Professional Writing

The Professional Writing Emphasis at Brigham Young University-Idaho

The Professional Writing emphasis builds on literary analysis skills to prepare students as writers and editors in business, industry, journalism, and media. Students learn to read deeply and analyze patterns across a variety of texts, ranging from classic literature to materials written for the Web. They then learn to write clear, organized prose that responds to audience and rhetorical context.  They also learn to effectively edit the writing of others for content and copy.  Students gain expertise in industry-standard software, including desktop publishing and Web authoring.  The Professional Writing emphasis provides hands-on opportunities via service learning and internships. The emphasis encourages the development of a personal Web-based writing portfolio.


English Literature courses provide opportunity for deep reading and analysis, important foundational skills for the professional writer.

English 252 begins the writing sequence, exploring rhetorical contexts for applied writing.

English 321 introduces industry-standard software for desktop publishing and Web authoring.

English 325 reviews grammar, usage, and mechanics.

English 326 introduces content and copy editing.

English 398 provides opportunities for individualized writing and editing experience via an internship or three semesters with I~Comm, BYU-I's student-run news and media practicum.

English 400 examines the opportunities and rhetorical contexts of technical communication.

English 452, the Professional Writing emphasis capstone, undertakes a major writing/editing project for a professional client.  This service learning provides experience in writing, comprehensive editing, copyediting, proofread­ing, document production, document design, and client interaction.


Practical Experience

Professional writing students have many opportunities for hands-on work.  Through service learning, they learn to interact with clients as they write and edit.  The I~Comm option provides opportunity to publish in print and/or digital editions of the Scroll, the campus newspaper. The internship option allows students to explore a particular career and often results in job offers or leads.

Professional writing students also have opportunities to share their work at the English Department's Pre-professional Conference and the University's Research and Creative Works Conference.  In addition to gaining valuable experience submitting and presenting work at academic conferences, students also network with professionals from their fields and meet exciting keynote speakers.


Value of Professional Writing

English majors with a Professional Writing emphasis merge the best of two worlds:  they learn deep reading and analysis, then apply those skills in real-world writing and editing projects. By the time they graduate, Professional Writing students are impressive:

·         They demonstrate critical thinking skills as they read, interpret, and communicate about a variety of texts, ranging from classic literature to materials written for the Web.

·         They write clear, logical, prose that responds effectively to rhetorical context.

·         They understand grammar, mechanics, and usage of modern English.

·         They effectively edit the writing of others.

·         They are skilled in the use of industry-standard writing software and technologies.

·         They understand how to interact with clients.

·         They have a web-based portfolio that demonstrates effective writing and editing skills