The professional writing major includes strands in technical writing and writing and publishing. It is a good major for students who love to write and who enjoy organizing and presenting information in multiple media. The professional writing major is noted for cultivating expertise in writing for the digital workplace; in teaching and researching multimedia writing, visual rhetoric, usability, and emergent technologies; in print and digital publishing; and for emphasizing collaboration, community service, and open-source development and documentation. Students may focus on writing for the arts or writing for industry, and they must choose a minor that will give them additional expertise.
Points of Pride
- Professional writing students learn many skills that employers find desirable, which may lead them to jobs in publishing, marketing, management, etc. Skills include the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing; to edit, revise, and design professional documents; to analyze, interpret, and present data; to present information clearly and creatively; and to understand how people use writing to teach, delight, and persuade.
- Professional writing offers four major scholarships annually to undergraduate students, each currently worth $5,000, and focused on these areas: Technical Writing, Writing and Publishing, Writing Lab, and Print and Digital Publishing.
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers a vast library of resources ranging from style guides to instructional material to assist Purdue students. OWL also is an international resource with a website that receives nearly 85 million hits a year from more than 125 different countries. Advanced undergraduates can apply to be peer tutors in the Writing Lab.
- All professional writing students gain valuable experience in internships and other projects.
- The Department of English sponsors several student organizations to involve students in a variety of activities, including the Student English Association, the Sigma Tau Delta Honors Society, and the Professional Writers Club, which provides majors with social, academic, and career opportunities.
- Undergraduates in English publish their own literary magazine, The Bell Tower, each year, and advanced undergraduates have the opportunity to volunteer for Sagamore Review, a journal edited and managed by the MFA Creative Writing program. Many undergraduates in English also volunteer for the staff of Purdue’s student newspaper, The Exponent.
- The Department of English co-sponsors the Books and Coffee series in which faculty, staff, and students meet weekly in February to enjoy coffee and tea and listen to a professor talk about a recent book.
- The Department of English holds a Literary Awards competition and celebration every Spring. Students can submit their best writing – creative work, essays, and nonfiction – to be considered for awards in a wide variety of categories, and a major author comes to campus to speak with students about writing and to give a reading of his or her own work.