Academic Programs Catalog

College of Arts and Letters

Undergraduate Programs


Professional and Public Writing

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional and Public Writing is a degree program for students wishing to specialize in writing as an area of expertise. Students develop advanced writing strategies and skills with emphasis on rhetorical approaches and practices such as writing anchored to audience, context, purpose; writing attentive to community and cultural dynamics; and writing in consideration of public and professional trends and contexts. Students write in digital spaces including web pages, social media, and content-management systems; write for and in diverse public and disciplinary communities and audiences; and edit and publish in a variety of public and professional contexts. The major prepares students for careers in professional editing and publishing, technical writing, information development, communications management, communications strategy, content management, and web authoring. It also prepares students for graduate work in rhetoric, writing, public and community writing, technical writing, the teaching of writing, and the study of culture.

Students who elect the Professional and Public Writing major should contact the Director of Professional Writing in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures. Students should work closely with the department academic advisor, the program director, and with program faculty to shape a focus or theme in the major that fits their career interests and plans. Internships, management of writing projects, and development of a professional portfolio are all important aspects of student preparation for work in the writing-related professions, in public or private settings such as nonprofits, small, and large corporations, or in graduate study.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Professional and Public Writing

  1. The University requirements for bachelor’s degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional and Public Writing.
    The University’s Tier II writing requirement for the Professional and Public Writing major is met by completing one of the following courses: Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures 320, 331, or 370. Those courses are referenced in items 3. below.
  2. The requirements of the College of Arts and Letters for the Bachelor of Arts degree.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
    a. All of the following courses (16 credits):
    WRA 202 Introduction to Professional and Public Writing 3
    WRA 260 Rhetoric, Persuasion, and Culture 3
    WRA 325 Writing and Multimodality 3
    WRA 360 Visual Rhetoric 4
    WRA 455 Portfolio Seminar 3
    b. Completion of a set of courses oriented toward a theme in the major (12 to 15 credits minimum). Students may obtain a list of example themes and courses from the program academic advisor. Themes vary and are determined in consultation with the program’s academic advisor.
    c. Completion of elective courses meant to complement and extend the student’s chosen theme. An internship for credit is strongly recommended in the major. Courses used to fulfill requirement b. above may not be used to fulfill this elective requirement (3 to 6 credits):
    WRA 210 Introduction to Web Authoring 3
    WRA 211 Documentary History and Theory 3
    WRA 214 Social Media and the Start-up 3
    WRA 225 Introduction to Composing for Digital Video 3
    WRA 290 Independent Study 3
    WRA 291 Special Topics 3
    WRA 308 Invention in Writing 3
    WRA 311 Introduction to Documentary Production 3
    WRA 320 Technical Communication (W) 3
    WRA 330 Writing Research in Communities and Cultures 3
    WRA 331 Writing in the Public Interest (W) 3
    WRA 345 Topics in Writing 3
    WRA 350 Sound Writing and Rhetoric 3
    WRA 355 Writing for Publication Workshop 3
    WRA 370 Introduction to Grammar and Editing (W) 3
    WRA 395 Writing Center Theory and Practice 3
    WRA 401 Rhetoric, Leadership, and Innovation 3
    WRA 410 Advanced Web Authoring 3
    WRA 411 Collaborative Documentary Design and Production (W) 3
    WRA 415 Digital Rhetoric 3
    WRA 420 Content Strategy 3
    WRA 441 Social Justice as Rhetorical Practice 3
    WRA 453 Grant and Proposal Writing 3
    WRA 471 Rhetoric of Grammar 3
    WRA 480 Publication Management 3
    WRA 482 Information and Interaction Design 3
    WRA 483 Community Publishing 3
    WRA 484 Ethics in Writing 3
    WRA 490 Independent Study 1 to 6
    WRA 491 Special Topics 3
    WRA 493 Internship in Professional or Public Writing 1 to 4
    WRA 499 International Research in Professional or Public Writing 3 to 6
    One or two writing or design courses from outside WRA may be used with approval of the student’s academic advisor.