Unique programs at York: English & Professional Writing

Written by Deea Deb

Do you love literature, writing and creating digital content? The English & Professional Writing (ENPR) program is perfect for you! Gain career-focused skills like writing in digital media, reports and technical writing, building communication strategies and more. We met with 2023 graduates, Sashoy Wilson and Lisa Grieve, to talk about their experience in the program. 

Fun fact: York’s ENPR program is the only dual qualification of its kind in Canada!  

Why did you choose this program?

Wilson, initially majoring in English, was searching for electives.  

“I was looking for summer courses and found ‘Fundamentals of Editing’ and many other courses, and I was hooked,” says Wilson. “Editing was exactly what I wanted to do, so I decided to switch.” 

Grieve loves editing, too.  

“I did an inventory of my life and career interests and realized how much I loved editing,” says Grieve. “I liked the English and Professional Writing program and joined.” 

“ENPR is a small program, so you’re not just a number,” adds Wilson. “You get to connect with your faculty and peers and work with them closely.” 

What areas of concentration did you choose and why?

In the ENPR program, students can specialize in any two streams: digital authoring, organizational writing, technical writing and book publishing. In the third year, students take two keystone courses from the above streams, followed by the corresponding fourth-year capstones.  

“I like designing websites and creating content, and written communication is necessary wherever you go, so organizational writing and digital authoring were good fits for me,” says Wilson.  

Lisa specialized in organizational writing and book publishing.  

“In book publishing, we created a fully published anthology for commercial distribution,” says Grieve. “It was amazing! We learned so much.”  

Learn more about the specialization streams here.

Who should join this program?

“This program is for anyone who wants to be a better writer, editor, designer or communicator,” says Grieve.“ All jobs require oral and written communication skills, the two main things this program focuses on.” 

“The program is also useful for people who don't know what they want to do,” says Wilson. “You can't go wrong with this because it teaches you professional and everyday skills.”  

How was your first-year experience?

Your first year of anything is going to be an adjustment period. When Wilson entered the ENPR program, her first year was completely online. “I’m not complaining, I got a lot more done because everything was online,” says Wilson. She adds, 

“I went to all my classes, spoke the most and dived straight into the cocurricular activities associated with the program to meet more people and network with faculty, which was the best decision I've ever made, especially because I'm not all that social. It made me more confident and open to new experiences!”

How can students gain professional and volunteer experience in the program?

While the first- and second-year courses build foundational writing and critical thinking skills, the third- and fourth-year capstones require you to work with community partners on real-life projects.  

The ENPR program has many opportunities for students to volunteer and gain work experience. Grieve and Wilson were on the Existere Journal of Art and Literature editorial team, a literary journal published by students under faculty mentorship.  

“You get to apply things that you've learned in class, like analyzing and discussing literary works with a group of editors, designing the issue, updating the website and creating content for Existere’s social media channels,” says Grieve.  

Both also held leadership positions in the Professional Writing Students’ Association (PWSA), a student organization at York. Wilson was the 2022-23 president, and Grieve, the Editor-in-chief of Inventio, the PWSA’s webzine.  

The Writing Department also has work/study positions for students to gain valuable work experience while studying. 

Pro tip: Don’t forget to network with faculty, peers and community partners while working with them. You never know when a job opportunity may open!