A major in Professional Writing combines the broad-based liberal arts education offered by all programs in the English and Humanities Department with the practical skills and career opportunities that can lead to a fulfilling and successful future. The major in Professional Writing is excellent preparation for students interested in work as writers, editors, and digital communicators. Graduates have obtained positions in publishing, technical writing, public relations, information technology, teaching, government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), corporate communications, non-profit and social-service organizations, health care, the arts, and many related fields. This major is also among the most valued courses of study for those interested in post-graduate education in law, English or rhetoric, or technical writing. When combined with the Department’s Creative Writing minor, the major can also be useful for those who are interested in writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplays, or drama.
The major provides students with guided experience in a wide range of writing situations and stylistic options. Students with this major will benefit from:
- Marketable communication skills such as editing, digital communication including web page design,writing for social media, and collaborative writing
- Real-world learning through internship experiences in professional writing
- Numerous courses in varied genres of creative writing
- An electronic portfolio of written work that can be used in your search for work as a professional writer or as a venue for publishing creative writing or obtaining a literary agent
- Background in the history and theory of language usage
Requirements for Graduation:
To be eligible for graduation, students majoring in Professional Writing must complete a minimum of 122 credits, achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.0, satisfy the College’s residency requirements, and complete the General Education Requirements of the College. Courses used to complete General Education Requirements may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. In addition, Professional Writing majors must complete two semesters of one foreign language.
Required Courses for Professional Writing Major:
1. Common Core:
14 credits of coursework, required of all York College students and designed to hone the skills necessary for success in college;*
2. Area Distribution Requirements:
30-32 credits of courses that are required of all York College students in order to provide a broad-based liberal education;**
3. Elective Courses:
13-18 credits of free electives, to be chosen in consultation with an advisor, and which allow students to learn about other areas of special interest;
4. Required Major courses:
30 credits of writing and other humanities courses, designed to provide students with a solid background in various writing techniques, styles, and applications, including:***
PLUS six credits of Writing Electives, chosen from the following:
With approval of advisor and Writing Program Administrator, a student may substitute writing intensive courses in other disciplines (such as Print Media Writing or Grant Writing) as writing electives when those courses serve that student’s academic and career objectives.
5. English and Humanities Electives:
12 credits beyond the required courses above, chosen from the various offerings of the English and Humanities Department in Literature, Professional Writing, Creative Writing, Philosophy, Humanities, Film Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Religious Studies, or Foreign Language. All courses must be at the 200 level or above, at least three credits must be at the 300 level or above, and at least six credits of the 12 must be in LIT.
All Professional Writing majors are required to complete a minor in a field related to their career interests. Chosen in consultation with an advisor, the minor allows students to devote focused study to an area within which they may pursue work as a writer. For example, a student interested in writing for industry might minor in Business, a student interested in journalism might minor in a Communications field, a student interested in working in web or publication design might minor in Visual Communications, a student interested in writing for a social service organization might minor in Human Services, and a student interested in law school might minor in Political Science or Philosophy.
Though every student will customize his or her educational program with the help of a Professional Writing advisor, the sequence of courses suggested below can help students to plan class scheduling with an eye to future semesters. This outline can also help students to schedule classes that form prerequisites for more advanced courses early in their program of studies. It is especially important that students enroll in WRT 210 , WRT 225 , and WRT 315 within the first two years, or as early as possible, since they are foundation courses for many upper-division courses. It is also important that students plan ahead for their internship(s), to assure securing a site that will best serve their career interests. Advisors are always ready to help students develop a clear plan.
*Students must receive a grade of 2.0 or higher in all Common Core classes to qualify for graduation.
**Students must complete at least six credits of a single foreign language.
***Students must receive a grade of 2.0 or higher in all required major courses, writing electives, minor courses, and English/Humanities electives to qualify for graduation.
****In order to enroll in WRT 450 or WRT 451 , students must: develop a clear set of objectives and goals for the Internship experience, in consultation with a faculty member; file an application with the experiential learning instructor prior to intended on-site experience (including a statement of objectives and goals); gain acceptance as an intern by an approved site; and have achieved a GPA of 2.75 or higher and have completed 60 credit hours by the beginning of the internship experience.
Professional Writing Suggested Course Sequence:
Freshman Year (30 credits)
Sophomore Year (31-32 credits)
Junior Year (31-32 credits)