Majors and Minors

English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies


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Writing Studies B.A.

The major in Writing Studies explores writing as a field of inquiry: its production, its circulation, its uses, and its role in the development of individuals, professional communities, and societies. The major begins with the history of writing practices, genres, systems of production and distribution. It uses the tools of qualitative, quantitative, and humanistic research to advance those explorations. It culminates in a practical examination of writing in traditional and emerging technologies. The writing curriculum synthesizes 1) knowledge and experience with writing technologies from a liberal arts, as well as a technical, perspective; 2) practice in applying principles of rhetoric, design, cultural theory, and creative thinking to the production of professional writing projects; and 3) communities and other audiences. Students develop writing skills relevant to professional situations (document design and delivery, the development of varied writing techniques, and persuasive argument) with an understanding of writing's ethical and social implications. They also think reflectively and critically about their role as writers for professional and civic life. Students are encouraged to participate in UMD-sponsored internships in professional writing, corporate communication, editing, and publishing.

Writing Studies majors develop skills in the analysis of rhetorical situations, and learn to think reflectively and critically about their role as writers for professional and civic life. Our students gain insight in the selection of media, and learn how to produce texts appropriate for a variety of discourse communities. Because of the engaging faculty in the Writing Studies Department and the content of the major, students receive an excellent college experience and are prepared for a fulfilling career after they graduate.

All Writing Studies majors complete a senior-year Capstone Experience, in which they work individually with their advisers both to look back at their work in Writing Studies courses at UMD, and to look forward to the next step in their careers. 

In addition to the major, students are required to minor in another field of study. Or, a double major in another subject at UMD is strongly recommended, since this allows students to further enhance their diversity of skills and grow their interests throughout their four years at UMD.

Information Design Minor

The study of Information Design provides students with broad knowledge and hands-on experience in the ways that writing intersects with visual media and information technologies in contemporary society.

Bringing together theory and practice, a minor in Information Design provides both the critical tools for understanding digital media and visual cultures from a liberal arts perspective, as well as the verbal/visual skills to create a variety of documents including Web sites, informational graphics, brochures, visual narratives, presentations, and graphic interfaces.

Information Design is invaluable for work in fields as diverse as journalism, education, business, art, statistics, film, technical and professional writing, Web design, the social sciences, creative writing, engineering, and English studies.

Information Design traces the many new forms that writing takes in twenty-first-century cultural practice.

Professional Writing Minor

This minor enables students to develop writing, reading, and rhetorical expertise relevant to professional communication. Emphasizing the production and analysis of texts and practice in varied writing techniques, the minor also provides a foundation in the study of professional writing as a field of inquiry.