English 306

ENGL 306
Professional Writing

Catalog Entry

ENGL 306. Professional Writing
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisites: CORE 101 and CORE 102, and junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor.

Course introduces students to writing for their careers. Assignments may include instructions, a proposal, a resume, letters, memos, short reports, and computer graphics.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Students create various types of documents that are commonly used in their field. Through study of samples, they examine rhetorical features such as audience and purpose, and they learn strategies for different types of expository and persuasive documents. The specific assignments for the course will involve most of the types of documents listed below.

    • A report on what professionals in the student’s field write.
    • A resume detailing the student’s education, work, and volunteer experience.
    • A letter of application for an actual job vacancy in the student’s field, or a personal statement for a graduate school application.
    • Instructions for performing a process in the student’s field (with graphics), written for lay readers.
    • A proposal to conduct a project.
    • A memo reporting on the student’s work in the course or on a project for it.
    • A progress report on the proposed project.

Other assignments may include a web page (as part of the course’s emphasis on document design and graphics), an essay test on communicating information in text and graphics to different audiences, sentence revision exercises, abstracts of an article, a final project report, and an oral briefing.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lecture, instructor-led discussion, peer draft review, and group planning activities make up the greater part of class time, with occasional software instruction in a computer lab.

Students are encouraged to work collaboratively with a classmate on certain assignments, often including the instructions and the proposal and progress report.

To gather information for the workplace writing report, students interview full-time professionals working in their field to help them determine what most professionals in their field write in their careers.

Students suggest improvements to other students' drafts of assignments, to learn how to critique colleagues' documents constructively yet diplomatically. Also, students do sentence-revision exercises to practice principles of clarity, conciseness, emphasis, and straightforwardness.


Goals and Objectives of Course

Students who have successfully completed this course will be able to:

  • Develop the most common types of documents produced in professional settings.
  • Revise their work to achieve an effective style for writing in their career.
  • Construct graphics that clearly communicate information visually.
  • Interview professionals to gather information for reports.
  • Collaborate with peers to produce documents.
  • Offer substantial constructive feedback on drafts of documents.
  • Use visual design principles to enhance the communication of complex information.


Assessment Measures

A student’s progress and final grade in the course are determined by his or her grades on writing assignments and tests.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

October, 2009