Courses and Requirements

The program prompts students to become creative, imaginative, and expressive writers and designers who are able to work with a wide range of documents and in a variety of workplaces. The curriculum is designed so that students can creatively combine required and elective courses in order to tailor the major to their interests or prepare them for particular careers.

To complete a BA in P2W, students complete University general education requirements, College of Arts and Letters requirements, and the P2W major requirements: 4 core courses, 4-5 courses united by a theme each student designs, 1-2 elective P2W courses, and the senior capstone course.

Five Core Courses

Principles of rhetoric and writing applied to professional and public writing, with emphasis on writing as social and professional action. Definition and major theories of the field, research tools and practices, genres and conventions, and professional style.

Introduction to rhetorical practices, processes, and strategies. Study of intersections of rhetorical theories and cultural engagement, with emphasis on analyzing and composing for different professional and public settings. Exploration of different knowledge-making processes and influences on writing. Reading- and discussion-intensive course.

Rhetorical and cultural dimensions of composing in digital spaces. Study of and practice with the rhetorical affordances and expectations of different writing spaces. Practice in messaging across contexts and composing with multiple technologies.

Rhetorical and cultural dimensions of composing and designing print and digital documents. Analysis and composing of documents with attention to rhetorical affordances including typography, and color theory.

Workshop for students preparing professional document portfolios in print and digital formats, including application materials for careers in professional and public writing or for graduate study.

Other P2W Courses

Analyzing, evaluating, and authoring Web sites through principles of design rhetoric. Practices of Web accessibility, usability, and sustainability by using HTML and CSS.

Documentary history and theory form its origins to the present.

Introduction to using digital spaces and social media to propel entrepreneurship ideas forward. Survey of how businesses and organizations’ websites, videos, podcasts, and social media presence brand products and organizations. Website, mobile and social media presence to promote entrepreneurial idea.

Rhetorical and design theories applied to digital video composing and producing. Analyzing and composing digital video for professional and public contexts.

Special projects arranged by an individual student and a faculty member in areas supplementing regular course offerings.

Writing- and reading-intensive course on special topics in professional and public writing. Topics vary.

Theory and practice of invention and creative practices in professional and public writing. Strategies and theories for brainstorming, ideating, and innovating in civic and professional writing contexts. Orientation toward wide range of knowledge’s and approaches to knowledge-making and writing.

Introduction to documentary production using accessible and affordable digital technology.

Principles and practices of communicating technical and procedural information for different audiences. Methods of audience-based research, information design, project management, and technical style.

Writing and research methods in and with local, global, and online communities and organizations. Topics include methods of field research and textual analysis, working with quantitative and qualitative data, and ethics of representation. Focus on the ways in which culture informs and influences community and writing by/with communities.

Various forms of public writing and rhetoric and their roles in civic and public culture. Emphasis on nonprofit communication practices, tools, and genres, and orientation toward culture and its influence on public and community writing. Practice in modes of public and civic discourse, including deliberative strategies and a range of public literacies with attention to cultural engagement.

Rhetorical and cultural dimensions of corporate writing. Practice in messaging across corporate contexts and composing for professional and consumer audiences.

Rhetorical and cultural dimensions of medical and scientific writing. Study of and practice with rhetorical affordances and expectations in scientific contexts.

Rhetorical and cultural dimensions of composing in public and civic spaces. Study of and practice with policy research, analysis, evaluation, narration, advocacy, and argumentation.

Courses supplementing regular course offerings. Topics recommended by students, proposed by faculty, and/or offered due to intellectual or professional need or interest.

Theories and principles of sound composing. Intensive reading and practice with emphasis on rhetorical dimensions of listening to and composing sound. Expectation of the roles of editing, equalization, and mastering as rhetorical variables that affect how audiences respond to sound. Practice with accessible and ethical audio writing and editing techniques.

Workshop for students developing writing for a variety of print and online publications. Discussion of and practice with freelance writing, author guidelines, and editorial processes.

Principles and practices of copyediting for professional and public writers, with special attention to grammar, style, and rhetorical issues.

This course invites students to build more comprehensive understandings of the theories and practices of writing centers, writing, and literacy. Throughout the course, students will: 

  1. learn about language and literacy practices; 
  2. recognize and account for writing as a social practice influenced by social forces;
  3. reflect on their own experiences, identities, and practices of reading and writing through these social forces including identity; location, race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality; and 
  4. develop a range of practices for criticality and being. 

Through reflection, practice, and community-engaged learning, students will develop toolkits and strategies for working with writers. In this, students will learn how to balance their own boundaries and needs with the needs of writers who have differing needs, experiences and literacies whilst remaining critical of power structures.

Exploration of rhetorical theories applied to managing and leading communication in civic and professional organizations. Emphasis on team dynamics and on managing and leading teams and projects. Discussion of entrepreneurial thinking in professional and public writing.

Introduction to team-based approaches to web development, with focus on rhetorical strategies and ethical practices. Visual design, usability, media integration, site management and sustainability, and web accessibility. Grounded in content-management systems and advanced programming languages.

Design and Design and development of documentaries in a team setting using video and audio, still photography, web design, and print media. Participation in a production cycle including idea generation, research, design, production, and distribution.

Rhetorical, social, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of digital communication, including identity, community, genre, and events. Rhetorical dynamics of communication across digital spaces such as apps, websites, software, and other experiences.

Exploration of theory, practice, and ethics of content strategy in professional and public writing settings. Understanding the content management life cycle, aligning content strategy to various goals, assessing communication needs for audiences and participants. Issues in project leadership, management, intellectual property, and organizational communication for creating flexible, dynamic content and content structures.

Rhetorical, cultural, and historical analyses of significant texts in peace and justice movements. Production of effective texts in support of social, economic, and environmental justice and social entrepreneurship.

Researching and writing grants and proposals for corporations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government agencies. Rhetorical dimensions of pitching and proposing, with various moves and methods of support such as preparing rationale statements, and creating budgets.

Rhetorical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of grammar and style, paying special attention to the role of rhetorical context in ideas of grammaticality and appropriateness.

Experience in publication processes: creating, designing, editing, and managing periodical, book, or online publications. Copyediting, developmental editing, design and layout, distribution and publicity. Rhetorical approaches to editing. Team processes involved in designing and editing publications.

Design of information systems for professional and public writers. Activity analysis, object-oriented modeling, prototyping, technical specifications, and implementation planning. Pitching ideas. Developing information and interfaces. User-centered design lifecycle.

Project-based focus on developing and producing writing projects coordinated with the Digital Publishing Lab. Emphasis on collaborative action, drafting, and editing, defining goals; managing publication distribution.

Ethical issues related to professional and public writing including censorship, copyright, ethical practices and philosophies of editing, open access, privacy, preservation, and accessibility. Attention to cultural issues, including cultural appropriation and culturally relevant practices.

Special projects arranged by an individual student and a faculty member in areas supplementing regular course offerings.

Writing- and reading-intensive special topics in professional and public writing. Topics vary.

Completed concurrently with a professional writing internship, WRA 493 allows students simultaneously to develop new skills and awareness within a professional work place, and to step aside from those professional experiences to reflect on them from the context of theories and concepts learned in courses in the P2W curriculum.

Writing and reading-intensive special topics in writing, writing centers, and tutoring pedagogy, such as curriculum design, working with varied populations and media, writing in/for different contexts.

Supervised research experiences in professional or public writing topics and sites.