Announcing a New Writing Concentration for English Majors

A young woman takes notes seated amongst other people in an audience as poet Sharon  Olds speaks during a New York State Writers Institute craft conversation in the UAlbany Campus Center Multipurpose Room on Thursday, October 24, 2019. (photo by Patrick Dodson)

Starting in Fall 2022, English majors will be able to elect to enroll in a new Writing Concentration. The concentration will be officially recognized on students’ transcripts, thus allowing graduates to announce their extensive work in writing to potential employers and graduate schools.

Professor Laura Wilder, who specializes in Rhetoric and Composition Studies and helped design the Writing Concentration, has remarked that this new feature of the English major “allows students to hone their writing craft in a variety of ways. Students can explore writing creatively in a variety of genres, from poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, to playwriting. They can also take classes that help them learn about their own writing process and all the rhetorical choices at a writer’s disposal. At the same time, students in this concentration will have the opportunity to learn how to support other writers as tutors, editors, and teachers.”

Professor Ed Schwarzschild, our Creative Writing Director, is enthusiastic about what he calls an “exciting” and “timely” new opportunity for students who might not be able to adopt our Creative Writing minor. “Students in the Writing Concentration will find themselves immersed in a vibrant writing community,” he remarks. Our creative writers have been building an energetic and exciting community, complete with publishing and editing experience through the student-run digital magazines ARCH and Compendium, weekly open mics and reading series, and the launch of a new professionalization initiative called the Young Writers Project. Writing Concentration students can join these efforts, too. The concentration, Professor Schwarzschild notes, “will allow students to focus on their creative writing while also developing a well-rounded, extremely marketable command of the breadth and depth of writing studies.”

“Students in the concentration write together, read and respond to one another’s writing, and learn from practicing writers,” Professor Wilder explains. “Students can learn how writing is studied; the history of writing and rhetorical instruction; and the roles of writing and rhetoric in all aspects of our lives, including in digital and political spaces.”

Becoming part of a vibrant community of writers is just one advantage of electing the new Writing Concentration. This official course of study also will prepare students for life after UAlbany. “Students interested in graduate study will be well-prepared for MFA programs in creative writing and PhD programs in rhetoric and composition,” Professor Wilder observes. The benefits go beyond graduate work in these and other fields and degree programs. Professor Schwarzschild adds that students who adopt the concentration will be prepared for “any writing-based postgraduate path (law, education, business, publishing, entertainment, digital media, and on and on).”

“If you’re interested in writing, in any form, there’s never been a better time to be an English major at UAlbany,” says Professor Eric Keenaghan, the Chair of the English Department. If you are interested in learning more about the English major or the Creative Writing minor, or if you already are an English major and want to learn how to enroll in the Writing Concentration, please email Karen Williams ([email protected]), our Academic Advisor. Join us today!