Eastern Michigan University
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Professional Writing

Write, Help Others and Make Money: A Flexible Career Path

Professional writers help people solve problems, so they are in high demand in MANY different career fields (the Federal Bureau of Labor projects 15% growth in technical communication and related areas). That means that you can choose the career path or industry that fits you best.

As a Professional Writing student, you will develop writing skills for several professional settings: corporate, nonprofit, graduate school, etc. We use hands-on learning about designing and writing a variety of digital, print, video, and audio products.

You don't have to be a perfect writer to do well in our program; our purpose is to help any student improve their professional skills in many contexts. For that reason, our major and minor can help different types of students who have different career needs.

Have More Questions?

We have provided a lot of information on this page. But if you want to talk about our upcoming course schedule, career paths, or anything else, just email our Program Coordinator: Dr. Chalice Randazzo at crandaz1@emich.edu. 

Major: If you want a flexible career that combines writing, problem solving, and helping others

Especially for students who enjoy writing, the Professional Writing major is useful because there are actually jobs associated with it. In fact, the Written Communications homepage showcases some of our alumni so that you can see examples of where our students go.

Our graduates can go anywhere because we emphasize skills in research, audience awareness, design, and (of course) writing in all sorts of contexts: corporate, nonprofits, academics, online, etc.

Our courses 1) build your professional portfolio and 2) explore different types of writing contexts. You could play with social media in WRTG 444, help real clients in WRTG 324W, make videos in WRTG 428W, or engage in social movements in WRTG 310W. The point is to learn how to adapt your writing to many contexts, audiences, and purposes so that you are more marketable after graduation.

Finally, because our major is only 30 credits, you can combine it with many different minors to make your education fit your career goals. If you're curious about our classes and major/minor combinations, we've included that below.

Minor: If you know that writing skills will help in your current major or profession

A study of Fortune 500 CEOs found that writing was a "threshold skill" required for hiring and promotion in any company:

Half the responding companies report that they take writing into consideration when hiring professional employees. "In most cases, writing ability could be your ticket in... or it could be your ticket out," said one respondent.

People who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired and are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion.

The 21-credit Professional Writing minor is flexible enough to fit with you current major while honing marketable skills for corporate, nonprofit, graduate school, or online contexts. Every career path benefits from the skills we teach in our courses: research, audience awareness, design, and (of course) writing.

And you don't have to be a perfect writer, either; we combine hands-on learning with classroom instruction to help you improve over time. If you're curious about our classes and major/minor combinations, we've included that below.

Customizing your Path: Major-Minor Combinations and Contexts

Combining Professional Writing with different majors or minors results in a career path that fits your goals: everything from a career in writing, to corporate or social media, to teaching, to social or computer sciences, etc.
Some students prefer to take one or two of our courses to see what they're like, and you can customize your path by taking courses that emphasize writing in certain contexts: on the job, in the classroom or graduate school, online, or for civic engagement.

Combining Majors and Minors

Because our major and minor are small credit hours, they can be easily combined with other majors and minors. To figure out what will work best for you, we like to talk to you about your life goals. We recommend setting up an appointment with our Program Coordinator, Chalice Randazzo (crandaz1@emich.edu).

Here, we've included a few notes about the most common major-and-minor combinations. But we have had students who come from very different fields (like accounting or computer engineering) who tailor our skills to their majors' needs.

If You Love Writing

Many of our students love writing, so they often pair us with Creative Writing; Journalism; or Language, Literature, and Writing. This enables students to follow their passion while also honing their skills so that they can be employed after college.

If You Want to go into Corporate or Social Media

For students who enjoy corporate or social media, we often pair with Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, or Business. These pairings create strong portfolios with many projects, which makes you more marketable in these industries. In addition, the qualitative analytical skills that the Professional Writing courses build are a complement to the quantitative skills of Business or Marketing.

If You Love Teaching

Our major and minor overlap nicely with Education because you learn 1) how to write for a school setting and 2) how to teach writing specifically. For these students, we often pair with the Language, Literature, and Writing for Teachers.

If You Want to Specialize in STEM, Computer, or Social Sciences

Several of our students pair with surprising majors or minors because they want to write within a particular industry. For example, we have had psychology or social work majors who want to write for government; finance majors who want to write in the banking industry; or computer science majors who want to write in that industry.

Contexts We Teach: Job, Online, School, and Civic Writing

To make you more marketable after graduation, our classes use hands-on learning and traditional classroom experiences to teach you how to adapt writing to many contexts, audiences, and purposes. For official course descriptions, see the EMU catalog. But you can also talk to a Professional Writing faculty member (especially the Program Chair) to learn more hints about what we do in each class.

A Useful Gateway: WRTG 301

If you just want to get your feet wet, Introduction to Professional Writing (WRTG 301) is the best class for 1) understanding professional writing as a career and 2) which WRTG classes you should take to match your career goals.

Writing on the Job

The best courses for learning how to write on the job include

Writing Online

To learn skills for writing professionally in online contexts, like social media or websites or computer documentation, we recommend

Writing in Classrooms or Graduate School

The best courses for improving writing in any college major are

Writing for Civic Engagement

If you're interested in writing that helps with civic engagement, we recommend Writing for Public Audiences (WRTG 310W). But other courses are also useful because we often partner with real nonprofit clients. For example, Usability and User Experience (WRTG 428W) has partnered with three nonprofits (and counting!) to create real materials that help people.