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Department of English

Department of English
Christine Neuwirth, Department Head
Department Office: Baker Hall 259
http://english.cmu.edu/

The Department of English at Carnegie Mellon involves students in the important study of reading and writing as they are embedded in historical, cultural, professional, technological, and literary practices. Working with faculty who are themselves writers, scholars, and researchers in these areas, students become effective writers and analysts of various kinds of texts in a range of media. We hold strongly to our traditional interest in print documents but extend the idea of text to include other media such as film, multimedia, and on-line texts. The types of texts that students and faculty work with include academic writing, criticism, fiction and nonfiction, professional and technical writing, argument and public advocacy, poetry, film, and even screenwriting. The English Department faculty have particular strengths in Creative Writing, in Literary and Cultural Studies, and in Rhetoric. Specialists in each area use distinctive methods of studying texts, but all share a deep commitment to working in small and intense workshops and seminars to help students learn to become experts in analyzing existing texts, and in producing original and distinctive work of their own.

The English Department offers a B.A. in English, a B.A. in Creative Writing, a B.A. in Professional Writing, and a B.S. in Technical Writing and Communication. All four majors involve the relationship of texts to contexts, and all four are structured to allow students to balance liberal and professional interests. Students in the English B.A. focus on the production and interpretation of print texts and other media in their social and cultural contexts. Students in the Creative Writing B.A. focus on analyzing and learning to produce poetic and narrative forms. Students in the Professional Writing B.A. focus on analyzing and producing non-fiction for a variety of professional contexts. Students in the Technical Writing B.S. focus on integrating writing with technical expertise in a chosen area of concentration. In addition to the four majors, the department offers a minor in English and strongly encourages non-majors in the campus community to join us in English courses, beginning with offerings at the 200-level.

English faculty and students represent a diverse but close community with a shared interest in understanding how texts are produced and understood. This interest is the foundation for the formal curriculum and also the inspiration for a range of complementary activities, including a reading series of distinguished writers of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. English majors also have multiple opportunities to gain experience in publishing, editing, and marketing through involvement with The Oakland Review and The Carnegie Mellon University Press. Many of our students hold writing and editorial positions on the student newspaper, The Tartan, and other campus publications. We also offer a strong internship program that places student writers in media, non-profit, arts, corporate, and technical internships before they graduate. The end of every year culminates in a gala event to celebrate our students and their writing achievements in literary, academic, and professional writing. For this event, known as the Pauline Adamson Awards, we invite a well-known writer to do a public reading and then present and celebrate student writing awards in over a dozen categories, all judged anonymously by writing professionals from outside the university. Nationally prominent speakers who have participated in this event include Michael Cunningham, Jamaica Kincaid, Michael Ondaatje, Tobias Wolfe, Elizabeth Alexander, and Dennis Lehane.

Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to apply to the various Masters level graduate programs sponsored by the department. Students interested in communications careers in both the public and private sectors may receive advanced training in our Masters in Professional Writing (MAPW) program. Students who have interests in visual as well as verbal communication apply to the Masters in Design in Communication Planning and Information Design (jointly administered with the School of Design). Students with academic interests looking toward doctoral work can apply to our Masters programs in Rhetoric and in Literary and Cultural Studies to acquaint themselves with and to prepare for academic careers. The best of our Masters candidates may request consideration for the Department’s Ph.D. programs in Rhetoric or in Literary and Cultural Studies and will be, in any case, well prepared for graduate work no matter where they chose to go. Upper level undergraduates interested in graduate level work should contact the English Department directly for further information and for advice on planning their junior and senior years to prepare for graduate study.

Majoring in English: The Four English Degree Options

All students who major in English choose one of the four majors offered by the department as the main focus of their studies:

  • The B.A. in English
  • The B.A. in Creative Writing
  • The B.A. in Professional Writing
  • The B.S. in Technical Writing & Communication

 

Other Options for English Majors

Students who wish to broaden their experience with English courses may do so by taking more than the minimum requirements for each major or by combining two of the majors within the department for a double major in English. Common combinations include Professional Writing and Creative Writing, Creative Writing and the B.A. in English, or the B.A. in English and Professional Writing. Students who are already majoring in one of the English degrees can generally add a second English major by completing additional courses. Consult the English Department and the section below on “Completing an Additional Major in English” for further detail.

All of the English majors may also be combined with majors and minors from other Carnegie Mellon departments and colleges. English Department advisors can help you to explore the available options and to choose a major or combination of programs that is appropriate for your interests and goals.
 

How the Curriculum is Structured

In addition to Dietrich College requirements, English majors complete 11 to 12 courses (99 to 114 units) specifically related to their chosen major within English and structured as indicated below. Please note that courses taken to fulfill requirements in other major or minor programs may not be applied to requirements for any of the English Department majors or minors.

Core Requirements for the Specific Major (7 to 9 courses, 63 to 81 units)

Complete seven to nine courses.

The Core Requirements differ for each major and are designed explicitly to provide both breadth and depth within the specific major the student has chosen.
 

English Electives (3 to 4 courses, 27 to 36 units)

Complete three to four elective courses.

Elective Courses for the major are designed to add breadth to each student’s study within English and to provide experience with the range of approaches to reading and writing available within the department. Students in all English majors are encouraged to sample widely from the Department’s offerings.

 

The B.A. in English

An important role of English departments has been to create interpretations of the literature of various historical periods, including the present. The B.A. in English (EBA) at Carnegie Mellon builds on, and also extends, this tradition by teaching texts as part of a complex web of historical conditions and relationships; by teaching both major literary texts and public and non-fiction documents; and by teaching film, television, and other storytelling media alongside more conventional texts.

The B.A. in English is distinctive in drawing from the artistic and research strengths of the Department’s faculty in Literary and Cultural Studies, Rhetoric, and Creative Writing. Literary and Cultural Studies focuses on the way texts are formally constructed and how they function in historical and contemporary contexts. Creative Writing helps students focus on language as a tool to explore and depict experience. Rhetoric focuses on the principles through which writers construct texts and audiences respond to them. Drawing from all of these perspectives, students in the B.A. in English learn the research skills and writing strategies to enable them to analyze the language and texts of other writers and to report their research in effective texts of their own. Such training can prepare students for graduate work in literature, cultural studies, or rhetoric, and also for careers in law, business, or government, which require similar skills in interpretation, research, and writing.

The 200-level core courses are designed to introduce students to writing in a variety of genres, to a knowledge of literary and other media forms, and to a basic theoretical knowledge of how texts are produced and interpreted. In the Interpretive Practices course, students are introduced to basic concepts, methods, and practices of literary and rhetorical approaches to texts. In the Survey of Forms course, students learn how to use language to express experience through poetic and narrative forms.

In addition to these courses, students take at least one course in rhetoric, two 300-level EBA core courses, and two 400-level seminars designed to introduce them to the functioning of texts within specific cultural and rhetorical contexts. Two of 300- and 400-level courses must feature a specific historical period, and one of these “period” courses must have a pre-1900 focus. Period study introduces students to a range of historical and cultural texts and to a range of methods for analyzing these texts in their original context and across contexts. Courses that fulfill the Rhetoric Requirement focus explicitly on language and discourse as objects of study and emphasize the relationships of language, text structure, and meaning within specific contexts.

Interpretive Practices (76-294) and Research in English (76-394) are required of students in the B.A. in English. Interpretive Practices grounds students in literary and cultural theory and trains them in writing interpretations of texts. Research in English offers training in gathering information systematically and in building arguments based on that information. Students will hone their skills in reading texts, using critical commentary, assessing print and electronic materials, and conducting interviews and surveys. They will learn how to test their hypotheses against alternatives and present their research to audiences within the discipline of English. The historical or thematic content of this course will vary from one semester to another. While 76-394 is not a pre-requisite for 400 level courses, it is strongly recommended that EBA majors take this course in their Junior year.  At the advanced level EBA majors are required to take two 400-level seminars for which Interpretive Practices (76-294) is a pre-requisite.

EBA majors also complete three English Electives, one at the 200 or above level and two at the 300 or 400 level. Electives at the 200 level allow students to sample introductory courses in special topics – such as gender and media studies — within rhetorical, literary, and cultural studies, or genre courses in the novel or comedy. Electives at the 300 and 400 level encourage students to explore more advanced study in the various offerings within the department. In choosing their electives, EBA students are encouraged to sample courses from across the department.

Curriculum

In addition to satisfying all of the Dietrich College degree requirements for B.A. candidates, English B.A. majors must complete 11 courses in the following areas:

EBA Core (8 courses, 72 units)

Complete both courses:

76-26xSurvey of Forms (Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, or Screenwriting)
76-294Interpretive Practices9

Complete six required courses.

1. Research Course (1 course, 9 units)

76-394 Research in English
 

2. Rhetoric Requirement (1 course, 9 units)

Complete one course from a set of varied offerings in Rhetoric as designated each term by the English Department. Rhetoric courses focus explicitly on language and discourse as objects of study and emphasize the relationships of language, text structure, and meaning within specific contexts.
 

3-4. 300-level Courses (2 courses, 18 units)

Complete two 300-level courses that investigate the production and interpretation of texts and other media from a variety of periods and theoretical and methodological perspectives. Course offerings that meet these requirements are advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. For EBA majors, 76-294 Interpretive Practices is a prerequisite for these courses. Course options include but are not limited to the following:

76-330Medieval Literature9
76-331Renaissance Literary and Cultural Studies9
76-332African American Literature9
76-33520th Century Literary and Cultural Studies:9
76-339Advanced Film and Media Studies9
76-347American Literary and Cultural Studies: Comtemporary Fiction9
76-386Language & Culture9
76-387Narrative & Argument9
76-393Rhetorical Traditions9
76-492Rhetoric of Public Policy9
5-6. 400-level Seminar Courses (2 courses, 18 units)

Complete two 400-level seminar courses which investigate a specific topic in depth and allow students to work on a major research-based paper. Courses in this category will be advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. For EBA majors, Interpretive Practices (76-294) is a prerequisite and Research in English (76-394) is pre- or co-requisite. Among current course offerings, examples include but are not limited to the following:

76-431Chaucer9
76-439Advanced Seminar in Film and Media Studies9
76-451Topics in Language Study9
76-457Topics in Rhetoric9
76-476Rhetoric of Science9
76-482Comparative Rhetoric9

“Period” Course Requirement

The period course requirement is not a separate course requirement per se but one that needs to be met through the selection of the required 300- and 400-level courses. At least two of these four required courses must be “period” courses, that is, courses that focus on texts that are connected in time and place or through common social concerns. One of these two courses must focus on a historical period prior to 1900. Courses in this category will vary from year to year and be advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. Such courses may be at either the 300 or 400 level

English Electives (3 courses, 27 units)

Complete three courses from the English Department’s offerings. One may be at the 200 level or above; the remaining two must be at the 300 or 400 level. Electives may include any courses offered by the English Department with the exception of courses designed for non-majors. Some semester offerings may include cross-listed courses from Modern Languages or History.
 

English B.A. Sample Curriculum

As a department, we recommend beginning the major in the sophomore year if possible. Students in Dietrich College may declare a major as early as mid-semester of the spring of their first year and begin major requirements the following fall. Interpretive Practices (76-294) should generally be taken in the sophomore year and before Research in English (76-394).

Sophomore YearJunior Year
FallFallSpring
76-294 Interpretive Practices76-26x Survey of Forms76-3xx 300-level EBA Course*
76-394 Research in English76-3xx/4xx Rhetoric Course
76-3xx/4xx Rhetoric Course76-2xx/3xx/4xx English Elective
76-2xx/3xx/4xx English ElectiveElective
ElectiveElective
Elective

Senior Year
FallSpring
76-4xx 400-level Seminar**76-4xx 400-level Seminar**
76-3xx 300-level EBA Course*76-3xx/4xx English Elective
76-3xx/4xx English ElectiveElective
ElectiveElective
ElectiveElective


Interpretive Practices (76-294) is a prerequisite for 300-level EBA courses

**Interpretive Practices (76-294) is a prerequisite and Research in English (76-394) is a pre- or co-requisite for 400-level seminars.

 

The B.A. in Creative Writing

Carnegie Mellon is one of a small number of English departments in the country where undergraduates can major in Creative Writing. In the Creative Writing major (CW), students develop their talents in writing fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and creative nonfiction. While studying with faculty members who are writers, Creative Writing majors read widely in literature, explore the resources of their imaginations, sharpen their critical and verbal skills, and develop a professional attitude toward their writing. Students also have the opportunity to work with other nationally known poets and fiction writers through the department’s Visiting Writers series. The CW program is made up of faculty and students who have an intense commitment to their work. Students who do not exhibit a high level of commitment and promise in the introductory classes will not be encouraged to continue in the major.

Beginning with the Dietrich College requirements, the curriculum for Creative Writing majors is designed to broaden the students’ intellectual backgrounds and encourage their analytical abilities. English courses beyond the Creative Writing core requirements provide additional practice in the careful reading, writing and understanding of literary texts.

Students in the Creative Writing major are required to take two of the introductory Survey of Forms courses, ideally in their sophomore year. Choices include Survey of Forms: Poetry (76-265), Survey of Forms: Fiction (76-260), Survey of Forms: Screenwriting (76-269), and Survey of Forms: Creative Nonfiction (76-261) In order to proceed into the upper level courses in the major (and in each of the genres), students must do well in these introductory courses (receive a grade of A or B). In their junior and senior years, Creative Writing majors take four workshops in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, or nonfiction. At least two of the workshops must be taken in a single genre. In the writing workshops, students develop their critical and verbal abilities through close writing and analysis of poems, stories, and other literary forms. Their work is critiqued and evaluated by peers and the faculty. Students may write a Senior Project or Honors Thesis (if they qualify for Dietrich College honors) under the supervision of a faculty member during their senior year.

Carnegie Mellon also offers Creative Writing majors various extracurricular opportunities for professional development. For example, they may work as interns with the Carnegie Mellon University Press, which is housed in the English Department. The Press publishes scholarly works, and books of poetry and short stories by both new and established American writers. Students may help edit and submit their work for publication to The Oakland Review, a Carnegie Mellon University-sponsored annual journal, and Dossier, the literary supplement to The Tartan (the student newspaper). Students also have opportunities to read their works in a series of readings by student writers held in the Gladys Schmitt Creative Writing Center and to hear nationally known authors as part of the Carnegie Mellon Visiting Writers series. Additionally, the English Department (in cooperation with the Carnegie Mellon University Press) offers prizes for students each year in the writing of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and screenwriting. These include the Pauline Adamson Awards, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Carnegie Mellon University Press Prizes in poetry and fiction, the Family Friendly Programming Forum Scholarships in Film, and the Topol Award in Creative Writing/Fiction.  In addition, the Gladys Schmitt Scholarship Fund and the Gladys Schmitt Student Enhancement Fund provide support for creative writing majors to attend writing conferences and festivals.

Because the Creative Writing program provides a disciplined atmosphere in which to study and write, it appeals especially to students who are as concerned with their personal growth as with vocational goals. Nevertheless, the extracurricular writing activities and a variety of writing internships available on and off campus can provide Creative Writing majors with valuable experiences for planning their future. After graduation, many Creative Writing majors go on to graduate writing programs and to careers in teaching, publishing, public relations, advertising, TV and film, or freelance writing and editing.
 

Curriculum

In addition to satisfying all of the Dietrich College degree requirements for B.A. candidates, Creative Writing majors must complete 11 courses in the following areas:

Creative Writing Core (7 courses, 63 units)

Two Survey of Forms Courses (2 courses, 18 units)
76-260Survey of Forms: Fiction *9
76-261Survey of Forms: Creative Nonfiction *9
76-265Survey of Forms: Poetry *9
76-269Survey of Forms: Screenwriting *9

* A student must receive a grade of A or B in the Survey of Forms class in a specific genre in order to be eligible to enroll in a workshop of that genre. A student who receives a grade of C in a Survey of Forms course may enroll in a related workshop only with the permission of the workshop professor. A student who receives a D or R in Survey of Forms may not take a workshop in that genre.

One Reading in Forms Course (1 course, 9 units)

Complete one of the following courses:

76-362Reading in Forms: Nonfiction9
76-363Reading in Forms: Poetry9
76-364Readings in Forms: Fictions9
Four Creative Writing Workshops (4 courses, 36 units)

Complete four Creative Writing workshops, at least two in a single genre. Workshops in all genres may be taken more than once for credit.

76-365Beginning Poetry Workshop9
76-460Beginning Fiction Workshop9
76-462Advanced Fiction Workshop9
76-464Creative Nonfiction Workshop9
76-465Advanced Poetry Workshop9
76-469Advanced Screenwriting Workshop9
76-4xxElective Workshops (various forms)

English Electives (4 courses, 36 units)

Complete four additional courses from the English Department’s offerings. Two of the four English Electives must be courses that are designated as fulfilling the literature requirement and focus on close reading of literary texts. Please consult the list of courses published each semester by the Department for current offerings. English Electives may include any course offered by the Department. Additionally, English Electives can include no more than one course at the 200 level. The remaining English Electives must be at the 300 or 400 level. In choosing Electives, students are encouraged to sample courses from across the Department.
 

Creative Writing B.A. Sample Curriculum

This plan is presented as a two-year (junior-senior) plan for completing major requirements. Its purpose is to show that this program can be completed in as few as two years, not that it should or must be. In fact, as a department, we recommend beginning the major in the sophomore year if possible. Students in Dietrich College may declare a major as early as mid-semester of the spring of their first year and begin major requirements the following fall.

JuniorSenior
FallSpringFallSpring
76-26x Survey of Forms76-26x Survey of Forms76-3xx/4xx Creative Writing Workshop76-3xx/4xx Creative Writing Workshop
76-36x Reading in Forms76-3xx/4xx Creative Writing Workshop76-3xx/4xx Creative Writing Workshop76-3xx/4xx English Elective
76-2xx/3xx/4xx English Elective76-3xx/4xx English Elective76-3xx/4xx English ElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElectiveElective

 

The B.A. in Professional Writing

Professional Writing combines liberal and professional education with a strong foundation in rhetorical studies. While based firmly in the liberal arts tradition, the major has a strong career orientation and is specifically designed to prepare students for successful careers as writers and communications specialists in a range of fields: publishing, government, journalism, the non-profit sector, education, public and media relations, corporate communications, advocacy writing, and the arts. The major is designed to develop articulate and reflective communications professionals with both the skills needed to enter and negotiate current work contexts (including writing for the web and for other digital media) and the analytic and problem-solving skills needed to understand and keep pace with cultural and technological change.

The Professional Writing major includes 12 courses: 9 PW Core Requirements + 3 English Electives. The 9 Core Requirements include foundations courses in writing (professional, technical & creative), style & editing, and argument plus a cluster of advanced rhetoric, language studies, and specialized writing courses, all designed to closely integrate analysis and production. Through special topics courses— journalism, on-line information design, advocacy writing, document design for print, science writing, public relations and corporate communications, writing for multimedia — students can pursue specializations while working with faculty who are both experts and practicing professionals in these fields. PW majors also gain experience in working on team- and client-based projects and receive focused support to develop a portfolio of polished writing samples to use in applying for internships and employment. Through English Electives in Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and Literary and Cultural Studies, students gain additional practice in the careful reading, writing, and analysis of both literary and non-fictional texts and important insights into how texts function in their historical and contemporary contexts. As a capstone experience, senior PW majors have the opportunity to complete a Senior Project or, upon invitation from the college, a Senior Honors Thesis in Rhetoric or Professional Writing. PW students can also apply for Student Undergraduate Research Grants (SURG) or summer fellowships (SURF) to work on independent research projects with department faculty.

While the major appeals to students with strong professional interests, both core and elective requirements develop the broad intellectual background one expects from a university education and prepare students to either enter the workplace or pursue graduate study in fields as diverse as communications, law, business, and education. PW majors also have the opportunity to apply for the Department's accelerated MA in Professional Writing, the MAPW 4+1, which allows them to complete the degree in 2 semesters instead of the usual 3. As they choose elective courses, minors, and additional majors beyond the Department, Professional Writing majors are encouraged to explore courses from across the university, keeping in mind the very important point that to be effective, writers must have both strong writing skills and in-depth knowledge of the subjects that they write about. While there is no formal requirement for these elective courses, students are encouraged to think about what courses will complement their interest in Professional Writing. Students interested in journalism, for example, are encouraged to take courses in history and political science, while those interested in writing for health-related fields are pointed toward courses in biology, chemistry, and healthcare policy. Other possible elective areas include but are not limited to business, organizational behavior, graphic design, the arts, psychology, economics, modern languages, ethics and public policy, and computer programming. Because the major in Professional Writing is deliberately structured as a flexible degree that allows a broad range of options, majors in Professional Writing should consult closely with their English Department advisors on choosing both elective and required courses and in planning for internships and summer employment.

Various opportunities for writers to gain professional experience and accumulate material for their writing portfolios are available through campus publications, department-sponsored internships for academic credit, and writing-related employment on and off campus. Professional Writing majors frequently write for The Tartan, the student-run campus newspaper, and have served as editor-in chief, section editors, and reporters for both the main paper the Pillbox section on arts, events, and popular culture. PW majors serve similar roles on the undergraduate research journal, Thought; the editorial staff of The Oakland Review, a Carnegie Mellon undergraduate literary journal; and The Triple Helix, and international undergraduate journal of science, society, and law, which has an active chapter on the Carnegie Mellon campus. PW majors have also conceived and developed independent publishing projects to fill perceived needs on and beyond campus. Within the last several years, for example, PW majors founded The Cut, an independent magazine focusing on music, and d'Arte, a magazine with a focus on the arts, particularly design and fashion. These publications provide opportunities for students to publish their own written work and to gain experience in skills ranging from editing, to layout, to production, to selling ads or managing business affairs. Students can also write for the faculty and staff newspaper, Focus, under the guidance of the editor, or take a course in editing and publishing with the Carnegie Mellon University Press. Additionally, the English Department offers student awards in Professional Writing each year. The awards are judged by professionals outside the university and include the Pauline Adamson Awards in nonfiction and the Dawe Memorial Award to encourage creativity and innovation in publishing. The Dawe Award provides a junior in the department with a $2000 grant to plan, produce, and publish an innovative magazine, newspaper, or other periodical publication.

Professional Writing majors have the option of taking writing internships for academic credit during their junior or senior year and are also strongly encouraged to seek professional internships throughout their undergraduate years and during their summers.  Opportunities in public and media relations, newspaper and magazine writing, healthcare communication, publishing, technical writing, public service organizations, and writing for the web and new media illustrate both internship possibilities and the kinds of employment that Professional Writing majors have taken after graduation. In addition to providing professional experience, these internships help students establish contacts outside the University and add professional publications to their portfolios. Recent academic year and summer internships have included non-profit organizations such as The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the West Penn Hospital Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Symphony; traditional and new media PR and information design agencies such as Deeplocal, Mind over Media, Marc, and Branding Brands; publications such as Whirl, Pittsburgh Magazine, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette; TV stations WTAE, KDKA, and WQED; and organizations as diverse as NFL films, The Latin American Literary Review Press, the Lincoln Center Festival, and the New York Islanders.Ideas and guidance for choosing internships, courses, summer employment, and possible career paths are provided through a 3-unit course, Professional Seminar (76-300), which meets once a week during the fall term and provides majors with the opportunity to meet and network with practicing professionals in a range of communications fields.
 

Curriculum

In addition to satisfying all of the Dietrich College degree requirements for B.A. candidates, Professional Writing majors must fulfill 12 requirements in the following areas:

Professional Writing Core (9 courses, 81 units)

Complete nine courses.

Foundations Courses (4 courses, 36 units)
76-26xSurvey of Forms (Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, or Screenwriting)9
76-271Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing9
76-390Style9
76-373Topics in Rhetoric: Argument9
Rhetoric/Language Studies Requirement (1 course, 9 units)

Complete one course from designated Rhetoric courses offered and advertised each semester by the Department. Rhetoric courses focus on understanding the role of language and language practices in both personal and professional contexts. Courses emphasize the relationships between texts and their contexts and pay particular attention to textual features, meaning, processes of reading and writing, and the ways in which language practices vary over time and across situations and cultures. The courses also equip students with explicit techniques for analyzing, understanding, and exploring language practices. Rhetoric courses may also be taken as part of a PW major's requirements for 4 advanced Writing/Rhetoric courses and include but are not limited to the following list.

Rhetoric Courses Units
76-318Communicating in the Global Marketplace9
76-319Environmental Rhetoric9
76-355Leadership, Dialogue, and Change9
76-378Literacy: Educational Theory and Community Practice9
76-385Introduction to Discourse Analysis9
76-386Language & Culture9
76-387Narrative & Argument9
76-389Rhetorical Grammar9
76-419Communication Revolutions & Technologies9
76-420Process of Reading and Writing9
76-451Topics in Language Study9
76-457Topics in Rhetoric9
76-476Rhetoric of Science9
76-491Rhetorical Analysis9
76-492Rhetoric of Public Policy9
Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Courses (4 courses, 36-42 units)

PW majors complete four Advanced Writing/Rhetoric courses at the 300- or 400-level. Options for these courses include all of the rhetoric courses listed above plus the writing-focused courses listed below. Additional courses that fulfill these requirements are advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. For help in choosing which of the possible options are most appropriate for various professional goals – journalism, writing for new media, editing and publishing, public relations/corporate communications, or science and technical writing – consult your English Department advisor and the “Selected Core Courses & Electives for PW Majors” advising sheet available through the English Department. All PW majors, regardless of their career focus, are encouraged to take 76-391 Document Design and 76-487 Web Design to extend their skills in writing for print to include information design for digital media. Both courses focus on the role of the writer in these specializations and provide lab instruction in the relevant software and related computer skills.

Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Courses Units
76-301InternshipVar.
76-359Planning and Testing Documents9
76-360Literary Journalism Workshop9
76-372Topics in Journalism9
76-375Magazine Writing9
76-389Rhetorical Grammar9
76-391Document Design12
76-395Science Writing9
76-396Non-Profit Advocacy *9
76-397Major Works of Modern Fiction *9
76-472Advanced Journalism9
76-474Software Documentation9
76-479Marketing, Public Relations, and Corporate Communications9
76-481Writing for Multimedia12
76-487Web Design9
76-491Rhetorical Analysis9
76-494Healthcare Communications9
39-605Engineering Design Projects12
English Electives (3 courses, 27 units)

PW majors complete three additional courses from the English Department’s offerings. Two of the three Electives must be courses that focus on the relationships between texts and their cultural and historical contexts. Courses in literature, cultural studies, rhetoric, and media studies that meet this requirement are advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. Please consult the list of courses published each semester by the Department for current offerings in this category. English Electives may include any course offered by the Department with the exception of 76-270 Writing for the Professions, and 76-272 Language in Design, both of which are designed for non-majors and overlap with 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing. Additionally, Electives can include no more than one course at the 200 level. The remaining Electives must be at the 300 or 400 level. In choosing Electives, students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and to sample courses from across the Department.
 

Professional Writing B.A. Sample Curriculum

This plan is presented as a two-year (junior-senior) plan for completing major requirements. Its purpose is to show that this program can be completed in as few as two years not that it should or must be. In fact, as a Department, we strongly recommend beginning the major no later than spring of the sophomore year if at all possible. A start in the sophomore year is particularly important for students seeking to take 76-391 Document Design and 76-487 Web Design because of the sequence of prerequisites. (76-271 is a prerequisite for 76-391 and both are prerequisites for 76-487. Additionally, 76-391 and 76-487 are offered only in the fall semester.)

JuniorSenior
FallSpringFallSpring
76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing76-26x Survey of Forms76-3xx/4xx Rhetoric or Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Course76-3xx/4xx Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Course
76-390 Style76-373 Topics in Rhetoric: Argument76-3xx/4xx Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Course76-3xx/4xx Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Course
76-2xx/3xx/4xx English Elective76-3xx/4xx Rhetoric or Advanced Writing/Rhetoric Course76-3xx/4xx English Elective76-3xx/4xx English Elective
ElectiveElectiveElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElectiveElective

 

The B.S. in Technical Writing & Communication

The B.S. in Technical Writing & Communication (TWC) is one of the oldest undergraduate technical communication degrees in the country with a history that stretches back to 1958. The degree is specifically designed to prepare students for successful careers involving scientific, technical, and computer-related communication, including writing and designing for digital media.

The B.S. in Technical Writing reflects changes taking place in the technical communication fields. At one time in the not too distant past, technical writers worked primarily with print documents and within a relatively narrow range of fields that included the software industry and various organizations concerned primarily with scientific or technological subjects. The recent explosion of information technologies has radically changed that situation. Today’s technical communicators are professional specialists with strong backgrounds in the technology, communication, and design skills needed to enter a broad range of information-based fields. The work that technical writers now do goes well beyond writing documents for print distribution. The expanding range of options includes positions that involve organizing, managing, communicating, and facilitating the use of both technical and non-technical information in a range of fields and media.

Some of the many things that technical communicators do include developing and designing web sites, explaining science and technology to the public, developing print and multimedia materials, developing information management systems, designing and delivering corporate training, and developing support systems for consumer products ranging from software for word processing or personal finances to complex data management systems.

The B.S. in Technical Writing recognizes the important changes taking place in communication-based careers and includes two distinctive “tracks,” one in Technical Communication (TC) and one in Scientific and Medical Communication (SMC). Both tracks begin with a common core of foundation courses in print and on-line communication as well as a shared set of prerequisites in math, statistics, and computer programming. The two tracks differ in the set of theory/specialization courses beyond the core, with each track including a specialized set appropriate to its focus.

In both the TC and SMC tracks, TWC students work on real projects for actual clients, learn group interaction and management skills, and develop a flexible repertoire of skills and strategies to keep up with the rapid advances in software and technology. Above all else, they focus on developing structures and information strategies to solve a broad range of communication and information design problems.

TWC students are able to draw on exceptional resources on and off campus to enhance their education. Most obvious are the course offerings of Carnegie Institute of Technology, the Mellon College of Science, and the School of Computer Science. Additional course offerings in business, organizational behavior, policy and management, psychology, history, and design are also encouraged. As a capstone experience, Senior TWC majors have the opportunity to complete a Senior Project or, upon invitation from the college, a Senior Honors Thesis in Rhetoric or Professional or Technical Writing. TWC students can also apply for Student Undergraduate Research Grants (SURG) or summer fellowships (SURF) to work on independent research projects with department faculty.

While the major appeals to students with strong professional interests, both core and elective requirements develop the broad intellectual background one expects from a university education and prepare students to either enter the workplace upon graduation or pursue graduate study in fields as diverse as communications, business, instructional design, information design, education, and science and healthcare writing. TWC majors also have the opportunity to apply for the Department’s accelerated MA in Professional Writing, the MAPW 4+1, which allows them to complete the degree in 2 semesters instead of the usual 3.

Various opportunities for writers to gain professional experience and accumulate material for the writing portfolios are available through campus publications, department-sponsored internships for academic credit, and writing-related employment on and off campus. TWC students have the option of doing internships for academic credit during their junior or senior year and are encouraged to pursue a series of internships throughout their 4 years and during their summers. Internships provide both professional experience and exposure to the broad range of career possibilities that technical writers can pursue after graduation. Both coursework and internships also provide writing samples for students’ professional portfolios. Recent students have done internships at various on- and off-campus sites including Rockwell Automation, Duquesne Systems, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, IBM, and the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Placement patterns after graduation are similarly diverse. Graduates of the Technical Writing program have been hired by organizations nationwide. Firms recruiting and hiring Technical Writing graduates include Microsoft, Intel, AT&T, Digital Equipment, IBM, Boeing, Data General, NCR Corporation, Cisco Systems, and Mellon Financial.

The Technical Communication (TC) Track

The Technical Communication track (TC) prepares students for careers in the rapidly changing areas of software and digital media. Students learn the fundamentals of visual, verbal, and on-line communication as well as the technical skills needed to design, communicate, and evaluate complex communication systems and to manage the interdisciplinary teams needed to develop them. Students become fluent in both print-based and electronic media across a variety of information genres and learn to design information for a range of specialist and non-expert audiences. The TWC/TC major can be pursued as a primary major within Dietrich College or as a secondary major for students in other Colleges with an interest in combining their specialized subject matter knowledge with strong writing and communications skills. Graduates of this track are likely to follow in the footsteps of previous Technical Writing students from Carnegie Mellon who are currently employed as web designers, information specialists, technical writers, and information consultants in a range of technology and communication-based organizations including IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and Intel, all of whom actively recruit on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

The Scientific and Medical Communication (SMC) Track

The Scientific and Medical Communication track (SMC) is designed for students who seek careers that focus on communication and information design problems in these specialized areas. It should appeal to students with interests in the health care professions, science and public policy, patient education, scientific journalism and related fields. Like the TC track, the SMC track is designed to provide both the technical and the communication skills needed to analyze and solve complex communication problems. Students learn the fundamentals of visual, verbal, and on-line communication as well as the technical skills needed to design, communicate, and evaluate complex information systems and to manage the interdisciplinary teams needed to develop them. Students become fluent in both print-based and electronic media across a variety of information genres and learn to design information for a range of specialist and non-expert audiences The TWC/SMC major can be pursued as a primary major within Dietrich College or as a secondary major for students in other Colleges, such as MCS, with an interest in science or medicine.
 

Curriculum for the TWC degree

All Technical Writing & Communication majors must satisfy the Dietrich College requirements for the B.S. degree, and a set of 3 to 4 prerequisite courses in calculus, statistics, and computer science. All prerequisites should be completed by the beginning of the fall semester, junior year. Prerequisites may double count toward Dietrich College Requirements or requirements for other majors or minors.

Mathematics Prerequisite (1 course, 10 units)

Complete one of the following:

21-111Calculus I10
21-112Calculus II10
21-120Differential and Integral Calculus10
21-127Concepts of Mathematics10

Statistics Prerequisite (1 course, 9 units)

Complete one course

36-201Statistical Reasoning and Practice9

Computer Science Prerequisites (1 - 2 courses*, 10 - 22 units)

Students in the Technical Communication track must complete two required Computer Science courses:

15-110Principles of Computing10
15-112Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science12

Students in the Science and Medical Communication track must complete one required Computer Science course:

15-110Principles of Computing10

15-110 Principles of Computing is designed for students with little or no prior programming experience and is appropriate for students in both the SMC and TC tracks. 15-112 Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science prepares students in the TC track for all other advanced Computer Science courses.

Beyond these prerequisites, students in both TC and SMC tracks take a common set of 5 TWC Core Requirements in writing, communication, and information design. To complement these foundations courses, TWC students take a set of 3 Theory/Specialization courses specific to either TC or SMC. In addition, students in the SMC track take a series of 3 courses in the natural sciences or engineering relevant to their areas of interest, while TC students take 3 electives in management, technology, and social issues.

Technical Communication Track

TWC Core Requirements (5 courses, 51 units)

76-26xSurvey of Forms (Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, or Screenwriting)9
76-271Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing9
76-390Style9
76-391Document Design *12
76-487Web Design **9
76-488Web Design Lab3

*  prerequisite = 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing
**prerequisite = 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing + 76-391 Document Design

Theory/Specialization Courses (3 courses, 27 units)

Complete 3 Advisor-approved courses structured as follows.

At least one of the three must be chosen from the “Recommended” options below. The remaining 2 courses can be from the “Recommended” or “Additional Options” lists.

Recommended Options - at least one Theory/Specialization course MUST be from this set (and all three should be strongly considered as options)
76-359Planning and Testing Documents9
76-397Major Works of Modern Fiction *9
76-491Rhetorical Analysis9
76-419Communication Revolutions & Technologies9
76-474Software Documentation9
76-481Writing for Multimedia *12

or

Additional Options
76-301InternshipVar.
76-318Communicating in the Global Marketplace9
76-385Introduction to Discourse Analysis9
76-386Language & Culture9
76-387Narrative & Argument9
76-389Rhetorical Grammar9
76-395Science Writing9
76-397Major Works of Modern Fiction9
76-419Communication Revolutions & Technologies9
76-476Rhetoric of Science9
76-492Rhetoric of Public Policy9
39-605-39-606Engineering Design Projects-Engineering Design Projects24

Additional courses that fulfill these requirements may be available and will be announced on a semester-by-semester basis.

Technical Communication Electives (3 courses, 27 units)

Complete 3 adviser-approved electives in management, technology, and social issues, chosen from the following options. Additional options may be advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. Note that at least some of these courses may have prerequisites. Please check course listings for details and plan accordingly. Courses in this category may double count for both the TWC/TC degree and a major or minor in another department.

05-410User-Centered Research and Evaluation12
05-413Human Factors9
15-xxxComputer Science courses beyond the 2 required
19-448Science, Technology & Ethics9
36-309Experimental Design for Behavioral and Social Sciences9
36-350Statistical Computing9
51-261Communication Design Fundamentals9
51-262Communication Design Fundamentals9
70-311Organizational Behavior9
70-332Business, Society and Ethics9
70-342Managing Across Cultures9
80-220Philosophy of Science9
80-221Philosophy of Social Science9
80-241Ethical Judgments in Professional Life9
80-244Environmental Ethics9
80-2919
80-341Computers, Society and Ethics9
85-211Cognitive Psychology9
85-213Human Information Processing and Artifical Intelligence9
85-241Social Psychology9
85-370Perception9
85-392Human Expertise9
85-395Applications of Cognitive Science9
05-432Personalized Online Learning12
88-223Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems9
88-260Organizations9
88-341Organizational Communication9

TWC / TC Track Sample Curriculum

This plan is presented as a five-semester (spring of sophomore year through senior year) plan for completing major requirements. Its purpose is to show that this program can be completed in as few as five semesters not that it should or must be. In fact, as a department, we strongly recommend beginning the major in the fall of the sophomore year if possible. The five-semester time frame is needed because of sequencing issues related to the required core courses. The plan does not include the 4 prerequisite courses, which should be completed by the junior year.

Sophomore YearJunior Year
SpringFallSpring
76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing*76-391 Document Design*76-3xx/4xx Theory/Specialization Course
76-390 Style76-26x Survey of FormsTechnical Communication Elective
ElectiveTechnical Communication ElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElective

Senior Year
FallSpring
76-487 Web Design*76-3xx/4xx Theory/Specialization Course
76-488 Web Design LabTechnical Communication Elective
76-3xx/4xx Theory/Specialization CourseElective
ElectiveElective
ElectiveElective
Elective

* These courses must be taken in the sequence indicated. 76-271 is offered all semesters and therefore can be taken fall or spring of sophomore year. 76-271 is a prerequisite for 76-391, and 76-271 + 76-391 are the prerequisites for 76-487. 76-391 and 76-487 are offered only in the fall semesters.

Scientific & Medical Communication Track

Core Requirements for TWC (5 courses, 51 units)

Complete all 5 courses.

76-26xSurvey of Forms (Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, or Screenwriting)9
76-271Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing9
76-390Style9
76-391Document Design *12
76-487Web Design **9
76-488Web Design Lab3

*  prerequisite = 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing
**prerequisite = 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing + 76-391 Document Design

Theory/Specialization Courses (3 courses, 27 units)

Complete 3 advisor-approved courses structured as follows:

At least one of the three must be chosen from the 3 “Recommended” options below. The remaining 2 courses can be from the “Recommended” or “Additional Options” lists.

Recommended Options — at least one Theory/Specialization course MUST be from this set (and all three should be strongly considered as options) Units
76-395Science Writing *9
76-476Rhetoric of Science9
76-494Healthcare Communications *9


Additional Options Units
76-301InternshipVar.
76-318Communicating in the Global Marketplace9
76-359Planning and Testing Documents9
76-372Topics in Journalism9
76-385Introduction to Discourse Analysis9
76-386Language & Culture9
76-387Narrative & Argument9
76-389Rhetorical Grammar9
76-396Non-Profit Advocacy *9
76-397Major Works of Modern Fiction *9
76-419Communication Revolutions & Technologies9
76-481Writing for Multimedia12
76-491Rhetorical Analysis9
36-309Experimental Design for Behavioral and Social Sciences9
39-605Engineering Design Projects12
79-330Medicine and Society9
79-331Body Politics: Women and Health in America9
79-333Biology and Society: Evolution Animal Experimentation and Eugenics9
79-335Drug Use and Drug Policy9
80-220Philosophy of Science9
80-244Environmental Ethics9
80-245Medical Ethics9
88-223Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems9

Other Additional Options courses may be available and will be announced on a semester-by-semester basis.

Natural Sciences & Engineering (3 courses, minimum of 27 units)

Complete 3 advisor-approved courses that contribute to the student’s chosen focus. The courses may be all in one area such as biology, or spread across areas. The basic courses in biology, chemistry, and physics are listed below. Additional options include advanced courses in any of these areas as well as basic and advanced classes in statistics, or engineering. Consult your English Department advisor on the appropriateness of specific courses for your interests. Courses in this category may double count for both the TWC/TC degree and a major or minor in another department.

03-121Modern Biology9
03-231Biochemistry I9
09-105Introduction to Modern Chemistry I10
09-106Modern Chemistry II10
09-221Laboratory I: Introduction to Chemical Analysis12
33-111Physics I for Science Students12
33-112Physics II for Science Students12
42-101Introduction to Biomedical Engineering12
42-202Physiology9
42-444Medical Devices9

TWC/SMC Track Sample Curriculum

This plan is presented as a five-semester (spring of sophomore year through senior year) plan for completing major requirements. Its purpose is to show that this program can be completed in as few as five semesters not that it should or must be. In fact, as a department, we strongly recommend beginning the major in the fall of the sophomore year if possible. The five-semester time frame is needed because of sequencing issues related to the required core courses. The plan does not include the 3 prerequisite courses, which should be completed no later than the end of the junior year.

Sophomore YearJunior Year
SpringFallSpring
76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing*76-391 Document Design*76-3xx/4xx Theory/Specialization Course
76-390 Style76-26x Survey of FormsTechnical Communication Elective
ElectiveTechnical Communication ElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElective
ElectiveElectiveElective

Senior Year
FallSpring
76-487 Web Design*76-3xx/4xx Theory/Specialization Course
76-488 Web Design LabTechnical Communication Elective
76-3xx/4xx Theory/Specialization CourseElective
ElectiveElective
ElectiveElective
Elective

* These courses must be taken in the sequence indicated. 76-271 is offered all semesters and therefore can be taken fall or spring of sophomore year. 76-271 is a prerequisite for 76-391, and 76-271 + 76-391 are the prerequisites for 76-48776-391 and 76-487 are offered only in the fall semesters.

 

Completing an Additional Major in English

Students with interests that include more than one of the department's majors have the option of completing an additional major within the department. Students may combine any of the B.A. degrees or combine the B.S. in Technical Writing and Communication with either the B.A. in English or the B.A. in Creative Writing. Students may not combine the Professional Writing and the Technical Writing & Communication majors because so many of the courses overlap.

Students majoring in two or more English Department degrees must fulfill the Core Requirements for the Major for both programs. The Survey of Forms core requirement, common to all 4 majors, needs to be taken only once but can count toward both majors. Similarly, the English Electives need to be taken only once and can count toward both majors with the understanding that a student must complete the number of English Electives required by the program with the higher number of Electives. For example, a student combining the B.A. in English with the Creative Writing major would take the 4 English Electives required for Creative Writing.

Because the Survey of Forms course and the English Electives are allowed to double count toward both majors, students who are already majoring in one of the English degrees can generally add a second major within the department by completing 6 to 8 additional courses. For example, a student who has fulfilled all 11 requirements for the BA in English can complete the additional major in Creative Writing by adding the 6 courses of the Creative Writing Core beyond the first Survey of Forms requirement: one additional Survey of Forms course, one Reading in Forms course, and 4 Writing Workshops. Because sequencing of courses can become an issue when doing multiple majors, students are strongly advised to consult closely with their English Department advisors about the sequence of their courses.

 

Completing a Secondary Major in English

Students in other departments who wish to complete a secondary major in the English Department should contact the Academic Coordinator in the English Department Office to file a secondary major application form and be assigned to an English Department advisor. Secondary majors in the four English degrees are required to complete all requirements for the chosen major. Additionally, courses taken to fulfill requirements within the primary major may not double count for requirements within the chosen English Department major. The only exceptions to this rule are the TC electives for the TWC/TC degree and the Natural Science and Engineering requirements for the TWC/SMC degree. In planning schedules for a secondary major, it is critically important that students consult with both departments in which they are majoring to be sure that all requirements for graduation can be met.

 

Minor in English

The English Department also offers minors in Creative Writing, English Studies, Professional Writing, and Technical Writing. The minors require a minimum of five courses (45 units), plus completion of (or credit for) Interpretation and Argument (76-101) or an equivalent requirement. The minors in English are available to all undergraduate students except English majors, who may not both major and minor in English.

Courses taken to fulfill requirements in other major or minor programs may not be applied to English minor requirements (and vice versa).

Courses that meet the various requirements are advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. Full descriptions are available each semester from the English Department main office. We also publish a document titled “What Counts for What for Minors,” which indicates which courses offered in a given term fulfill specific requirements in each of the minor concentrations.
 

English Studies Minor

Complete 6 courses, including Interpretation and Argument (76-101) as a prerequisite.

76-101Interpretation and Argument
(or credit for equivalent course)
9
76-294Interpretive Practices
(prerequisite for 300- and 400- level courses)
9
76-3xxTwo 300-level courses in Literature, Cultural Studies, or Rhetoric18
76-3xx/4xx One additional 300-level course or 400-level seminar in Literature, Cultural Studies, or Rhetoric *9
76-xxx200-level or above English Elective **9

* Note that at least some 400-level seminars have Research in English (76-394) as a pre- or co-requisite. Students planning to take a 400-level seminar to fulfill this requirement should plan to take Research in English (76-394) as one of their 300-level courses.

** The English Elective may be any course offered by the English Department.
 

Creative Writing Minor

Complete 6 courses, including Interpretation and Argument (76-101) as a prerequisite.

76-101Interpretation and Argument
(or credit for equivalent course)
9
76-26xSurvey of Forms9
76-36x/46x Two Fiction, Poetry, or Screenwriting Workshop Classes18
76-3xxOne Reading in Forms Course9
76-xxxOne 200-level or above English Elective **9

* A student must receive a grade of A or B in the Survey of Forms class in order to be eligible to enroll in a workshop of that genre. A student who receives a grade of C in a Survey of Forms course may enroll in a related workshop only with the permission of his or her workshop professor. A student who receives a D or R in Survey of Forms may not take a workshop in that genre.

** The English Elective may be any course offered by the English Department.
 

Professional Writing Minor

Complete 6 courses, including Interpretation and Argument (76-101) as a prerequisite.

76-101Interpretation and Argument
(or credit for equivalent course)
9
76-270Writing for the Professions9
or 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing
76-3xx/4xx Two 300- or 400-level Writing courses *18
76-3xx/4xx One Rhetoric/Language Studies course *9
76-xxxOne 200-level or above English elective **9

76-270 Writing for the Professions or 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing is generally the prerequisite for these 300- and 400-level courses. Options include but are not limited to 76-318 Communicating in the Global Marketplace, 76-359 Planning and Testing Documents, 76-372 Topics in Journalism, 76-375 Magazine Writing, 76-389 Rhetorical Grammar, 76-390 Style,76-391 Document Design, 76-395 Science Writing, 76-396 Non-Profit Advocacy 76-472 Advanced Journalism, 76-479 Marketing, Public Relations, and Corporate Communications, 76-481 Writing for Multimedia, 76-487 Web Design,76-491 Rhetorical Analysis, 76-494 Healthcare Communications, and other options advertised on a semester-by-semester basis.

** The English Elective may be any course offered by the English Department.
 

Technical Writing Minor

Complete 6 courses, including Interpretation and Argument (76-101) as a prerequisite.

76-3xx/4xx Two 300- or 400-level courses* from these options:

76-101Interpretation and Argument9
76-271Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing9
76-3xx/76-4xx Two 300- or 400-level courses chosen from the Writing Course Options listed below *18
76-3xx/4xx One Rhetoric/Language Studies course9
76-xxxOne 200-level or above English Elective **9

* Options include but are not limited to 76-318 Communicating in the Global Marketplace76-359 Planning and Testing Documents, 76-389 Rhetorical Grammar 76-372 Topics in Journalism76-391 Document Design76-395 Science Writing76-397 Major Works of Modern Fiction, 76-419 Communication Revolutions & Technologies 76-474 Software Documentation76-479 Marketing, Public Relations, and Corporate Communications76-481 Writing for Multimedia76-487 Web Design, 76-488 Web Design Lab76-491 Rhetorical Analysis76-494 Healthcare Communications, and other options advertised on a semester-by-semester basis. 76-271 Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing is generally the prerequisite for these 300- and 400-level courses. Additionally, 76-391 Document Design is a prerequisite for both 76-481 Writing for Multimedia and 76-487 Web Design

** The English Elective may be any course offered by the English Department.

 

Senior Honors Thesis

Seniors in all four majors in the English Department who meet the necessary requirements are invited by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Dietrich College) to propose and complete a Senior Honors Thesis during their final year of study. The thesis may focus on research and/or original production in any of the areas offered as a major within the Department. To qualify for the Dietrich College Honors Program, students must have a cumulative Quality Point Average of at least 3.50 in their major and 3.25 overall at the end of their junior year and be invited by Dietrich College to participate. Students then choose a thesis advisor within the Department and propose and get approval from Dietrich College for a Senior Honors Thesis. The Honors Thesis is completed over the two semesters of the senior year (9 units each semester) under the direction of the chosen advisor. By successfully completing the thesis, students earn 18 units of credit and qualify for graduation with “College Honors.”

Creative Writing majors participating in the Senior Honors Thesis program may petition to have one semester of their thesis work count as one of their Workshop course requirements. Students interested in this option should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
 

Internship Program

Qualified students in all four of the Department’s degree programs have the option of doing one or more professional internships for academic credit during their junior or senior years. These opportunities help students explore possible writing-related careers as well as gain workplace experience. Each internship is arranged, approved, and overseen by the Department’s Internship Coordinator. Particular attention is given to matching students to internship sites of specific interest to them. Students have interned in a wide variety of communications-related positions including placements at local radio, television, and print publications; museums, theaters, and cultural organizations; non-profit and public service organizations; public relations, advertising, and marketing firms; software and technology companies; new media organizations; and hospitals and healthcare communication organizations.

To be eligible for an internship, students must have a Quality Point Average of 3.0 or better and credit for at least one writing course (including Survey of Forms) beyond Interpretation and Argument (76-101). Internships generally carry 3-12 units of credit. A 9-unit internship is the standard and requires a minimum of 120-140 hours (8-10 hours per week over a 15-week term) of work at the internship site during the term. In addition, interns complete a reflective journal and a series of short research and writing assignments relevant to the specific internship. Students doing an internship for credit must be registered for the internship during the term (including summer) when they are working at the internship site. Majors in the Department may count one 9-12 unit internship for one of their degree requirements, generally an English elective.
 

The Accelerated MA in Professional Writing: MAPW 4+1

The MAPW 4+1 is a special program under which Carnegie Mellon students (usually majors or minors in the English department or BHA or BHS students with relevant coursework) can qualify to complete the MA in Professional Writing in 2 semesters instead of the usual 3. Students apply for admissions during their junior or senior year and, following admission and evaluation of their transcripts, may receive credit for up to four courses, or one full semester of work toward the MA requirements. The degree has a professional focus, combines intensive work in both writing and visual design, and prepares students for a range of communications careers. The coursework and career options most commonly pursued by students in the degree include

  • Writing for New Media, including web design and information design
  • Writing for Print Media, including Journalism
  • Editing & Publishing
  • Technical writing, including instructional design
  • Science, Technology, and Healthcare Writing
  • Public & Media Relations / Corporate Communications / Nonprofit Communication

4+1 students are also eligible to apply for the department’s new masters degree in Investigative Journalism, which builds on the MAPW and involves an additional year of study including a fall semester of study abroad in Scotland followed by a final spring semester in which IJ students complete an investigative project and related thesis under the joint supervision of faculty in both Scotland and Pittsburgh.

Students interested in applying to the 4+1 program should consult the Director of the MAPW program early in their junior year for further details and advice on shaping undergraduate coursework to qualify for this option. Detailed information on the program and relevant financial aid is available at http://english.cmu.edu/ under the tab for the MAPW.

Faculty

MARIAN AGUIAR, Associate Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Massachusetts; Carnegie Mellon, 2002–.AMAL AL-MALKI, Associate Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., University of London; Carnegie Mellon, 2003–.JANE BERNSTEIN, Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., Columbia University; Carnegie Mellon, 1991–.GERALD P. COSTANZO, Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.A., M.A.T., Johns Hopkins University; Carnegie Mellon, 1970–.JAMES DANIELS, Thomas S. Baker Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., Bowling Green State University; Carnegie Mellon, 1981–.SHARON DILWORTH, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., University of Michigan; Carnegie Mellon, 1989–.LINDA FLOWER, Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., Rutgers University; Carnegie Mellon, 1980–.LOIS FOWLER, Professor Emeritus of English.SUSAN HAGAN, Assistant Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2004–.PAUL HOPPER, Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Humanities, Rhetoric and Linguistics – Ph.D., University of Texas; Carnegie Mellon, 1990–.LUDMILA HYMAN, Assistant Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.SUGURU ISHIZAKI, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Visual Design – Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon, 2005–.BARBARA JOHNSTONE, Professor of Rhetoric and Linguistics – Ph.D., University of Michigan; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.DAVID S. KAUFER, Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; Carnegie Mellon, 1980–.ALAN KENNEDY, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Edinburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 1989–.JON KLANCHER, Associate Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles; Carnegie Mellon, 1999–.PEGGY A. KNAPP, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 1970–.HILARY MASTERS, Professor of English and Creative Writing – A.B., Brown University; Carnegie Mellon, 1983–.JANE MCCAFFERTY, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., University of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.CHRISTINE NEUWIRTH, Professor of English and Human Computer Interaction; Head of the English Department – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 1983–.KATHLEEN NEWMAN, Associate Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., Yale University; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.JOHN J. ODDO, Assistant Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., Kent State University; Carnegie Mellon, 2011–.SILVIA PESSOA, Associate Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RICHARD PURCELL, Assistant Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 2008–.DUDLEY REYNOLDS, Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington; Carnegie Mellon, 1996–.ANDREEA RITIVOI, Associate Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Carnegie Mellon, 2001–.KAREN SCHNAKENBERG, Teaching Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and Professional Writing – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 1995–.DAVID R. SHUMWAY, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., Indiana University; Carnegie Mellon, 1985–.KRISTINA STRAUB, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies; Associate Head of the English Department – Ph.D., Emory University; Carnegie Mellon, 1987–.CHRISTOPHER WARREN, Assistant Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Oxford; Carnegie Mellon, 2010–.NECIA WERNER, Assistant Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2011–.DANIELLE WETZEL, Associate Teaching Professor of English and Rhetoric; Director of First-Year English – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2006–.JEFFREY WILLIAMS, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., Stony Brook University; Carnegie Mellon, 2004–.JOANNA WOLFE, Teaching Professor – Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin; Carnegie Mellon, 2001–.JAMES WYNN, Associate Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., University of Maryland; Carnegie Mellon, 2006–.RICHARD YOUNG, Professor Emeritus of English.

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Faculty

MARIAN AGUIAR, Associate Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Massachusetts; Carnegie Mellon, 2002–.AMAL AL-MALKI, Associate Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., University of London; Carnegie Mellon, 2003–.JANE BERNSTEIN, Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., Columbia University; Carnegie Mellon, 1991–.GERALD P. COSTANZO, Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.A., M.A.T., Johns Hopkins University; Carnegie Mellon, 1970–.JAMES DANIELS, Thomas S. Baker Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., Bowling Green State University; Carnegie Mellon, 1981–.SHARON DILWORTH, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., University of Michigan; Carnegie Mellon, 1989–.LINDA FLOWER, Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., Rutgers University; Carnegie Mellon, 1980–.LOIS FOWLER, Professor Emeritus of English.SUSAN HAGAN, Assistant Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2004–.PAUL HOPPER, Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Humanities, Rhetoric and Linguistics – Ph.D., University of Texas; Carnegie Mellon, 1990–.LUDMILA HYMAN, Assistant Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.SUGURU ISHIZAKI, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Visual Design – Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon, 2005–.BARBARA JOHNSTONE, Professor of Rhetoric and Linguistics – Ph.D., University of Michigan; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.DAVID S. KAUFER, Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; Carnegie Mellon, 1980–.ALAN KENNEDY, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Edinburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 1989–.JON KLANCHER, Associate Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles; Carnegie Mellon, 1999–.PEGGY A. KNAPP, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 1970–.HILARY MASTERS, Professor of English and Creative Writing – A.B., Brown University; Carnegie Mellon, 1983–.JANE MCCAFFERTY, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing – M.F.A., University of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.CHRISTINE NEUWIRTH, Professor of English and Human Computer Interaction; Head of the English Department – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 1983–.KATHLEEN NEWMAN, Associate Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., Yale University; Carnegie Mellon, 1997–.JOHN J. ODDO, Assistant Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., Kent State University; Carnegie Mellon, 2011–.SILVIA PESSOA, Associate Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2007–.RICHARD PURCELL, Assistant Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Carnegie Mellon, 2008–.DUDLEY REYNOLDS, Teaching Professor, Liberal & Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar – Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington; Carnegie Mellon, 1996–.ANDREEA RITIVOI, Associate Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Carnegie Mellon, 2001–.KAREN SCHNAKENBERG, Teaching Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric and Professional Writing – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 1995–.DAVID R. SHUMWAY, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., Indiana University; Carnegie Mellon, 1985–.KRISTINA STRAUB, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies; Associate Head of the English Department – Ph.D., Emory University; Carnegie Mellon, 1987–.CHRISTOPHER WARREN, Assistant Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., University of Oxford; Carnegie Mellon, 2010–.NECIA WERNER, Assistant Teaching Professor – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2011–.DANIELLE WETZEL, Associate Teaching Professor of English and Rhetoric; Director of First-Year English – Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Carnegie Mellon, 2006–.JEFFREY WILLIAMS, Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies – Ph.D., Stony Brook University; Carnegie Mellon, 2004–.JOANNA WOLFE, Teaching Professor – Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin; Carnegie Mellon, 2001–.JAMES WYNN, Associate Professor of English and Rhetoric – Ph.D., University of Maryland; Carnegie Mellon, 2006–.RICHARD YOUNG, Professor Emeritus of English.