Professional Writing Program
Professional Writing is English's most flexible program focused on the analysis, production, and research of clear and effective written, oral, and visual communication.
The Professional Writing undergraduate program blends rigorous study in rhetoric, argument, genre studies, and plain language - skills that put audience and purpose at the center of communication strategies. Our courses draw from a broad suite of options in journalism, public policy, rhetoric, document and web design, cultural studies, and global communication.*
Students who study professional writing go on to a broad range of careers in writing, communications, and information design (e.g., public relations and marketing, editing, news writing and multimedia journalism, internal and corporate communications, grant and public policy writing, social media strategy) including related fields where expertise in rhetoric, argument, and plain language are valued (e.g., law, medicine, non-profit advocacy).
Students in the Professional Writing Program can expect personal advising support through one or more internship or research experiences. As further professional support, all our students can take our 3-unit Professional Seminar course (76-300) to network with alumni and learn more about the field. Additionally, Professional Writing majors are eligible to apply for a graduate degree through our accelerated one-year M.A. in Professional Writing (MAPW 4+1).
*If students are interested in a degree that develops skills in clear and effective written, oral, and visual communication, but want to focus on communicating scientific or technical content, they can explore our Technical Writing Program.
Professor of English, Director of Professional & Technical Writing Undergraduate Programs and the MAPW Program
Carnegie Mellon University English Professor Suguru Ishizaki's professional experience in traditional visual communication design and user experience design for mobile and enterprise applications led him, along with Department of English colleague Mellon Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Kaufer, to create DocuScope, a series of tools for corpus-based rhetorical analysis and interactive visualization of writers' composing choices. Learn more about the DocuScope Project.
In addition, Professor Ishizaki teaches a sequence of two foundational design courses in the professional and technical writing curriculum. The first course, 76391/791 Document & Information Design, offered each fall semester, introduces students to the foundational principles of visual design through a series hands-on document design projects. In the second course, 76487/887 Information Architecture & Content Strategy (formerly Web Design), students delve into the design of more complex information design focusing on online media. This course equips students with user-centered approach to tackling larger information design problems.