Rhetoric and Professional Writing Course Offerings
A listing of offered courses follows with prerequisites. Please note that some courses do have additional fees associated with them. The credit value of each course is represented by the number in brackets.
RPW 110 Rhetoric and Writing I 
Introduces students to the complex practices of writing, reading, and thinking required in many university courses. Students learn to approach writing as a process of invention, drafting, revising, and editing. The course also emphasizes the rhetorical aspects of writing, such as audience, arrangement, and academic conventions. Students learn to read diverse texts critically by practicing close-reading strategies, such as high-lighting, annotating, and double-entry note taking. Students should become more confident and competent at understanding the positions of others as well as asserting their own informed perspectives. Designated sections of the course require additional work on basic skills. This course may not be elected on a Pass/No Pass basis. Laboratory fee.
RPW 111 Rhetoric and Writing II 
Emphasizes close reading, analytical writing, and critical thinking that are fundamental for many upper-level courses. Building upon the abilities introduced in RPW 110, critical thinking is taught as students learn to examine multiple perspectives, to analyze an argument, to find and evaluate sources (print and digital), and to present a persuasive viewpoint. As students assert their informed perspectives, they learn to engage with the words and ideas of others without compromising their academic integrity. A primary goal of the course is for students to learn to participate fully in scholarly discourses and debates. Designated sections of this course require additional work in basic skills. This course may not be elected on a Pass/No Pass basis. Prerequisite:
RPW 110. Laboratory fee.
RPW 210 Foundations of Argument 
This foundation course in critical thinking allows students to sharpen their abilities to form and present clear, reasoned opinions. Students will analyze discourse, texts, and images to comprehend the arguments they are making; identify and evaluate the assumptions, evidence, and rhetorical strategies on which arguments are based; understand the major components of inductive and deductive reasoning; evaluate the relationships between premises and conclusions while recognizing major fallacies; and make reasoned judgments about an argument’s validity and potential consequences. No credit for RPW 210 will be given to students who have credit for RPW 111. Prerequisite:
RPW 110. Laboratory fee.
RPW 211W Introduction to Business and Management Communication 
This course prepares students to meet diverse business and professional communication needs of the contemporary workplace. Learning and performing business communication functions in a workshop setting, students build on a range of existing and new problem-solving, communication, management, and collaboration skills. To further refine an understanding of these skills, students complete projects around real-world and simulated problems, including a problem report, a grant proposal, and a business plan. Prerequisite:
RPW 110 or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 215W Introduction to Professional Writing 
This course provides an introduction to the practice of writing in the workplace by bringing together fragments of our talents (what we know, what we can do, what interests us) in order to do the work of professional writers. Students study the language of online and print technical communication; discuss ethical problems in professional communication settings; and examine storyboards, proposals and reports, websites, charts and graphs, marketing materials, and other professional documents with a sharpened rhetorical sensitivity. Students engage in intensive practice of writing individual and collaborative documents for business and industry, including memos, letters, proposals, reports, procedures, descriptions, research designs, and basic HTML. Prerequisite:
RPW 110 or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 245W Critical Literacy 
Teaches students to think critically about literacy itself. The course examines the implications of changing definitions of reading and writing by placing literacy in a historical context. The social as well as the cognitive effects of reading and writing are studied by locating literacy in various academic and cultural contexts. Other issues include visual and digital literacies as well as students’ own literacy practices. The course may be taken as a requirement of the Rhetoric and Professional Writing major and/or as a writing-intensive course for any student in the College of Arts and Sciences. Prerequisite:
RPW 110. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 251W/GS 251W Rhetorics of Gender Activism 
If, as Aristotle claims, rhetoric is the study of the available means of persuasion, then it seems imperative that rhetoric turn its attention to the ways in which activists concerned with issues of gender and sexuality have sought to enact social and political change in a range of contexts throughout history. This course applies rhetorical analysis to essays, speeches, documentary films, visual media, and artifacts from activist organizations, all in an effort to understand better the techniques that gender activists use to mobilize, to challenge, and to create change. Prerequisites:
RPW 110 and GS 100, or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 312W Reports, Proposals, and Grants 
Whether in corporations, nonprofit, government, or other workplace settings, employees spend much of their time writing reports, proposals, and/or grants. This intermediate-level course teaches the mechanics of writing in these genres and explores the social and political aspects of such writing. Students examine how to conduct research for these genres and tailor such writing for particular audiences by creating several informal and formal projects. Prerequisite:
RPW 211W or RPW 215W, or permission of instructor.
RPW 316W Collaborative Writing in the Workplace 
Studies show that professional and technical writers collaborate 75 percent of their work time, and industry spends $3 billion annually to retrain employees to engage in collaborative composing processes. This course examines professional and technical writing as a collaborative, rather than an individual, process. Topics include theories of collaboration (horizontal and vertical), information development, document cycling, project management, and concepts of authorship. Students lead, as well as engage in, collaborative writing teams on such topics as employee assessment, procedural guidelines, product design, and project proposals. Prerequisite:
RPW 211 or RPW 215; or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 340W/GS 340W Writing in Gender-Based Activist Organizations 
Focusing on issues such as reproductive rights, health care, and domestic violence, students examine the ways in which activist organizations that are focused on issues of gender and sexuality write about controversial issues for a range of audiences and in response to a variety of situations: guest speakers and working documents from actual reports, press releases, website content, and other written texts. Prerequisites:
RPW 110, or GS 100, and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 359/ENG 359 Contemporary English Grammar 
Grammatical structures and application of grammar to prose writing, with emphasis on stylistic study, syntactic arrangement, and semantic meaning. Prerequisite:
Any 200-level literature course or permission of the instructor.
RPW 370W Foundations of Rhetoric 
The aim of this course is to introduce key historical figures who made, and the current central scholars who are making, contributions to the study of rhetoric. We read primary texts selected from classical rhetoric, modern rhetoric, post-modern rhetoric, and alternative rhetoric(s). We define rhetoric in the traditional sense and study how this definition has changed to include contemporary problems of electronic texts and visual displays of information. Prerequisite:
RPW 210W or RPW 215W, or permission of instructor. (Writing-intensive course) Laboratory fee.
RPW 375 Professional Editing 
This course focuses on print and online editing, including the use of traditional proofreading marks and online techniques, document layout and design, principles of copywriting, and the study of style manuals. The course follows two lines of study: one of editing/text-crunching practices and one of print document design principles and practices related to the editing of documents. The cornerstone of the course is producing two client documents, edited according to client preferences. Prerequisite:
RPW 210W or RPW 215W, or permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.
RPW 472 Rhetoric and Professional Writing Capstone Course: Portfolio Presentation 
A capstone course in which students work individually with faculty advisors to present a portfolio of work submitted, revised, and represented within the rhetoric and professional writing major. Students may elect to include material developed in off-campus writing experiences, including internships, as well as in course work. Each portfolio will be introduced by an essay in which students will situate their work within the theoretical perspectives learned in the program. Prerequisite:
Senior standing in the professional and technical writing major.
RPW 480 Internship in Professional Writing [1–3]
Internships allow RPW majors and minors to supplement their classroom work with on-the-job experience in professional and technical writing. Typically, during one semester, interns work off campus several hours each week under the supervision of professionals in their fields. Prerequisites:
RPW 215W, one 300- or 400-level RPW course, and junior or senior standing.
RPW 481, 482, 483 Independent Study in Rhetoric and Professional Writing [1–3]
Individual work in professional and technical writing with faculty supervision. By special arrangement only. Prerequisites:
RPW 215W, one 300- or 400-level course, and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.
RPW 290, 291, 390, 391, 490, 491 Special Topics in Rhetoric and Professional Writing [3–4]
Courses in this category focus on the theories and practices of rhetoric and professional writing encompassed by this department. While the subject matter of special topics courses—including such material as rhetorical theory, evolving technologies of writing, and digital literacies—varies significantly, all courses provide an intensive focus on important historical and contemporary issues in the fields of rhetoric and professional writing, with an eye to exploring the practical implications of particular theoretical perspectives. Laboratory fee.