Writing Minor Courses


21:355:301 Foundations: Usage, Voice, and Style (3 credits)

*All students who pursue the Writing Minor are required to take this course. We recommend that students begin the minor by taking this course.

In this course, students will learn and review the principles that underlie voice and style. They will develop a critical understanding of the connotations and implications of language usage, with emphasis placed on choices of diction, syntax, grammar, and rhetoric. They will also consider how these choices shape meaning and perception. Students will gain both facility with and agency through language and will develop control of voice and style through the classical rhetorical practices of imitation and invention. In this course, students will study their own, their peers’, and published writers’ works. The class will call for extensive experimentation in exploring the writing strategies and stylistic choices appropriate to different rhetorical and conventional contexts. 

21:355:306 Advanced Exposition: Writing About Popular Culture (3 credits)

Writing About Popular Culture is a Writing Intensive course that will expose students to various scholarly approaches to popular culture with an emphasis on proposing, researching, and developing a primary-source based research paper on a topic of the student's choice. Possible subjects include television, movies, popular music, dance, stage, video games, comedy, YouTube, social media, or anything you wish to propose, current or past. Students may wish to focus on a specific genre or medium, or perhaps focus on a single celebrity or theme. The resulting project will be an exploration of the significance of popular culture in society.

21:355:320 The Personal Essay (3 credits)

The personal essay is a compelling form of self-expression that draws readers into the writer's internal world, inviting readers to reflect on the writer's personal experiences and to connect them to larger, external themes. The personal essayist pursues a fine rhetorical balance between traditional and experimental writing techniques and between personal experience and universal concepts. In this Writing Intensive course, students will learn to see their own individual experiences as connected to a larger community of ideas. This class will follow a workshop format, and students will receive instruction and practice in planning, writing, revising, and editing effective and persuasive personal essays of their own as well as in developing their ability to read and analyze published and peer-written personal essays.

21:355:331 Writing and the Blogosphere (3 credits)

The term “blogging” is contemporary, but bloggers have been around for centuries. In This Craft of Verse, Jorge Luis Borges, who did not live long enough to know about the internet, writes about an early blogger: a nameless Saxon who wrote his observations about the weather on the Northumberland shore. This unknown Saxon was not a famous poet or a published author. He was someone who wanted to write about the weather: he had no idea that someone in Argentina centuries later would be quoting him, or that his observations mattered. Today, thousands of bloggers record and publish their gripes, observations, and adulations about the weather, the arts, politics, and their personal lives. They might not be aware of it, but they are voices of our times. In this course, we will examine the craft, history, and social implications of blogging.

21:355:340 The Art of Persuasion (3 credits)

In this course, students will learn how to analyze, critique, and respond to written argument. They will learn theoretical models of interaction and apply them to oral and written texts, examining biases, modes of communication, and rhetorical manipulation. Students will learn how to use style, tone, and content in making effective and persuasive written arguments and in anticipating responses and understanding audiences.

21:355:390 Writing About Popular Culture (3 credits)

Writing About Popular Culture is a Writing Intensive course that will expose students to various scholarly approaches to popular culture with an emphasis on proposing, researching, and developing a primary-source based research paper on a topic of the student's choice. This course builds on the critical reading, thinking, and writing skills developed in English Composition 102. Possible subjects include television, movies, popular music, dance, stage, video games, graphic novels, comedy, YouTube, social media, or anything you wish to propose, current or past. Students may wish to focus on a specific genre or medium, or perhaps focus on a single celebrity or theme. The resulting project will be an exploration of the significance of popular culture in society.

21:355:402 Review Writing: Book, Film, Theater, Music, Dance, and Art (3 credits)

A review of a book, movie, play, concert or exhibit is quite different from an academic paper. In this class, students will learn the art of writing compelling critiques. Students will develop their ability to interpret and critically assess multimodal forms of expression. We will read and discuss published interviews and critically evaluate what makes them effective and intelligent …or not. By reading reviews in all genres, we will analyze how authors write critiques as well as how they evaluate the works of others. Students will write their own reviews of literature, film, art, and performance, and will critique reviews in a workshop format.

21:355:412 Writing for Social Change (3 credits)

In this writing intensive course, students will learn about the ways that writing can motivate and enact meaningful change within our contemporary world. The course will explore how authors use writing to influence public opinion, encourage civic dialogue, and advocate for a variety of political and social causes. Students will engage with a range of genres, including grant proposals, policy memos, and literature reviews, to learn about the theoretical perspectives which guide writing for social change and how authors manage rhetorical concerns such as audience and voice. Through analysis of others’ texts as well as their own, they will learn to construct impactful, relevant texts and develop a stronger awareness of the social and political power of written communication.

21:355:421 Speaking and Writing: Presenting Your Work  (3 credits)

This course is designed to improve oral and written communication in the academic and professional worlds. The course will cover the fundamentals of writing effective presentations, with students critically assessing written and performed speeches and analyzing how oratory differs from writing composed for a readership rather than a listening audience. Students will also learn to construct persuasive, organized, well-supported, and engaging speeches of their own as they gain an understanding of speech writing as a rhetorical form.  Building on their analyses of famous speeches as well as of their own and their peers’ written and performed presentations, students will hone their written and oral communication.

21:355:422 Advanced Research Writing (3 credits)

In this course, students will learn the principles that underlie effective academic research. Emphasis is placed on understanding methods of attribution, dynamics of authority in scholarly research, and the impact of rhetorical context on research practices. Students will develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, as they conduct research based on questions of their design. They will learn to critically evaluate, synthesize, and integrate their findings and to situate their work in a broader scholarly conversation. The course will require mini-research assignments as well as a final project.

21:355:431 Writing in the Professions: Social Sciences (3 credits)

This course is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced work in the social sciences, including, but not limited to, psychology, social work, and public administration. Students will develop their critical thinking and analytical skills as they learn to identify, evaluate, and synthesize sources in writing papers on topics specific to the social sciences. Students will engage research and texts produced by professionals within social science fields, to hone their critical skills and to develop their knowledge of current theories and practices. Guest lecturers will provide students with an understanding of the various genres and audiences within this field, and through their own work, students will learn how to negotiate the conventions of this discourse community. Students will be required to complete short writing projects as well as two research papers based on topics that are relevant within the current contexts of their chosen fields.

21:355:432 Writing in the Professions: Medicine (3 credits)

This course is designed for students pursuing careers in medicine. Students will develop their critical thinking and analytical skills as they learn to identify, evaluate, and synthesize sources in writing papers on topics specific to the health professions. Through their work, students will develop an understanding of the various genres and audiences within this field and learn how to negotiate the conventions of this discourse community. Students will consider the implications of the constraints within which they write as well as the broader social ramifications of medical writing.  In this course, students will also develop their critical reading and verbal reasoning skills in preparation for the verbal and written portions of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

21:355:433 Writing in the Professions: Law (3 credits)

This course develops the critical reading and writing skills required of individuals in the legal profession. Students will hone their skills of critical analysis, textual synthesis, and clear, efficient written communication. They will consider issues of audience, purpose, and conventions as they learn to effectively research and compose for various legal writing genres, including briefs, arguments based on case law, and memorandums. Students will also critically assess legal documents as they consider the context, ethics, and implications of the processes and products of this profession.

21:355:440 Internship (3 credits)

The Writing internship will enable students to work at a writing-based job with a newspaper, magazine, publishing house, literary journal, educational or cultural institution, non-profit organization, or business.  The objective of the internship is to integrate classroom theory and practice with work experience, thus lending relevancy to learning and providing students with realistic exposure to career opportunities in writing. The internship will help students develop professional skills combined with an academic experience aimed at cultivating their attributes as writers and rhetoricians. The Writing Internship is designed to hone students’ interpersonal and professional communication skills, while giving them a glimpse into how writers and editors work in the business, non-profit, and academic worlds.

21:355:498, 499 Independent Study in Writing  (3 credits)

Designed for the Writing minor who desires to undertake extensice writing in a particular area, the independent study calls for exploration of a theme, genre, or rhetorical device through planned readings and discussions with a faculty member of the Writing Program. Limited to students whose grade-point average within the program is 2.5 or higher.