PhD in Professional Writing on Campus Programs

PhD in Professional Writing on Campus Programs Overview

PhD in Professional Writing on Campus​ programs are intended to teach students how to write in industry, government, technology, and scientific disciplines, or to prepare graduates for potential careers in academia. Some doctorate programs may incorporate courses with computer use to build students' skills in using multimedia applications, web pages, and other digital applications appropriate for the current marketplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers and professional authors with Web and multimedia experience will have the best job prospects.

Professional Writing Doctorate Campus Degree Program Information

Admission requirements to Professional Writing PhD campus-based programs commonly involve all the same requirements of the master’s degree plus professional experience, and submission of a writing portfolio. Other requirements include research, coursework and a dissertation; always double check with the university you are considering attending to verify their procedures.

Generally, if you enroll in a Professional Writing doctorate program, be prepared for it to have a strong project and research orientation. Students in the Professional Writing area are often encouraged to do a one-semester internship for which they receive course credit, and possibly compensation.

Potential Advantages to a PhD in Professional Writing on Campus Degrees

Graduate students aspiring to a career as collegiate level teachers might benefit from the hands-on learning experience that a campus program offers; Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants.

On Campus programs offer students the opportunity to interact with their faculty, mentors, and classmates in a way that distance-learning does not, and may help students form new networks. Certainly, being onsite means having access to the school’s social services and facilities such as libraries and gymnasiums.

Since PhD in Professional Writing on Campus degrees typically take 5-6 years, full-time (3-4 years beyond the master's), it helps to find a college or university where you can commute easily, unless you are willing to relocate. Start with a location search on GradSchools.com to find programs by city, state or country. Results may include PhD in Rhetorical and Professional Composition, or PhD in Theory and Practice of Professional Communication.

Doctorate in Professional Writing: Potential Coursework and Curriculum

Professional Writing programs at the doctoral level commonly emphasize:

  • Writing and editing to achieve specific purposes and address specific audiences
  • Producing different types of documents, including instructional manuals, reports, and proposals, such as grants
  • Using writing as a tool for learning
  • Evaluating the findings of empirical research

There are different PhD programs available. Some focus on critical engagement, rhetoric and composition, others on technical communication methods, theory and pedagogy. Some of the courses students learning professional writing at the PhD level might explore may include courses such as:

  • Document Design
  • Grant writing
  • Editing
  • Research Methods
  • Corporate and Legal Writing,
  • Writing Technical Manuals
  • History of Composition,
  • Composition Theory
  • Composition theory and pedagogy
  • Discourse approaches to writing
  • Visual rhetoric and design
  • Environmental writing
  • Genres in professional writing
  • History of rhetoric
  • Style and editing

Explore a Career as a Professional Writer

There are a variety of potential avenues that a professional writer might be prepared to choose from, depending on their technical skills or their genre of writing. Achieving a PhD in Professional Writing prepares graduates for possible teaching jobs, or to write in technical and professional spheres, including academic, corporate, and nonprofit settings.

What is a Technical Writer?

Essentially, a technical writer, also referred to as technical communicators, may be responsible for managing the consistency of technical content and its use across business departments including product development, digital platforms, manufacturing, marketing, and customer relations. Some technical writers help write grant proposals for research scientists and institutions, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. The current trend to deliver information on social media has created a demand for writers who have the skills to do so. Imagine conveying brand voice in a tweet, which is only 140 characters!

According to the BLS, employment of professional technical writers is projected to experience a 10% growth between 2014 and 2024; the median annual wage for technical writers was $69,030 in May 2014 although the top 10% earned more than $108,460.[i]

Ready to Pursue a PhD in Professional Writing on Campus Degree?

Writers are communicators of ideas, and information. Professional writers may write books, biographies, scripts, or write text books, scientific articles or government policy. Sometimes credentials give credibility to experience. If the idea of advancing your writing skills and potentially being open to new career options interests you, start reviewing your options on GradSchools.com today!


Sources: bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm | bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm | bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm |[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm

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