Immerse Yourself in a World of Creative Expression with a BA in Writing

The Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Writing program takes aspiring authors and engages them in writing to not only to fulfill their passions, but to set them up for success in careers at private companies, nonprofit groups, and educational institutions.

Those in the BA in Writing program develop strong writing skills as we emphasize written communication, rhetoric, and textual analysis to provide a strong foundation for careers in multiple fields. Close working relationships with faculty and staff enable students to achieve their personal and professional goals in a range of high-paying and rewarding fields, including education, law, or advertising.

By reading closely, thinking and writing clearly, and discussing complex topics articulately, Bachelor of Arts in Writing program students are equipped with the essential skills that ensure success in the working world.

With a strong writing education, your career options are endless.














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    Get Ready for a Career as a Writer

    Hands-On Learning Experiences
    An internship and capstone project allows students in the writing program to apply classroom knowledge to practical work experiences. Students can also add experience to their resumes and establish relationships with numerous companies and school districts while in school.
    Guest Mentors

    Our classes regularly host visiting writers, who provide insight into what life as an author is like and how to navigate the industry. Our guests sit down for casual dinners with students and the Fond du Lac community and provide public readings, often at the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, in conjunction with the Lake Reading Series. Past guests include Li-Young Lee, Jean Valentine, Goldie Goldbloom, Tara Betts, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and Kevin Powers.

    Aspiring to Graduate School?

    100% of our writing students who elected to pursue an advanced degree were accepted into a graduate school within six months of graduation.

    Ready to Apply to Jobs

    Through core courses or electives, students have opportunities to learn skills in areas such as writing for the Internet, fictional writing, poetry, the classics, and public relations. Graduates may consider jobs such as:

    • Author
    • Editor
    • Researcher
    • Reporter
    • Technical Writer
    • Advertising Copywriter
    • Internet Content Writer
    • Public Relations Assistant

    The Muriel Press – A Unique On-Campus Internship Experience

    Writing students are encouraged to take part in the in-the-classroom internship experience through our very own embedded micro-press. Gain first-hand experience working with an author, technology, and understanding the many moving parts of small-press publishing today, from writing to post-publication.

    The Muriel Press experience encompasses the full publishing cycle from editing and book design to marketing and public relations. Students complete a multi-course sequence delivered through the English, Art, and Communication programs and work alongside Midwestern authors whose works focus on social justice.

    Explore a Writing Degree

    Dr. Justin Ponder, associate professor of English, answers the age-old question “what can I do with a degree in English or writing?” Dr. Ponder provides examples of jobs that you can achieve with one of these degrees in addition to the skills and experiences you will gain from Marian’s program. Learn what courses are offered in addition to what activities you can participate in outside of the classroom, including The Muriel Press.

    Request Information

    The Program

    Students in the Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Writing program will enhance their skills in analytical and research writing and be given the opportunity to embrace the strong foundation in critical thinking needed to excel in their post-collegiate endeavors. They will learn to write individual creative works, in addition to evaluating theories and practices of literary criticism. Our students will be exposed to a range of cultures, contexts, and perspectives, and will investigate literature’s role as an expression of or challenge to a society’s values.

    For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

    Sample Course Plan:
    Download Sample Course Plan

    General Education Program:

    46-49 credits of University requirements.

    42 credits as follows:

    15 credits:

    This course serves as a gateway, providing English majors, prospective English majors, and English minors with critical tools to heighten and enhance their experiences in subsequent courses in the major and their careers. The course introduces students to critical theory and to a wide variety of critical approaches to literature, enabling them to read and interpret literature with greater insight and discernment. Students also deepen their understanding of key literary periods and movements and become more knowledgeable of developments in the evolution of significant literary genres and sub-genres. Students will also gain an appreciation for the relevance and practical applications of literary studies in personal and professional development.

    Prerequisites:

    An introduction to the techniques of writing poetry, fiction and drama. The course is taught as a workshop, with repeated presentation and discussion of works in progress. May be repeated for credit.

    Prerequisites:

    A survey of Shakespeare’s major plays. While the emphasis is on close study of the individual works, students also consider Shakespeare’s artistic development and the plays’ historical contexts.

    Prerequisites:

    Students become more aware of principles and issues in grammar, linguistics, and rhetoric, particularly as they unfold historically, and apply this enhanced awareness to the development of their own writing. The course examines the stylistic elements of writing aimed at different discourse communities, including academic and business audiences, with emphasis on developing adaptability, expressiveness, and polish in students’ own writing.

    Prerequisites:

    The English Capstone course will allow students to reflect on their past work in English and prepare for graduate study or the job market. The class will integrate literary criticism, primary theoretical texts, and a student-directed final paper or research project. In addition, students will compile a portfolio of selected pieces of their work as an English major to be submitted to the English department for assessment purposes. Course will run as a small seminar or independent study, depending on student and department needs.

    3 credits of Genre Studies from the following:

    Prerequisites:

    A genre-based study of short stories, drama and poetry; the course focuses on applying tools of literary analysis to the interpretation of specific works in order to increase insight and pleasure. A wide variety of works is read, representing a diversity of cultures, contexts and perspectives. Course objectives also include developing critical reading, thinking and writing skills and exploring the values-laden nature of literature.

    A genre-based study of poetry that focuses on applying tools of literary analysis to the interpretation of specific poems in order to increase insight and pleasure. Close reading of poetry, with attention to formal elements, will provide the students with an introduction to major poets and styles. A wide variety of works is read, representing a diversity of cultures, contexts and perspectives. Course objectives also include developing critical reading, thinking and writing skills and exploring the values-laden nature of literature.

    A genre-based study of fiction; the course focuses on applying tools of literary analysis to the interpretation of specific works in order to increase insight and pleasure. A wide variety of works is read, representing a diversity of cultures, contexts, and perspectives. Course objectives also include developing critical reading, thinking, and writing skills, and exploring the values-laden nature of literature.

    A genre-based drama course; the course focuses on applying tools of literary analysis to the interpretation of specific works in order to increase insight and pleasure. A wide variety of works is read, representing a diversity of cultures, contexts and perspectives. Course objectives also include developing critical reading, thinking and writing skills, and exploring the values-laden nature of literature.

    6 credits of Survey courses from the following:

    Prerequisites:

    An examination of major early British writers, with a focus on the interplay of aesthetic, social and cultural values; the development of literary forms and traditions; and historical contexts. Students will be introduced to major authors of cultural significance.

    Prerequisites:

    A wide-ranging investigation and analysis of British Romanticism, Victorianism, and Modernism. Students will be introduced to major authors of cultural significance. As with ENG 201, the course focuses on the interrelationships of aesthetic and cultural values, literary prose and historical contexts.

    Prerequisites:

    A study of American literature from its beginning to the Civil War, tracing the development of American writing in its cultural contexts. In lectures and discussions, students are introduced to a broad range of critical methods for approaching major American authors.

    Prerequisites:

    A continuation of ENG 211, tracing the evolution of American literature from the Civil War to early Postmodernism in the contexts of the social and intellectual forces that shaped it, including the impact of minority writers. In lectures and discussions, students consider critical approaches to the rise of Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and the beginnings of Postmodernism in American letters.

    Prerequisites:

    A study of major writers of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the New World, with emphasis on writers of international stature and influence. The course offers students a broad perspective on literary history from classical times to the 17th century. A chronological survey of significant work leads to discussion of problems in the historical examination of literature: the definition of movements, the relationships between society and literature, and the evolution of literary genres.

    Prerequisites:

    A study of major writers of Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States, with emphasis on writers of international stature and influence. The course offers students a broad perspective on literary history since the 17th century. A chronological survey of significant work leads to discussion of problems in the historical examination of literature: the definition of movements (such as neoclassicism, romanticism, realism), the relationships between society and literature, and the evolution of literary genres.

    Prerequisites:

    A study of important myths and legends from a variety of times and places, with emphasis on writers and works that have influences Western thought, arts, and culture. Using methods of formal and structural analysis, students will study works of literature, such as epics, plays, and poetry that employ mythological allusions and deal with universal symbols and themes.

    3 credits of Minority Literature from the following:

    Prerequisites:

    A topical study of literature written by women, dealing with contemporary issues and concerns. This course will focus on fiction and nonfiction texts as they are emerging in modern and contemporary times. Discussion will center upon language, form, and themes as they relate to women. The course remains open-ended, in that any specialized concerns of class members will be welcomed as texts are chosen.

    Prerequisites:

    A survey of the evolution of women’s literature. The course will focus upon literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, 17th and 18th centuries, 19th century and turn of the century, and Modernist and Contemporary eras written by female authors. This material will be integrated across genres and geographical contexts.

    Prerequisites:

    Students will analyze the work by ethnic minority writers in the United States. Doing so, they will examine the experiences of inequality, struggle, and triumph from diverse and often unheard voices.

    Prerequisites:

    A generally chronological survey of African-American literature from its inception to the present time. The course is designed to include a diversity of themes, styles, authors and values. Students are challenged to examine their own attitudes and understanding regarding the relationship of African-American literature to American literature and culture as a whole.

    3 credits of Creative Writing from the following:

    Prerequisites:

    Students will investigate the techniques of composing short stories and other forms of fiction, research the stylistics of fiction and present original works in a seminar setting.

    Prerequisites:

    Students will investigate the techniques of composing poems, research the stylistics of poetry and present original works in a seminar setting.

    3 credits of Professional Writing from the following:

    An application of contemporary communication theory to practical business situations, and an application of traditional rhetoric and communication theory to oral presentations. Students study communication theory; practice basic forms of business writing; write, deliver and evaluate public speeches; and explore communication systems in modern corporations.

    This course introduces students to the principles of writing news in text from for web-based publications and as scripts to be used in broadcast-style reports via the web, television or radio. In addition to news, public relations writing – in the form of news releases and public service announcements (PSAs) – and advertising writing is covered.

    Students will be introduced to the profession of public relations – its practice, history, and legal and ethical issues. This includes how to communicate with various publics (community, consumers, employers, government, the media) for various purposes (education, political and social action, community relations, issues and crisis management). Students will be encouraged to explore how public relations is practiced in their own disciplines.

    Prerequisites:

    Students will learn the theories and principles of good public relations writing and practice. This includes how to develop, write and present press releases, reports, speeches, newsletters and brochures, advertisements, papers and letters, and give interviews. Students also will learn theories of persuasion, practical legal and ethical concerns, and how to conduct and evaluate research. (Course may serve as a journalism upper-level writing elective.)

    Prerequisites:

    Students will write, edit and create content for the digital communication world. This course provides an advanced-level opportunity to practice and polish the related skills of reporting, writing and editing for multimedia platforms. Students will learn advanced newswriting with a focus on feature writing and investigative reporting, as well as advanced-level digital production skills for creating websites, social media tools and working with different file formats.

    Taking a service-learning approach, the course will explore approaches to communicating with various publics, legal issues and mandates for public knowledge, ethical issues and extensive understanding of strategies, planning and implementation of crisis communication efforts.

    9 credits of writing electives (200–400 level):

    ENG Electives (at least 6 credits must be at the 300 level or above)

    Foreign Language requirement, 12 credits or equivalent:

    Language requirement for BA

    17-20 credits:

    University electives

    Mission

    The Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Writing program provides opportunities for students to become critical readers, writers, and thinkers by asking them to write in a variety of genres and to analyze literature from a diversity of cultures, contexts, and perspectives.

    Student Learning Outcomes

    • Effective Communication: Writers will effectively organize discussion, support ideas, and use standard conventions in all learning contexts to express themselves clearly in writing.
      • Organization: Student ideas are expressed in a well-organized manner, and papers exhibit sophistication in structure, such as the capacity for making choices about organization that are informed in part by the content.
      • Support: Author ideas are very well supported through examples, quotes, statistics, etc.
      • Grammatical Conventions: Writers observe the grammatical conventions of standard written English and exhibit sophistication in diction and sentence structure.
    • Critical Thinking: Develop logical, well-supported conclusions.
      • Linking evidence (support, data, information) and conclusion (inference) by the student is clear, present, and follows logically.

    Graduates of the BA in Writing program stay one step ahead of the competition and are equipped with the essential skills that ensure success in the working world. A Writing degree prepares students for a variety of career possibilities, including positions in advertising, business, education, law, ministry, public relations, publishing, writing, and social justice work. Many graduates also go on to graduate school.

    To help students become critical readers, writers, and thinkers, the Bachelor of Arts in Writing program assesses knowledge acquisition, effective communication, and critical thinking in ways that are essential to the broader liberal arts education Marian University provides. The Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Writing program demonstrates its effectiveness in the areas of learning outcomes, quality assurance, capstone assessments, employment, graduate education, academic rigor, and teaching excellence.

    • Learning Outcomes: In 2014-2015, students in courses offered in the English Program demonstrated the following learning outcomes:
      • Knowledge Acquisition: 93% of students met or exceeded expectations
      • Effective Communication: 83% of students met or exceeded expectations
      • Critical Thinking: 86% of students met or exceeded expectations
    • Quality Assurance: The English Program ensures common standards across multiple courses by establishing shared criteria between instructors through normed assessment.
    • Capstone Assessments: To help students transition into their profession the English Program is developing and assessing major courses like Introduction to Literary Study, Advanced Study of Grammar, Internship, and the English Research Capstone.
    • Employment: 100% of graduates are employed within six months of graduation from the English Program.
    • Graduate Education: 100% of graduates who elected to pursue an advanced degree were accepted into a graduate school within six months of graduation from the English Program.

     

    English program video

    Hear what students and faculty have to say about the opportunities awaiting you in our English program!

    Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    At Marian University, students find committed faculty and staff aiming to help them reach their fullest potential. Through an applied learning approach, students find that the Bachelor of Arts in Writing program prepares them to share their passion for creativity and expression through writing.

    Admission to university per university standards. For more details regarding this, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

    “While at Marian, I discovered the Outdoor Wisconsin Leadership School, which shortly after graduation, I started working for. I’m able to use the skills I learned as a Writing major to craft professional emails, author marketing content, and develop newsletters. The program faculty helped me prepare for those types of projects, and I always appreciated that they encouraged me to attempt new styles of writing, which is how I discovered there was more to writing than just short stories. This helped open doors for me to write in a professional capacity, including movie review and Habitat for Humanity articles. The professors were incredibly passionate about teaching, and it was inspiring and an honor to learn from them.”

    Philomena Dorobek, 2019 graduate

    Students in the BA in Writing program don’t just benefit from our small class sizes – they also learn tools of the trade and industry insights from the published authors who serve as our professors.

    Justin Ponder, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    Author of “Art Cinema and Theology: The Word Was Made Film”
    JustinPonder.com
    920.923.8627
    jcponder43@marianuniversity.edu

    Jodi Wagner-Angell, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    Author and researcher of Victorian Literature, composition and rhetoric
    Adviser of Marian University Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society
    920.923.7674
    jlwagner79@marianuniversity.edu

    John Walser, Ph.D.
    Professor
    Two-time semifinalist for the Philip Levine Prize
    Two-time semifinalist for the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award
    Four-time semifinalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry
    2015 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award winner
    More than 100 published poems
    920.923.7172
    jwalser@marianuniversity.edu

    Christina Kubasta, M.F.A.
    Associate Professor
    Poetry and fiction writer
    Author of “This Business of the Flesh” and the poetry collection “Of Covenants”
    CKubasta.com
    920.923.8792
    ckkubasta60@marianuniversity.edu

    As part of the Bachelor of Arts in Writing program, students find personal, one-on-one support from faculty who are eager to share their knowledge and passion for writing. In addition to challenging coursework, students engage in hands-on learning experiences, including internships and a capstone project. To enhance their classroom learning experience, BA in Writing program students can become a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the English International Honor Society.

    Apply Now

    For more information, please contact:

    Office of Admission
    920.923.7650
    admission@marianuniversity.edu