Rhetoric and Professional Writing Department
Skilled professional writers are needed in almost every business and industry—large and small, public and private, corporate, for-profit and nonprofit—to write print, digital, and online texts. The undergraduate major in rhetoric and professional writing (RPW) prepares students to write in the workplace through a constant combination of theory and practice. Students learn many concepts of rhetoric and professional writing while also being engaged in the realistic production of a wide variety of professional texts.
Through a careful sequence of courses and assignments, student learn to write memos, letters, instructions, brochures, proposals, grants, informational reports, and simple Web documents. They also learn to address an audience persuasively and to argue ethically; to employ processes of writing, revising, and editing appropriately; to manage clients, research, and collaboration effectively; and to vary discourses and document designs strategically. Through their senior-year portfolios, students create an array of their exemplary texts and learn to articulate their development as rhetoricians and professional writers.
This program includes a major as well as a minor in RPW. Majors must pursue a second major or minor, and RPW minors must have another subject major. With study in other subjects ranging, for example, from politics, psychology, and creative writing to biology, engineering, and music, students become more capable professionals through their training in rhetoric and writing. Through internships as well as senior portfolios, RPW students are prepared for the initial challenges of workplace writing as well as later career advancement
Students who choose to minor in rhetoric and professional writing add a credential to their degrees. This credential demonstrates that they have skills in professional communication relevant to their major areas of study in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, music, art, engineering, or computer science. This explicit documentation of professional writing skills can enhance students’ job prospects upon graduation.
The certificate program in Rhetoric and Professional Writing offers non-degree-seeking students the opportunity to earn a professional credential in professional writing. Both students with and without baccalaureate degrees are eligible to seek a certificate, and admission to the program is based on previous college course work and workplace experience. This program is eligible for federal financial aid.