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Maybe you’re passionate about turning the ideas in your head into captivating stories. Perhaps you relish the challenge of addressing an issue or topic through thoughtful—and thought-provoking—writing. Whatever the case may be, you’ll be prepared to capture imaginations with the written word when you get an emphasis in writing at Dordt.

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Program Overview

With an emphasis in writing, you’ll learn the art of storytelling. You'll develop skills to write with clarity and purpose in a variety of forms and for a variety of audiences. The English writing emphasis will prepare you to apply your talent and passion for writing to whichever career field you pursue.

Our professors are practiced writers who have extensive experience writing numerous stories, poems, essays, and books. It’s the reason they’re so passionate about helping students develop their own skills and natural talents. They know what it takes to succeed, and they know how to help you achieve your goals as a writer.

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What You'll Learn

With a writing emphasis, you will learn to write clearly and precisely, master the art of storytelling in a variety of formats, and interpret creative works with deeper understanding. Along with a core foundation of English classes, you’ll have options for classes such as American literature, argumentative writing, business and technical writing, and screenwriting. Learning how your writing ability can supplement your major will open new doors and professional opportunities you may not have even known about.

What You Can Do With A Writing Emphasis

With an emphasis in writing, you’ll leave prepared to pursue any job that benefits from strong writing and storytelling abilities. You might pursue a career in marketing as a social media specialist or email marketing expert. You may launch an entrepreneurial pursuit and use your writing to help tell the story of your new product or startup. Or you can make an impact in the medical field helping to tell stories of patients and their families. Whatever you pursue, you’ll have countless options when you combine your major with a writing emphasis.


Copywriters write copies for a variety of different pieces such as ads, websites, and marketing materials.

Technical Writer

A Technical Writer designs diagrams and images that explain to users how a product works.


Editors work with written content to make it publishable.

Students who choose the writing emphasis will complete various courses from the English and communication departments in addition to completing the requirements for for an English degree.

  • Introduction to Creative Writing: A course in which students will read and write in four genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting/playwriting. The course will emphasize reading and research as the foundation for creative writing. It will also introduce students to workshopping creative writing and to an integrated understanding of faith and writing.
  • History of the English Language: Surveys the Indo-European languages; the emergence, development, and flowering of the Anglo-Saxon language; the seven English dialects; the Chaucerian dialect; and the contributions of the Greek, Latin, and French language and cognate words.
  • English Grammar: A study of traditional and rhetorical grammar. Students will approach English grammar as not only a technical subject but also a craft, a field for research and scholarship, and a domain with socio-cultural, political, and ethical dimensions. As they develop their own arguments, voice, and editing skills, they will explore various topics through readings, discussions, practice exercises, research projects, and writing activities that require them to apply grammar knowledge in context.
  • Introduction to Journalism: An overview of how the insights and skills gained by journalists as they examine and understand the world can be used to sustain and build community. Students examine the reporter’s role and mandate in society, the current state of the news media, and how Christians can use journalism to serve the public good by helping a civilization confront its challenges. The course emphasizes doing journalism with practice in several types of creative but factual storytelling for print, audio, and video media. Students also explore the historical and cultural foundations of journalism and investigate journalism theories.
  • Advanced Reporting and Writing for the Public Media: This course is designed to help students reach the next level when it comes to media storytelling. Students will practice the mechanics and methods professionals use to tell true stories that inform and engage the public. Developing the mind of a journalist, students will apply contemporary reporting strategies and writing fundamentals by covering real events on campus and in the community. Satisfies Core Program writing-intensive requirement.
  • Beat Reporting: Using the community as the laboratory, this course enables students to practice responsibly serving the public good by being a watchdog who holds the powerful accountable and tells the stories of the weak. Students in this course learn the foundations of beat reporting, going deeper into the many subjects a journalist covers. Specialized areas to explore may include politics, education, business, agriculture, art, science, community development, crime, healthcare, sports, and religion.
  • Public Relations Writing: This course is, above all, a writing course. Focused on public relations writing that serves overall organizational goals, the course readings and assignments allow students opportunities to further develop their writing, research, and critical thinking skills and creativity in one of the most culture-shaping industries.
  • Reading and Writing of Poetry: In this writing course, students read and write various poems with fixed forms and in free verse. They will explore how other poets get started and where they get their ideas for poems. Time in class will be spent discussing each other’s poems, and each student will have at least three personal conferences with the instructor. By the end of the semester, each student will have a portfolio of at least a dozen poems.
  • Songwriting: A study in the craft of songwriting, particularly in lyrical composition. The course will cover listening, reading, and analyzing songs and song structure. Students will write and workshop songs. No ability to write music is required.
  • Advanced Non-fiction Writing: This course will introduce students to types of non-fiction writing sought by online and print publications. It will seek to improve students’ narrative writing skills, especially an engaging voice. Major assignments include the profile, the review, and the personal essay. Students will also read and react to various types of non-fiction writing, both essays and longer works. Significant class time is spent in workshop format, with students reading and discussing their own work.
  • Advanced Argumentative Writing: The primary goal of this course is to help students argue and persuade well in writing, in preparation for careers that demand high-level argumentation—such as seminary, law school, graduate school, political work, and research and grant writing. Students will study the art of rhetoric, writing for specific audiences in order to persuade, dissuade, or inspire them. They will also incorporate research, at an advanced level. Satisfies Core Program writing-intensive requirement.
  • Fiction Writing: Introduces students to the task of writing fiction. In addition to significant reading in the genre, the course will require several exercises in various aspects of the craft, as well as the completion of one original short story. Time will be spent in workshop format and discussing technique, as well as the ways in which one’s faith affects the work of writing fiction.
  • Business and Technical Writing: Students will study the process, application, and characteristics of business and technical writing, and the way in which writing style, strategies, content, and clarity will relate practically to one’s profession. Concentrates on developing competence in a variety of writing tasks commonly performed in business, law, industry, social work, engineering, agriculture, and medicine.
  • Screenwriting: Students will gain insight into the process and the techniques involved in scriptwriting by studying film scripts and creating their own. Students will receive hands-on instruction in concept development, character development, plot structures, dialogue, and visualization.
  • Advanced Writer’s Workshop: Students will write a focused writing project in the genre of their choice (e.g., short stories, poetry, screenplays). The course will include craft lectures, writing and workshop time, and guest lectures and readings. Students will meet together in early May for 1-2 weeks, and then will work with a faculty mentor throughout the summer, producing regular packets of original works, responses to assigned texts, and thorough revision.
  • One additional course from courses for majors (ENG 200-393)

See the course catalog for more information.

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