undergraduate section

Public & Professional Writing Major

The Public and Professional Writing major 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.

The English Department’s PPW major requires the completion of 33 credits.

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, Black Rhetoric and Public Writing, Composing Digital Media, Editing and Publishing, Preparing for Graduate School, Public Engagement, and others. See a list of possible clusters that you can pursue.>


The Seminar in Composition requirement must be completed prior to enrollment in any ENGCMP course at or above the 400 level. A Seminar in Composition course can be selected from the following list:

ENGCMP 0200 Seminar in Composition
ENGCMP 0203 Seminar in Composition: Gender Studies
ENGCMP 0205 Seminar in Composition: Film
ENGCMP 0207 Seminar in Composition: Education
ENGCMP 0208 Seminar in Composition: Service-Learning
ENGCMP 0210 Seminar in Composition: Writing with Film
ENGCMP 0212: Seminar in Composition: Topics in Diversity
FP 0003 / FP 0006 Freshman Seminar

Requirements for the Major

Download a PDF checklist>

  • ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public
  • ENGCMP 0560 Writing Arguments
  • ENGCMP 1551 History and Politics of English Language
  • ENGCMP 1900 PPW Internship (3 cr.) OR ENGCMP 1901 UTA: Teaching or Tutoring Writing (3 cr.)
  • ENGCMP 1910 Bridge Seminar
  • Three 1000-level ENGCMP Courses
  • Three ENGCMP courses at the 400, 500, 600, 700, or 1000 levels 

Other information:

  •  Satisfactory/No Credit option: There is no limit on the number of courses in the major that can be taken on an S/NC basis. Note that S is the equivalent of a C or better.
  • Grade requirements: A minimum grade of C or better (not C-) is required in ENGCMP 0420 and 0560.
  • Writing (W) requirement: Most ENGCMP courses satisfy the W requirement. Students pursuing a second major are required to complete an additional W course in that department.
  • Up to six credits from another school or English Department program can count toward the major. Check with your advisor or the PPW director about specific courses.
  • Related area: A minimum of 12 credits is required in any one Arts and Sciences department chosen in consultation with the major advisor. The completion of an official Arts and Sciences minor or an Arts and Sciences or UCIS certificate also satisfies this requirement.

English Advising:

The PPW major is one of several English Department majors, and our students are advised by the English Department advisors. You can make an appointment with an English Department advisor by visiting their page.

Jeff Aziz CL 501C 412-624-2228 jeffaziz@pitt.edu

Lori Campbell  CL 501C 412-624-6559 lmc5@pitt.edu

Mark Kemp CL 501C 412-624-6656 mkemp@pitt.edu

Other Contacts:

Jean Grace, Director, PPW Program, 412-624-5661, jgrace@pitt.edu

Megan Kappel, Assistant Director for PPW, kappel@pitt.edu

ENGCMP Courses That Count Toward the PPW Major

All ENGCMP courses at or above the 400 level can count toward the PPW major, as long as you complete the requirements listed above.

Below is a list of all ENGCMP courses. You can also browse a list of brief course descriptions.>

  • 0400 Written Professional Communication
  • 0410 Writing for the Legal Professions
  • 0420 Writing for the Public
  • 0425 Digital Humanity
  • 0440 Critical Writing
  • 0450 Research Writing
  • 0500 Topics in Composition
  • 0510 Narratives of the Workplace
  • 0515 Persuasive Writing in Advertising
  • 0520 Integrating Writing and Design
  • 0521 Writing with Data
  • 0530 Writing for the Sciences 
  • 0535 Writing for the Health Science Professions 
  • 0550 Topics in PPW
  • 0560 Writing Arguments
  • 0570 Topics in Black Rhetoric and Public Writing
  • 0600 Introduction to Technical Writing
  • 0610 Composing Digital Media
  • 0620 Theories of Writing and Teaching
  • 0641 Writing for Change
  • 1099 The Language of Policy and Power: Topics in Diversity
  • 1100 Language of Business & Industry
  • 1101 Language of Science and Technology
  • 1102 Language of Medicine
  • 1103 Public Relations Writing
  • 1104 Corporate Storytelling
  • 1111 Professional Writing in Global Contexts
  • 1112 Professional Uses of Social Media
  • 1120 History and Ethics of Advertising and Public Relations
  • 1130 Projects in Digital Composition
  • 1151 Professional Editing in Context
  • 1200 Advanced Topics in Composition
  • 1210 Tutoring Peer Writers
  • 1220 The Art of the Essay
  • 1250 Advanced Topics in Public and Professional Writing
  • 1270 Projects in Black Rhetoric
  • 1400 Grant Writing
  • 1401 Writing for Fundraising and Development
  • 1410 Advanced Research and Documentary Writing
  • 1420 Writing Proposals for Business
  • 1510 Writing with Style
  • 1551 History and Politics of the English Language
  • 1552 Language, Literacy, and Learning
  • 1900 Internship: Public and Professional Writing
  • 1901 UTA in Teaching and Tutoring Writing
  • 1902 Independent Study in PPW
  • 1903 Service-Learning Seminar in PPW
  • 1906 Professional Experience: Writing, Editing, or PR
  • 1910 Bridge Seminar