Creative and Professional Writing Courses

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Here is a sampling of some of the Creative and Professional Writing courses that you can take. The descriptions below are taken from selected course syllabi, so course specifics may vary somewhat from term to term. For a complete list of courses offered by the Department of English Language and Literature, see our Course List. For a list of courses being offered in the current academic year, see This Year's Courses.

Genres of Creative Writing

Image of man standing in a field with multiple doors.
This course will introduce you to both contemporary and historical forms of creative writing. You'll explore and have practice in writing a selection of creative writing genres, which may include poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, or drama. You'll also investigate the culture of publishing, learn key revision strategies, and workshop the writing of your peers to develop your critical abilities.

Genres of Business Communication

Woman talking on phone.
Genres of Business Communication is designed to provide you with communications skills for your professional life. Assignments in English 210F will introduce you to the major genres of business writing and help you develop the critical thinking skills necessary to define your purpose and audience—why and for whom you are writing. It will help develop your ability to communicate in a professional, concise, and appropriate style for the business world.

Technical Editing

Drawing of pencil writing on a screen.
This course will introduce you to practices and tools of technical editing, such as language and format editing, verification and fact-checking, style guide consistency, discourse appropriateness, and the use of profession-specific software. The class may draw on examples from manufacturing, the sciences, and the legal field in an effort to build competence and proficiency in the different levels of editing. You'll also be introduced to the basics of working with editing software.

Speech Writing

Photo of woman speaking.
This course will teach you how to write, edit, and analyze speeches and other oral presentations. The analysis portion will focus on the reading and viewing of well-known speeches and speakers in order to understand how the speeches were received and why they were effective or ineffective. The writing and editing portions of the course will focus on the unique strategies you can use to write rhetorically effective copy that will be delivered orally and will be heard rather than read, whether the text is delivered live or via another media such as digital video or television.

Topics in Creative Writing
ENGL 332

Woman looking out between painted hands.

This course offers an in-depth exploration of a selected topic in creative writing. The topic for a particular term will vary depending on the instructor, and may focus on a selected genre or form, a specific approach to writing or creative method, or other aspect of creative writing. See This Year's Courses or check with the instructor for the specific term about the topic.

Creative Writing 1
ENGL 335

Photo of woman with laptop on stairs.
Designed to assist students with an interest in developing their creative writing skills in various genres, this course consists of supervised practice, discussions of craft, and peer critiques. This course assumes a basic understanding of creative writing genres and an interest in developing writing skills. The course materials, readings and assignments are aimed at expanding students' knowledge of writing techniques, critical analysis and editing strategies.

Creative Writing 2
ENGL 336

Image of man writing on mountainside.
This course is designed to assist advanced creative writers in developing a body of work in one or more genres by means of supervised practice, discussions of craft, and peer critiques. Admission to the course is based on a review of a prospective student's writing portfolio.

Information Design

Drawing of a magnifying glass held over a document.
This course will introduce you to the theory and practice of design for print and digital media, including the study of design concepts such as space, colour, typography, interactivity, immersion, motion, and presence. Students apply this knowledge by developing or revising documents. We will look at information design both as a rhetorical practice and as a professional activity, applying this knowledge to everything from document design to urban design and wayfinding.

Writing for the Media

Drawing of multiple kinds of journalists interviewing a person.
This course examines the genres and strategies of both journalism and public relations. By the end of the course you will be able to produce a wide variety of journalistic texts for a range of media. You will be able to follow the conventions associated with various types of stories, articles, and PR documents, and to accommodate the different audiences that read them either in print or online. You will also understand how social, technological, and organizational contexts affect the production and reception of media texts, and how the shifting landscape facing the media is leading to changes in how media texts are being made and consumed.

The Discourse of Advertising

Photo of running woman with hammer (Apple 1984 ad).
This course will teach you how to write and edit advertising copy. In order to write effective ad copy, you need to understand how advertisements work, so the course will also introduce you to models of discourse and rhetorical analysis that will help you understand why particular ads or campaigns are effective or ineffective. Assignments include creating a portfolio of advertising copy and analysis of sample advertising discourse.