English : Rhetoric & Professional Writing


Why study English : Rhetoric & Professional Writing?

The Rhetoric and Professional Writing track (RPW) prepares students to write persuasively and effectively in public and professional settings. We emphasize experiential learning opportunities, such as client-based class projects and internships, and offer students interdisciplinary and collaborative experiences that are important for a wide range of professional environments. The track prepares students to be informed, responsible participants in civic affairs and can lead to employment in commercial and non-profit organizations or graduate work in professional writing.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

The English degree offers unique opportunities for undergraduate students to shape their curriculum according to their interests and future professional goals. All undergraduate students take a core group of courses designed to introduce them to the history, language, and current disciplinary discourses of English studies. Beyond the core courses, students choose a track designed to develop their skills and talents in Creative Writing (fiction, literary Nonfiction, poetry), Literary & Cultural Studies, or Rhetoric & Professional Writing. We also offer a track in English Education to supplement a major in Secondary Language Arts through the College of Education, or to lead into a Master's degree plus licensure. Undergraduate students can double major in two tracks of English, and can also combine a major in one of the tracks with a certificate in a different track; the program offers certificates in Copyediting & Publishing, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing; Literary Journalism jointly with the Dept. of Journalism; and English courses play a role in the curriculum requirements of several interdisciplinary certificates, including Digital Engagement, Film & Media Studies, and Medical Humanities.

Students who pursue a BA in English – Rhetoric & Professional Writing should desire to build on their strengths in writing, reading, and critical thinking. The RPW track is designed for students who want to be the bridge between art and science. Professional writers 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 deliver results. 

English majors enjoy satisfying careers and admission to graduate programs due to their ability to read closely, write clearly, research thoroughly, and think critically. From first-year composition through senior capstone courses, English students engage a wide range of historical and contemporary texts and subject matter, including global, ethnic, minority, and popular literatures; film and visual media; and scientific and professional writing. Our majors are known and respected for their ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, and find success in such diverse fields as law, business, media, education, publishing, and science.

Our Professional Writing curriculum emphasizes in-depth understanding of communication processes that bridge disciplines and industries and enables our graduates to consider numerous career opportunities. We incorporate theory with practice into all our classes, considering issues of effectiveness, consequence, and responsibility. Students advance their skills in writing, editing, design, project management, and technology. English – Rhetoric & Professional Writing graduates are well suited for careers in:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Business
  • Non-profit management
  • Civic affairs
  • Technical communication
  • Editing and publishing
  • Web development
  • Medicine and healthcare
  • Environmental writing

A minor in English complements any major, and offers students from other disciplines the opportunity to develop the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that employers seek in college graduates. Students choose courses from Creative Writing, Literary & Cultural Studies, and Rhetoric & Professional Writing, and may focus on one particular area of study or take courses from two or all three tracks in order to explore different areas of English. 

Click here to declare the minor online

The department of English offers three certificate programs: Copyediting & Publishing, Professional Writing, and Creative Writing (poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction), plus Literary Journalism jointly with the Dept. of Journalism. Certificate programs provide more focus and less time commitment than a minor, and provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to more fully develop skills in reading, writing, and analysis in their chosen area of interest.

 The Professional Writing certificate prepares you to write, edit, and design projects in your field and complements any major or career. Courses in the program incorporate elements of communication, marketing, journalism, and web development and offer students experiential learning opportunities as well as access to industry professionals.

Students in the UC College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

University of Cincinnati 3 + 3 Law School Admissions

This major welcomes eligible students who would like to earn a bachelor’s degree and a UC law degree in just six years, saving a year of tuition and time over the traditional path to becoming a lawyer. Students will receive careful advising to complete their major and A&S core degree requirements in 3 years. More information is available here.

Experiential learning

English students can intern with local businesses, nonprofits, university offices, state agencies, media outlets, and more, and earn college credit while developing reading and writing skills. Students can also gain valuable experience by taking research-intensive or service learning courses, by studying abroad, and by entering their work in the department’s writing contest each year.

 Our Professional Writing program takes an innovative approach to experiential learning that incorporates service learning through client-based projects and internships. The service-learning element stresses students’ reflection on their experience in terms of being a professional consultant—a role that significantly affects the nature of the work performed and raises special ethical issues. Students also complete a rigorous internship. 

Internship program

The Professional Writing track offers a robust internship program. Students who apply for and secure an internship take two courses and earn six credit hours for internship work. In addition, many classes in Professional Writing complete client-based projects such as websites and publications.

Renowned faculty

Rhetoric & Professional Writing faculty are experienced professional writers and editors with many years of experience in fields such as business, medicine and healthcare, science, technology, social sciences, and technical and environmental writing.

Publications and Organizations

The Undergraduate English Society includes all English majors, and is open to anyone interested. Events include roundtable discussions on graduate school, job fairs, film screenings, and outings to plays and readings. English is also home to an undergraduate journal, Short Vine, and the nationally prominent literary journal The Cincinnati Review. Short Vine is edited by students in the experiential course ENGL 3096 Creative Writing & Literary Publishing. 

To graduate from the UC College of Arts and Sciences, students must:

  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the college.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the College Core Requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 at most recent institution

University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.

Admission to A&S is generally available for University of Cincinnati students enrolled in other colleges if they were admissible directly from high school, have a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions)

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to the UC College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

Laura Wilson
248 Arts & Sciences Hall
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069
(513) 556-5924

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Program Code: 15BAC-ENGL-BA-ENGL-RP