History of PWP

The Professional Writing Program (PWP), established in 1980, is one of the original models for upper-division writing programs nationally; and the University of Maryland, College Park continues to be one of the few major state universities to maintain a broad advanced undergraduate writing program. PWP employs close to 80 lectures who teach within a range of 19 writing courses that meet the University's upper-level writing requirement.

The program began in 1980 with two courses, English 391 (Advanced Composition) and English 393 (Technical Writing). In the intervening years, we've added English 392 (Legal Writing), English 394 (Business Writing), and English 395 (Writing in the Health Professions). 

In 2004, a series of specialized courses were added including English 390 (Science Writing) and  “special topics” courses under the 398 umbrella (398A -Writing for the Arts; 398B -Writing for Social Entrepreneurship; 398C -Writing Case Studies and Investigative Reports; 398E -Writing about Economics; 398L -Writing in the Humanities; 398N -Writing for Nonprofits; 398R -Nonfiction Narrative Writing and Editing; and 398V -Writing about the Environment).

In every PWP course, students write and revise four to six major assignments for a total of approximately 25 pages of formal graded writing per student. Much of this writing is based on significant, often original research. PWP courses teach writing that focuses on meeting the needs of specific professional audiences, using profession-specific genres to achieve particular ends. To do this intensive work effectively and maximize student-teacher interaction, PWP courses are capped at 19 students per section.

By: Robin Earnest, J.D, LL.M.
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