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B.A. Professional Writing and Communication FAQs


PWC Staff

Academic Major

Future Career


Who directs the major?

Dr. Teresa Henning is a Professor of English and the Director of the Professional Writing and Communication major at SMSU.The Faculty Directory provides more information on her background.

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Who teaches PWC majors?

Students in our department will meet and work with professors from varying departments such as English, Fine Arts, and Communications. Also, students will meet writers and professionals in the field and have the opportunity to hear visiting writers and scholars from the Upper Midwest and around the country.

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What is the faculty's mission?

Faculty in the Professional Writing and Communication major are committed to working together to provide students with a liberal arts education that is enhanced with practical experiences such as internships and service learning opportunities that prepare students to earn a living as writers. Through this combined liberal arts and technical emphasis, the Professional Writing and Communication major supports SMSU’s mission to help students become “engaged citizens in their local and global communities.”

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How do I find out more about PWC?

For further information, call the SMSU English Department at 507-537-7155, or Dr.Teresa Henning at 507-537-7185. She may also be reached by e-mail at

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Who succeeds in this major?

Students with strengths in writing and communicating in a variety of genres do particularly well in this major.

As they complete the courses in the major, students will be given the opportunity to complete projects in a variety of genres using a range of technology. For example, students use Adobe Illustrator to create a graphic logo, WordPress to launch a blog, and Microsoft Word redlining feature to copyedit a document. Students also develop and deliver PowerPoint presentations, and create a digital portfolio of their work that they can use to seek employment after graduation.


To see work completed by PWC majors, visit the Examples of Professional Writing page.

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What skills will I learn as a PWC major?

Graduates of the PWC major will be able to:

• understand and apply principles of rhetoric and document design in written, oral, and visual communications
• apply critical thinking, reading, listening, and writing skills to specific communication tasks or problems
• demonstrate a consideration for purpose, audience, and context in communicating
• demonstrate an ethical sensitivity to language, including its inflammatory and persuasive aspects
• use appropriate, credible, reliable, and relevant source material (both primary and secondary)
• write documents in a variety of electronic environments
• manage large projects effectively by allowing time to write, complete research, revise, and receive feedback
• produce a variety of documents that are grammatically and technically correct
• create documents that are ‘user-friendly’ in content, structure, and design

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What courses will I take as a PWC major?

PWC majors take a variety of writing, communication, and visual art courses to fulfill the major's requirements. The SMSU English Department Course Catalog and the Required Course Descriptions page specifies the required courses and their descriptions.

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What work will I do in these courses?

Many courses include individual and group writing assignments, projects, and presentations. The Examples of Professional Writing page gives specific student examples from required PWC courses.

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What minors correlate with the PWC major? 

Students can add any minor, and PWC graduates have minors from a variety of disciplines and departments. Some of the common minors for PWC students include Literature, Marketing, Public Relations, Communication Studies, Graphic Design, and Advertising Design Communication.

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What writing opportunities exist outside the classroom?

Students have the opportunity to be involved in several student publications including Perceptions Student Literary Journal and Yellow Medicine Review. Students may also work as tutors in the SMSU Writing Center.

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What careers do PWC majors pursue?

PWC graduates pursue career opportunities in a variety of fields including: journalism, periodical and book publishing, software publishing, advertising and marketing, computer systems design, instructional design, social media writing, corporate communications, corporate training, government agencies, and other not-for-profit agencies. To learn more about the pay scale for these types of jobs, visit the College Salary Report webpage. 

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What job titles do PWC graduates obtain?

A PWC graduate may become a/an: Journalist, Technical Writer, Technical Editor, Freelance Writer, Copy Editor, Communications Manager, Social Media Writer, Writer/Analyst, Translation Coordinator, Medical Writer, Publisher, Information Designer/Developer, Public Relations Specialist, Reviewer, Document Designer, Corporate Trainer, Magazine Editor, Newspaper Editor, Grant Writer, or Non-Profit Organization Writer.

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Where do I look for job opportunities?

Many SMSU students use Mustang Jobs to find job opportunities. Look at the On-Campus, Internship, and Career Opportunities page for more job opportunity options.

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Do PWC majors have internships?

Yes, many PWC majors complete internships during the summer or the academic year. Students can enroll to receive school credit for their internships. More information is given in the Internship Guidelines. The On-Campus, Internship, and Career Opportunities page has resources to assist in finding an internship.

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Who employs PWC graduates?

A PWC graduate can be employed by a variety of different companies, including a local newspaper, a software company, the manufacturing industry, the medical and healthcare industry, a non-profit organization, a local, state or federal government agency, an advertising company, a college/university, a law firm, a publishing company, a magazine, a scholarly journal, or a radio station.

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Last Modified: 2/28/23 1:57 PM | Website Feedback