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Course Descriptions

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Core courses (12 credits)

Students will complete 4 required core courses, commencing with ENGL 501 – Seminar in Professional Writing Styles and Ap­proaches, followed by the additional core courses, which may be taken in varying sequence.

ENGL 501 Seminar in Professional Writing Styles and Approaches
A core introductory course for the M.A., Professional and New Media Writing program, this critically important course explores and evaluates the range of professional writing rhetoric, rhetorical styles, and genres from a scholarly and critical perspective. In addition to possible in-person events designed to help new M.A. students get to know the culture of the M.A. and to meet peers and professors in informal settings, the course features guest lectures from, and discussions facilitated by, nationally significant authors, editors, agents, publishers, vision-makers, and entrepreneurs from the New York City / Philadelphia metroplexes in the fields of ad­vertising, journalism, public relations, technical communication, and creative writing.

ENGL 510 Introduction to Professional Writing Research Methods
One of the four core courses for the M.A., Professional and New Media Writing program, this on-line course combines an introduc­tion to traditional academic research, historiography, source-review, and archival analysis practices along with appraisal of and prac­tice in using some of the cutting-edge, technology-driven methods of research (data-mining, crowdsourcing, online research tools, etc.) employed by professional writers working in senior-level and/or advanced corporate, governmental, and non-profit contexts.

ENGL 514 Advanced Grammar and Copyediting
A core course requirement in the M.A., Professional Writing program, this online course will prepare writers to make informed deci­sions about grammar, usage, style, and punctuation in professional manuscripts. Following a review of the concepts and terminology specific to the field, the course will include practice in writing and proofreading both on-line and paper texts designed for a variety of publications, as the requirements vary from one medium and genre to another.

ENGL 520 The Professional Document
A core course requirement in the M.A., Professional Writing program. Students will create documents in which text and image work in concert. We will cover the impact of type design, elements of composition, layout, and the interplay between word and image in a range of projects, including flyers, brochures, PowerPoint slides, instructional documents, magazine layouts, Web pages, and book layouts. Most projects will require Adobe Creative Suite. Classes will consist of presentations, workshops, individual critique, col­laborative assignments, and design assignments.

Capstone Thesis (3 credits)

All students will complete a capstone project, a thesis in professional and media writing.

ENGL 590 - Thesis in Professional and New Media Writing
All candidates for the M.A., Professional and New Media Writing will propose a topic of significance for a thesis in professional and new media writing. Prerequisite to enrollment in ENGL 590: All candidates must assemble a thesis committee, to include a thesis di­rector and two readers drawn from the faculty in the English or other approved departments related to the candidate’s topic; and write a thesis prospectus to be approved by the thesis director and graduate coordinator. All candidates will present the thesis in an oral defense during which committee members will interview the candidate about the scholarly, professional, and/or artistic significance, methods, and findings of their research project.

Elective courses (15 credits)

Students, in consultation with their graduate advisor, will select 5 of the following specialty courses to meet professional and career goals:

ENGL 530 - Theory and Craft of Writing
This course focuses on the theory and craft of writing. It can be adapted by individual faculty members to address on an individual basis a wide range of different genres and modes: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, screenwriting, Web-based writing, public relations writing, advertising, etc. It is not a writing workshop (although it may employ some workshop techniques) but rather a class which studies (and puts into practice) the historical and theoretical underpinnings of craft as they apply to each particular genre or mode of discourse.

ENGL 531 - Professional Writing for the Web
A service-learning course in which students learn advanced Web writing, design and site-evaluation skills, and carry out a range of sophisticated Web-based writing projects and usability studies and activities for regional non-profits, from creating entire websites to writing select content or revamping existing websites. The course assumes no prior knowledge of programming languages, but all students within first month will be expected to gain basic fluency in HTML, XML, and CSS languages, as well as knowledge of scripting languages.

ENGL 532 - Public Relations and Organizational Writing
This course will include both case study analysis of current corporate and non-profit public relations and corporate documents and instruction in best practices about public relations and corporate writing.

ENGL 533 - Professional Writing about Places
This course will include segments on travel writing, travel journalism, public relations initiatives for city, town, state, country image-building, image and culture development for institutions such as universities, corporations, school districts, living complexes, etc.

ENGL 534 - Visual Rhetoric In Professional Writing
Students will understand the history of visual rhetoric and its relationship to print; engage in rhetorical analysis of visual text; research and write criti­cally about rhetorical images and their social, cultural, and political implications; and create visual text for varied rhetorical purposes.

ENGL 536 - Administrative and Technical Writing
This course focuses on theories and application of administrative and technical writing in print and electronic New Media. Students will explore the vari­ous purposes, genres, styles, and contexts for writing within a corporate, business, government, and/or technical workplace and will create their own administrative and technical documents.

ENGL 540 - Theories of Electronic Writing
This course prepares students to ask and answer questions of method and methodology for research that examines the production and use of digital texts. Students study contemporary theory and research and join in conversations about writing, composition, and rhetoric. Topics may include the electronic rhetorical situation, theories of argument, assessment, new technologies and writing, public and cultural aspects of writing, and writing across the curriculum. Students will also gain a larger historical understanding of the movements within composition studies.

ENGL 541 - Studies in Journalistic Literature
Students will analyze and engage with a wide variety of literature written by journalists, covering crucial world events and political situations, exploring intersections of literature and art.

ENGL 542 – Currents in American Journalism
This course provides an overview of the history of American journalism in newspaper and magazine writing. The course examines American journal­ism across several distinct phases: the colonial era; the Revolutionary War and early Republic period; the antebellum and post-Civil War periods; late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century yellow journalism and muckraking; the twentieth-century syndication of the press; and the evolving multimedia age. The course will discuss the interaction between American journalism and the rise of American: This course will cover the history and theory of electronic writing spaces and how these technologies have transformed print based writing. Students will read a wide range of books and articles focused on the evolution and development of the various theories of electronic writing and compose original work in both print and electronic media.