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Professional Writing

Professional Writing

What is Professional Writing?

The Professional Writing (PW) program at Gaylord College helps students develop the skills needed to succeed in the publishing industry. Those skills, which include the ability to communicate clearly, think logically, manage large-scale projects and craft a compelling narrative, are critical to virtually all careers. PW majors are in the business of writing; learning how to pitch a story, marketing themselves as an author and preparing for careers as freelance authors of books, short stories, magazine articles and screenplays, both fiction and nonfiction, in print and online. Who knows, you could be the next New York Times Best Seller or win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay! 

Gaylord Hall has more than 100,000 square-feet of high-tech classroom, presentation, studio and computer lab space. Gaylord Hall includes four computer classrooms, two complete digital broadcast studios, 14 video editing bays, classrooms and two state-of-the-art open multimedia labs available for all students. 

Gaylord Hall

Do my interests fit?

PW students typically have interests in:

  • Writing/editing
  • Reading
  • Fiction/nonfiction
  • Grammar and style
  • Creative expression
  • Communication skills
  • Multimedia

High school preparation could include journalism, creative writing, broadcast production or yearbook. 

How can OU PW help me?

Thousands of books in all genres of fiction and nonfiction have been published by faculty and former students in the PW program including novelists Deborah Chester, J. Madison Davis, Jim Butcher, Louis L'Amour, Ross Thomas, Carolyn Hart and Tony Hillerman. Gaylord College has built an incredible alumni network that exists to help yOU! With graduates in PW all over the world, alumni look forward to meeting with, donating and awarding internships to Gaylord students. Advisors and faculty encourage and help supplement traditional classroom experience with on-the-job training. With opportunities like career fairs, networking events, premier student organizations, faculty guided trips and tours and study abroad opportunities, there’s no limit to the possibilities with a PW degree. 

How can I get involved?

There are numerous organizations PW students can be a part of. Check them out:

What courses will I take?

PW courses include:

  • Introduction to Mass Communication
  • Writing for Mass Media
  • Practicum
  • Introduction to Professional Writing
  • Writing the Novel
  • Writing the Short Story
  • Category Fiction
  • Theories of Professional Writing
  • Business of Professional Writing - Capstone
  • Mass Communication Law
  • Gaylord Electives
  • Minor Classes

Wait, I can have a minor?

Gaylord students have the opportunity to minor in a non-Gaylord program as part of their program degree sheet. Typically, PW students minor in:

Click here to view the full list of available minors please check out Minor Checksheets website. 


How can I study abroad?

PW students have the chance to study abroad with:

  • British Media Study Abroad in the United Kingdom
  • Communicating Culture: Travel writing in Puerto Rico 
  • International Advertising to either Europe or Asia
  • Summer Program in Communication at Erfurt (SPICE) in Germany
  • Summer in Washington, D.C.  
  • JMC: Professional Media Program in OU in Arezzo, Italy
  • Students also have the opportunity for Club Trips in Austin, Dallas, New York City and San Francisco

For more information please visit Gaylord College Study Abroad website.

What kind of career could I pursue?

  • Novel writing
  • Publications specialist
  • Editor
  • Columnist
  • Law/government angencies
  • Journalism
  • Publishing houses
  • Corporate and online publications
  • Newspaper/magazines journalist

How much will I make?

Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website to explore the median pay for jobs you can pursue with this degree. 

Program Accreditation

The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication is a founding member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The college has had continuous accreditation since 1948. A professional writing student graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree. Master of Professional Writing degrees are also available.

Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications University of Oklahoma wordmark

Chandler Lindsey – PW Academic Advisor
Phone: (405) 325-0918