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Rhetoric and Professional Writing

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

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.

The program also includes a certificate in RPW designed for those who are already employed in workplace writing, who can advance their careers through formal training in RPW. The study of rhetoric and professional writing is as old as ancient Greece and as current as today's blogs and podcasts.

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Beth Richards, director of the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Department, talks about teaching in Afghanistan.
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