Undergraduate Professional Writing Plan of Study

Please see the most current Plan of Study at the College of Liberal Arts Website: Professional Writing Majors

The Program offers a wide variety of courses to undergraduate and graduate students, ranging from introductory courses in research methodology to graduate courses in professional writing theory and visual rhetoric. All of our courses place a premium on teaching students the practical methods of multimedia writing for the digital workplace, on developing rich professional portfolios, and on collaborating with peers and community leaders. Following the links will take you to online course materials or sample syllabi, where available.

English 203: Introduction to Research for Professional Writers

This course covers research projects, mixed methods research, and research ethics for professional writers.
Previous ENGL 203 classes have covered topics such as:
(spring 2015)
(fall 2014)

English 306: Introduction to Professional Writing

This course covers the foundational theories and history of Professional Writing as a field. In this course students will be prepared for majoring in Professional Writing by exploring the range of careers open to professional writers and develop strategies for shaping their individual programs to position themselves to enter the field after graduation.
Previous ENGL 306 classes have covered topics such as:
(fall 2013-spring 2014)
(fall 2014 - spring 2015)

English 309: Computer-Aided Publishing

In this course students learn strategies for planning, writing, and revising the content and design of documents; improve their management of electronic tools that are often used in the workplace; learn the rules of design—and how to break those rules; integrate content, design, audiences’ needs and expectations into readable, inviting documents; develop a critical eye for design; and design a professional portfolio they can develop and use during job interviews.
Images from the ENGL 309 spring 2016 showcase

English 419: Multimedia Writing

This course helps students understand the principles and practices of multimedia design and implementation, with emphasis on the function and practice of writing in multimedia contexts. The stress is on managing writing projects targeted for specific audiences and designed to convey information effectively and persuasively using multimedia authoring software.

English 420: Business Writing

This course is offered every Fall, Spring, Maymester, and Summer semester. The course serves about 1,700 Purdue students per year (in about 85 sections), students chiefly majoring in the areas like technology, management, consumer and family sciences, liberal arts, and agriculture. The course teaches the rhetorical principles that help students shape their business writing ethically, for multiple audiences, in a variety of professional situations. English 420 is also offered as an online course (ENGL 420Y).

English 421: Technical Writing

This course is offered every Fall, Spring, Maymester, and Summer semester. The course serves over 500 Purdue students per year (in about 30 sections), students chiefly majoring in the areas of technology, computer science, and agriculture. The course teaches the rhetorical principles that help students shape their technical writing to suit a range of readers, for multiple purposes, in a variety of professional situations.

English 422: Writing for the Health and Human Sciences

This course is offered by the Department of English every Fall and Spring semester. The course currently has three sections enrolled by students chiefly majoring in the areas of pharmacy, science, pre-vet, pre-med, and liberal arts. ENGL 422 focuses on the rhetorical principles and writing practices necessary for producing effective charting, reports, policies and educational materials in the context of the healthcare industry. All assignments in this course have been developed in collaboration with medical professionals and though no specific medical knowledge is required to take this course, the material presented will most benefit those pursuing a career in medicine. The curriculum is informed by current research in rhetoric and professional writing and is guided by the specific needs and practices in hospitals, clinics, extended care facilities, and home health agencies, as well as by the expectations of Purdue students and programs.

English 424: Writing for High Technology Environments

In this course students learn how to create documents to help users work in high technology environments. This may involve creating manuals or procedures to help users work in these environments, as well as investigating digital culture and the mass-adoption of technologies into everyday life. Students in the humanities as well as in science, engineering, business and with an interest in digital culture or information management are encouraged to register. While all Professional Writing majors are encouraged to register for the course, this class is targeted for those interested in a technical writing career.

English 470: Theories of Rhetoric and Composition

A general introduction to the field of rhetoric and composition. Overview of studies in written discourse, including studies of the processes and contexts of written discourse as well as methods of research in the field.

English 488: Internship in Professional Writing

The course provides students with a sustained period of on-the-job experience as writers in a professional setting. Students intern in a local organization and participate in a weekly seminar on applied rhetoric. The seminar is designed to complement the internship by preparing students for the workplace experience and by providing an opportunity to discuss observations, problems, and accomplishments.

English 515: Advanced Professional Writing

This course is a variable course on special topics of interest to professional writing majors. This course is a dual undergraduate and graduate class for students interested in large-scale team projects, reading advanced theory from the field, and creating high-end pieces for your portfolio.