Distinction in Writing: Writing as a Professional

The goal of the major curriculum is to prepare students with the theory and practice needed to eventually succeed as a practicing writer. The purpose of this distinction component is to allow students to gain practical experience related to the field of writing. Ideally students will apply skills acquired through the Writing Department’s curriculum to the kinds of work professionals in the field regularly engage. This component is also designed to help students acquire new skills and gain a sense of themselves as professionals within the field of writing.

Preparation as a writer can lead to freelance work; teaching opportunities; jobs in the fields of grant writing, technical writing, medical writing, legal writing, editing, information design, user interface design, web design and development, interactive design, usability, and journalism; and lifelong engagement with other professionals.

Therefore, the activities in this component range from completing a second internship (in addition to the one required in the major) to participating in a professional organization or society to completing ad hoc tasks within the department, university, or another organization.

In order to receive credit for a component within the program, a student must finish either one (1) Level A activity or two different (2) Level B activities.


  • Complete a second writing internship.
  • Serve as an editor-in-chief or genre editor for department publications such as fishladder or InWriting or as a section editor for The Lanthorn.
  • Serve as a web designer or a web master for department publications such as fishladder, for student societies such as the Writer’s society or the Sociology Club, or for nonprofit organizations such as the Adopt A Family Network.
  • Coordinate the Writing Department’s student reading series.
  • Serve as a reporter, a contributor, or a writer (e.g., for school newspapers or newsletters).
  • Serve as a design or usability consultant for writing-related projects (e.g., guides, handbooks, brochures, posters, flyers, or other multimedia) for non-profit or for-profit organizations.
  • Conduct a funded research project.
  • Win an award or a scholarship from a professional organization in the field.
  • Serve as a writing consultant in the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors.


  • Attend or lead technology workshops.
  • Attend a professional conference or workshop (e.g., AWP, Bear River, ECWCA, CCCC).
  • Apply for research grants or national undergraduate scholarships (e.g. from STC or ACM SIGDOC).
  • Participate in local or national design competitions 
  • Maintain membership in local writing-related organizations such as Writers’ Society.
  • Maintain membership in national writing-related organizations such as STC or PEN.
  • Produce broadsides for a public reading (such as the Student Reading Series).
  • Serve as a submissions reader for fishladder.
Student working at computer

After completing a second internship for this component’s Level A activity, Haley Freeman spends time updating her résumé for her portfolio.

Page last modified May 11, 2018