Professional Writing

The Professional Writing Track at Mount Wachusett Community College provides students with the opportunity to earn an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a baccalaureate degree. The Professional Writing Track offers student the opportunity to focus on developing and refining writing skills across a variety of formats and addressing a wide range of audiences while completing a core curriculum used for transfer. Students gain a strong foundation in humanities, social sciences, math, and natural sciences, which enables them to transfer to competitive four-year colleges and universities. ​

Please click here for MassTransfer information

Professional Writing Track (LAPW)

A Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Develop excellent writing and communications skills that open doors across any academic or professional field.  Courses such as Journalism, Technical Writing, and Creative Writing provide foundational skills, and a range of professional electives allow students to choose from courses like Public Relations, Digital Photography, and Scriptwriting that enhance their academic program and further their individual goals. Students will benefit from hands-on involvement in the college's newspaper while completing a core curriculum used for transfer. This program provides a strong background for students to transfer to a four-year institution or immediately enter professional employment. Students who transfer to a four-year college or university may choose to major in a wide range of disciplines, including writing, English, journalism, the humanities, or the social sciences.

Year 1
FallCredits
ENG 101College Writing I 3
ENG 241Journalism I: Media Writing 3
MAT 143Statistics (or higher) 3-4
Lab Science Elective 1 4
General Elective I  3
Spring
ENG 102College Writing II 3
ENG 106Technical Writing 3
SPC 113Speech (formerly THE113) 3
Behavioral Social Science Elective 2 3
General Elective II  3
Year 2
Fall
ENG 239Creative Writing I 3
Literature Elective 3 3
Science Elective 1 3-4
Behavorial Social Science Elective 2 3
Professional Elective I  3
Spring
ENG 290LAS Capstone: Advanced Writing and Research 3
Culturally Diverse Non-behavioral Social Science Elective (see list below)  3
Culturally Diverse Literature Elective (see list below)  3
Professional Elective II (see list below)  3
Professional Elective III (see list below)  3
 Total Credits: 61-63
1

Science (3 or 4 credits)/Lab Science Electives (4 credits): See Elective Courses by Abbreviation.

2

Behavioral Social Science Electives: See Elective Courses by Abbreviation.

3

Literature Electives:  See Elective Courses by Abbreviation.

 Professional Electives

Credits
CIS 127Computer Technologies3
ENG 240Creative Writing II3
ENG 242Journalism II: Advancing Newswriting3
ENG 251Introduction To Public Relations3
ENG 283Journalism Practicum3
GID 104Digital Imaging (Photoshop) (Formerly CGD 104)3
GID 109Introduction To Web Design (Formerly CGD 240)3
MRT 110Fundamentals of Video Production3
MRT 208Scriptwriting3
PHO 115Introduction To Digital Photography3

Culturally Diverse Literature Electives

Credits
ENG 221Women's Literature3
ENG 235Children's Literature3
ENG 236Modern Drama3
ENG 237Special Topics: Queer American Drama3
ENG 261The Short Story3

Culturally Diverse Non-behavioral Social Science Electives

Credits
GEO 129World And Cultural Geography3
HIS 105History Of World Civilization I3
HIS 106History Of World Civilization II3
HIS 125American Ethnic History3

Helpful hints:

Eligible LAPW students should consider entering MWCC’s Honors Program. Honors Program students benefit from a challenging, highly individualized academic experience, a tuition waiver during their final semester, active recruitment by four-year colleges and universities, and the use of the Honors Center. Also, because of the program’s Commonwealth Honors Program status, all MWCC Honors courses are transferable as Honors courses within the Mass public higher education system, and MWCC graduates are guaranteed acceptance into the Honors Programs of these colleges and universities. See the Honors Program for more information.

Transfer options

For transfer options, please click here. It is recommended that you also consult with your academic advisor.

MassTransfer

Students who plan to transfer to a Massachusetts state university or a University of Massachusetts campus may be eligible to transfer under the MassTransfer agreement, which provides transfer advantages to those who qualify.

Please click here for MassTransfer information

Program Student Learning Outcomes for LAPW

Upon graduation from this program, students shall have the ability to:

  • Formulate clear and precise questions about complex problems and ideas relevant to a variety of disciplines—math, science, the humanities, and the social sciences—and gather, assess, and interpret information to arrive at well-reasoned conclusions and solutions.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of complex written texts that demand an appreciation of subtext, irony, metaphor, and the subtlety and nuances of language.
  • Successfully complete a substantial research paper that demonstrates the ability to formulate a research question, conduct research using the library’s databases, and synthesize information from a variety of sources into a cohesive and in-depth analysis of a topic.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of historic, social, and cultural backgrounds necessary for understanding their own and other societies with an emphasis on important ideas and events that have shaped, and continue to shape, their world.
  • Demonstrate scientific literacy, which can be defined as the matrix of knowledge needed to understand enough about the universe to deal with issues that come across the horizon of the average citizen, in the news or elsewhere.
  • Demonstrate a broad exposure to, and an understanding of, the differences and similarities in the various academic disciplines within their Liberal Arts education.
  • Successfully transfer to a baccalaureate degree granting institution if desired, with the proper educational foundation for transition into a chosen field of study.

Capstone Course for LAS

ENG 290 LAS Capstone: Advanced Writing and Research is the required capstone course for some Liberal Arts & Sciences majors and is to be taken after successfully completing ENG 101 College Writing I, ENG 102 College Writing II and at least  45 college-level credits.

Technical Standards for LAPW1

1

FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT TECHNICAL STANDARDS AND ACCOMMODATION, SEE TECHNICAL STANDARDS.

Students entering this program should be able to:

  • Comprehend textbook material at the 11th grade level.
  • Communicate and assimilate information either in spoken, printed, signed, or computer voice format.
  • Gather, analyze, and draw conclusions from data.
  • Distinguish the movement of meter displays, positions of knobs on equipment, and images through camera lenses and/or small camera screens.
  • Differentiate content, tones, and words in sound recordings.
  • Work as a member of a team.
  • Appropriately use production equipment with or without accommodations.

Courses

ENG 096. Writing Readiness. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to develop the student's skills in writing, focusing upon vocabulary development, standard English grammar, spelling, and usage. Student strengths and weaknesses in these areas are determined through initial testing. Upon completion of this course, the student will possess spelling and vocabulary development skills, use grammatically correct sentence structures, punctuate sentences correctly, use appropriate word choice, and develop a basic comprehensive essay. Institutional credit only. Courses that earn institutional credit do not apply towards graduation. A GRADE OF “C” OR HIGHER IS REQUIRED FOR ADVANCEMENT TO NEXT COURSE. Prerequisite: None.

ENG 098. Fundamentals of Writing. 3 Credits.

Fundamentals of Writing is designed to help the basic writer recognize certain standard elements of effective writing: mainly the existence of a strong central idea supported by organized, selected content, as well as proper usage of grammar and mechanics. Students will be introduced to the writing process and will produce at least five (5) essays of at least 2-4 pages each by the end of the semester. Other forms of writing, such as journals, free-writes, and active learning exercises emphasizing student success skills, may also be included. At the end of the course, students must write a successful final essay to move forward to ENG 101.) Institutional credit only. Courses that earn institutional credit do not apply towards graduation. A GRADE OF “C” OR HIGHER IS REQUIRED FOR ADVANCEMENT TO NEXT COURSE. Prerequisite: ENG 096 or placement. Corequisite: FYE 101. Institutional credit only.

ENG 101. College Writing I. 3 Credits.

Students will develop college-level writing skills with an emphasis on the writing process, models of rhetorical modes, and an understanding of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Reading selections will foster improved writing skills and critical and analytical thinking. By semester's end, students will have produced several essays totaling at least 12-15 pages of original, polished prose, as well as additional writing in varied forms, such as journals, free-writes, peer review, reading responses, and rough drafts. Students will also write at least one paper that incorporates outside source material accompanied by library instruction. Prerequisites: ENG 098, FYE 101, RDG 098, (or placement).

ENG 102. College Writing II. 3 Credits.

Writing about literary works will improve student writing, revision, critical thinking, and reading skills. The readings will be selected from a range of texts including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Evaluation and analysis will be accomplished through a variety of writing assignments, for example, discussion board posts, in-class writing, journals, free-writing, essay exams, and rough drafts of formal essays. By semester's end, students will have produced several pieces of writing totaling 12-15 pages of original, polished prose. At least one of the essays will incorporate library research that is cited and documented appropriately. Prerequisite: ENG 101.

ENG 106. Technical Writing. 3 Credits.

This course focuses on the study of basic writing patterns likely to be of use to the report/technical writer: summary, definition, explanation of a process, description and analysis, classifying data, designing effective formats and supplements, researching information, writing and documenting the research report, proposal writing, and the use of visual aids. The development of an effective reportorial style is emphasized. Overall, the course is designed to improve the students' powers of creative observation and develop accurate and concise writing skills. Prerequisite: ENG 101.

ENG 201. Honors English. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to improve the student's ability to think through writing. A range of intellectual tasks appropriate to honor level students, including close textual analysis, interpretation and evaluation of literary works (both fiction and non-fiction), will form the core of the course. A research project is required. The topic of this course changes each year. Prerequisites: ENG 102, and permission of the Honors Program coordinator. Fall.

ENG 203. Twentieth Century American Authors. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to explore American views of war, race, alienation, assimilation, family, and social change in the 20th century. A variety of critical approaches will be applied to novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and essays. Some of the authors studied may include Hemingway, Faulkner, O'Connor, Vonnegut, Morrison, and Erdrich. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean.

ENG 205. Shakespeare. 3 Credits.

This course surveys plays from each of the periods of Shakespeare's work: history, comedy, tragedy, and romance. Readings include The First Part of King Henry the Fourth and The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth from the histories; A Midsummer Night's Dream from the comedies; Hamlet, Prince of Denmark from the tragedies, and The Tempest from the romances. The course emphasizes textual analysis with a focus on thematic issues raised by the plays. Prerequisite: ENG 102. Spring.

ENG 213. American Literature I. 3 Credits.

This course surveys significant American writings from 1620 through the 19th century covering the following eras: Puritans, Colonial/Revolution, Enlightenment/Romantic and Transcendentalist/Abolitionist. The course emphasizes textual analysis and the examination of the relationship of representative works to historical, social, and intellectual developments and will explore issues of diversity and the connection between literature and cultural contexts. Included are works by such authors as Bradford, Rowlandson, Jefferson, Franklin, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Fuller, Hawthorne, Melville, Douglass, Dickinson. Written work totaling at least 12-15 pages will be assigned including essays with library research, reading responses, in-class essays, and rough drafts of formal essays. Prerequisite: ENG 102. Fall.

ENG 214. American Literature II. 3 Credits.

This course surveys significant American writing from 1890 to the present covering the following: Realism, Modernism/Harlem Renaissance, Mid-20th Century, Post-Modernism/Multiculturalism/Contemporary. The course emphasizes textual analysis and the examination of the relationship of representative works to historical, social, and intellectual developments and will explore issues of diversity and the connection between literature and cultural contexts. Included are works by such authors as Twain, Chopin, Frost, Stevens, Moore, Hughes, O’Neill, Miller, Wilson, Ginsberg, Rich, LeGuin, Anzaldua. Written work totaling at least 12-15 pages will be assigned including essays with library research, reading responses, in-class essays, and rough drafts of formal essays. Prerequisite: ENG 102. Spring.

ENG 220. The Literature of Resistance. 3 Credits.

This course will explore expressions of resistance from a variety of cultures and historical periods. Students will read works that take a stand against or show characters taking a stand against political, social, or economic realities. Assigned readings may include works by Sophocles, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Toni Morrison, Marjane Satrapi, Julia Alvarez, and Tony Kushner, as well as Biblical texts and music. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

ENG 221. Women's Literature. 3 Credits.

This course will consider the essential issues raised in literature concerning the role and image of women in society. Included will be essays, short stories, and novels by authors such as Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and Toni Morrison. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. Spring.

ENG 224. Mystery Fiction. 3 Credits.

This course studies the history and nature of the mystery story from the works of Poe to such present day masters as Agatha Christie and Tony Hillerman. Students will examine both the relationship of mystery fiction to the culture of its time and the changing role of the detective hero. Students will study the techniques of the mystery writer and the relationship between mystery fiction and "serious" literature. Works by such authors as Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Hammett, Chandler, Christie, and Hillerman are included. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. Fall.

ENG 233. Science Fiction. 3 Credits.

As a literary genre, science fiction – like science – is continually changing and redefining itself, creating modern myths that show us our greatest hopes and our deepest fears about humanity, science, technology, and the future, as well as examining contemporary issues around race, class, gender, and sexuality. This course introduces students to a variety of science fiction texts – both classic and contemporary – and may include works by Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Issac Asimov, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, Octavia Butler, and Margaret Atwood. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean.

ENG 235. Children's Literature. 3 Credits.

Students in this course consider a variety of children's literature not only as literary and artistic expressions but also as historical and social artifacts. The course emphasizes illustrated books (picture storybooks) but also includes selections of chapter and young adult works. Students analyze and assess the literary merit and visual artistry of books from various genres, from diverse authors and illustrators. Those genres include fantasy, traditional literature (fairy tales), poetry, realistic and historical fiction, biography, and other non-fiction works. Students also explore issues related to education, censorship, multiculturalism, diversity, and the changing views of childhood. Course concepts are acquired primarily through reading and writing, with some discussion and lecture. Throughout the semester, students will present a variety of polished prose and written assessment of selected works in a variety of forms, including a scholarly research paper using library sources. Written work totaling at least 12-15 pages will be assigned. Additionally, other written analysis, reading responses, in-class essays, and rough drafts of formal essays may be required. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean.

ENG 236. Modern Drama. 3 Credits.

This course is a survey of international dramatic literature from 1879 to the present, encompassing such theatrical and literary movements as Realism, Expressionism, and Absurdism. Although the course includes some attention to production values (staging, performance, etc.), the emphasis is primarily on dramatic works as literary texts. Both primary and secondary texts will be assigned so that students become familiar with important works of criticism as well as the plays themselves. Readings include works by Ibsen, Chekhov, O'Neill, Williams, Beckett, Fugard, Hansberry, and Miller. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. Fall.

ENG 237. Special Topics: Queer American Drama. 3 Credits.

Queer: once a derogatory word used against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people has been reclaimed by social activists, writers, artists, educators, and scholars to describe all non-normative sexualities and identities, all that is considered by the dominant paradigms to be alien, strange, transgressive, odd in short, queer. This course will explore queer themes in American dramatic literature from mid-twentieth century to the present. Emphasis will be on how images of gays, lesbians, and other sexual minorities have changed over the past half-century beginning with plays that precede the gay liberation movement, continuing with work from the early years of the AIDS pandemic, and ending in the present day. Authors studied may include Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Mort Crowley, Jonathan Larson, David Henry Hwang, and Tony Kushner. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. This course may be used by LAT students as a substitute for Modern Drama.

ENG 239. Creative Writing I. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to writing fiction, poetry, and drama. Students will experiment with a variety of literary styles and genres, learn to give and receive feedback in a workshop setting, and have the opportunity to read published authors. Lectures and workshops will introduce students to literary devices and techniques, such as dialogue, plot, setting, characterization, point of view, alliteration, assonance, tone, diction, and metaphor. Prerequisite: ENG 101.

ENG 240. Creative Writing II. 3 Credits.

This course is an advanced writing workshop designed to give experienced writers the opportunity to hone their craft, while continuing to explore new styles and techniques. Workshops will present students with the opportunity to revise and refine their writing in preparation for publication in professional literary journals and magazines. Prerequisite: ENG 102, 239.

ENG 241. Journalism I: Media Writing. 3 Credits.

This course helps students to become more concise writers by addressing the basic skills of journalism: observing, researching, reporting, interviewing, thinking, and writing with precision, clarity, and ethics. Assignments include basic reporting, local beat coverage, blogging, and multi-source stories. Students will be exposed to print and web writing, as well as some technology (including digital cameras and video). Student news stories will be submitted for the print and web editions of the MWCC student newspaper, The Mount Observer. Corequisite: ENG 101 or permission of division dean.

ENG 242. Journalism II: Advancing Newswriting. 3 Credits.

Continuation of ENG 241 Journalism I: News Reporting and Writing. This course is designed to further students' mastery of such journalistic techniques as idea development, news gathering, newsroom operation, editing, and layout. Emphasis will also be placed on writing for print and web editions of the student newspaper, mentoring students in the Journalism I course, editing articles, checking sources and facts, and putting together the monthly editions of both print and web. Students will be exposed to some technology (digital cameras, video). Prerequisite: ENG 241 or permission of division dean.

ENG 245. Film Appreciation. 3 Credits.

Through selected reading in film and literary theory and the screening of high quality films, the class examines and develops a greater awareness of basic film techniques, practices, and aesthetics. Emphasis is placed upon the relationship between film and literature (i.e., narrative structure, figurative language, problems of adaptation, criticism, genre) and film as a unique twentieth-century art form that incorporates a number of other media and arts. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

ENG 251. Introduction To Public Relations. 3 Credits.

This course covers all forms of writing for public relations, including press releases, public service announcements, features, newsletters, and presentations. This course emphasizes the strategy of crafting and delivering a PR message with final culmination in designing a public relations strategy for an existing organization in the community. Corequisite: ENG 101. Fall.

ENG 252. Shakespeare and Star Wars: A Study of Tragedy through Drama and Film. 3 Credits.

In this course, students will draw comparisons between the worlds of Shakespeare and Star Wars through an in-depth, critical analysis of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes and the journey of Anakin Skywalker as tragic hero. Students will read Julius Caesar, Othello, and Macbeth and also be required to read supplemental material including, but not limited to, script excerpts, biblical readings, and Elizabethan historical information. Finally, students will watch the second installment of the Star Wars trilogy, with a focus on The Revenge of the Sith. Questions of government and leadership, power and lust, jealousy and fatal attraction, friendship, religion, forbidden love, good vs. evil, stoicism, and temptation will be some of the topics discussed and expanded upon through various writing assignments, projects, and research. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean.

ENG 259. Literary Masterpieces I. 3 Credits.

This course is a study of representative literary masterpieces of Eastern and Western civilization for moral, philosophical, social, and psychological insights into the nature of modern man. Readings are taken from such sources as Aristotle, Greek drama, Plato, Milton, Chaucer, Machiavelli, Dante, and Shakespeare. The course complements courses in western civilization, art, and music history. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. Fall.

ENG 260. Literary Masterpieces II. 3 Credits.

This course is a continuation of ENG 259 Literary Masterpieces I, with selections from Renaissance to contemporary culture. This course emphasizes western heroes and anti-heroes from the works of such authors as Voltaire, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Camus, Pope, and Mallarme. The course complements courses in western civilization, art, and music history. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. Spring.

ENG 261. The Short Story. 3 Credits.

This course traces the development of the short story as a distinct literary genre from its origins in the early 19th century to the present. Emphasis is on close reading and analysis of texts by international writers. The course covers the major literary movements of the 19th and 20th centuries: Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and Postmodernism. Readings include stories by Poe, de Maupassant, Chopin, Hemingway, Kafka, Joyce, O'Connor, and Carver. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of division dean. Spring.

ENG 283. Journalism Practicum. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to provide students with opportunities for the enhancement of their course work in Journalism through external internships/shadowing at local media and more in-depth leadership as the Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper. Prerequisites: ENG 242.

ENG 289. American Romanticism. 3 Credits.

This course is a study of significant American writing of the 19th century, a time of exploration and experimentation, which scholars have referred to as The American Renaissance. The course emphasizes textual analysis and the examination of the relationship of representative works to historical, social, and intellectual developments. Included are works by such authors as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Fuller, Hawthorne, Dickinson, Douglass, Stowe & Melville. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of instructor/division dean. Fall.

ENG 290. LAS Capstone: Advanced Writing and Research. 3 Credits.

In this Liberal Arts and Sciences capstone course students demonstrate their ability to conduct academic writing and research by refining skills introduced in earlier composition courses and practiced elsewhere in their degree program. Students will engage with scholarship from a variety of disciplines, draft and revise essays in a number of academic genres (including summary and response, close analysis, and argument), conduct intensive library research for a substantial documented essay accompanied by an instructional librarian, and prepare a self-reflective narrative to accompany a completed portfolio of written work. Prerequisite: ENG 101, ENG 102; completion of at least 45 college-level credits, including completion of at least one 200-level ENG course; enrollment in LAS, LAB, LAC, LACH, LAEL, LAEP, LAHP, LAPH, LAT, or LAX.