Chatham University

Professional Writing (MPW) Curriculum – Nonprofit Professionals

Those working in the non–profit sector often wear many hats: web developer, communications professional, copy editor, public relations coordinator, fund raiser, grant writer, etc. Through courses directly applicable to responsibilities in the nonprofit world, the MPW program optimizes the practical skills necessary to function in a dynamic, expansive communications role that requires the generation of persuasive content in a variety of contexts. For students currently working in the non–profit sector, or for those who hope to in the future, below is the suggested program of study within the Professional Writing Program.

Suggested courses for Nonprofit Professionals

REQUIRED COURSES | 6 credits – Click Course for Description
PWR601 Introduction to Professional Writing

This foundational course is designed as an introduction to professional writing genres, models, standards, and formats of the online Master of Professional Writing degree. The course features practical writing and editing experience in a collaborative work environment. The class will establish a basic level of writing skills among MPW students and will begin with the development, or enhancement, of students' skills in analysis, synthesis, summarizing, and expository writing. In the latter part of the course, students focus on the techniques that make professional writing flow and hold the reader's interest. A workshop approach helps beginning writers learn to craft their work so that it reads smoothly and communicates effectively. Topics include creating leads that command interest, developing a story idea without floundering, making graceful and unobtrusive transitions, enriching the theme, and perfecting the ruthless art of self-editing. Students write short essays and critique their own published work.

3 Credits
PWR699 Professional Writing Portfolio

This course must be taken as each student's last course in the MPW program. This capstone course is a self-directed, guided independent practicum in which the student will produce a written project to the specifications of a "client" in one of the disciplinary areas of study. At the same time, students will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop-style program in which they will analyze the editorial and communication interests of various consumers of writing services (corporate communication offices, magazines, online venues, etc.). The workshop will explore many areas of the business of being a writer and cover copyright and contracts, cover and query letters, standard business practices - and strategies for success.

3 Credits

8 SPECIALIZATION COURSES* | 24 credits – Click Course for Description
PWR606 Grant Writing

This course focuses on teaching the conventions and fundamentals of writing successful grants for nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies.

3 Credits
PWR616 Technical Writing

This course teaches students how to prepare letter reports and technical reports about subjects that require technical explanations, diagrams, charts, and jargon understood by technical readers. In addition, this course teaches students how to present technical information to technical readers so they understand the concepts and can apply them in their work.

3 Credits
PWR620 Political and News Writing

This course is designed to give students a working knowledge of the practice of reporting and writing for newspapers, magazines and online venues. Through comprehensive writing projects and student prepared news blogs, students practice with the leading edge techniques and tools required for writing.

3 Credits
PWR621 Use of New and Social Media

This course seeks to give students the skills and confidence to create interesting and informative digital presentations based on simple presentation design and delivery options.

3 Credits
PWR625 Business and Organizational Writing

This course teaches students the rhetorical principles and writing practices necessary for producing effective business letters, memos, reports, and collaborative projects in professional contexts. All sections are offered in networked computer classrooms to ensure that students taking the course are prepared for the writing environment of the 21st century workplace. The course teaches the rhetorical principles that help students shape their business writing ethically, for multiple audiences, in a variety of professional situations.

3 Credits
PWR632 Science and Environmental Writing

This course focuses on the practice of writing about science, environment, medicine, and technology for audiences ranging from the general public to scientists and engineers. It starts with basic science writing for lay audiences, emphasizing organization and clear writing techniques and also explores problems of conveying highly complex technical information to multiple audiences, factors that influence science communication to the public, and interactions between scientists and journalists.

3 Credits
PWR662 Writing for Digital Media

This class will prepare students to enter these fields by teaching the strategies and skills needed to make compelling interactive experiences. Specifically, students will focus on developing their abilities to conceptualize, design, and create multimedia applications. Areas of focus will include: strategies for understanding and documenting audience needs and expectations; basics of effective user interface design; and typical process and artifacts involved with multimedia application development.

3 Credits
PWR673 Web Design and Development I

This course will provide an introduction to the technical skills needed for designing on-line content and interactive multimedia. Current multimedia tools for use in creating web-based products will be taught with ample opportunity for practice. Students learn authoring tools and multimedia techniques while covering topics, including non-text-based communication, integration of visuals, the animation of text and graphics, and digital video web-deployment.

3 Credits

*Note: These are not the only course options available to students. Students may choose from our entire offering of electives to customize a program that will work for their goals and interests.