Professional Writing and Editing
Courses and Internship
PWE Undergraduate Courses
The concentration and minor in PWE both require 15 credit hours of coursework, but the course requirements are different. For more information, see the undergraduate catalog.
English 301: Writing Theory & Practice
The objective of this course is to provide students an in-depth understanding of how rhetorical theory has shaped professional writing and editing (PWE) communication practices. To begin, the course will explore the many definitions of rhetoric and how those definitions illuminate any and all aspects of a student?s PWE studies. From the social contexts and collaborative processes for writing within organizations to the complex discourse of scientific communities, this course will require students to find and analyze the rhetorical underpinnings of contemporary professional communication practices. Students will be introduced to fundamental and advanced rhetorical principles such as logos, ethos, pathos, invention, style, arrangement, kairos, stasis, techne, fallacies, and the common and special topics.
English 302: Editing
Good editing is more than the correction of mechanical errors, although that correction is an important part of the process. Good editing works to shape an existing text to better achieve its purpose for a given audience. This includes analyzing the audience, understanding how writing strategies influence an audience, knowing what kinds of writing strategies are available and appropriate, understanding how formatting interacts with text to persuade an audience, and knowing how mechanics of punctuation, grammar, and style affect meaning for an audience. This course will introduce you to these skills in a variety of editing contexts.
English 303: Multimedia Writing
This course foregrounds the study of communication and design issues in multimedia composition. Coursework focuses on communication, creative expression, persuasion, interactivity, and rhetorical principles. Students will practice composing multimedia documents such as online publications, interactive literary works and tutorials.
English 304: Business and Professional Writing
This course is designed to introduce you to the forms of writing and the writing situations that are common in the professional world, including routine correspondence, job application materials, and recommendation reports. Drawing on the expertise developed in your major, you will explore professional writing through topics and issues important to the work you plan to do. Because a primary assumption of this course is that all writing emerges from and responds to a particular problem, audience and purpose, the course focuses on helping you develop multiple strategies for persuading your audience to your purpose.
English 305: Technical Writing
This course is designed to introduce you to strategies for translating between discipline-specific knowledge and interested outsiders. While this may include topics traditionally understood as “technical,” such as those in engineering, architecture, and computer science, technical writing encompasses any topic which must be explained to an involved, but not expert, audience. This course explores the forms of technical writing that are common in the professions, including object and process descriptions, instructions, persuasive analysis, and science popularizations. Drawing on the expertise developed in your major, you will explore technical writing through topics and issues important to the work you plan to do. Because a primary assumption of this course is that all writing emerges from and responds to a particular problem, audience and purpose, the course focuses on helping you develop multiple strategies for your writing toolbox.
English 306: Topics in Humanities Computing
Topics include: literary studies (electronic publications, web-based interactive fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction), creative writing in digital media, composition online, pedagogy, cultural studies of electronic media, online communications, language studies. Topics rotate; check with the instructor for current topic.
English 491: Professional Field Experience
Students doing an internship work under supervision in an existing professional organization to gain further writing, editing, and project experience. Students have worked as interns at law offices, the WVU press, the National Research Center for Coal and Energy, the FBI, Arts Monongahela, and Challenge X. Internships are typically unpaid and require 8-10 hours of work a week for 12-15 weeks. Students must have a B average in their other PWE coursework and have completed all or nearly all of their PWE coursework to sign up for an internship. Internships are graded on the basis of a reflective portfolio, which is due to the Professional Writing Coordinator no later than the Monday of finals week of the relevant semester. To arrange an internship, students should contact Prof. Jill Woods the semester before they plan to take the internship.
Students in English 491A should use the following documents and forms: