Start your Editing Program Application.
Once you’re finished, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with one of the editing faculty for advisement.
Print out the email confirming your application, and bring the printout to your meeting with the faculty advisor.
Editors apply principles of linguistics, composition, and design as they work with authors to optimize communication. Successful editing students can demonstrate to potential employers that they have practical editing experience backed by solid understanding of linguistic, rhetorical, and design principles.
Goals of the Editing Program
Students are expected to do the following:
- Identify the principles of linguistic form, meaning, and context governing effective editing decisions.
- Improve manuscripts through effective copyediting and substantive editing methods.
- Use standard editing/publishing software tools.
- Acquire, edit, and publish articles, stories, books, webpages, or other communication, in a manner consistent with approved publishing practices and ethical principles, grounded in an awareness of the history and the current state of the publishing industry.
Why Study Editing
Editing students typically pursue careers in book, journal, and magazine publishing, but they can apply editing skills in most other professional settings. All professions rely on communicating information. Students may effectively combine the editing minor with any major on campus to enhance their marketability as editors, publishers, content creators, or professionals in other careers involving academic research and publishing.
BYU editing students find work in a variety of enterprises:
- Freelance work
- Publishing houses
- Businesses and corporations
- Nonprofit organizations such as government agencies, libraries, museums, schools, universities, scientific and technical organizations
Editing graduates edit and publish content in a variety of genres:
- Scholarly works
- Web content
- Advertising and marketing materials
- Technical materials
- Personal and family histories
Students also leverage their editing training to pursue graduate school in a variety of disciplines.
The editing program is challenging and rigorous. The core of the minor includes three courses in the history, theory, and structure of English; three courses in editing skills (plus some introduction to other aspects of the publishing industry); and one course in related computer skills. The editing major includes these elements plus a series of electives covering linguistic principles and software tools that deepen and broaden student understanding of and skills in editing methods.
See the Editing Minor requirements.
See the Editing Major requirements.
Why Linguistics Is Important for Editors
To understand how studying linguistics will be useful to you as an editor, make sure to review the slide presentations below:
For the introduction to linguistics course (LING 201 or ELANG 223):
For the English grammar course (ELANG 325):
For the Substantive Editing Course (ELANG 410):
Course Sequencing and Prerequisites
Either ELang 223 (preferred) or Ling 201 (allowed) is prerequisite for ELang 322 and ELang 325
BOTH ELang 322 and ELang 325 are prerequisites for ELang 350 and ELang 410R.
Students must formally enroll in the editing program before they can enroll in ELang 350 and ELang 410R.
ELang 350 and ELang 410R may be taken concurrently, but we recommend taking ELang 350 before 410R. DigHT 230 may be taken any semester prior to taking ELang 430R, but we recommend taking it shortly before taking ELang 430R unless you plan to regularly use the software programs taught in DigHT 230 during the interim.
This sequence of courses can be completed in four semesters by taking ELang 223 (or Ling 201) the first semester, ELang 322 and ELang 325 the second semester, ELang 350 and ELang 410R in the third semester, DigHT 230 in one of semesters one through three, and ELang 430R the fourth semester.
Faculty and Advisors
Matt Baker. 4045 JFSB, 422-1253, firstname.lastname@example.org. Professor Baker’s primary interests are in feedback, social technologies, and employment communication; he has experience in textbook publishing and professional communication.
Alan D. Manning. 4053 JFSB, 422-2974, email@example.com. Professor Manning’s primary interests are in linguistics, especially as applied to editing and technical communication.
Suzy Bills. 4092 JKB, 422-1719, firstname.lastname@example.org. Professor Bills’s primary interests are in freelance editing and scholarly and corporate publishing; she has experience in business communications and freelance editing and writing.
Jacob Rawlins. 4051 JFSB, 422-2144, email@example.com. Professor Rawlins’s primary interests are in the dynamics of the publishing industry; he has experience in business communications, scholarly publishing, and freelance work.
These faculty members serve as academic advisors for editing students and are available to offer advice to individual students regarding academic matters and the process of finding a job. Your advisor will make sure that you understand the requirements of the major/minor and will explain related opportunities. You must see your advisor after applying for the editing major/minor.
Selecting a Section of ELang 410R: Substantive and Genre Editing
All sections of ELang 410R cover substantive editing issues, such as tone, organization, expression, titles, logic, indexes, and graphics. Each section involves practicing those skills in the context of a different publishing genre and also focuses on issues specific to that genre. Different genres are taught each semester, so check the course schedule for the section that best aligns with your goals. In recent semesters, the genres have included fiction and nonfiction books, technical editing, and freelance editing. Other genres may be offered in future years.
Fiction and Nonfiction Books
This section prepares students to work in the traditional book publishing industry. Projects and assignments typically include popular fiction (such as young adult fantasy or science fiction), scholarly books, textbooks, and informative books.
This section prepares students to work outside of the traditional publishing industry for large corporations, tech and software companies, airlines, banks, and so on. Each of these companies produces manuals, instructions, policies, and websites that needs to be edited and designed. Projects and assignments include working on memos, letters, outlines, safety manuals, and instructions.
This section prepares students for one of the fastest growing sectors of the publishing industry: freelance editing. Students learn to attract and maintain clients, build networks, manage personal workflow, and run a freelance business. Projects and assignments include building a professional internet presence, understanding business plans, and planning for freelance success.
Selecting a Section of ELang 430R: Editing for Publication
ELang 430R provides the opportunity for you to polish the editing and other publishing skills you’ve developed during the editing program. You’ll apply these skills to complete a publishing project, which you can then use in your professional portfolio. During the course, you’ll also learn more about publishing as a profession. ELang 430R is offered in multiple genres. Please check the course catalog to see which genres will be offered in upcoming semesters and spring term.
Following are some of the ELang 430 genres offered:
Stowaway Magazine (Print and Online)
Students plan, write, edit, proofread, design, and lay out articles for a travel magazine. Students manage the magazine’s website and complete tasks related to PR, social media, and selling and advertising.
Mormon Insights (Online)
Students plan, write, edit, proofread, and format gospel-related articles designed to engage teens and young adults. Students manage the website, create shareable picture quotes, complete tasks related to PR and social media, and oversee the translation of articles into multiple languages.
Book Publishing (Print and Online)
Students interact directly with authors to edit, proofread, and typeset the authors’ books. Students also design the cover and assist with jacket copy.
A great way to get practical publishing experience is to volunteer on one of BYU’s 20+ student journals. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of producing a journal, including solicitation and evaluation of manuscripts; substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading; design and layout; and printing.
As you work on the journal, you’ll receive mentoring and feedback from more advanced students and from faculty advisors. You don’t need background knowledge in the subject matter and can volunteer on a journal before taking ELang 350 or ELang 410, so join the staff of a journal as soon as possible. By starting early and trying out multiple journals, you’ll discover which type of editing and which subject matter you particularly like.
To receive academic credit for your work on a journal, register for ELang 351R. Having the experience listed on your transcript is impressive to potential employers.
For more information about BYU’s student journals, contact Suzy Bills (422-1719, firstname.lastname@example.org).
One of the best ways to improve the editing skills that you learn in classes at BYU is to put those skills to work in an internship. We strongly encourage you to complete at least one editing internship during your college career (and to register for credit through ELang 399R, to have the class listed on your transcript). Many student editing jobs on campus are already set up to be internships, and there are also several local opportunities off campus, both part-time and full-time.
While you are ultimately responsible for finding your own internship, Professor Nancy Turley, the internship coordinator (422-0352, email@example.com), can help you succeed in your experience. Requirements for the internships, instructions on how to get credit through ELang 399R, and listings for many internships can be found on the editing internship page.
STET: The Editors’ Network
STET is a club for student editors. All editing majors/minors are considered members of the club. It sponsors activities such as the following to support and enrich the editing curriculum at BYU:
- Presentations by editing professionals on opportunities in various fields of editing and publishing
- Workshops on career skills, such as résumé writing and interviewing
- Notices of campus job and internship openings
- Social and service activities
- Leadership opportunities
You’ll also have access to a growing network of former editing majors/minors in companies across the United States, who can help each other in finding good employment opportunities.
Watch for emails about information and upcoming club activities.
University Aims and the Editing Program
In keeping with the aims of a BYU education, the editing program strives to cultivate in its students the attitude that editing is primarily service -oriented. Upon achieving an editing major/minor, students will have received an education that harmonizes with the aims of BYU in the following ways:
Spiritually strengthening: Students will explore how editors can meet the expectations of their employers and clients while remaining morally responsible to society and ultimately to God for the accuracy, ethical soundness, and values and attitudes of the materials they edit. They will explore how service to authors and readers can be service to God.
Intellectually enlarging: Editing is a lifelong pursuit of learning. Students will learn to make information and ideas more accessible to the public by helping authors communicate that information and those ideas with readers.
Character building: In mediating between the wishes of the author, the needs of the audience, the desires of the publisher, and the forces of the marketplace, editors must maintain integrity and respect. Students will learn to become selfless editors, serving the needs of others above their own desires.
Lifelong learning and service: Students will learn to appreciate the service that editing provides. As editors, students will grow and change under the service of their chosen careers, allowing them to give back to their communities.