BA English - Professional Writing

BA English - Professional Writing

In this concentration, you will prepare for your career by learning to write effective reports and other professional documents, write for the Web and social media, copy edit, and search and interview for jobs. Through literature courses in our shared core, you will also learn valuable skills in critical analysis, interpretation, and research.

At a Glance

Core Requirements (21 credits)

  • ENG 1130 Introduction to Literary Studies 
  • American Period (choose one)  
    • ENG 3362 American Romanticism and Transcendentalism  
    • ENG 3363 American Realism and Naturalism  
    • ENG 3364 American Literature Since 1900
  • British Period (choose one)  
    • ENG 3350 Old and Middle English Literature  
    • ENG 3351 English Renaissance Literature 
    • ENG 3356 Eighteenth-Century British Literature 
    • ENG 3359 Nineteenth-Century British Literature  
    • ENG 3360 British Literature Since 1900
  • ENG 3333 Advanced Writing for English Majors 
  • ENG 3371 Professional Writing
  • ENG 3382 Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism 
  • ENG 4401 Seminar in Literary Studies

Professional Writing Concentration (18 credits)

  • ENG 3400 The Editorial Process
  • ENG 3404 Writing for the Web
  • Take one upper division literature course
  • 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 BA English - Professional Writing prior to Fall 2016, please see the department chair to count these courses toward your major.

Core Requirements: 21 Credits

All English B.A. majors must complete a 21-credit set of core ENG courses. The lower division core courses emphasize the foundational knowledge and skills essential to the field of English studies. The upper division core courses build on and further develop the knowledge and skills instilled in the lower-division foundational courses. Together, the core courses emphasize the importance of key influential texts; writing as a process that includes attending to rhetorical conventions and contexts (ENG 1130, 3333, 3371, and 4401); the careful reading, productive research, and critical analysis of literature and non-print media (ENG 1130, 3333, 3352, and 4401); speaking and listening skills (ENG 4401); and the use of technology in literary studies (1130).

• ENG 1130:  Introduction to Literary Studies 
Prepares students for the advanced literary analysis and interpretation that they will find in upper division content courses. Students become acquainted with literary genres and terms and learn strategies for reading and understanding literature. Offered in the fall semesters. No prerequisites.

• American Period Course:  Take one course of the following:

ENG 3362: American Romanticism 
A study of American Romanticism and Transcendentalism, focusing on the work of such writers as Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Whitman, Melville, Hawthorne, and Poe. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3363: American Realism and Naturalism 
A study of major American writers between the Civil War and World War I. Possible authors include Dickinson, Twain, James, Chopin, Crane, Chesnutt, Wharton, Dreiser, Wilkins Freeman, and Orne Jewett. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3364: American Literature Since 1900
A study of major American writers since 1900, such as Wharton, Hurston, Stevens, O'Connor, Ginsberg, and Lahiri. Topics of study include modernism, postmodernism, race, and gender. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

• British Period Course:  Take one course of the following:

ENG 3350: Old and Middle English Literature 
A study of major British writers and works from the Anglo Saxon period to 1500. Selections may include Old English lyric and narrative poetry (Like Beowulf) in translation, and Middle English romances, allegories, bawdy tales, plays, songs, and mystical writings, some in the original language, some in translation. Authors may include Chaucer, Julian of Norwich, Langland, Malory, and that most prolific of medieval authors, Anonymous. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3351: English Renaissance Literature 
Studies writers, ideas, and historical context of the period 1500 to 1660, the Reformation through the English Civil War. Authors include Sydney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, Jonson, and Milton. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3356: Eighteenth-Century British Literature 
A study of major British writers from 1660 to 1800. The course will include both primary texts and literary criticism addressing the literature of the period. Includes authors such as Behn, Defoe, Pope, Richardson, Fielding, Smith, and Radcliffe. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3359: Nineteenth-Century British Literature 
A study of major British writers from the Romantic and Victorian eras. May include such authors as Burns, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Bronte, Carlyle, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, and Wilde. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

ENG 3360: British Literature Since 1900
A study of major British writers since 1900, such as Yeats, Joyce, Woolf, Beckett, Winterson, and Smith. Topics of study include modernism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. Prerequisite: ENG 1112.

• ENG 3333: Advanced Writing for English Majors 
Designed to refine the writing skills of English majors, with an emphasis on critical analysis and the mechanics of writing. Students will read and write about a literary, rhetorical, or linguistic concept chosen by the instructor (irony in literature, for example) and revise at least one essay from their English portfolio. Offered fall semesters. Prerequisites: ENG 1130 and two upper division ENG classes.

• 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 3382: Contemporary Literary Theory and Criticism 
Surveys recent approaches to literature, including formalist, structuralist, post-structuralist, reader-response, psychoanalytic, feminist, Marxist, new historical, and/or post-colonial literary criticism. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: ENG 1112 and ENG 1130.

• ENG 4401: Seminar in Literary Studies 
Provides students with a sustained, in-depth study of literature which draws on the expertise developed in previous English courses. Topics vary, but each offering requires that students complete a seminar-length researched paper/project, culminating in the public presentation of that work. Offered spring semesters. Prerequisites: ENG 1112 and 75 earned credits.

Professional Writing Concentration: 18 Credits

• ENG 3400: The Editorial Process 
Focuses on copyediting 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.

• Take one upper division literature course

• Professional Writing Electives:  Take three courses of the following:

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.

Foreign Language Requirement: 6 Credits Through 1102 Level

Additionally, students in the BA program must fulfill a Foreign Language Requirement, which consists of course work through the 1102 level. Students must then either complete an additional 6 credits through the 2202 level OR declare a minor.

FR 1101, 1102: Introductory French I and II; Intermediate French I and II.

GER 1101, 1102: Introductory German I and II; Intermediate German I and II.

SPA 1101, 1102: Introductory Spanish I and II; Intermediate Spanish I and II.

English Program Assessment Portfolio

smiling manAll English degree program students must compile a program assessment portfolio. The completed portfolios are to be used as a tool to track each student's performance across a range of assessment tasks within the degree program, and to assess the extent to which the program itself is meeting its designated expectations and outcomes. 

The portfolios will be evaluated by the English Curriculum Committee on a regular basis using the criteria listed on the evaluation rubric. Students should submit electronic copies of their portfolio essays to the department chair. The portfolios-in-progress will be kept on file electronically in the department office. The completed portfolio will consist of the following items:

The Final Research Essay from ENG 1130: Introduction to Literary Studies. This assessment is a research project conducted at the conclusion of the students' second semester. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to analyze a text closely, to utilize secondary source material (both print and electronic) productively, to be conversant with key terms from literary history and criticism, to situate a text within its historical, literary, and/or cultural context, and to conform to the rules of standard written English.

The Major Revision Essay from ENG 3333: Advanced Writing for English Majors, including the original, unrevised version (the unrevised version may be the essay from ENG 1130 or one of the upper division essays already included in the portfolio). This assessment requires students to revise an essay completed for a previous ENG course, and focuses on the students' ability to revise an essay effectively, to analyze a text closely, to utilize secondary source material (both print and electronic) productively, to be conversant with key terms from literary history and criticism, to situate a text within its historical, literary, and/or cultural context, and to conform to the rules of standard written English. The resulting essay should be suitable for submission to an undergraduate-level journal and/or adaptable for submission to an undergraduate-level conference.

The Research Project from ENG 4401: Seminar in Literary Studies. A substantial inquiry into a specific topic within the field of literary studies, this assessment focuses on the students' ability to analyze a text (or texts) closely; to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the available secondary source material (both print and electronic) on the topic; to incorporate key terms, theories and approaches from literary history and criticism effectively; to situate a text (or texts) within its historical, literary, and/or cultural context; and to conform to the rules of standard written English. The final project should contribute to the critical conversation on the chosen topic. The project culminates in a public oral presentation of each student's research before a university-wide audience of students and faculty.

Last updated: January 9, 2018