Master in Professional Writing

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In the Professional Writing Program, you will join a writing community where you engage in extensive writing and editing practices while receiving a solid background in rhetoric and communications.

Our goal is to prepare you for the realities and challenges of a career in professional writing. You'll gain the skills you need to advance in your current position or explore new professional opportunities. 

Our students come from diverse academic and professional backgrounds and are in every phase of their careers.

You can choose to enter the program as a full- or part-time student. Full-time students are eligible for consideration for a limited number of graduate fellowships or graduate assistantships.

We consider applications on a rolling basis. The graduate studies office will provide us with your application as soon as all materials have been submitted. Apply now.

We also offer Teaching Fellowships and Gradute Assistantship. However, since these positions are limited and competitive, be sure we receive your application early. We begin making awards in April, but will consider later applications if awards remain.

Areas of Focus

  • Technical/Business Communication
  • Journalism
  • Web Authoring
  • Document Design
  • Public Relations
  • Writing Pedagogy
  • Grant Writing

Master in Professional Writing Degree Requirements

The MPW degree requires 33 total credits for completion, including: 

  • ENL 501 Rhetorical Theory
  • ENL 510 Thesis Research
  • ENL 505 Stylistics
  • ENL 620 Usability Studies
  • ENL 621 Document Design
  • ENL 623 Web Authoring
  • ENL 700 Internship
  • ENL 750 Thesis
  • Three ENL electives

You will earn an additional 3 credits for your thesis, a professional-caliber piece or portfilio of original and exceptional work completed while in the graduate program. You will register for ENL 750 during the semester you are completing your thesis portfolio. Your Master's thesis will be submitted to your committee at the end of your graduate studies. 

In preparing for the thesis, you will research (in ENL 510) the historical trends, rhetorical and theoretical underpinnings, and current best practices in your chosen field of writing. Based upon that research, you will draft a thesis proposal demonstrating your understanding of the field and justifying your proposed portfolio concept, including an in-depth discussion of your work as it relates to writing professionally. Your mission in the thesis proposal is to demonstrate expertise in your chosen field and rhetorical acumen for constructing a sound, professional final product.


You are required to complete one internship; you may complete a maximum of two. Your internship gives you the chance to apply classroom work, gain experience, network in your professional field, and earn credits while working in a professional setting. Areas of opportunity for internships include but are not limited to:

  • Technical Writing
  • Journalism
  • Creative Writing
  • Editing
  • Web Authoring
  • Professional Writing

Your internship gives you the chance to apply classroom work, gain experience, network in your professional field, and earn credits while working in a professional setting.

Most students find their own internship opportunities in the field of their choice. From time to time, local companies request interns, and local organizations have developed some long standing relations with the department. Occasionally, internships are available at UMass Dartmouth. All these opportunities are made available to current graduate students on our internship wiki, along with the procedure and materials to propose and register for an internship.

Credit Requirements for Full-Time Status

Full-time degree candidates who have not been awarded a Fellowship/Assistantship are required to take 9 credits (three courses) a semester. If you want to take more than 9 credits in a semester, you need the approval of your advisor. You may take fewer than 9 credits; however, you will be listed as a part-time student.

Fellowships/Assistantships are awarded to students who maintain full-time status only. To maintain full-time status, Fellows/Assistants are required to take 6 credits (two courses) each semester. TFs will be limited to 6 credits in their first semester, but may register for 9 credits each semester thereafter.

Application Requirements

Students with at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning may submit an application. You will need to:

  • Send an official transcript(s) from colleges or universities
  • Write a three-page statement about your writing and professional background and goals
  • Complete a graduate application

UMassD Students: If you have earned your undergraduate English degree at UMass Dartmouth, you may waive the GRE or MAT.

Master's in Professional Writing 4+1 Program

The ‘4+1’ option condenses two years of graduate work into just one year for qualified students. This accelerated program allows you to quickly gain experience through courses and internships in the many areas of writing that the MPW degree offers.

All UMD English majors with junior or senior standing and with a GPA of 3.2 or higher are eligible to apply to the ‘4+1’ Master’s in Professional Writing. Applications are due by December 1.

Students accepted into the Master’s in Professional Writing program will take one graduate course during the spring of their senior year, which counts as an ENL elective in your undergrad degree. In the remainder of the program, courses include an internship and your graduate electives. You will complete the degree over the following summer, fall, and spring semesters.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this ‘4+1’ Master’s option, please contact Prof. Jerry Blitefield, Director of Graduate Studies.

Application Requirements:

  • GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Completion of ENL 257 (Intro to Rhetorical Studies)
  • Completion of either ENL 355 (Rhetorical Theory) or ENL 357 (Special Topics in Rhetoric)
  • Completion of at least one 300-level writing course

Application materials must be submitted to the graduate studies office by December 1

  • Application form
  • A personal statement explaining your background and goals as a writer, student, and/or professional
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • A 10 to 30-page portfolio of your academic and professional writing