Chief Department Advisor) have up to 6 credits in the degree be from an internship or employment experience.

As a Professional Writing major (or a Rhetoric and Writing minor), you have the flexibility to tailor the major to your interests. From the ancient rhetoric of Aristotle to contemporary social media, the curriculum is varied and dynamic. Some course areas include:

  • Business Writing (BUS 284, ENG 315, ENG 407)
  • Community Project Writing (ENG 415)
  • Cultural Rhetoric (ENG 223, ENG 310J)
  • Design & Data Visualization (ENG 222, ENG 285, ENG 411)
  • Digital Rhetoric & Social Media (ENG 224)
  • eBook Publishing (ENG 426)
  • Editing--Print & Digital (ENG 216, ENG 412)
  • Environmental Communication (ENG 429)
  • Grant Writing (ENG 413)
  • Healthcare Writing (ENG 310B)
  • Legal Writing (ENG 316)
  • Technical Writing (ENG 313)
  • Usability & User-Experience Research (ENG 414)
  • Writing for Global Audiences (ENG 416)
  • Writing Theories & Pedagogies (ENG 304)

Major Program Requirements

Minor Program Requirements

The courses you take will prepare you to:


Be an excellent writer and communicator.


Work as a writer, editor, or communications specialist for companies and non-profit organizations in an array of professional sectors, including business, education, government, health, marketing, publishing, science, and technology.


Publish effective print and digital communications in a wide variety of genres and styles.


Develop strong persuasive skills needed in all fields but especially ideal for future studies in law school or other graduate studies.


Participate in writing projects for community organizations that provide valuable career preparation and that provide experience with project management and user-centered design.


Conduct rhetorical analysis, discourse analysis, literacy studies, and/or user-experience research.


Develop personal and public expression and intercultural competencies for active citizenship in local and global communities.

Career Prospects and Placement: Preparing for Your Future


Bar graph titled PW Alumni Career Placement showing areas of employment for 428 recent graduates of the program. Marketing is first (18% of respondents), Business (12%), Law (9%), and Communications and PR (7%) are also common employment areas.

Career prospects for professional writers are robust and expected to grow. 

Professional Writing graduates work in a variety of fields. The graph below shows the career placement by area of 428 Professional Writing alumni since the first graduating class of this relatively new major in 2013.  

A sampling of current job titles include: assistant editor, associate attorney, copywriter, freelance writer, digital PR specialist, English language arts teacher, project manager, public services librarian, senior digital account manager, social media marketing manager, UX designer, VFX editor, etc.  

PW alumni are employed at several hundred different companies and organizations, including Accenture, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Orchestra, Deloitte, Fifth Third Bank, GE Aviation, HarperCollins, Indianapolis Public Library, Kraft Heinz, Meta, Medtronic, Microsoft, Oracle, Scholastic, TikTok, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and many media companies, law firms, schools, and libraries.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I declare a Professional Writing major or minor?

It is easy to declare a Professional Writing major (or a Rhetoric and Writing minor). Just reach out to the English Department and request to be added by using email (, phone (513-529-5221), or in-person visit (356 Bachelor Hall).

What are examples of community projects PW majors have done?

The Professional Writing major offers many opportunities for students to write for real-world, community organizations, gaining valuable knowledge, skills and experience while also helping local communities. Students learn about creating writing projects from ideation to drafting and user-experience testing to copy editing and publication; they engage in project management and team collaboration; and they communicate frequently with local community members. Here is a sampling of some of the projects.

Hueston Woods Nature Center

Working closely with the naturalists from the Hueston Woods Nature Center and conducting research with people visiting the State Park, students created signs for the animal exhibits, a detailed hiking trail map, a brochure, and educational materials for the Center.





hopewell.jpgHistoric Hopewell Church

Residents in the Oxford area in the 1800’s were active in the Underground Railroad, helping enslaved people escape to freedom. One of the significant locations on the railroad is the Historic Hopewell Church, which is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. This church did not have a website or other publicity materials, so students researched, designed and wrote a website for the church. They also created a brochure that is distributed at area hotels and visitor bureaus. To read more about this important project, please see this news story.


Reily Township

Students in the Grant Writing course worked closely with citizens and elected officials from Reily Township to help the community by identifying funding needs and writing grants to apply for funding. Students went on a field trip to Reily where they hosted a pizza dinner for 50 people, talking during dinner with community members about their needs and hopes for their community. The students wrote grants seeking funding for AED devices, new fire equipment, new playground and exercise equipment, new sidewalks, AV equipment and more. This class project was supported with funding from Miami University Career Services and the English Department.


Enjoy Oxford

Students in the capstone course partnered with Oxford’s visitor bureau to create more social media campaigns, including video interviews and showcases of local business and non-profits. They also analyzed and redesigned Enjoy Oxford’s website, and they created a brochure for the community. At the end of the semester they showcased their work to Miami faculty and Oxford community members.

What are recent course offerings and descriptions?

The Miami Bulletin provides very brief descriptions of all courses. But before scheduling for the new semester the Professional Writing program shares with students more detailed descriptions of the courses. Here is a sampling.

What experiences, skills and outcomes will I learn in Professional Writing?

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.

As a Professional Writing major, you will gain experience and meet learning outcomes in the following areas. 

Composing Processes: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Identify and apply collaborative and project management strategies for researching, evaluating, and addressing client’s communicative needs and user needs.

Usability/User-Experience: Analyze, evaluate, and apply approaches for researching users’ behaviors, expectations, and experiences to design usable, useful, and accessible communications.

Professionalization: Investigate career opportunities for professional writers, and develop the ability to articulate the unique knowledges and skills as a PW graduate you can bring to organizations.

What is the Mary Jo Priest Award in Professional Writing?

mary_jo_priest.jpgMary Jo Priest (’82) earned her B.A. with Miami University in Scientific and Technical Communication, now the Professional Writing degree. Upon graduation, she first worked for Industrial Data Technologies in Columbus, Ohio, where she wrote and designed technical information for internal and external company communications. After a few years, she chose to become a paralegal, a position where she continued to pursue her passion for writing until her death in 1995.

Mary Jo Priest’s family generously endowed an award, the Mary Jo Priest Award, in her honor, to recognize students who represent Mary Jo Priest’s core values in her time at Miami and in her professional life: excellent students who demonstrate a passion for exceptional writing.

More information on the Mary Jo Priest Award, including the multiple award categories and submission information, can be found on the Department of English Awards page.

Award Winners from Professional Writing

Proposal or Report — Madalyn Willis
Rhetorical Analysis — Caleb Chun
Rhetorical Analysis — Julia Jacobs

Rhetorical Analysis — Liz Browning
Rhetorical Analysis — Nathan Gillin
Rhetorical Analysis — Olivia Hennessey

Report or Proposal — Kendra Stiers
Rhetorical Analysis — Jada Favers
Rhetorical Analysis — Bailey Miller

Rhetorical Analysis — Anthony Raffin
Rhetorical Analysis — Sophie Thompson

Public Argument — Delaney Heisterkamp
Rhetorical Analysis — Annie Eyre
Rhetorical Analysis — Jacob Nitzberg

Report or Proposal — Liz Winhover
Public Argument — Leah Gaus
Rhetorical Analysis — Tobias Paul

Report or Proposal — Evan Doran
Public Argument — Emily Ritchie
Rhetorical Analysis — Paige Bremner

Report or Proposal — Haley Jena
Public Argument — Alison Block
Rhetorical Analysis — Holly Wilkerson

Report or Proposal — Courtney Katzmeyer
Public Argument — Allison Treen
Rhetorical Analysis — Alison Block

Report or Proposal — Sam Sneeds
Public Argument — Alicia Auhagen
Rhetorical Analysis — Holly Jeric

Report or Proposal — Elizabeth Nicole George
Public Argument — Alyssa Jane Jones
Rhetorical Analysis — Anne Meuser

Public Argument —  Ali Czarnecki
Rhetorical Analysis — Laura Kretz

What are some professional organizations related to Professional Writing?

Professional organizations and societies can provide you as a Professional Writing student with resources for networking, technical writing, editing, rhetoric, and more. Joining organizations or simply accessing the resources they offer is an important part of professionalization, enabling you to build knowledge and skills and to meet others who share your interests and passions.

Most of these organizations are national or international or are local chapters of national organizations such as the Northeast Ohio Society of Technical Communication. If you’re interested in a field of study and don’t see an organization listed here, talk with your professors and advisor, and they can help you locate an organization.

American Copy Editors Society

American Grant Writers’ Association

American Medical Writers Association

American Society for the History of Rhetoric

American Society of Business Publication Editors

American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors

Association for Teachers of Technical Writing

Central States Communication Association

Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication

IEEE Communications Society

International Association of Business Communicators

International Communication Association

International Digital Media and Arts Association

International Society for the History of Rhetoric

Internet Marketing Association

National Association of Independent Writers and Editors

National Association of Science Writers

National Communication Association

New York Book Forum

Northeast Ohio Society of Technical Communication

Professional Editors Network

Public Relations Society of America

Publishing Professionals Network

Rhetoric Society of America

SIGDOC: Special Interest Group for the Design of Communications

Society for Editors and Proofreaders

Society for Technical Communication

Society of American Business Editors and Writers

Usability Professionals Association

Can I participate in an internship with this major?

Professional Writing majors are strong candidates for internships because of the skills and knowledge they gain in classes in the major, starting with the first courses taken in the core.

PW majors have held writing and communication internships in a variety of fields such as editing, fashion, information technology, journalism, and government.  A small sampling of companies with whom Professional Writing majors have interned include Amazon, FedEx, Great Lakes Publishing, IBM, McGraw-Hill, Nordstrom, Quicken Loans, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Time, Inc., and more.

If you have an internship or other employment-related to Professional Writing, you may apply to earn ENG 340 credits toward your degree.

Please see the next FAQ for perspectives from Professional Writing students about internships.

What resources are available for internship and employment?

As a Miami student you have access to excellent career resources. In addition to the faculty and staff in your programs of study, you have the Center for Career Exploration and Success, which offers many online resources and programs, workshops, career fairs and other events. 

In addition, a few years ago we asked PW students about their internships and here are some profiles of their experiences and tips they have.

Sai Allena ’19

Market Research Intern at Athene Consultancy (Singapore)

How did your Professional Writing major help you with your internship?
“It provided me with a communication framework to get my message across effectively. Since it was a market research internship, the requirements were all in report writing and researching.”
What did you learn from the internship?
“The inner workings of a firm, how to work better within a group. It allowed me to take what I’ve learned in class and apply it to a real-world setting.”
Advice for PW majors looking for internships
“Start early if you can, know your strengths and how to communicate them effectively, know your weaknesses and learn how to not see them as limitations rather they are a part of your individuality. Be sure to learn how to communicate about yourself in a reflective and respective manner, and always keep in mind who your audience is.”

Sara Azalone ’19

Congressional Progressive Caucus Intern (Washington D.C.)

How did your Professional Writing major help you with your internship?
“I wrote every day because I was in charge of writing a lot of reports for [the political consultant for whom I worked]. A major task was reading the 50 newspapers and writing a daily report. Here, it was vital to be concise yet explain a ton of information every morning, and I definitely exercised the PW major during that task every morning. If the report was too long, employees would probably be deterred to read it. Using rhetoric skills was key to spread information every morning.”
What did you learn from the internship?
“I learned how to use information for persuasive arguments, how to manage time, how to read things faster, and how to interact in a professional environment.”
Advice for PW majors looking for internships
“Some schools don’t have a PW major, so explaining [to potential employers] what the major is would be helpful. For example, in an interview I would exemplify how we fine-tune rhetoric and have honed analytical skills. It’s an impressive trait that can be used anywhere. On that note, I would encourage applying to a broader range of internships since PW is literally used everywhere. I thought at first that I would focus more on my Political Science major during this internship, but PW was used just as much.”

Olivia Bauer ’19

Editorial Intern at American Technical Publishers (Chicago)

How did your Professional Writing major help you with your internship?
“I got the opportunity to draft memos and write parts for textbooks. It was a lot more writing than I think the company expected that I partake in, so having my writing skills was definitely attractive.”
What did you learn from the internship?
“I learned how to work independently and under a strict timeline. I also learned professionalism and what that entails in a work environment. Mostly though, attention to detail since that is the most crucial aspect to editing.”
Advice for PW majors looking for internships
“Go for it, even if you don’t think you’ll get it! Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! It shows that you are engaged and interested. Be confident in yourself, you will do great things!”

Abby Gooding ’19

Development Intern at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy (Boston)

How did your Professional Writing major help you with your internship?
“As a development intern, I was mostly responsible for reaching out to potential donors and planning events. Each of my writing courses, like technical writing, report writing, and writing for media, helped me out a ton as I worked on each of my projects this summer.”
What did you learn from the internship?
“Honestly, I learned that having a wealth of experience allowed me to know what I do and don’t want to do.”
Advice for PW majors looking for internships
“Don’t be afraid to take an internship that seems like it doesn’t have anything to do with writing. Even if you think you won’t write, there is a good chance you will. No matter what position you have, the skills you learn in class will be directly impactful. And most importantly, try to get diversity each summer as best you can. Finding out what you don’t like is just as important as finding out what you do like.”

Haley Jena, ’19

Editorial Production Intern at Coveteur (New York City)

How did your Professional Writing major help you with your internship?
“I knew I had certain skills that I’ve gotten from courses from Professional Writing, so I was able to apply those in my internship projects. All of the copyediting courses I took really helped, as it was an editorial internship. And courses that focus on writing for different audiences and rhetoric were also really applicable as I was producing articles over the summer.”
What did you learn from the internship?
“It definitely confirmed my career interest in editorial writing. It was nice to see how the skills that we always learn in class are transferred to the real world.”
Advice for PW majors looking for internships
“Think about what skills you have and what skills they’re looking for, and use your skills to make you seem like the perfect match. Be sure to optimize your skills on your resume and your cover letter. One thing I did that helped a lot was have a few of my professors look over my cover letter and resume. It was great to get an outside perspective, and I think you should aim to get a lot of eyes on your content.”

Jacob Nitzberg ’19

Sponsorship Activation Intern at FC Cincinnati, Major League Soccer (Cincinnati)

How did your Professional Writing major help you with your internship?
“It wasn’t specific to writing but so many others aspects of the major such as professional communication helped me throughout my internship.”
What did you learn from the internship?
“I learned valuable team work and networking skills.”
Advice for PW majors looking for internships
“You don’t necessarily have to obtain a writing internship. It’s okay to do something that is not within the realm of a typical internship for a PW major, because you can still learn lots of important skills and network regardless of your position”.

Where do Professional Writing alumni work?

PW alumni have launched their careers across the United States. In addition, alumni are also working abroad, including in Thailand, Australia, and Spain. With a PW major you may pursue a career anywhere you wish to live, working on-ground or remotely.

Map of the United States showing cities where PW majors are employed. Most graduates are in the Midwest: Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago. But graduates are employed all over the country—Boston, New York, Washington DC, Austin TX, Denver, San Francisco.

Can I read more about what alumni are doing? Yes!

We are still in the process of transferring content to the newly redesigned Miami website, so for now, to read more about our alumni, please visit 

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Professional Writing