Professional Writing & Rhetoric FAQs

I don't want to be a technical writer. Should I even consider PWR?

Though the PWR curriculum can help you prepare and has prepared some of our graduates to be a strong technical writer (someone who works in more technically oriented contexts, like the computer industry, engineering, environmental science, medicine, and pharmaceuticals), the program is not narrowly focused on and limited to technical writing. In fact, the concentration is not designed to prepare students for any specific career track — it is broadly conceived and designed to prepare students to be effective, critically reflective, civically minded writers. PWR students are interested in and well prepared for a wide variety of career tracks.

Can I double-major with English?

Yes. If you are interested in creative writing or literature, as well as PWR, you can plan your coursework so that you graduate with a BA in PWR and a BA in ENG. Your advisor will work with you to plan your coursework.

If I choose to double major, do I have to take two senior seminars?

Because the senior seminars are designed as capstone experiences for each major, you would not have a complete background in any major without taking that major’s senior seminar. For this reason, all Professional Writing & Rhetoric majors and English majors choosing to double-major must take two senior seminars. Instead of seeing this as a burden, we suggest those doubling approach these two senior seminars as opportunities to make connections across and really dive into their two majors.

Can I minor in Professional Writing & Rhetoric?

Yes, students in any major across campus, except Professional Writing & Rhetoric, can choose to minor in Professional Writing Studies. A minor in PWS helps you better understand the significance of the writing that permeates all professions, as well as our lives outside of work. The minor also makes it possible for you to develop and later market yourself as someone particularly strong in writing and organizational communications.

Will the Writing Center really be helpful to me in my upper-level courses?

Yes. One of the lessons professional writers and rhetors have learned, perhaps better than anyone else, is that getting feedback — and lots of it — is crucial to being an effective writer. When you have the opportunity to get feedback from those with the kind of experience and education in writing response that tutors have, you have an even greater chance to improve your writing. In addition to being a “client” at the Writing Center, all PWR students are encouraged to consider taking ENG 319 and making time during their years at Elon to work as a tutor in the Center. This practice gives you a great deal of experience with the kind of work editors and writers do all the time, and past tutors have routinely commented on how their Writing Center experience has helped them see in action and, thus, further learn about what they have studied in their courses.

Do I have to find my own PWR internships?

In general, you are responsible to locating your own internships. The biggest responsibility you have in this research process, though, is taking time to carefully think through what kind or kinds of internship experiences you would like to have; you must “research” your own interests. Once you have a pretty good idea about what kind of internship you would like to look for, PWR faculty, as well as others on campus, will do all they can to help you find the kind of experience that will be most beneficial to you. As you are doing your research, consider talking with other PWR students about their internship experiences, talk with PWR faculty, look for internships through online job boards, talk with people at the Student Professional Development Center, and be certain to take advantage of any networks you may have already developed.