undergraduate section

Upcoming Courses

What can you take when you are ready to go beyond first-year composition? Here are some great courses that we are offering in Fall 2017. All of these courses are writing-intensive.

ENGCMP 0515 Persuasive Writing in Advertising
You can hum that jingle. You can recite that slogan. But did you buy that product? The ubiquity of advertising messages in our modern world has made us more discerning consumers, but developing a persuasive strategy for a specific target audience is a process that requires quality research, strategic planning, and creative vision.
This course will teach you the persuasive techniques used in advertising today in order to create messages that influence consumers’ decisions while maintaining high ethical standards.Together we will explore the rhetorical parameters of different media including print, broadcast, digital, and non-traditional forms of advertising and examine real-world campaigns that have made an impact in our own lives. You will then create your own advertising pieces in preparation for the final project of an original creative
advertising campaign. These pieces are designed in a way to help refine your persuasive communication skills and to strengthen and diversify the body of work in your professional portfolio. Note: If you have taken ENGCMP 0515 in the past, you cannot take this new version of the course now.
ENGCMP 0550 Topics in Public and Professional Writing: Writing for the Health Science Professions
In this course you will learn the types of skills you will need to effectively write and communicate in many health science and medical contexts, from documenting and publishing research to presenting at conferences. Students will learn to research and write literature reviews on health science and/or medical communication topics, and at the end of the term they will present formal “conference” papers on an issue relevant to the intersection of the health sciences with communication and the humanities. We will also look at the kinds of essays and narratives required of applicants to graduate and professional programs, and students will write personal statements based in part on the professional philosophies that they develop through class readings and discussions. There’s no need for medical writing experience prior to this course, but bring your desire to learn.

ENGCMP 0600 Introduction to Technical Writing
Technical writers are crucial for fields in engineering, software, and the sciences. Successful technical writers are very good at translating science and technology for various audiences (including non-experts such as the end users of a product or customers who are willing to pay for technical solutions for a problem). Experts who work in technical and scientific fields can also benefit from familiarity and practice in technical writing. There are a lot of good jobs for excellent technical writers; Pittsburgh's technical and medical companies of Pittsburgh. Through a variety of assignments incorporating both written and visual formats, students in this course will learn effective strategies for responding to communication challenges, with special emphasis on audience analysis, document design, communication ethics, collaboration, professional style, and editing. 

ENGCMP 0641 Writing for Change
Writing for Change allows students to examine and produce writing that engages in advocacy, solidarity, social critique, and/or social justice. Students will explore theories of persuasive writing for public audiences, in order to craft their own examples of writing designed to effect changes they wish to see in the spaces in which they live.
Writing for Change asks students to design a term project around student-defined topics of public concern or controversy. Students will perform research on how existing discourse communities or organizations that write about this topic represent themselves and define their audiences and persuasive goals. This research will form
the basis for students’ own writing designed to inform, persuade, and otherwise engage the public about their topics. Students in Writing for Change can expect to compose traditional essays as well as public writing in print, digital, visual, and a variety of other forms of persuasive communication.
ENGCMP 1220 Art of the Essay
Art of the Essay is a course that invites you to look at the world as an essayist—to consider your own interests and obsessions, the things that bother and amuse you, as material for writing. The essay is a wonderfully open form, and in Art of the Essay we explore all manner of approaches: portrait, list, meditation, argument, poem, and complaint. This is a course that asks you to be thoughtful, but also imaginative and playful.
ENGCMP 1250 Advanced Topics in Public and Professional Writing: Persuasive Writing in Fundraising
Want to learn how to use language to support a cause? This course will focus on persuasive writing for the purpose of raising funds in nonprofit settings. Fundraising for nonprofits takes many forms, from letters to campaigns and grants and now, social media, but all of the materials have two things in common: persuasion and a worthy cause. In this class we’ll talk about how and when to write persuasively, as well as ethical concerns implicit in nonprofit fundraising. You’ll get a chance to explore and analyze existing fundraising materials, both print and digital, in the process building your own best practices toolkit. In this course you will create your own fundraising materials, which will become work samples useful to you beyond the walls of our classroom. Examples of projects include fundraising letters, digital fundraising story, and writing your own fundraising strategy.
ENGCMP 1510 Writing with Style
Do you feel the force of great writing, but worry that you can’t control it? Have you wondered about your commas, then just shrugged it off and guessed? Through a focus on the moving parts of the sentence – where and why to expand or contract, to elaborate in place or to accumulate in series – students in this course will learn to build coherence and shift emphasis in their writing. Exercises in imitation and variation, derived in part from readings by acclaimed prose stylists, will alternate with more extended writing and revision to allow sentence-level insights to scale up to paragraphs, sections, and beyond.