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BA with a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing

With its broad focus on the study of discourse, the rhetoric and writing concentration offers students the opportunity to develop their analytical and writing skills and to explore a wide range of issues in rhetorical and cultural theory. In addition to developing a critical consciousness of their own language use, students explore how rhetorical actions develop and are reinforced within communities, cultures, workplaces, professions, and classrooms.

A concentration in rhetoric and writing prepares students to use language effectively to communicate with diverse audiences in multiple contexts.

Core courses provide students with a foundation in rhetorical theory and advanced study in style, genre, writing for multiple audiences, and research technology. Students also have the opportunity for specialized study in public writing, technical writing, linguistics, legal writing, and teaching English as a second or foreign language. Special topics courses are regularly offered on a number of subjects; recent courses include Reading and Writing in the South, the Rhetoric of American Political Discourse, the Rhetoric of Domesticity, and Rhetoric and Human Rights on the Internet. The concentration allows students the flexibility to combine work in rhetoric with work in literary studies, women’s studies, critical theory, and ethnic and cultural studies.

All students in this concentration take Rhetoric and Writing (English 355). Students then choose two of three core courses: Persuasive Writing, Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition, or Rhetoric of Legal Discourse. Students take an additional course from the concentration’s offerings, either from the core courses or from a number of courses in technical or creative writing. Students also enroll in one elective, chosen from any upper division course offered by the department.

The writing and rhetoric concentration provides students with a wide range of practical skills and a foundation for analyzing communication, culture, and technology. Students in this concentration have gone on to careers in college and university teaching. Students also take this concentration to prepare for a variety of other professions, including law, medicine, professional writing, business, library science, political consulting, research, evaluation, public relations, advertising, publishing, editing, consulting, grant writing, labor organizing, and non-profit management.


  • English 355 or 357 and any two of the following courses: 455, 495, 496.
  •  One other course in rhetoric and writing. In addition to the course listed in item one which was not taken, students may choose from the following list: 360, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 455, 460, 462, 463, 464, 466, 470, 484, 490.
  • One upper-division English elective.

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