Minor in Professional Writing

Minor in Professional Writing

Fun Facts
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4
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Writing Courses
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150+
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Workplace Partners since 2003
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1
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Capstone Internship
Advanced
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The Minor in Professional Writing works with students from all areas of study across the university who are interested in writing in the professional world, academic settings and public arenas of civic life. We help students become reflective and articulate writers who contribute effectively to the ever-changing needs of twenty-first-century workplaces. 

The program’s four courses and capstone internship together prepare students to communicate in the work world and give them a competitive edge when they apply for jobs after graduation. To complete the minor, students will:

  • gain meaningful, hands-on writing experience in the work world
  • enhance their professional writing portfolios
  • develop professional references and contacts
  • network with Columbus professionals and other students who have a passion for writing
  • add valuable credentials to their resumes

 

Coursework

The Minor in Professional Writing’s 15 hours of coursework include a variety of writing courses that can be taken across several departments. The first 12 hours are courses you take to prepare for the final capstone internship (English 4189), which gives you a hands-on writing experience at a local business, nonprofit, government agency or other professional organization. Three courses (one of which is English 4150) must be completed before the capstone internship.

Recommended order:

  • (Step 1) 2367, any department (second-level writing course)
  • (Step 2) Group A and Group B electives (You may take 2 from Group A and exempt Group B)
  • (Step 3) English 4150: Cultures of Professional Writing  
  • (Step 4) English 4189: Capstone Internship in Professional Writing - course + internship
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Group A electives

At least one elective must come from this group. You may take two from group A and exempt group B.

  • ENGLISH 3304: Business and Professional Writing
  • ENGLISH 3305: Technical Writing
  • ENGLISH 3405: Special Topics in Professional Communication/Technical Editing
  • ENGLISH 3467S: Issues and Methods in Tutoring Writing (cross-listed as CSTW 3467S)
  • ENGLISH 4567S: Rhetoric and Community Service: A Writing Seminar
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Group B electives

You must complete a total of three credit hours in this elective group, which may require taking more than one course. If you have taken one of these classes as a requirement for your major, that course may also count toward the minor.

Agricultural communication

  • AGRCOMM 4130: Publication Design & Production
  • AGRCOMM 5135: Agricultural Feature Writing (5 hours)

Agricultural systems management

  • AGSYSMT 2305: Professional Development 1 (2 hours)

Aviation                   

  • AVN 2200: Aviation Communication

Communication    

  • COMM 2210: News Design  
  • COMM 2221: Media Writing & Editing
  • COMM 2321: Writing for Strategic Communication
  • COMM 2511: Visual Communication Design
  • COMM 3334: Strategic Message Design
  • COMM 3404: Media Law & Ethics
  • COMM 3629: Language & Social Interaction
  • COMM 4202: Magazine Writing
  • COMM 4511: User-Centered Communication Design

Construction systems management

  • CONSYSM 2305: Professional Development 1

English                   

  • ENGLISH 2268: Writing of Creative Nonfiction 1
  • ENGLISH 2269: Digital Media Composing
  • ENGLISH 2276: Arts of Persuasion
  • ENGLISH 3271: Structure of the English Language
  • ENGLISH 3468: Intermediate Creative Writing: Special Topics in Creative Nonfiction
  • ENGLISH 3662: An Introduction to Literary Publishing
  • ENGLISH 4568: Writing of Creative Nonfiction 2
  • ENGLISH 4569: Digital Media and English Studies
  • ENGLISH 4570: Intro to History of English
  • ENGLISH 4572: Traditional Grammar & Usage
  • ENGLISH 4574: History & Theories of Writing

Theatre                  

  • THEATRE 5331: Screenwriting
  • THEATRE 5961: Playwriting
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Capstone Internship

We work closely with workplace partners to ensure that your internship experience includes mentoring, direction and substantial professionalization of your writing. There are two components to the capstone experience, an internship with a workplace partner and a weekly class.

The Classroom

English 4189 meets 2 hours / week. Here, you learn from peers in other internships and continue to improve your writing skills, hone your professionalism, and learn to tackle new genres.

The Workplace

You work 8 hours per week at your internship, contributing meaningful projects to an organization. What follows is just a partial list of our workplace partners, organized by industry and writing type. 

Note: Not all partnerships are available every semester. Students will learn about specific opportunities after they interview for placement during a particular semester.

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Nonprofits, culture and community work

Work for nonprofits ranges from generating internal business documents to grant writing to public-facing marketing for the organization. Over one-third of our partners are nonprofits dedicated to a cause you can support with your writing skills.

  • Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
  • Columbus Museum of Art
  • Heritage Ohio
  • Ohio State Urban Arts Space
  • Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington
  • Benefactor Group
  • Godman Guild
  • Local Matters

Marketing and public relations

A few of our partners are small marketing and public relations agencies, but even more are marketing and communications departments within larger companies, such as Wexner Medical Center Marketing and Communications and M+A Architects.

  • City of Hilliard Communications and Informational Technology
  • Creative Spot
  • M+A Architects
  • Ohio Travel Association
  • Paul Werth Communications
  • Team Fleisher Communications
  • Xcelerate Media
  • Ohio State Office of Advancement, College of Education and Human Ecology
  • Office of Outreach and Engagement
  • Ohio State Office of Student Life
  • Ohio State STEAM Factory
  • Ohio State Athletics Communication
  • Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Communications and Marketing

Law, government and advocacy

Want to learn about legal fields, advocate for individuals through legal channels or contribute to local government? Contribute to the Ohio State Bar Association's media presence via press releases and print and digital articles. Write blog posts to promote the work of the city of Hilliard. You can also contribute to the cause of Disability Rights Ohio, a statewide advocacy organization that promotes the legal rights of individuals with disabilities. 

  • Advocacy and Protective Services, Inc.
  • Disability Rights Ohio
  • Ohio Environmental Council
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Affinity Consulting

Publishing and media

Want to be a part of radio shows or a final published product? Contribute copy for local public radio programs at WOSU or WCBE (Columbus's NPR stations) or help write and edit pieces to be published in magazines or books at The Ohio State University Press or Great Lakes Publishing. Work in publishing and media often includes doing research, editing and drafting compelling copy.

  • Craft: Exploring Creativity
  • WCBE
  • WOSU Public Media
  • (614) Media Group
  • CityScene Media Group
  • Great Lakes Publishing

Scientific research and technical writing

Interested in contributing to research across disciplines or scientific innovation? You will often translate complex scientific text into engaging and compelling materials for print materials and the web. 

  • Ohio State Center for Automotive Research
  • Ohio State Energy Services and Sustainability
  • Battelle

Wherever you complete an internship, you will learn about writing in the workplace, the industry of your specific worksite and, above all, about yourself and what you want out of a professional career after graduation. You will also walk away having practiced a wide range of professional writing and having built your portfolio for future applications. 

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The Minor in Professional Writing seeks writing interns who have completed required prerequisites* and are enrolled in or have completed English 4150 to contribute excellent writing skills to a local Columbus-area organization in a capstone writing internship for eight hours per week.

Successful candidates may contribute any of the following writing types to a workplace, depending on workplace needs:

  • Write press releases for media contacts to promote workplace events
  • Write pitches for public relations firm
  • Develop feature articles to promote in-depth interest in organization
  • Organize and implement social media campaigns to promote business
  • Follow AP style
  • Produce marketing copy that appeals to potential clients, investors or attendees of an event
  • Translate technical/specialized information of a research organization for a broad audience
  • Creatively tell a story to indirectly sell an experience or product
  • Write creative, engaging and easy-to-read-aloud scripts for radio shows
  • Edit and proofread copy to ensure error-free prose
  • Produce professional internal business correspondence such as emails, memos, slide decks, grant proposals and/or RFPs
     

Successful candidates may also contribute any of the following writing-related skills:

  • Interview individuals associated with the organization to gather compelling information and craft a human-interest story
  • Research, consolidate, and/or summarize information for marketing or internal business correspondence purposes
  • Work within (or coordinate) a group
  • Work on a tight deadline, such as a 24-hour turnaround
  • Write concisely
  • See a large project from conception through development to final edits
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Apply for the Internship

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Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for the capstone internship if you:

  • have completed 6 credit hours from English 2367 and two electives 
  • are currently enrolled in or have completed English 4150: Cultures of Professional Writing

Students who have taken all 3 electives courses before they apply are the most successful in the portfolio review process. 


What to Include

  • Cover letter | Introduces the candidate’s three writing samples in the portfolio
  • Resume | Emphasizes writing skills and preparedness for a writing internship
  • Three writing samples | Showcase the range of your writing skills 

Portfolios should be copyedited thoroughly and exhibit an understanding of clear, Standard American English professional prose.


How to Submit

  • Save each of your five files as a pdf. For instructions on how to save a Word document as a .pdf on a PC, go here. For instructions on how to save a Word document as a pdf on a Mac, go here
  • Use these file naming conventions: "Lastname Firstname ITEM" (Cover Letter / Resume / Sample 1 / Sample 2 / Sample 3)
  • If you would like to preview the questions on the application form before you enter the online system, download a paper version of the online application form (for reference online — do not submit a paper application).
  • Submit your application form. After you submit, you will be prompted to upload your five files 

 

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Your three writing samples comprise a best works portfolio. This means you choose three of your best pieces of writing, but then you edit, edit, edit to make them perfect. The pieces are not meant to represent who you were when you first wrote them so review and revise them now to make sure they showcase impeccable writing skills.

Possible writing samples

You may have writing samples from past internships, jobs or extracurriculars. Remember that professional writing is more than published pieces. Your sample could be an internal memo, a professional letter or email to an organization or an internal training manual. If you don’t have samples from prior work experience, you have plenty of material from coursework, especially any course in communications or if you took English 3304 or English 3305. 

Your three pieces should demonstrate variety: Variety of genres, variety of styles, variety of contexts and variety of purposes. They should also demonstrate the kinds of skills you want to contribute to a workplace during your internship. Here are some possible different genres to choose:

  • press release
  • feature news article
  • business letter
  • memo
  • blog post
  • marketing web copy
  • social media campaign plan (complete with posting schedule, sample posts and explanation of the reasons for particular choices of platform, word choices and timelines)
  • other marketing materials
  • brief course paper (consider choosing a section of no more than approximately three pages); avoid papers about poetry, as they tell employers little about your ability to do workplace writing
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Normally, a cover letter makes the case that you are qualified to perform the duties listed in a particular job description. The cover letter for the Minor in Professional Writing is somewhat different because you will be placed in a specific job after your interview. Your cover letter will instead describe your writing samples, analyze the writing skills they demonstrate and, by connecting the skills in your samples to the skills needed in the internship posting, persuade your audience that you are prepared to succeed in a writing internship.

Address your cover letter to Dr. Lindsay A. Martin, Coordinator, Minor in Professional Writing. Format your cover letter as a formal business letter with a heading or letterhead, date, inside address, salutation, body, complimentary close and your signature. (You may type a signature in cursive font if you cannot print, sign and scan the document.)


Format

Brief introductory paragraph

  • ​Explain your purpose: To apply for placement in a capstone internship in the minor in professional writing.
  • Give a brief explanation of your interest. How will the internship (which could be in any number of fields) connect with your larger career goals? Do not talk endlessly about what you will get out of the internship. Cover letters are designed to show enthusiasm for an industry or field but — more importantly — to convince employers of how much you have to offer them.
  • End on a clear statement summarizing the writing skills and soft skills you will bring to the workplace.

Tip: Great cover letters project into the future and demonstrate that the writer is already envisioning translating their experience into different tasks at the new job. 

Body paragraphs (this is the bulk of the cover letter). Introduce your reader to each writing sample so they understand it and why you chose it. 

  • What are the purpose and audience of this piece?
  • What particular writing skills does it showcase? Does it demonstrate skills in working with a particular situation? A particular genre? A particular tone? See the internship ad posting to help brainstorm useful skills you want to highlight.
  • You should also mention parenthetically if you wrote the piece for a course or as part of a group project. 

Sample cover letters

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A resume aims to persuade your reader that your qualifications, skills, experiences and achievements are both impressive and directly related to the job you want. Your resume for the professional writing minor internship should highlight writing skills and writing-related achievements. For ideas, see this document on Identifying Your Accomplishments from Arts and Sciences Career Services.

The most basic, essential components of a resume are the following. Here is an example resume to consult for formatting contact information, education and work experience. Optional sections of a resume suited for a professional writing internship might include:

Relevant Coursework

  • Consider adding this if you have limited writing-related work experience.
  • List each course just like a job, with location and dates on the right side of the page.
  • Include multiple bullet points for each course to emphasize written work you produced during the course.

Relevant Experience and Other Experience

  • Be creative with your heading titles if necessary — “Work Experience” and “Volunteer Experience” are not always the best way to show how qualified you are.

  • If only some of your work or volunteering experience is writing-related, consider using headings like “Relevant Experience,” “Writing Experience,” “Editing Experience” or “Other Work Experience. 
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Scholarships and Funding

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The Chen Ya and Siuha Anita Liu Award for Professional Writing supports a student minoring in professional writing and majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field. Read details about eligibility and how to apply [pdf].

The deadline to apply for the 2020-2021 has passed.

Read more about the Liu siblings, their connection to Ohio State, and their commitment to promoting writing and STEM field connections. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the benefits?

By completing a professional writing internship, you will:

  • gain hands-on experience in a central-Ohio workplace
  • improve the writing skills you’ll need in twenty-first century workplaces
  • enhance your resume credentials and earn a professional reference
  • build your portfolio of writing samples
  • develop a network of business contacts who may be helpful after graduation

What will I do as an intern?

  • work onsite at a local business or organization for seven to eight hours per week throughout one 14-week semester. For potential internship sites, see our list of workplace partners
  • enroll in and attend the English 4189: Capstone Internship class once per week for two hours and complete class assignments
  • to see what kinds of writing students have done at past internships, visit the What Students Write page

Will I have guidance during the internship?

Yes. In the professional writing capstone course, English 4189, you will read and discuss articles about workplace writing, share on-the-job experiences, ask questions about job assignments and issues and receive guidance from the minor’s program coordinator, your instructor and your peers. You can also review our tips for a good internship.


How will I be graded in English 4189?

You and your site supervisor will create a learning contract. Based on the contract, your supervisor will evaluate your work on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Your instructor in English 4189 will review the work you do in class as well as the site supervisor's evaluation before assigning a final grade of S or U.


Is the internship mainly for English majors?

No. This program is designed for undergraduate students from all areas of study at Ohio State who are interested in writing in the public arenas of civic life, in the academy and in the professional world. The program coordinator will work with you to find an internship related to your interests and/or prospective career field. What’s more, coursework for the minor is interdisciplinary, meaning it consists of writing-instructional courses from a wide variety of academic disciplines across the university.


Will I get paid for my work as an intern?

Most of the internships are unpaid. You will, however, receive three hours of academic credit for a successful internship.


Will I have to give up summer employment to complete the internship?

Probably not. You will undertake your internship during a semester in which you are enrolled in school, so you may intern during spring, summer or autumn.


What are the requirements for acceptance into the internship?

Eligibility requirements are listed under "Apply for the internship."


How will my application be evaluated? 

We will be looking for:

  • a thorough understanding of context, audience, purpose and genre. These should be apparent in all documents but especially in the different writing samples.
  • clear, coherent prose with grammar, tone and word choice that are suited to professional workplace environments.
  • an ability to edit your own work and pay close attention to detail in order to construct error-free writing.
  • Read the job posting above for details on what exemplary cover letters, resumes, and samples will demonstrate.

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline varies each semester, but it is typically in the second or third week of classes each semester prior to the semester in which the internship will take place. For example, applications for spring 2020 must be submitted by September 9, 2019 in of autumn semester. Deadlines will be set before the prior semester ends, and you can check the webpage for specific dates at that point.  


Where can I find more information?

If you have not already done so, please have a thorough look around this website. For questions not answered here, stop by the Department of English's front desk in 421 Denney Hall or call the reception staff at 614-292-6065 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.


What if I want more help with my portfolio, cover letter, and/or resume?

Come to the Portfolio Prep Workshop, held by the Minor in Professional Writing staff each semester, in the week before the deadline! We will go over features of successful cover letters, resumes, and the best portfolio pieces to choose. We'll also have the opportunity to look over your cover letters if you bring them and answer individual questions. Free advice *and* free munchies!