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2019-2020 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Writing - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.


The Department of Writing offers instruction in academic, creative, and professional writing genres. Knowing how to construct texts that appeal to different audiences is a critical skill for the 21st century. With the proliferation of on-line and accelerated communication, the ability to tell a story that engages and persuades an audience is more important than ever. A major or minor in writing can help students to develop this ability.

Students in writing will have opportunities to develop storytelling skills in a wide variety of genres and media. Whether they are interested in connecting storytelling to traditional genres (academic, poetry, magazine, fiction, non-fiction) or to the latest writing technologies (document design software, content management systems), students can select courses that best prepare them for their future professional careers.

For students who choose to major in writing, the department offers coursework that will help students develop as strong writers in professional, literary, and civic contexts. The department also offers a minor in writing for students wishing to develop their writing abilities for personal or professional reasons.

The Writing Major

Through a unique m­­odular curriculum that combines courses in professional, academic, and creative writing genres, students majoring in writing will learn how to create, shape, design, and share texts. These abilities will allow them to enter the world in a variety of careers. Students who pursue a major in writing can become a web writer, freelancer, document designer, magazine writer, editor, publisher, or technical writer, to name a few. The flexibility and the variety of courses offered lets students shape their educational experience and future professional identity.

Through the 42-credit B.A. or B.S. degree, writing majors develop the skillset to

  • Write fiction and non-fiction texts;
  • Develop and tailor content to both print and online media;
  • Work with the industry standard writing and design software;
  • Collaborate with other writers, editors, subject matter experts, and designers to prepare content for publication; and
  • Develop promotional materials to pitch and sell content.

The Writing Minor

The minor in writing is designed to serve students in a wide variety of disciplines, such as computer science, business, math, nursing, classics, and engineering, by giving them the opportunity to develop personal and workplace writing skills and greater rhetorical sensitivity. The minor requires 18 credits; the range of courses offered encourages students to tailor a program that augments their professional needs and personal talents as writers.

First-Year Writing Requirement

All Grand Valley students, regardless of major, must satisfy the General Education Foundations first-year writing requirement. First-year writing courses focus on developing student fluency and skill, with special attention given to general forms of writing common in many academic settings. In WRT 150, students draw on personal experience and opinions, use library resources, conduct research, integrate sources into their writing, and become familiar with the Fred Meijer Center for Writing as an important campus resource. Students must complete WRT 150 with a grade of C (not C-) or better. Students who want additional work on the basics of college writing, or who simply wish to build their confidence in writing before tackling WRT 150, may take WRT 098, a course focusing on writing clearly, confidently, and correctly.

Extracurricular Activities

The Department of Writing offers a rich community of writers and readers, including students, faculty, local professionals, and regional and national authors. Beyond their coursework, students have a number of opportunities to participate in extracurricular writing communities and organizations across campus.

  • AWP Intro Journal Awards. A literary competition for the discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in the programs of AWP.
  • Distinction in Writing. A program that encourages majors to explore opportunities in addition to the regular curriculum. Interested students work with their advisors to plan and complete a series of extracurricular activities over a one-or two-year period. Successful students submit a final portfolio of work and are awarded the Distinction in Writing designation upon graduation.
  • fishladder: A Student Journal of Art and Writing. The literary arts magazine publishes creative work of students once yearly and is edited by students under the guidance of a faculty advisor.
  • Grand Valley Writers Series. This annual series brings regionally, nationally, and internationally known writers to campus for public readings and class visits.
  • InWriting. A bi-annual newsletter about the faculty, students, alumni, and events from the Department of Writing that is written and edited by students under the guidance of a faculty advisor.
  • Oldenburg Writing Contest. An annual writing contest, cosponsored with the English Department, carrying cash prizes for essays and creative writing in various categories.
  • Organization for Professional Writers. An organization for students to further their understanding of professional writing as a field, utilize their skills outside of the classroom, and network with other writing majors, minors, and professionals.
  • Student Reading Series. A public series of evening readings of promising student work from intermediate and advanced writing courses. Works typically include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Writing

Writing Minor

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