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Professional Writing

Master of Arts in Professional Writing

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The New England College Master of Arts (MA) in Professional Writing is an accelerated 12-month online program that provides individualized student centered instruction focused on new and traditional writing-based media. The 36-credit program combines innovative theoretical, creative and practical foundations to prepare students for challenges in the dynamic and rapidly evolving field of professional writing. Students are mentored by highly skilled instructors to apply their knowledge and writing skills to cutting-edge communication challenges. The program’s Capstone process allows students to create a comprehensive professional digital-based portfolio of work that reflects individualized interests and career goals.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the MA in Professional Writing program will be able to:

  • Assess the theoretical principles that underlie rhetorical choices and decisions made in professional writing;
  • Develop and expand writing skills that are demanded in a variety of professional settings;
  • Build an awareness of audience, markets, and current standards of publishing professionalism;
  • Develop practical strategies for purposeful, effective communications that fit specific circumstances and client needs;
  • Write for publication and distribution in real professional contexts;
  • Work within a community of professional writers in an online format;
  • Produce a capstone project that develops a grasp of research methodology and critical thinking skills essential to the field.

Required Courses for Master of Arts in Professional Writing

Program Courses (5 credits each unless otherwise noted):

PW5020: Editing and Publishing
PW5400: Writing for Media and Public Relations
PW5500: The New Media
PW5600: Business and Technical Communication
PW5990: Special Topics in Professional Writing (2 courses)
PW6950: Capstone Portfolio course (1 credit each term)

Course Descriptions

PW 5020 Editing and Publishing

The course is designed to introduce students to the field of professional publishing and editing. Students will be exposed to industry standards and gain competency specifically geared towards individual career goals. Specific topics include: digital publishing, editing in the professions, independent publishing, and publishing industry trends and protocol.

PW 5400 Writing for the Media and Public Relations

This course focuses on understanding the basic concepts, skills, and practices of writing for the media and public relations. Communication protocols that involve the media and specific writing tasks such as writing for television, print, and radio are covered. Specific writing assignments may include articles, press releases, and scripts, media kits, personality profiles, speeches, and writing for public relation campaigns and media conferences.

PW 5500 The New Media

This course will introduce students to critical concepts and practical skills related to writing for those new media that have developed out of the use of digital computers, such as writing for the internet (online publications, blogs, email, chat, social networks, text messaging, etc.) and computer games. Image manipulation, software developments, desktop publishing tools, and instructional design concepts will also be covered in relation to actual professional writing tasks and opportunities.

PW 5600 Business and Technical Communication

The course is designed to cover the purposes and styles of business and technical writing and to offer students a variety of focused writing exercises structured around scenarios or actual work situations. Within the course students will learn how to write a wide assortment of business and technical documents ethically such as letters, memorandums, reports, proposals, cover letters, resumes, questionnaires, brochures, technical reports, FAQs, presentations, and/or manuals and technical documents that require technical explanations.

PW 5990 Special Topics in Professional Writing

Topics for this course will vary from term to term. Special topics of particular interest to professional writers will be explored within the context of student generated writing assignments. Special Topics include: Contemporary Topics in Professional Writing, Creative Non-fiction, Digital Ethics, Grant Writing, and Copyediting.

PW 6950: Capstone Portfolio (1 credit)

Students are enrolled in the 1-credit Capstone Portfolio course in each term of the program for a total of 6-credits. In the Capstone Portfolio course students design and maintain a digital Working Portfolio that includes the arrangement and realization of content that culminate in an online Professional (Marketing) Portfolio targeted at a specific employer or professional writing specialty. Student portfolios will include writing from an assortment of genres and should demonstrate versatility and an understanding of research-based design and writing (This course is taken as pass/fail).


New England College
School of Graduate and Professional Studies
98 Bridge Street
Henniker, NH 03242