Apr 24, 2019  
2014-2015 University Catalog 
2014-2015 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Professional Writing, BA

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About the Program

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

  • 96% of professional writing graduates report being employed in careers directly related to their education within 2 years of graduation.
  • An English major (including a professional writer) learns 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 two major scholarships annually to undergraduates, each currently worth $5,000, and focused on Technical Writing and Writing and 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 web site that receives nearly 100 million hits a year from more than 125 different countries.
  • All professional writing majors gain valuable experience in internships and other projects that teach writing and collaboration in college and the workplace. Students have opportunities to work with journals and magazines published in the English Department and two scholarly presses.
  • The Purdue Exponent student newspaper provides ample opportunity to hone journalism skills and get published on a regular basis. Professional writing majors often work as interns or in part-time jobs with the newspaper.
  • There are opportunities to write for pleasure or portfolio development as part of student organizations. The Professional Writers Club was founded in the fall of 1999. The club provides students with social, academic, and career opportunities. Meetings have featured guest speakers from local industries and organizations and professional writing graduates who come to share their job hunting and employment experiences. Club members also sponsor events at Purdue, including major conferences like Computers and Writing.

Summary of Program Requirements

The Summary of Program Requirements for Professional Writing  is a comprehensive list of those categories which a student must fulfill in order to earn their degree. Unlike the full Detailed Program Requirements listed below, complete lists of selectives for any given category are not shown. These summaries are intended to be printer-friendly and less expansive in detail.

Detailed Program Requirements

Please see below for detailed program requirements and possible selective fulfillments.

120 Credits 

Professional Writing Major Requirements (30 credits)

A minor outside the English Department IS REQUIRED for this major


ENGL 10600  or ENGL 10800 ; ENGL 22700 /SLHS 22700 ; and one 20000-level literature course from those offered in the core. For admission to the major: 2.5 GPA in courses in prerequisite and background sections.

Area B - Advanced Writting Courses (21 credit hours)

(from either Group 1 or Group 2)

Group 1: Writing and Publishing

Group 2: Technical Writing

A minor outside the English Department

Other Departmental /Program Course Requirements (54-56 credits)

Other Departmental /Program Course Requirements

Electives (12 credits)

University Core Requirements

  • Human Cultures Humanities
  • Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
  • Information Literacy
  • Science #1
  • Science #2
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning

Program Requirements

Fall 1st Year

15-17 Credits

15-16 Credits

Fall 2nd Year

15-16 Credits

Spring 2nd Year

  • Req B (ENGL 30900 ) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • PRWR Literature Prereq - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Natural Science Lab - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • SLC 20200 - Credit Hours: 3.00 - 4.00
  • US Traditions - Credit Hours: 3.00

15-16 Credits

Fall 3rd Year

  • Req B (WP/TW) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Req B (WP/TW) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Racial & Ethnic Diversity - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Global Perspectives - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • MINOR - Credit Hours: 3.00

15 Credits

Spring 3rd Year

  • Req B (WP/TW) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Req B (WP/TW) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Gender Issues - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00

15 Credits

Fall 4th Year

  • Req B (ENGL 48800 ) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Other Cultures - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • MINOR - Credit Hours: 3.00

15 Credits

Spring 4th Year

  • Req B (ENGL 51500 ) - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Social Ethics - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • MINOR - Credit Hours: 3.00

15 Credits


120 semester credits required for Bachelor of Arts degree.

2.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Arts degree.

32 credit hours at 30000 level or higher required for Bachelor of Arts degree.

Degree Requirements

The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and completing all degree requirements.

Degree Works is knowledge source for specific requirements and completion

Professional Writing Selective Requirements Lists

Group 1: Writing and Publishing

One of the following required

(courses listed in recommended sequence)


(choose 15 credits)


(choose 12 credits)

Foreign Language Courses

Foreign Language proficiency requirements vary by program.  For acceptable languages and proficiency levels, see your advisor:

American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, (ancient) Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Critical Course

The ♦ course is considered critical. A Critical Course is one that a student must be able to pass to persist and succeed in a particular major.

Expired Course

Any course without a link to its description is one that has been expired.  However, this course could fulfill the degree requirement historically.

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