Minor - Professional Writing


Program Description

Because of its broad-based approach to workplace professionalism, this minor serves a wide variety of majors, including Business Administration, Communication, Computer Information Sciences, Criminal Justice Administration, Geosciences, Health Sciences, Literary and Cultural Analysis, and Psychology. In this program, students will learn the fundamentals of professional writing, including reports, business letters, email, memos, and grants. They will also learn to search and interview for jobs, copy edit, design documents effectively, and write for the Web and social media.

At a Glance

18 credits minimum (beyond required composition courses)

  • ENG 3371 Professional Writing
  • ENG 3400 The Editorial Process
  • ENG 3404 Writing for the Web
  • Electives (choose three)  
    • COM 3320 Public Relations Writing
    • ENG 2225 English Grammar
    • ENG 3252 Advanced Poetry Writing*
    • ENG 3254 Advanced Fiction Writing*
    • ENG 3316 Creative Nonfiction Prose Writing*
    • ENG 3332 Nature Writing
    • ENG 4416 Novel Writing*
    • ENG 4449 English Practicum (1-5 credits)*
    • ENG 4995 English Internship (6-12 credits)
    • JN 1100 Journalism
    • JN 3310 Specialized News and Feature Writing
    • JN 3320 Magazine Writing and Production
    • JN 3340 Online Journalism

* denotes courses newly added to the concentration in Fall 2016; if you declared the Professional Writing Minor prior to Fall 2016, please see the department chair to count these courses toward your minor.


Program Requirements

18 credits minimum (beyond the required composition courses) to include:

Core Requirements: 9 credits

ENG 3371: Professional Writing 
Teaches students to write for various purposes in professional contexts. Particular attention will be paid to issues of audience awareness and style. Students will write texts for various contexts, including, but not limited to, letters, resumes, memos, press releases, reports, analyses, and grants. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3400: The Editorial Process 
Focuses on copy editing skills and application of editorial style in a variety of contexts, including print and electronic media. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3404: Writing for the Web 
Teaches students to analyze and compose informative, persuasive, and creative Web texts based on rhetorical principles and with user-experience design in mind. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

Professional Writing Electives:  9 credits

COM 3320: Public Relations Writing 
Familiarizes students with various forms of public relations writing and enhance their skills in written communication. Students will produce public relations material for both traditional and digital media outlets. Emphasis is placed on message design, strategy, audience analysis, and communication channels. Prerequisite: COM 2210.

ENG 2225: English Grammar
A systematic description of the rules of modern English grammar, making use of both traditional and contemporary grammatical theories.

ENG 3252: Advanced Poetry Writing
Students further develop their skills as poets by studying contemporary poetry by a wide diversity of writers and writing their own poems.  Emphasis will be on students developing a body of work to be edited into a chapbook.  Students will give presentations over a “poet mentor”, learn how to evaluate literary markets and how to submit poetry manuscripts for publication, and give a reading of their poems. Prerequisite: ENG 2252. Note: Dual Listed/Cross Listed: ENG 2252.

ENG 3254 Advanced Fiction Writing
Through writing exercises, reading the work of published writers, and workshopping original manuscripts, students will work on creating a portfolio of short fiction or the first three chapters of a novel.  Students will also learn how to market their work. Prerequisite: ENG 2254.

ENG 3316: Creative Nonfiction Prose Writing 
Focuses on reading and analysis of published nonfiction, including essays, magazines articles, and electronic media, and experiment with form and subject matter. Genres explored will include memoir, literary journalism, and socio-political commentary. Small group workshops will help students revise and edit their own and each other’s writing while learning a variety of editing skills. The emphasis of the class is on in-depth discussion of student work, the assigned readings, and the process of writing. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3332: Nature Writing 
Focuses on student writing creative non-fiction prose about nature and discuss each other’s work. The course will deal with such issues as the importance of place, the role of science in personal responses to nature, the nature of Nature, and the meaning of “nonfiction” in nature writing. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 4416: Novel Writing 
Students will read and discuss published novels and work on writing their own, critiquing and discussing one another’s work. Includes the first 3 chapters and a synopsis of the novel. Prerequisites & Notes: ENG 3312 or permission of instructor. Note: May be taken for 1 through 3 credits at one time.

ENG 4449: English Practicum 
One to five credits. Offers practical work experience and the opportunity to apply and further develop skills such as writing and editing in a variety of professional settings. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chairperson and supervising faculty member.

ENG 4495: English Internship 
Six to twelve credits; no more than six credits count toward the major. Offers practical work experience and the opportunity to apply and further develop skills such as writing and editing in a variety of professional settings. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chairperson and supervising faculty member.

JN 1100: Journalism 
Introduces the nature and practice of newsgathering, reporting, writing, editing, and professionalism. Students acquire basic skills by covering textbook examples and off-campus breaking stories.

JN 3310: Specialized News and Feature Writing 
Develops the journalism craft beyond routine coverage practices. Field assignments and classroom workshops offer practical experience in non-fiction depth/feature writing styles, interviewing techniques, and story marketing. Prerequisite: JN 1100.

JN 3320: Magazine Writing and Production 
Explores advanced non-fiction feature article writing and literary journalism, with an emphasis on magazine writing, design, and production. Students create the annual edition of Crossroads magazine published in May since 1990. Prerequisites: JN 1100, JN 3310 or permission of instructor.

JN 3340: Online Journalism 
Includes information on such emerging media themes as the ethical and legal implications of publishing online in a 24/7 environment; the characteristics that distinguish news Web sites and their stories from their print and broadcast counterparts; guidelines for doing research on the Internet; and the impact of blogs, wikis and other citizen journalism on mainstream media. Prerequisite: JN 1100 or permission of instructor.