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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 20, 2024
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public and Professional Writing

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The Public and Professional Writing (PPW) major in the Department of English allows students to undertake rigorous intellectual work that will deepen their engagement with writing as a form of social action and professional exchange that has consequences in the world. Students in the major can expect to address critical questions in public and professional writing; learn how to use the forms and genres of particular professions or fields; learn how to compose effectively on behalf of an organization or campaign; learn how to create engaging documents and carry out inquiry projects for a particular audience; compose using appropriate modalities and technology; compose with awareness of textual forms and conventions; conduct responsible and ethical research; explore the history and politics of writing in specific contexts; engage with public debates over language, globalization, education, and writing; and compose as a creative and disciplined form of critical inquiry. PPW majors can expect to find jobs in the nonprofit sector, government, or the commercial sector.

Required courses for the major

The Public and Professional Writing BA requires the completion of 33 credits, distributed as follows.

Students may choose to follow clusters of courses that will lead to in-depth study in specific areas or for specific career paths: Writing to Support Scientific Research, Preparing for Law School, Writing for Nonprofits, Writing for Business, Teaching and Composition Studies, Advertising and PR Writing, Composing Digital Media, Editing and Publishing, Preparing for Graduate School, Public Engagement, and others. See the list of possible clusters  that apply to this major.


The Seminar in Composition requirement must be completed prior to enrollment in any ENGCMP courses at or above the 0400-level. A Seminar in Composition course can be selected from the following list.

Three 1000-level courses

Students must complete three ENGCMP courses at the 1000-level or above.

Three elective courses

Students must complete three courses at the 0400-level or above.

Related area:

A minimum of 12 credits is required in any one Dietrich School department chosen in consultation with the major advisor. The completion of an official Dietrich School minor or a Dietrich School or UCIS certificate also satisfies this requirement.

Grade requirements:

A minimum grade of C or better is required in any 0400- or 0500-level ENGCMP course to advance to the first 1000-level course.

Satisfactory/No Credit option:

There is no limit to the number of courses that may be taken on the S/NC basis for this major.

Writing (W) requirement:

Most ENGCMP courses satisfy the W requirement. Students pursuing a second major are required to complete an additional W-course for the major in that department.


Jeff Aziz
CL 501C

Lori Campbell
CL 501C

Mark Kemp
CL 501C

ENGCMP courses that fulfill requirements for the major

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