|Geoffrey Becker, Program Coordinator||Phone: 410-704-5196|
Guidelines for the Portfolio/Qualifying Exam
The program provides advanced study in the theory of writing, writing techniques and style, principles/techniques of editing, and the functions of written communication within the professional/occupational setting. The program centers on (1) developing the communication skills of people seeking to enter or to advance in occupations requiring extensive written analysis and reporting of data and on (2) improving written communication and its management in professional organizations.
The program features two broad concentrations. Writing for the Public and Private Sectors concentrates on acquiring specialized skills such as technical writing, journal editing, communications management, business communication, or consulting. Writing in the Professions uses the University's interdisciplinary resources to offer focused study of writing (18 semester hours) in one of five specializations:
Both concentrations enroll part-time students and are available through evening and summer schedules. Either can be completed with or without a thesis and offers flexibility in the selection of elective courses. Students work closely with their advisors in designing their programs and in assessing the development of their writing skills. All courses require extensive writing.
A 3.0 is required for full admission; 2.5 for conditional admission.
Two letters of recommendation, preferably letters that speak to writing experience and capability.
Writing sample on a designated topic. Information on the writing sample and topic should be obtained from the Graduate Office or the program coordinator.
Based upon the applicant's undergraduate transcript and upon the writing sample, the department reserves the right to require two specified preparatory undergraduate writing courses, passed with the grade of "B" or higher in each course, for admission.
Application deadlines are April 1 for fall semester admission and November 1 for spring semester admission.
NOTE: Upon admission to the program, the student must meet with the assigned advisor to plan a program of study.
The 36-credit program can be completed with or without a thesis. All students complete an 18-hour core of foundation courses. Within both concentrations students have considerable flexibility in choosing electives. Students work closely with their advisers in designing their programs and in assessing the development of their writing skills.
PRWR 611 - Rhetoric: The Pursuit of Eloquence (3)
PRWR 612 - Rhetorical Grammar (3)
PRWR 613 - Theory of Exposition (3) This course must be taken within the first twelve hours of degree work.
PRWR 615 - History and Development of Prose Style (3)
PRWR 617 - Editing (3) This course must be taken within the first twelve hours of degree work.
PRWR 797 - Internship in Professional Writing (3)
In addition to the required core each student completes an eighteen-hour elective program from Writing for the Public and Private Sectors or Writing in the Professions. Each concentration has a thesis and non-thesis option.
All students in the Professional Writing program are required to take the qualifying exam between completion of 12-18 hours of degree work. The format for the "exam" will be an evaluation of a portfolio of work completed by the student in the Professional Writing program. October 31 during the fall semester and April 1 during the spring semester.Drop the portfolios off in Geoffrey Becker's mailbox located in the English Department Mailroom, LI 218D. Please submit two copies in flat folders or report covers.
Portfolios will be read by two PRWR professors. Portfolios will receive either a passing or a failing grade. Portfolios that receive a failing grade must be resubmitted after a conference with the program director and the student's advisor.
Evaluation criteria of the portfolio will generally be as follows.
Your portfolio should
Overall, the writing should be powerful, emotional, clever, creative, intelligent, thought-provoking--in short, graceful and interesting whatever the content.
This "exam" is an opportunity to create a professional portfolio that students might present at the end of the program to show what they've mastered.
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What a Thesis is
Part of the strength of Towson's PRWR program lies in the creativity and flexibility which the program allows its candidates. A thesis may take many forms to reflect the differing professional interests of the students.
In every case, a thesis should be a significant, substantive, original, representation of the culmination of your work in the PRWR program.
A thesis counts for six graduate credits.
A thesis should be no fewer than 50 pages of significant, original work. The length of your thesis, of course, needs to be discussed with and approved by your thesis advisor.
You should choose a thesis advisor who is familiar with your work, and whose field of expertise complements your thesis. Together, you and your thesis advisor will select the two additional members of your thesis committee.
Your proposal of 3-4 pages (typewritten, double-spaced) must be reviewed first by the faculty member with whom you will be working, then submitted to your thesis committee for final approval.
The following are to be included in the proposal:
A statement of need, which establishes a rationale for the proposed thesis and the audience toward whom it will be directed. The statement of need will consist of one or more of the following as they are applicable to your specific project:
a review of the literature relevant to the question you propose to explore
research for your finished product
a description of your projected work and its genre, as well as documentation of your previous experience in this or a related genre.
A statement of purpose or
objectives, which clearly focuses your idea and tells exactly what
you expect to accomplish. The scope of your topic should be made
clear in this section. An outline of the
projected thesis, which gives readers a preliminary plan for the
project and an estimated time table. Progress Report
A statement of purpose or objectives, which clearly focuses your idea and tells exactly what you expect to accomplish. The scope of your topic should be made clear in this section.
An outline of the projected thesis, which gives readers a preliminary plan for the project and an estimated time table.
The Thesis Defense
When you and your director agree that your work has reached a satisfactory conclusion; you should apply, in writing, to the thesis committee for a defense committee (consisting of two members from the PRWR faculty and one outside member appointed by the Graduate School) and a defense date. Your application must be accompanied by four copies of your thesis, executed in the stylistic format your director has deemed appropriate for your project. The deadline for submission to the graduate thesis committee is April 1st for May graduation, and November 1st for January. Any revisions required by your defense committee must be made before your thesis can be considered completed and the six credits for which you applied entered on your transcript.
Graduate School Requirements
You are responsible for meeting all the requirements of the Graduate School. Check the Graduate School Handbook, pp. E- 2-ff, for the regulations regarding deadlines for filing for graduation, and the procedures for defending your thesis.
Clearly, the thesis option is considerably more arduous than the six hours of course-work it replaces. It demands a well- articulated project sufficiently compelling to sustain solitary effort over a substantial period of time. Since unforeseen obstacles can delay the completion of a thesis, which in turn will delay your degree, we strongly urge you to consider this option's drawbacks as well as its rewards.
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