Rhetoric and Writing Studies

Rhetoric refers to the study and uses of written, spoken, and visual language. From antiquity to the present, rhetoric has included both theory and practice, looking to produce and understand persuasion in social, political, and institutional settings. Rhetoric reflects on the nature and function of discourse in action, investigates literacy and literacy instruction, and offers frameworks for understanding technical and scientific writing as artifacts of communal practice.

Program Overview

The primary areas of study for the major are rhetorical theory, literacy and the teaching of writing, and professional (primarily technical and scientific) writing and public discourse. The purpose of rhetorical education extends beyond understanding literacy as basic skills. The major teaches literacy as an array of advanced language and critical thinking abilities that enhance a person's participation in professional, civic, and personal life. Students in the major will study how persuasion and meaning function in a wide variety of public and professional contexts, learning how to:

  • Communicate and express ideas effectively;
  • Persuade and inspire diverse audiences;
  • Analyze and produce information, messages, and arguments in a range of media and technologies;
  • Express a position clearly and ethically.

Special Features

  • The Rhetoric and Writing Studies program encourages an international experience. The department will facilitate the transfer of rhetoric and writing studies credits for appropriate study abroad, student exchange, or other overseas programs. International internships may also receive rhetoric and writing studies credit, if approved in advance by a department adviser.

Career Opportunities

The Rhetoric and Writing Studies program provides preparation in nearly every profession, including business, law, marketing and advertising, politics, science, education, professional writing and more. The major also prepares students for graduate-level study in business, law, and a range of disciplines in the humanities and sciences.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services website for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Rhetoric and Writing Studies program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.