The Journalistic Writing Minor is a flexible six-credit program available to undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, Wharton, and the School of Nursing. The minor provides opportunities for students to pursue their own interests and develop expertise in a range of topics, methods, and approaches to the craft, from magazine writing to political commentary and reporting, the art of editing, or arts and culture criticism.
To fulfill this minor, students may take courses in creative nonfiction, journalism, writing that engages community organizing, and courses in other genres, as well as for-credit apprenticeships and courses in the independent study of a genre or topic.
As a Journalistic Writing Minor, you’ll practice your craft in small, rigorous workshops, and you will join a collaborative, integrated writing community that is part of Penn’s Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, home to Penn’s writing programs, platforms, and projects. The cluster of programs at CPCW, which includes live programs at the Kelly Writers House and the RealArts@Penn program of paid internships in arts and media, provides opportunities to students in and out of the classroom, including readings, webcasts, podcasts, lectures, performances, and archives — all of which promote the dynamic state of journalistic writing today.
The Journalistic Writing Minor consists of six workshops:
- English 3408, a course in long-form journalism, is required. English 3408 focuses on the most revolutionary period in contemporary journalism — the 1960s, when writers such as Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Gay Talese, Anthony Lukas, Norman Mailer, and Thomas B. Morgan vastly expanded the possibilities of nonfiction and adapted certain aspects of the novel (scenes, dialogue, structure) in order to better tell true-life stories. English 3408 is typically offered each spring. (This course was previously numbered English 160.)
- Five other creative writing workshops may be chosen from courses in which journalism, creative nonfiction, or related topics in prose are a central focus. For a complete list of current courses in creative writing, consult the list here. If you are wondering whether a particular course counts toward the minor, please contact us.
- Select other courses outside the English department in the craft or study of journalistic writing or the study of nonfiction or journalism are considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Journalistic Writing Minors will also be interested in those English courses devoted to how historical changes in the material production of literature (such as the invention of the printing press and the growth of mass media) affect the fields of journalism and nonfiction; see the English Department’s Literature, Journalism and Print Culture concentration for an overview of such courses, and for a complete list of current courses in literary writing, visit the Department of English.
- Courses in the Critical Writing Program (those coded as WRIT) do not count toward the minor.
- Creative Writing Minors may count only two of their creative writing workshops toward the Journalistic Writing Minor.
- Minors are welcome — and encouraged — to take more than the six required courses as their schedules permit.
Declaring your minor
Declaring your minor is simple. To get started, please contact Julia Bloch, Director of the Creative Writing Program.