Writing for the Professions is a course I developed sixteen years ago in an effort to show English majors (and others who knew how to write and think) how their skills could help them in various careers. My goals for English 407 derive from three observations:


  1. Success in all professions depends to some degree upon communication, either written or spoken, usually both--explaining, describing, persuading, instructing, etc.
  2. Most of this communication involves making relatively complex matters clear to an audience that needs to understand them for some purpose.
  3. English majors in particular are especially capable of learning new material quickly and writing about it coherently, both in college and afterward. Few English majors are aware of the need for their skills or how they might adapt those skills in order to make themselves useful to employers.

Assuming that these observations are valid, it seems to me that this course should do the following things:


  • Make students aware of the kinds of writing demands and opportunities that are appropriate for their skills and interests;
  • Identify the kinds of skills necessary;
  • Develop those skills to a degree compatible with the demands of the real world.


  • The course readings and assignments should let us meet all three goals by the end of the semester. Students who do well in English 407 will then be eligible to participate in English 494EIP, the Internship, for three units.

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