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Communication Arts and Sciences

Minor in Public and Professional Writing

The Writing Program

The study of writing at Merrimack provides students with a strong background in current composing processes and theories; experience with a range of genres and practices situated in a variety of social, historical, and cultural contexts; an understanding of digital and multimodal composing; and opportunities to pursue writing in areas of special interest or areas of special relevance to a variety of major fields. Writing is closely associated with thinking and learning as well as with human interactions. We write to discover, explore, gain perspective, reflect, and ultimately to construct knowledge. As digital technology spurs the emergence of new media and the creation of new genres, we often find ourselves writing and reading in nonlinear fashion, and we are more often composing in non-print and multimodal media that may involve graphics, sound, video, and visual components as well as text. In our increasingly digital culture, the ability to shape language and written materials to a variety of purposes continues to gain rather than diminish in importance.

Public awareness has also continued to grow regarding the need for sophisticated writing skills in many genres and for an understanding of the relationship between writing and technology. As the 2004 Report of the National Commission on Writing concluded following its survey of business leaders, writing is a “‘marker’ attribute of high-skill, high-wage, professional work,” particularly “in sectors of the economy that are expanding, such as services, and the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors.” This conclusion has also been supported by many studies indicating that the higher individuals rise in organizations, the more time they are likely to spend communicating. In addition to baseline findings that new college graduates typically spending 20 percent of their time writing on the job (actually more than 50 percent when written and oral communication are combined), studies show that individuals in managerial positions frequently spend 70 percent or more of their time communicating, with that figure rising to 90 percent or more as they advance. A well-developed writing ability strongly supports advancement in a wide range of professions.
For those students interested in career options that involve substantial writing responsibilities, the minor in Public and Professional Writing offers a valuable opportunity for enhancing their major course of study. Such career options include public relations; corporate communications; law; administrative positions in government, industry, and nonprofits; publishing; freelance writing; etc. The writing minor enables students to pursue a strong interest in writing and/or to develop their writing abilities as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Minor in Public and Professional Writing

The minor in Public and Professional Writing requires completing a minimum of 18 credits (with at least 9 credits at the 3000-level or above) consisting of a minimum of five (5) courses:

WRT 2101(W) Introduction to Public and Professional Writing (required)
WRT 3100(W) History and Theories of Writing (required)

One (1) additional WRT course of your choice

Two (2) additional courses chosen from those listed below and/or any other additional WRT courses. (Note that some courses below may have pre-requisites.) The courses below are listed by general area of application:

Business and Technical Writing
WRT 3040(W) Technical Communication
WRT 3050(W) Business and Administrative Communication

Public Writing
WRT 2010(W) Writing Across Cultures
WRT 2020(W) Writing for Social Change

Professional Writing
WRT 2030 Column Writing

Communication
COM/WRT 2100(W) Rhetoric
COM/WRT 3452 Newspaper and New Media Production I
COM/WRT 3453 Newspaper and New Media Production II

Journalism
JRL 2020 Feature Writing
JRL 2040 News Writing
JRL 2070 Sports Writing

Web Design and Electronic Publishing
CSC 1001 Web Programming
CSC 1510 Introduction to Information Technology
CSC 3500 Human Computer Interaction
FAA 2850 Digital Video
FAA 3860 Electronic Publishing and Illustration
FAA 3870 Design and Animation for the Web
MGT 3316 Web Development

WIC
One (1) Writing Intensive course of your choice