Bachelor of Arts in English: Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric

General Information

The English Department at SF State provides opportunities for students to study in a variety of subfields that make up the English major. Join us and become part of a racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse community of learners engaging in dialog between our histories and experiences, and new ideas and literacies.

The Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) concentration prepares students to be successful workplace writers in almost every field of industry and public life, including high-technology industries, business, government, and research and nonprofit organizations. Students in the Professional Writing and Rhetoric concentration begin by developing strong writing skills that they then learn to adapt for the workplace and for changing technologies and employment needs. The PWR concentration also provides students with an intellectual framework for continuing professional growth and responsibility throughout their careers.

The required courses in the PWR concentration expose students to foundational workplace writing forms, methods, and issues. Various elective courses help students develop specialized communication and writing skills. After completing the PWR concentration, students can begin their writing careers with a number of important accomplishments and advantages: an academic degree in the field, improved and focused skills, an understanding of professional expectations for writers, and a portfolio of relevant writing samples

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to differentiate how language use varies across the contexts and genres of professional writing and rhetoric, literature, and linguistics. (Disciplinary Knowledge)
  2. Students will be able to formulate and pursue methodologically sound lines of inquiry, effectively placing their ideas side by side the ideas of others, drawing persuasively on credible primary and secondary sources. (Research)
  3. Students will be able to produce rhetorically effective texts across a range of digital, print, and multimedia formats. (Written Communication)
  4. Students will be able to carefully read and critically examine the ways in which culture and global context affect language, literature, and writing. (Global Perspective)
  5. Students will be able to analyze language and text in relation to the historical and social contexts in which they are situated. (Historical Thinking)
  6. Students will be able to apply critical thinking, close reading, and rhetorical persuasion to engage productively and ethically in scholarly, civic, and professional communities. (Application & Engagement)
  7. Students in the Professional Writing and Rhetoric concentration will analyze workplace writing to understand and develop effective rhetorical strategies for a variety of professional writing contexts. (Analysis)
  8. Students in the Professional Writing and Rhetoric concentration will produce persuasive texts using a broad range of genres, methods, and conventions for professional writers, considering the unique purposes and audiences of workplace writing. (Production)

Additional Information

English majors are required to complete a 45-unit program consisting of 24 units of core requirements and 21 units in an area of concentration, including a 3-unit Culminating Experience capstone course. The four concentrations offered by the English Department are Literature, Linguistics, English Education, and Professional Writing and Rhetoric.

A maximum of 6 units of lower-division coursework may be accepted for credit in the English major upon the consent of an advisor. Advanced Placement (A.P.) credit in composition cannot be used to fulfill the 6-unit lower-division requirement in the major.

Completion of the ENG 480GW with a grade of C or better fulfills the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) for all English majors.

The Culminating Experience capstone course must be completed during either the final semester or one of the semesters of the student’s final (senior) year, depending on the concentration. For more information, please refer to the relevant major concentration section in this Bulletin.

English (B.A.): Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric – 45 Units

Core Requirements (24 Units)

ENG 218Literature Is Not A Luxury: Writing For Self and Community3
ENG 250Topics in Literature and Culture3
ENG 480GWWriting in English: GWAR Seminar3
ENG 420Introduction to the Study of Language3
ENG 402Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric3
ENG 640Global Texts and Practices3
ENG 583Shakespeare: Representative Plays3
ENG 461Literature in English Since 18003

Concentration Requirements (21 Units)

Required Courses (9 units)

ENG 540Professional Editing3
ENG 545Visual Rhetoric and Document Design3
ENG 618Individual and Team Writing3

Electives (9 units)

Select 3:
ENG 200Writing Practices in Professional Contexts3
ENG 470Writing Professional Promotions3
ENG 471Writing Technical Documentation3
ENG 490Grant Writing3
ENG 585Professional Writing for Digital Audiences3
Other courses with the approval of an advisor.

Capstone Experience (3 units)

This course must be completed during the spring semester of the student’s final (senior) year.

ENG 695Internship in Professional Writing and Rhetoric3

Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in the major, and no grade in the major lower than C- (except for ENG 480GW, which requires a grade of C or higher).

Complementary Studies Requirement for English Majors

Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates in any of the four concentrations (Literature, Linguistics, English Education, and Professional Writing and Rhetoric) in the Bachelor of Arts degree in English. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than ENG, and must not be cross-listed with ENG. English majors will be offered four pathways for satisfying this requirement; each pathway is designed to facilitate graduation in a timely manner.

  1. Foreign Language: 12 units in a single foreign language;
  2. Second major, minor, or certificate: 12 units of coursework taken as part of a second major, a minor or a certificate;
  3. Study Abroad: 12 units of coursework taken in an approved study abroad program (such as CSU Study Abroad);
  4. Related Subjects: 12 units of coursework in related disciplines with the approval of an English Department advisor.

Related subjects typically include (but are not limited to) Comparative and World Literature, Classics, Creative Writing, Ethnic Studies, Foreign Languages, History, Journalism, Women and Gender Studies, Communication Studies, Instructional Technology, or Marketing. For these related subjects, six units must be from classes in a non-literary related field.

Depending on the concentration within the major, Complementary Studies pathway, and approval of a departmental advisor, up to 12 units from courses with non-ENG prefixes that count towards the Complementary Studies requirement may also count as English electives in fulfillment of the degree requirements.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

B.A. in English: Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric and M.A. in English: Concentration in Linguistics SF State Scholars Roadmap

B.A. in English: Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric and M.A. in English: Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages SF State Scholars Roadmap

B.A. in English: Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric and M.A. in English: Concentration in Composition SF State Scholars Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in English.
ENGL ADT Roadmap

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.