Students in English class.

Professional Writing

Develop your craft and meet the needs of your audience by honing your ability to write in a variety of styles for any audience. Enhance your marketability with a concentration that demonstrates your writing and communication skills in environments such as business, science, government and nonprofit management.

Why Study Professional Writing?

“Professional writing” is a broad term that encompasses any sort of written communication produced in or for a professional context. Studying this cross-disciplinary field will equip you with a specific skillset applicable to a wide variety of genres, audiences, and rhetorical contexts.

  • Be qualified: A degree or certificate in professional writing signals that you know how to communicate effectively in any academic field or workplace setting. 
  • Be prepared: Training in professional writing can be applied to emails, websites, memos, proposals, contracts, grants, social media posts, reports, and more. If you need to write it for your job, professional writing skills will make it polished and effective.
  • Be flexible: Studying professional writing equips you to adapt rhetorically to various audiences and situations so that you can compose clear, strong, and successful writing no matter where your career may take you.

Degrees & Offerings

English: Professional Writing Specialization (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A professional writing specialization offers English majors opportunities to develop applicable skills and capabilities for a wide variety of fields and contexts. Students with training in writing, editing and communication skills are well prepared for job opportunities in a variety of professions.

Professional Writing

  Vermillion Main Campus

Through the professional writing minor, you will gain marketable, transferable skills that will prepare you for professional writing in various contexts such as business, health care and education. This minor is a useful complement to a number of majors, particularly those in the sciences. English majors interested in professional writing will complete a specialization or certificate rather than the minor.

Professional Writing Certificate

  Vermillion Main Campus

A certificate in professional writing prepares you for any career that involves some form of written, visual, or verbal communication. In this program, you will take courses including English Grammar, Business Writing, Professional Writing and Rhetorical Theory & Practice. The certificate provides intensive training in a variety of writing styles and adds an extra level of preparation to your major course of study.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Departments & Facilities

Our faculty are experts in their fields, bringing practical experience in writing, communication and inspirational thinking.
Carson Sehr outside holding Vermillion Literary Project books


Investigate and gain insight into how we understand ourselves and communicate through stories, poetry and other narratives. Cultivate your ability to read and write and think about complex issues with the Department of English.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Department of English. The USD English faculty are award-winning, engaged researchers and creative scholars working within a supportive department community dedicated to providing students with diverse learning opportunities.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Darlene Farabee

Darlene Farabee



16th & 17th C British Literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member duncan barlow

duncan barlow



Fiction Writing, Horror Literature, Publishing
Bio Image for Faculty Member Prentiss Clark

Prentiss Clark

Associate Professor


American Literature
pete dexter smiling.

Pete Dexter

Writer in Residence
Bio Image for Faculty Member John Dudley

John Dudley

Dean-Col of A&S


American Literature
Literary Naturalism
Bio Image for Faculty Member Paul Formisano

Paul Formisano

Director of Writing


Environmental Humanities/Composition
Regional Lit.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kenneth Green

Kenneth Green



Composition Theory
Grant Writing
English Grammar
Bio Image for Faculty Member Benjamin Hagen

Benjamin Hagen

Associate Professor


Modernist fiction/poetry
Literary criticism/theory
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julie Kelderman

Julie Kelderman



Second Language Acquisition
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kevin Magee

Kevin Magee

Bio Image for Faculty Member Cheyenne Marco

Cheyenne Marco

Senior Lecturer


Creative Writing
Great Plains Literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member Leah McCormack

Leah McCormack

Assistant Professor


Creative Writing (Fiction & Nonfiction)
Bio Image for Faculty Member Martin McGoey

Martin McGoey



Composition instruction
Bio Image for Faculty Member Joseph Raiche

Joseph Raiche

Senior Lecturer


Composition, American Lit,
Taylor Swift
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Ann Robertson

Lisa Ann Robertson

Associate Professor


18th & 19th C British Literature, Science, Culture
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michelle Rogge Gannon

Michelle Rogge Gannon

Director-Writing Center


Writing and introductory literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lee Roripaugh

Lee Roripaugh

Editor-South Dakota Review, Professor


Creative Writing (Poetry, CNF, Fiction)
Bio Image for Faculty Member Skip Willman

Skip Willman

Associate Professor


Contemporary Literature
Critical Theory

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