56 credit hours + secondary study
Dr. Jonathan Pitts, Coordinator
Dukes Memorial 116
The Professional Writing Program is an academic program designed for students who want to put their love of writing and reading to use in professional and technical fields.
Professional writers work in every professional and technical field, from advertising to entertainment, industry, communications, government, business, and non-profit organizations. One recent Writing Program graduate is now a senior technical writer for Microsoft. Professional writers not only write and edit print and online texts but create and supervise documentation and communications projects.
The goal of the Professional Writing Program at ONU is to prepare students to work as writers and editors in a wide variety of professional settings and rhetorical situations: public relations writing, advertising, document design, literary nonfiction, science writing, screenwriting, technical writing, magazine writing, desktop publishing, online writing and publishing, editing, and cultural criticism. Professional Writing majors are required to take two publishing practicums as well: desktop publishing and publishing the department’s online magazine, Delirium: An Interdisciplinary Webzine of Culture and Criticism.
These are the watchwords for the 21st century working world. And there’s nothing like professional writing to prepare you for this world.
Ever think about being a traveling editor for Conde Nast Traveler Magazine? How about being a website designer for a major corporation or a startup? Ever think about working as a public relations director for Greenpeace, or, somewhat more lucratively, the National Football League?
Careers in professional writing are limited only by your imagination! That’s the great thing about professional writing: you’re flexible, multi-skilled, and marketable in any number of professional venues.
As a Professional Writing student you’ll take PW courses in conjunction with interdisciplinary courses (either another major or as an option) to create an education targeted specifically to developing your talents. You will also set your sights on specific employment interests. For example, one PW senior has a double-major in Spanish, the combination of which will make her extremely marketable in any number of professional venues, given the constant (and ever-increasing!) demand for good writers and multi-lingual professionals.
For a complete list of Professional Writing course requirements and electives, click here!
When you finish the PW program at ONU you’ll have an impressive set of accomplishments: an academic degree, practical preparation, an understanding of professional issues, expectations, and markets, and a writing portfolio of polished samples of your work.
As a Professional Writing major you are required to keep a collection of your best writing throughout your course of study. The portfolio will be reviewed periodically by the program director, to offer advice to make sure that the PW student is prepared to compete in the job market. The student's portfolio will be reviewed one final time prior to graduation.
What's In A Portfolio?
As a record of your professional work, your portfolio should contain a variety of writing samples that, taken together, show you as talented, skilled, creative, knowledgeable, serious and unique. Yes, you are all those things, so show it!
Begin thinking about your portfolio when you enter the program. The range and variety of classes you take supply you with the variety of writing you'll need in your portfolio. In other words, think of class paper assignments not as chores but as professional opportunities.
Click here to study and download Mary Rinkoski's portfolio. Mary is now attending Ohio University's graduate school of journalism. (You will need Winzip or a similar archive program to view the files. If you don't have one, go to the Winzip page and download Winzip 8)
Click here to view current Professional Writing major Scott Wortman's portfolio.
New Courses! (New Requirements for the PW Major and Minor)
CULTURAL STUDIES: Theory and Practice (ENGL 405)
NOTE! Replaces Public Relations Writing (COMM 236), which is no longer required.
--Have you ever felt left out when, sitting at the coffee shop with friends, you’re the only one who doesn’t know what “non-linear” refers to?
--Have you ever wondered what the relationship is between
Pulp Fiction and the break-up of the
--Have you ever wondered where punk rock came from and where it went?
--Have you ever wondered, as you watched South Park
and laughed, why you were watching
This is the course for you!
To be offered for the first time in 2002, this new course—Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice—will introduce students to the theory and practice of the criticism of popular culture. Drawing on such important critical theories as Marxism, psychoanalysis, feminism, poststructuralism, postmodern theory, and others, cultural studies is a relatively recent development in the understanding of what we enjoy in our ordinary lives. Using three key cultural studies concepts—culture, textuality, ideology—we will spend the first half of the course studying the roots of cultural studies in the writing of Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School of Criticism, British cultural studies centered around Raymond Williams and the Birmingham Center, and American cultural studies. The second half of the course will be devoted to our application of these theoretical tools to the understanding of literature, mass media, advertising, and other aspects of contemporary culture. In short, we will actively think about the material world we are making, and in the process produce a 20-page cultural studies essay. We will also look at the market for such work (including the Department e-zine of cultural criticism, Delirium: An Interdisciplinary Webzine of Culture and Criticism) The course is writing-intensive and of interest to students planning careers in advertising, television, entertainment, public relations, and academia. The course is required of Professional Writing majors and is an elective for others.
In the meantime, check out these Cultural Studies sites:
Cultural Matters http://www.onu.edu/user/FS/jpitts/pw
Cultural Studies Central http://www.culturalstudies.net
Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture http://www.imagesjournal.com
North American Forum http://forumna.net
The Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~pcaacal
Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/pcl/pcl.html
Richard P. Horwitz's Popular Culture and Entertainment Media Links http://twist.lib.uiowa.edu/rhorwitz/popularculture.html
DESKTOP PUBLISHING (ENGL 244)
NOTE! Replaces Graphic Design 1 (ART 223), which is no longer required!
Absolutely necessary and useful (and fun) course in the practical application of desktop publishing software: QuarkXPress, Adobe Photoshop, and Dreamweaver..
WEB PUBLISHING PRACTICUM (ENGL 252)
The editorial staffing and publication of rhe Professional Writing Program's online magazine, Delirium: An Interdisciplinary Webzine of Culture and Criticism.