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Professional Writing Minor

Why Minor in Professional Writing?

The Minor in Professional Writing offers students opportunities to engage deeply with the theory and practice of writing, editing, and designing print and digital documents for professional workplaces, civic organizations, and community deliberations.

This minor provides undergraduates who have an interest in pursuing a career in writing with a clear path for their coursework. This minor will also benefit students from within the College of Arts and Humanities and across the entire campus who wish to enhance their marketable skills and broaden their post-graduate employment opportunities. In particular, Students in STEM disciplines and public health in particular will find that the Professional Writing Minor complements their major course of study with theoretically grounded, project-based coursework that helps them learn how to communicate their disciplines through writing.

The state of Maryland and the greater Washington, DC metro region are particularly fertile ground for professional writing-related internships and careers. The Professional Writing Minor exposes students to a wide variety of these opportunities through:

  • an introductory course that surveys the field in terms of its international, national, regional, and local scope;
  • networking opportunities with alumni;
  • cultivating and facilitating students’ placement in professional writing internships in Washington, D.C. and throughout Maryland; and
  • support in developing professional writing portfolios that showcase students’ writing, research, design, and technological skills.

Course Requirements for the Professional Writing Minor

A total of 15 credits from a select list of English Department writing courses, as well as submission of an electronic writing portfolio, are required. Students who fulfill Professional Writing Minor requirements will receive a minor on their official transcripts.

The fifteen credit hours of the Professional Writing Minor consist of the following:

  • 3 credits from ENGL 297: Introduction to Professional Writing.
  • 12 credits from the following courses, including at least 9 credits at the 300 or 400 level (and of those 9 credits, at least 3 must be at the 400 level):

200-level courses:

  • ENGL281: Standard English Grammar, Usage, and Diction (3 credits)
  • ENGL282: How Rhetoric Works: Persuasive Power and Strategies (3 credits)
  • ENGL291: Writing, Revising, Persuading (3 credits) 
  • ENGL292: Writing for Change (3 credits) [Also offered as ENGL388C; credit is only granted for either ENGL292 or ENGL388C]
  • ENGL293: Writing in the Wireless World (3 credits)
  • ENGL294: Persuasion and Cleverness in Social Media (3 credits)

300-level courses:

  • ENGL381: MGA Legislative Seminar (3 credits)
  • ENGL384: Concepts of Grammar (3 credits)
  • ENGL378A: Medical Humanities: Science, Rhetoric, and Literature
  • ENGL388C: Writing for Change (3 credits) [Also offered as ENGL292; credit is only granted for ENGL292 or ENGL388C]
  • ENGL388M: Writing Internship: Maryland General Assembly Pre-Professional Writing Internship (6 credits)
  • ENGL388P: Writing Internship: Pre-Professional Writing Skills Internship (1-6 credits)
  • ENGL388V: Writing Internship: Undergraduate Teaching Assistants in Writing Programs
  • ENGL388W: Writing Internship: Writing Center Internship (3 credits)
  • ENGL390-395, 398: Professional Writing Program Courses (3 credits)

400-level courses:

  • ENGL 461: Qualitative Research Methods
  • ENGL487: Principles and Practices of Rhetoric (3 credits) (Note: Credit only granted for ENGL487 or COMM 401.)
  • ENGL488: Topics in Advanced Writing (3 credits)
  • ENGL 491: Digital Rhetoric
  • ENGL492: Graphic Design and Rhetoric
  • ENGL493: Writing in Context (3 credits)
  • ENGL494: Editing and Document Design (3 credits)

Additional Notes on the Professional Writing Minor requirements:

  1. All courses presented for the minor must be passed with a grade of C- or better.
  2. Credit toward the minor will be granted for only one of these two courses: ENGL281 or ENGL384.
  3. A student cannot count toward the Professional Writing Minor the course that he or she takes to fulfill the Fundamental Studies Professional Writing requirement for the University of Maryland General Education Program.
  4. Students may satisfy up to 3 credits of the 9-credit 300- or 400-level coursework requirement through documented writing-intensive professional or internship experience.

During a student’s final semester, the student must submit a professional writing portfolio to the minor advisor. Minimum requirements for the portfolio are outlined in a section below.

Portfolio submission deadlines are November 1 for fall semester graduation, April 1 for spring semester graduation, or August 1 for summer graduation.

Professional Writing Portfolios

To earn the Professional Writing Minor, a student must submit a professional writing portfolio to the minor advisor during the student’s final semester. The portfolio must contain, at a minimum, the following materials:

  1. A welcome page;
  2. Six finished, polished texts written by the student in Professional Writing Minor courses; and
  3. A reflective essay that analyzes how these documents demonstrate the student’s achievement of the Professional Writing Minor learning outcomes.

Portfolio submission deadlines are November 1 for fall semester graduation, April 1 for spring semester graduation, or August 1 for summer graduation. Students submit portfolios by emailing the URL to the Professional Writing Minor advisor:

English Department faculty will hold at least one workshop per semester on electronic portfolio composition, design, and submission.

Professional Writing Advising

Want to learn more about the Professional Writing Minor?

Blake Wilder, the academic advisor for the Professional Writing Minor, is also a faculty member of the Professional Writing Program. He is happy to meet with anyone who is interested in learning more about the minor program. You can send an email with Professional Writing Minor questions to If you would like to schedule an appointment to meet with Blake, please email

ENGL 297: Introduction to Professional Writing

ENGL 297: Introduction to Professional Writing (3 credits) surveys rhetorical principles and professional practices at the heart of professional writing, particularly the research, writing, communication, analytical, and technological skills deployed across a range of professional and technical communication careers. Considers how various organizations and industries define professional writing as well as what kinds of roles and what types of activities professional writers perform within these organizations and industries. Examines how core concepts such as culture and technology relate to the work of professional writing. Presents opportunities to practice composing the kinds of documents and deploying the design principles, rhetorical moves, digital tools, research skills, and writing strategies that define ethical, effective professional writing practice in the twenty-first century. Presents opportunities for the cultivation of self-reflection, visual design, and digital composing skills needed to publish a writing portfolio that showcases one’s professional writing competencies and projects one’s professional writer identities.

ENGL 297 fulfills a Distributive Studies Scholarship in Practice (DSSP) requirement for the University of Maryland’s General Education program For more information on this particular requirement, visit the university’s General Education webpage.

Sample syllabus for ENGL 297