PW Major

Requirements Minimum Units
Scientific or Technical Concentration 6
Writing & Rhetoric Concentration 3
MQP 1 (or 4/3)
Writing & Rhetoric Concentration

For writing and rhetoric concentration, students have a variety of options, and many of these can double count in the Humanities and Arts requirement.

Writing & Rhetoric (2 Units)

WR 1010     Elements of Writing (Cat I)
WR 1011     Writing about Science & Technology (Cat I)
WR 1020     Introduction to Rhetoric (Cat I)

WR 2010     Elements of Style (Cat I)
WR 2210     Business Writing and Communication (Cat I)
WR 2310     Visual Rhetoric (Cat I)
WR 2400     Writing Characters for IMGD (Cat II)

WR 3011     Teaching Writing (Cat II)
WR 3112     Rhetorical Theory (Cat I)
WR 3210     Technical Writing (Cat I)
WR 3214     Writing About Disease & Public Health (Cat I)
WR 3300     Cross-Cultural Communication (Cat II)
WR 3400     Writing Narratives for IMGD (Cat II)

WR 4111     Research Methods in Writing (Cat I)
WR 401X    Topics in Writing and Rhetoric (Cat II)
WR 421X    Medical Writing (Cat II)

HU 3900     Memoir Writing
HU 3900     Loaded Language
HU 3900     Intercultural Communication
HU 3900     Human Factors of Medicine
HU 3900     Rhetoric and Motivation in Exercise Physiology
HU 3900     Universal Language? From the Garden of Eden to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
HU 3910     Writing Software Tutorials
HU 3910     Writing for the Web
HU 3910     Writing for the Software and Electronics Industries

Electives (1 Unit)

The one unit of electives must be coherently defined and approved by the review committee. Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for a list of courses, and/or discuss course options with the program director.


For any major at WPI, students are required to do a Major Qualifying Project. If Professional Writing is your only major, then you will need to complete 1 unit of MQP work.

If professional writing is a second major, then you have two options:

  • Two MQPs, one for each major. In this option, you will need to do 1 unit for your scientific or technical major and 1 unit for your professional writing major. Remember that 1 unit is the equivalent of three courses.
  • A 4/3 MQP that satisfies both majors. In this option, you would have two advisors, one for each major, but you would only work on one MQP project. That project would be spread out over the equivalent of four courses instead of three.
Comparing the Major to the Minor

Some students ask about the difference between the major and minor, so this comparison should help to clarify that.

Writing & Rhetoric Minor Professional Writing Major
1-2/3 Unit (5 courses) in Writing & Rhetoric
Must include:

  • WR 3112 (Rhetorical Theory)
2 Units (6 courses) in Writing & Rhetoric
Must include:

  • At most 1 1000-level course
  • At least 1 4000-level course
  • WR 3112 (Rhetorical Theory)
1 Unit Electives (from HUA, IMGD, Management, Foreign Languages etc. that provides depth in communication)
1/3 Unit Capstone Project (ISU or linked to a 3000-level or above WR course upon instructor’s permission). 1 Unit or a 4/3 MQP
(Note: If you do a 4/3 MQP, it’s only an additional 1/3)
  • Total of 6 WR courses
  • Only 3 courses can double count toward the HUA requirement (which may include HU3900 in Writing)
  • Total of 6 WR courses
  • 5 courses can double count toward the HUA requirement (which may include HU3900/10 in Writing)
  • 3 electives that can double count elsewhere
  • 1/3 or 3/3 additional for MQP depending on route chosen

For more information about Professional Writing as a major, second major, or minor contact:

Prof. Esther Boucher-Yip or Prof. Kevin Lewis

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