Chatham University

Professional Writing

Chatham University's online Master of Professional Writing program is a broad-based course of study that leads to a unique, professional degree. Students take a series of courses that expose them to a variety of organizational, executive and technical writing challenges and culminate in a final project designed to unify and focus students’ newly honed skills.

By bringing together students with a variety of different backgrounds and interests and engaging in a broad-based curriculum, the MPW offers an educational experience that more accurately reflects the realities of today's shifting and expanding business world. Students will gain experience working in a variety of business formats and discourses and will be prepared to assume positions that demand highly-developed communication skills such as technical writer, public relations specialist, advertising copywriter, freelance journalist and more. In addition, our Web Content Development concentration offers a more specialized set of skills for on-demand roles in technology.



Admission Requirements

Now accepting applications for Summer and Fall 2012:

Admissions Materials may be submitted to:

Chatham University

College for Continuing and Professional Studies

Woodland Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Fax:  (412) 365-1720





Master of Professional Writing (MPW)

Program Structure

Total 30 Credits


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

ELECTIVE COURSES | 24 credits - Click Course for Description
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
PWR641 Financial Writing

This course is concerned with the communication of financial information in writing: How should financial professionals construct documents? What are the writing techniques needed to make the numbers tell their own story? Topics include genres of financial writing (reports, presentations, correspondence), successful writing strategies (audience analysis, grammar usage, information gathering), organizing information, and using tables and charts.

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
PWR670 Principles of Information Architecture

In this course students will learn about the evolution of the discipline and the underlying principles and fundamentals, including task analysis, scenario development, taxonomy creation, and findability design. We will build on these basics with practical and contemporary applications and tools.

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
PWR674 Web Design and Development II

A continuation of Web Design and Development I, this course will advance student knowledge and understanding of multimedia authoring tools.

3 Credits
PWR675 Visual and Interface Design

Students will use audience analysis to help develop wireframes and storyboards, progress to full interface design, as well as gain an appreciation for the basic elements of design and how content is an integral part of design. Students will focus on interactions and behaviors.

3 Credits
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