What’s the Difference Between Majoring in English or Writing and Applied Arts?

Here at UW-GB, there are many different programs and opportunities presented to people who love all things reading and writing. There is no shortage of programs, opportunities, and events to attend in relation to reading and writing. I remember one thing that confused me though, when first applying to UW-GB, was the difference between majoring in English, and Majoring in the BFA program for Writing and Applied Arts. These two majors overlap in some areas but are also vastly different. When deciding upon and declaring a major, I struggled to decide which would be a better fit for myself, so I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of similarities and differences between the English program at UW-GB, and the BFA program for Writing and Applied Arts.

Writing and Applied Arts BFA:
The Writing and Applied Arts Program was created for passionate writers who want to turn their creative work into a career one day. This B.F.A program was designed specifically to meet industry demand for creatives in the writing field and is tailored toward merging creative expression with the professional world. This is a craft-focused major and allows students to explore, learn, and gain firsthand experience in the world of publishing, editing, and content creation before graduating and finding their professional job. One really cool thing about this major is that internships are embedded into the requirements for the major, thus giving writers a leg up and allowing them to gain valuable experience while still in school. There are four emphases to this major and these are:
● Community Storytelling
○ As the name suggests, this emphasis focuses on community outreach. In this emphasis, you will work to bring your writing to broader communities by organizing regional events, writing for social justice, and advocating to tell stories that are often untold. If you enjoy social justice and writing, this might be a great fit for you!
● Editing and Publishing
○ Editorial production and publication is the main educational goal of this emphasis. Students will learn the ins and outs of working on a content creation team, and this will prepare them for gaining jobs as copyeditors, publishers, publicists, content developers, and marketing professionals.
● Game Writing
○ This is for people who want to delve into the world of game-making. They will learn skills in relation to game craft, and world-building, and learn how to develop stories that will hopefully one day be turned into games.
● Professional and Technical Writing
○ This emphasis has students learn how to work with clients and produce technical manuals, data visualizations, and user interfaces, as well as how to create engaging multimedia designs.

For the creative writer, this major has something for everyone and is really tailored to fit with each individual writer’s creative and professional journey.

Many of the required courses for this major include things like:
● Literary Studies
● Creative Writing
● Grammar
● Technical Writing
● Copyediting and Workflow

There are also classes that involve learning how to edit and publish works of writing, book cover design classes, novel writing classes, literature study classes, and much more. All 4 of the different emphases allow writers to tailor their degree towards their personality, and there really is something for everyone within this program

Click here to explore the Writing and Applied Arts course catalog:

English Major:
Those who love to read and analyze literature would be a perfect fit for the English program. A degree in English is super versatile and can work with many modern-day jobs, such as technical writing, education, journalism, digital marketing, creative writing, editing, and so much more. Students enrolled in the English program will learn how to read and interpret texts critically, create their own original works that demonstrate their skills as a writer, and learn how to understand the complex social and historical contexts that have shaped much of the classical literature we read today. One great thing about UW-GB’s English program is that it doesn’t just focus on classic literature, and instead does its part in branching out by providing classes centered around the voices of people of color, women, indigenous people, and those in the LBGTQIA+ community. English is about exploring and exchanging new ideas with people. This program will expose you to new voices and widen your perspective on the world. It will challenge your viewpoints, and help you become more well-rounded as a person.

The English program at UW-GB has three different emphases for students to choose from. These are:
● Creative Writing
● English Education
● Literature

These three different emphases allow a wide range of students to find where they fit in this program. There is a bit of overlap with the Writing and Applied Arts program with creative writing and literature studies, but by majoring in English, students will be getting a much more in-depth education in relation to these topics. Writing and Applied Arts prepares students to work specifically in the field they are aiming towards, whereas an English degree is more of an overarching degree. There is more to explore within this degree, and it is probably a bit more versatile out in the professional world, but it does require you to dive in deeper to many of these topics.

Click here to explore the English course catalog:

Make sure to set up a meeting and consult with your advisor if you have more questions about this, but hopefully, this post was able to provide a little bit more help to those who are still deciding between these two majors.