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Professional Writing Emphasis and Minor

Check us out on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PSUProfessionalWriting. For more information on the Professional Writing emphasis, contact Dr. Jamie McDaniel, Director of Professional Writing, at jmcdaniel@pittstate.edu or come by Grubbs 449 to schedule an appointment.

The newly revised Bachelor of Arts with a Professional Writing emphasis prepares students for successful careers as writers and communication specialists in a range of fields.

Although Professional Writing is based in the liberal arts tradition, the emphasis has a strong career orientation.  Students will study the history of writing and writing technologies; will develop their own digital literacies; will examine public discourse and will write in the public sphere; will write, design, edit, and manage texts for publication; and will study theories of composing and rhetorical canons. They will also develop a portfolio of polished writing pieces to help secure an internship or a job.

A B.A. in English with a Professional Writing emphasis prepares students for graduate study and for careers in writing, publishing, government, the non-profit sector, and corporate communications, among others.

Professional Writing students are required to take one internship and have the option of taking a second one. They also have the opportunity to work with their professors to develop research projects and deliver presentations at national conferences.

The new MA in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing will begin in the fall of 2017. The program features classes in writing for the public, such as grant writing; writing for electronic environments, such as digital literacies and new media writing; writing for publication, such as editing and document design; and theories of writing. This degree will help you develop the flexibility necessary for a wide variety of writing occupations.

The MA in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing also features the "Jump Start" option. In this option, Pittsburg State juniors and seniors who meet certain eligibility guidelines may take up to three additional courses that will count toward the MA Emphasis in Professional Writing. The Jump Start option will allow students to decrease the typical time to degree by at least a semester.

Join this new, exciting, and flexible program that allows you to develop the breadth and depth necessary to pursue multiple avenues of opportunity.

Elective Structure and Differences between 500- and 600-Level Electives

The Department will offer 600-level courses concurrently with the 500-level courses.  The 500-level course is content-focused, while the 600-level course requires both mentoring and fieldwork experiences—essentially having students complete a semester-long research study, sharing the project’s process with classmates, and guiding 500-level students in the content comprehension and skills practice.

Though the specific differences between the 500- and 600-level versions of the classes would be left up to the individual faculty members, a good fieldwork experience will work within these parameters: 

  • Include a student mentoring component
  • Identify a site of writing or a set of writing artifacts to examine guided by the content of the course
  • Apply course concepts to an in-depth study of this site of writing or group of writing artifacts
  • Develop a research question
  • Include a set of scaffolded assignments, which may include a literature review, a research proposal, and a status report, among other documents. The gateway course would introduce these common genres to students.
  • Include opportunities for revision.
  • Produce a research paper, digital product, or other object appropriate for an undergraduate journal, research symposium, or professional portfolio.
  • Include an opportunity to reflect critically on the fieldwork experience.

The fieldwork is not necessarily a service learning or community engagement experience.

Overview of Professional Writing Emphasis Classes (Undergraduate)

For catalog descriptions of classes, see the current PSU catalog.

Professional Writing Emphasis (24 hours)

  • ENGL-302: Advanced Composition (3 hours)

  • ENGL-306: Theories and Technologies of Writing (3 hours)

  • ENGL-308: English Linguistics (3 hours)

    OR ENGL-603: History of the English Language (3 hours)

  • ENGL-695: Professional Writing Internship (1-3 hours)

  • Writing Electives (select four)

     (Other support courses approved by the Director of Professional Writing)

    • ENGL-526: Writing in Electronic Environments I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-527: Writing for the Public I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-528: Writing for Publication I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-529: The Art of Discourse I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-626: Writing in Electronic Environments II (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-627: Writing for the Public II (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-628: Writing for Publication II (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-695: Professional Writing Internship (1-3 hours)

    • ENGL-729: The Art of Discourse II (___) (3 hours)

    ENGL 695 Professional Writing Internship should be taken for 3 hours.

Overview of Professional Writing Minor Classes (Undergraduate)

For catalog descriptions of classes, see the current PSU catalog.

Professional Writing Minor (21 hours)

  • ENGL-202: English Grammar and Usage (3 hours)
  • ENGL-302: Advanced Composition (3 hours)

  • ENGL-306: Theories and Technologies of Writing (3 hours)

  • ENGL-695: Professional Writing Internship (1-3 hours)

  • Writing Electives (select three)

     (Other support courses approved by the Director of Professional Writing)

    • ENGL-526: Writing in Electronic Environments I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-527: Writing for the Public I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-528: Writing for Publication I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-529: The Art of Discourse I (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-626: Writing in Electronic Environments II (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-627: Writing for the Public II (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-628: Writing for Publication II (___) (3 hours)

    • ENGL-695: Professional Writing Internship (1-3 hours)

    • ENGL-729: The Art of Discourse II (___) (3 hours)

    ENGL 695 Professional Writing Internship should be taken for 3 hours.

Overview of Professional Writing Emphasis Classes (Graduate)

Professional Writing Emphasis (Options I, II)*

  • Three literature courses
  • ENGL 810: Research Methods
  • ENGL 820: Theory (_____)
  • ENGL 875: Seminar (_____)
  • ENGL 890: Research and Thesis or ENGL 891:  Research Problem
  • ENGL 895: Internship
  • Four of the following
    • ENGL 526: Writing in Electronic Environments I (_____)
    • ENGL 626: Writing in Electronic Environments II (_____)
    • ENGL 726: Advanced Writing in Electronic Environments (_____)
    • ENGL 527: Writing for the Public I (_____)
    • ENGL 627: Writing for the Public II (_____)
    • ENGL 727: Advanced Writing for the Public (_____)
    • ENGL 528: Writing for Publication I (_____)
    • ENGL 628: Writing for Publication II (_____)
    • ENGL 728: Advanced Writing for Publication (_____)
    • ENGL 529: The Art of Discourse I (_____)
    • ENGL 729: The Art of Discourse II (_____)
    • ENGL 603: History of the English Language
    • A second internship – ENGL 895: Internship

ENGL 820 Theory should be taken as Professional Writing.
ENGL 875 Seminar should be taken as Professional Writing.

*Professional Writing Emphasis requires at least two seminars; one must be Professional Writing and one must be literary; if a third seminar is selected and that seminar is literary, it must be from a different literary area than the first literary seminar.

“Jump Start” Master of Arts Pathway for Professional Writing Emphasis

This program is an expansion of the existing Pittsburg State University program that permits students to have conditional acceptance to the master's program in their final undergraduate semester. With the “Jump Start” program, English majors in the Professional Writing Emphasis have the chance to earn hours during their full senior year in order to have nine hours of graduate work completed prior to their undergraduate graduation.

Students meeting the eligibility requirements may take up to nine credit hours (total) of senior/graduate or graduate level courses from an approved list (see below) during the final two semesters as an undergraduate and have them count on the graduate candidacy if students apply for and are granted conditional acceptance into the master's degree program. This would allow students to reduce the credit hours needed to earn post-baccalaureate from 36 down to 27.

English majors in the Professional Writing Emphasis with senior standing are eligible if a minimum GPA of 3.25 is earned, less than 30 credit hours are needed to complete requirements for the undergraduate degree, and conditional acceptance into the Pittsburg State University English Program graduate program is received. Students currently in their junior or senior years will be grandfathered into the program on a case-by-case basis.

Approved Courses for “Jump Start” Eligible Students

  • Courses may NOT count for both undergraduate and graduate degree
  • A grade of "B" or higher must be earned in designated "Jump Start" courses

ENGL 526:  Writing in Electronic Environments I (_____)

ENGL 626:  Writing in Electronic Environments II (_____)

ENGL 726:  Advanced Writing in Electronic Environments (_____)

ENGL 527:  Writing for the Public I (_____)

ENGL 627:  Writing for the Public II (_____)

ENGL 727:  Advanced Writing for the Public (_____)

ENGL 528:  Writing for Publication I (_____)

ENGL 628:  Writing for Publication II (_____)

ENGL 728:  Advanced Writing for Publication (_____)

ENGL 529:  The Art of Discourse I (_____)

ENGL 729:  The Art of Discourse II (_____)

ENGL 603:  History of the English Language

Other literature or professional writing courses approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in English and the Director of Professional Writing

Portfolio Process for MA in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing

Two portfolios will take the place of the comprehensive exam system use by the other Emphases in English. Additionally, this system will include one oral examination in conjunction with the portfolios.

In the Core Portfolio, students will provide a selection of revised written work from their graduate courses, including writing from literature courses that demonstrates a broad, articulate knowledge of the distinct periods, movements, works, and authors of British and American literature. This portfolio will include two additional essays, one that reflects upon the changes that they have made in revising these pieces and one that argues how this portfolio meets departmental and programmatic student learning outcomes. Five faculty members will evaluate the portfolio.

In the Specialty Portfolio, students will design and maintain an online Professional (Marketing) Portfolio targeted at a specific employer or professional writing specialty. Students may use any online platform of their choosing. Student portfolios will include writing from an assortment of genres and should demonstrate versatility and an understanding of research-based design and writing.  Three Professional Writing faculty members will evaluate the portfolio. 

Students should submit both portfolios no later than November 1 for an anticipated fall graduation or April 1 for an anticipated spring graduation.

Additionally, students will defend the portfolios. In consultation with the Director of Professional Writing, students will select a defense committee of at least three faculty members. The committee is responsible for guiding the student's work on the portfolios. The defense will consist of a presentation focusing primarily on the Core Portfolio reflection essays and the contents of the Specialty Portfolio in addition to questions about any of the portfolio contents or any of the student's coursework. 

Tentative Upper-Division Course Schedule

Fall 2016

  • ENGL 306:  Theories and Technologies of Writing
  • ENGL 529/629:  The Art of Discourse-- Visual Language
  • ENGL 603:  History of the English Language

Spring 2017

  • ENGL 302:  Advanced Composition
  • ENGL 308:  English Linguistics
  • ENGL 526/626:  Writing in Electronic Environments-- Digital Literacies
  • ENGL 528/628:  Writing for Publication-- Editing

Fall 2017

  • ENGL 306:  Theories and Technologies of Writing
  • ENGL 527/727:  Writing for the Public
  • ENGL 603:  History of the English Language

Spring 2018

  • ENGL 302:  Advanced Composition
  • ENGL 308:  English Linguistics
  • ENGL 526/626:  Writing in Electronic Environments
  • ENGL 528/628:  Writing for Publication

Student Learning Outcomes

You will work toward the same outcomes throughout the program regardless of the electives you select. Of course, instructors may include additional outcomes at their discretion.

Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Students identify varied rhetorical situations calling for a wide range of responses informed by context and theory.
  • Students evaluate the appropriateness of rhetorical choices in light of anticipated consequences.

Process and Collaborative Textual Evaluation

  • Students demonstrate respectful negotiating behaviors during collaborative textual production and evaluation (listening attentively, airing all viewpoints, valuing difference, coming to consensus or dissensus, dividing labor fairly, balancing competing agendas, expectations, and values).

Craft & Editing

  • Students consider, apply, and control stylistic options (prose style, figurative language, voice, register, tone, word choice, etc.); correctness in syntax, grammar, usage, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling; coherence and cohesion; and the organization of their texts appropriate to the rhetorical situation.

Textual Production & Delivery

  • Students identify and evaluate options for genre, medium, design, circulation, and delivery.

Reflective Learning

  • Students consciously synthesize and integrate insights from one project into another.

Students from Previous Technical/Professional Writing Emphasis

Students enrolled under the previous Technical/Professional Writing emphasis will take courses in the new Professional Writing emphasis. These new courses will substitute for any courses no longer offered, such as Document Design, Advanced Technical/Professional Writing, Technical/Professional Editing, and support courses. If you have any questions, contact Dr. Jamie McDaniel, Director of Professional Writing, at jmcdaniel@pittstate.edu or come by Grubbs 449 to schedule an appointment.