Writing Emphasis

Even though we live in a time when print media is in decline, and hand-written letters are more of a novelty than necessity, solid writing skills are still important. Digital technology seems to make life easier, but paradoxically, digital technology relies heavily on strong writing skills.

Writing classes at Shippensburg University provide you with the practical writing and critical thinking skills you will need to be successful in your college courses and beyond. Good writing requires a great deal more than formal mechanics and proper formatting, though these skills are essential. Writing professors at Shippensburg emphasize the importance of research, rhetorical inquiry and critical analysis as they prepare students to be effective writers.

Student writing begins with the Writing Intensive First-Year Seminar in the English Department. The purpose of Writing Intensive First-Year Seminar (WIFYS) is to introduce you to the critical writing and research skills you will need to be a successful writer in college, as well as your professional life.

More career opportunities are opening for college and university graduates who can read and write well. Because success in most professions demands effective thinking, the study of English is excellent preparation for careers in law, medicine, education, technical writing, journalism, theology, personnel, marketing, management, administration, publishing, and writing. Few majors prepare you so well for a variety of careers as English does.

Shippensburg University graduates with a background in writing have many professional opportunities in a variety of fields. Writers and editors should be familiar with electronic publishing systems and computers. Often, they will write material to be published directly on the Internet, such as e-newspapers and magazines, fictional stories, or web sites. Knowledge of such things as page layout, desktop publishing software, and graphic design is very useful.

Careers for writers include:

  • Technical writers translate information into readable language. This involves the preparation of catalogs and operating manuals, assembly instructions, promotional material, project proposals, and parts lists.
  • Science and medical writers convey and organize scientific or medical material. They document their research and prepare it for the public's needs. They help translate technical information into a language that average people can understand.
  • Creative writers, poets, and lyricists write original material for either performance or publication. Novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights are included in this category.
  • Nonfiction writers create original material or may be provided a topic to research by a publisher or editor.
  • Copywriters work with advertising or promotional material to prepare it for broadcast or publication.
  • Newsletter writers create material to be distributed to different organization's members and clients, firm employees, and the general public.
  • Freelance writers sell their material to different advertising firms, publications, and department agencies, or a publisher may contract them to write a certain article, book, or about a product.

The salary range for writing jobs in PA is $33,000 - $77,000.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, you must complete 39 credits in English courses. Students who wish to pursue the degree with the Writing Emphasis will need to complete additional Language, Writing, and Criticism courses for a total of 42 credits in the major. See the Undergraduate Catalog for specific course requirements. 

Our students work closely with faculty to design, edit, and publish our premiere literary magazine Reflector and our journal of outstanding undergraduate writing, Write the Ship. A number of English majors also serve on the editorial staff of SU's literary magazine, the Reflector, and join the Creative Writing club.

If you excel in your studies, you may be invited to become a member of Sigma Tau Delta, an international English major honor society that organizes and participates in a variety of service projects and literacy events throughout the year, including sponsoring a high school writing contest in area schools.

We also have a student affiliate chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English, providing valuable professional development opportunities to students majoring in English with secondary certification.

Dauphin Humanities Center 128, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1495
Department Website