Course Overview

ENG 350, 3 Credits

A person who writes well makes the people around them write better.

Writing & rhetoric is more than “just getting your words across” in professional contexts. The goal of this class is to make sure your professional internship does work for your career beyond the time you spend working there. In this class you will learn that professional work is deeply situated in communities and deeply interested in solving “knowledge worker” problems as well as a the civic problems (environmental, social justice, etc.) that effect each of us. This class provides a valuable way for thinking about and acknowledging forms of writing and rhetorical that take place away from academic settings and especially in the networked social environments that communication takes place.

The goal for the course is to present students with the option of thinking of themselves as becoming creative class professionals as well as how to articulate what that means to others. Additionally, you will be provided an important introduction to the role that rhetorical thinking plays in the labor of groups of people like organizations or communities and how to think about managing that labor.

This class does a few things: First, the class will introduce you to the principles and professional practices of professional writers. Second, the class will introduce you to the writing and project skills and tools you’ll need to succeed as a professional in both small non for profits and large bureaucratic institutions.

In this class, we will address questions like:

  • What is “professional writing?” What other names does professional writing go by?
  • What kinds of tasks do professional writers do? Where and how do they do these things?
  • What are the core concepts of professional writing (such as curation, community, and information design), and what do these concepts look like in practice?
  •  What kinds of documents, design principles, digital tools, writing strategies, and research skills should professional writers be familiar with?


Learning Outcomes

After this class, you will:

  • various rhetorical principles and how they can be put to use by professional careers
  • be able to answer, “What can you do for me?” to potential employers
  • a range of strategies for doing research—including gathering materials, synthesizing different ideas, analyzing audiences, and conducting surveys

Some of the activities we will focus on include:

  • analyzing rhetorical situations (purpose and audience, goals, ethical issues)
  • analyzing audiences (readers and users of your documents)
  • analyzing the organizational context for your writing

Students completing the requirements of ENG 350 will be able to:

  • write effective resumes and cover letters
  • give a successful interview
  • demonstrate relevant rhetorical skills
  • reflect on the relevance of the internship experience for career goals
  • identify potential career paths for CHASS majors and minors

After this class, you will have produced:

  • a sustainable resume
  • Writing Audit and Rhetorical Analysis Memo
  • Professional Rhetorical Communicator Memo
  • An online professional portfolio

PREREQUISITES REQUIRED FOR CLASS: To enroll in ENG 350, the student needs

  • At least a 2.5 overall grade point average
  • At least a 3.0 grade point average in his or her major
  • To be a junior or senior CHASS major or minor

To complete the application process outlined on the internship program website or to provide the internship coordinator a supervisor’s contact information for an internship obtained independently.


Brereton, J. C., & Mansfield, M. A. (2000). Writing on the job. New York: W.W. Norton. (You can get this at a lot of places. Shop around.)