Course Descriptions

Core courses are generally offered each semester.  A selection from each Area (I, II, and III) is offered each semester, and specific Area courses are generally offered in a two-year cycle. For additional information on upcoming course offerings, please contact the graduate director.  For a complete list of course descriptions, please visit the Writing Studies course catalog, located here.

Below please find the list of the Spring 2015 Writing Studies Course Offerings.

Spring 2015 Writing Studies Course Schedule

ENG 676:  Magazine Writing/Publishing /CRN 12308
Professor Tenaya Darlington

This class is designed to give you an understanding of how magazines are run and also how to write for magazines as a columnist, feature writer, or freelance essayist. We’ll look at a variety of local and national glossies, and use our time together to pitch ideas and study style guidelines that professional writers use. We’ll also explore how journalism is changing as a field, thanks to social media, blogs, podcasts, and online publishing. Whether or not you land an assignment with Philadelphia Magazine or National Geographic after taking this class, you will emerge with a clear understanding of how to write professionally, how to work with an editor, and how to market yourself as a writer. When you leave this class, you’ll know how to run an interview, how to develop and follow a “beat,” how to turn an essay into a personal column, and how to tighten your sentences and strengthen word choice. Writing assignments may include: travel stories, reviews, round-ups, profiles, and subject-driven features. The skills you learn in this class are applicable to a variety of fields, from journalism and trade publishing to marketing and new media.

This class fulfills Area III: Professional Writing

ENG 619:  Young Adult Literature: Reading/Writing/CRN 11964
Dr. April Lindner

What is Young Adult fiction and why is everybody reading it?  In this class you will explore the professional concerns of the YA writer as you work on your own young adult novel.  We will spend much of our in-class time workshopping each other’s writing, with the goal of revising chapters for our final portfolios.  To further explore the possibilities of the YA novel, we will be reading books that take a range of approaches.  You also will choose a YA book that takes a similar approach to your own project and present on it to the class.   Finally, you’ll keep a journal in which you respond to your reading.

Note: This class fulfills the course requirement in Area I: Writing & Culture.

ENG 560:  Rhetoric Then & Now/CRN 11577
Dr. Grace Wetzel

This course will consider various histories and theories of rhetoric as a means of developing our own capacities to think and write rhetorically.  We’ll begin our exploration with rhetorical theories from ancient Greece and Rome (Aspasia, Plato, Aristotle, Quintilian), proceed to analyze the rhetorical practices of a range of 19th century writers (Nellie Bly, Ida B. Wells, Upton Sinclair), and afterwards discuss postmodern criticism and feminist rhetoric (Foucault, de Beauvoir, bell hooks).  We will conclude by considering rhetoric in relation to contemporary culture, digital media, and professional writing (in this final segment, we’ll examine op-eds, documentaries, graffiti art, digital technologies such as Twitter, and professional documents such as emails and résumés).  Ultimately, we will discover how rhetorical terms, concepts, and frames of mind can transform our writing and critical awareness about the world.

Course Materials
The following course texts are required:
1.    Herrick, James A.  The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction.  Fifth Edition.  Pearson, 2013.
2.    Course Packet (available at the University Press on City Avenue).

Note: This is a core requirement and should be taken by all new students.

ENG 643:  Special Topics in the Essay:  Nature Writing/11963
Dr. Owen Gilman

The Nature Writing course will be launched through our reading of Thoreau’s Walden.  With that invigorating tonic consumed, we will explore a number of other key writings which have been inspired by nature and which have also helped raise an environmental consciousness in America.  We will go to the ocean (Henry Beston’s The Outermost House) and to the city (a collection of essays dealing with urban nature).   Rachel Carson will be with us in Silent Spring, and Michael Pollan takes us to the nature of lawn and garden in Second Nature.   All along, we will be writing our own way to knowing nature—with frequent journal activity and with essay projects.
Note: This class fulfills the course requirement in Area II: Rhetoric and Composition.  


Fall 2014

Summer 2014

Spring 2014

Fall 2013

Summer 2013

Spring 2013

Fall 2012