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 Master's in Professional Writing

Master's in Professional Writing Program

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For full consideration as a candidate for Fall 2015 Teaching and Graduate Assistantships, be sure we receive your application in April!

Apply now.

UMass Dartmouth English majors, check out the new 4+1 option: Four Plus One Brochure

Graduate students in the Professional Writing Program join a writing community where they engage in extensive writing and editing practice and receive a solid background in rhetoric and communications. Our goal is to prepare students for the realities and challenges of writing professions, whether they seek new professional opportunities or publication. Our students focus in their main areas of interest while developing a broader range of communications practices in order to become more professionally versatile.

Our areas of study include:

  • Technical and Business Communication
  • Journalism
  • Web Design
  • Document Design
  • Public Relations
  • Writing Pedagogy
  • Grant Writing
  • Creative Writing (non-fiction/fiction)

Apply now.  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.

Questions? Email the English department's Director of Graduate Programs.

Master's in Professional Writing Degree Requirements

The MPW degree requires 33 total credits for completion. 

You will take 30 credits of coursework, made up of the following requirements:

  • ENL 501 Rhetorical Theory (3 credits), typically taken during the fall of your first year
  • ENL 510 Thesis Research (3 credits), offered each spring
  • Seven additional elective Professional Writing courses, of which four must be 600-level courses (21 credits)
  • One internship (A second internship may be taken in lieu of an elective course) (3/6 credits)

You will earn an additional 3 credits designing and assembling a professional-caliber portfolio 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 portfolio will serve as your Master's thesis, and will be submitted to your committee at the end of your graduate studies.  You will design your portfolio to serve your professional pursuits for after you've completed the program.

In preparing for the portfolio, 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 the research, you will draft a thesis proposal demonstrating your understanding of that 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 portfolio.

You will have six years to complete the program. Although most students manage that schedule, you may appeal to the graduate committee for a deadline extension should special circumstances arise.

Elective Courses

Check the Graduate Catalog for a list of current Professional Writing courses from which you may choose to fulfill the remainder of your course requirements.


You are required to take one internship; you may take a maximum of two. Please see the internship or project guidelines page for more information.

  • ENL 701-702 Internship in Technical Writing ENL 703-704 Internship in Journalism ENL 705-706 Internship in Creative Writing, Scriptwriting, or Translation ENL 707-708 Internship in Business and Professional Writing

Graduate Thesis or Project

You are required to complete a thesis or project, registering for ENL750 Thesis or Project I

Assignment of Advisors

Once you have been accepted into the program and have declared your area of interest, the Graduate Director will assign you a faculty advisor. You should schedule a conference with your advisor to ensure that you are fulfilling all the necessary program requirements.

Credit Requirements for Full-Time Status

Full-time degree candidates 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. Teaching assistantships are limited to full-time students. To maintain full-time status, teaching assistants are required to take 6 credits (two courses) each semester. TAs will be limited to 6 credits in their first semester, but may register for 9 credits each semester thereafter.

Grade Requirements

You must maintain a grade point average of B or better. You will be dismissed if:

  • your grade point average falls below a B (GPA 3.00) after 15 or more semester hours (5 classes) or 50 percent of your course work has been completed;
  • you receive 3 grades of C or below in graduate courses; or if your thesis or project receives a final grade of F.

During work on your thesis or project, you will be given a grade of IP (in progress). Once your committee has approved your thesis or project, your graduate advisor will submit a grade and your thesis title for inclusion on your transcript. Distinguished work will be so noted on the transcript.

Apply now.

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Master's in Professional Writing Internship Opportunities

You are required to take one internship in this program; you may take two.

Areas of opportunity for internships include but are not limited to:

  • technical writing
  • journalism
  • creative writing
  • editing
  • web authoring
  • business or other 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 of the time, students find their own internship opportunities.  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 (secure link), along with the procedure and materials to propose and register for an internship.


Apply now.

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