Professional Writing Undergraduate Program

Professional writers are the bridge between art and science. They are the artists who bring to life the science of business, technology, discoveries, and world events. They are the storytellers who translate complex phenomena to a target audience, connecting ideas and people.

Professional writers do more than just put words on paper. They design. They create. They promote. They edit. They analyze. They construct ideas. They illustrate characters. They deliver results. You can be a professional writer. You can learn to harness the creative power of verbal and visual discourse. You can employ new technologies in designing effective communication. You can go beyond words.

Find out more about the undergraduate track in professional writing.

Student Experiences

Professional Writing Advisory Board Fall Networking Event
by Autumn Lala and Clarity Amrein, RPW majors

What better way to obtain career guidance than from the professionals directly in your field? That was the thinking behind the second annual get-together of the English Department’s Professional Writing Advisory Board, who met with the program’s graduate students on September 20 in the Max Cade Culture Center.

Thirteen professionals representing a wide range of industries—from sales to brand management to science writing and tech writing—came to share their expertise with future writing professionals and enjoy making personal connections. After hearty introductions, and even heartier food and beverage, attendees were divided into five rotating groups to discuss such topics as editing your own work, building a professional brand, dealing with difficult people or situations, and scoping out the culture and communication norms in a new workplace.

On editing your own work, Stephanie Hendrixson, Associate Editor at Additive Manufacturing and Assistant Editor at Modern Machine Shop through Gardner Business Media, recommended reading your own writing aloud. Dennis Breen, an independent consultant in regulatory and medical writing management, advised students to “Make yourself a stranger to your own work” so that they could see their writing through an editor’s eyes.

When discussing how to project a professional image, Will Sikes, Director of Marketing and Communications at Western-Southern Open, remarked that he looks for consistent quality in job-application materials and evidence of the ability to “think two or three steps ahead.” Tricia Bath, Strategy Director at LPK, agreed, adding that, “You have a split second to make a first impression.” She also stressed the significance of authenticity and making meaningful, personal connections. 

When discussing difficult people and situations in the workplace, Messer Construction Sales Support Executive Michael Batdorf reminded the group that each person has a different social style and a life outside the workplace, so it’s important not to take others’ actions personally. Kathryn Lee, Senior Consultant and Project Manager at TiER1 Performance Solutions, reiterated his advice: “Learn different personalities quickly and how to work with them,” and “Get tough skin, and know it’s not you.” Batdorf also noted that his team uses the acronym “LCS” (likes, concerns, and suggestions) to constructively guide their meetings and discussions.

With occupations in the editorial, technical, promotional, and media/communications industries set to expand between four and ten percent in the next decade, tens of thousands of jobs will be available [1]. With the input from the Professional Writing Advisory Board, Bearcats will be better prepared to compete for these jobs and launch successful careers.

If interested in attending one of these meetings, contributing to the program, or earning a certificate or degree in Rhetoric & Professional Writing, see Lora Arduser in Arts & Sciences Hall 350I or email her at for more information.

[1]. “Media and Communications Occupations.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 17 December 2015. Accessed 22 September 2017. (