Writing, Rhetoric & Literacy

The Writing, Rhetoric & Literacy Concentration builds on Departmental strengths in composition and nonfiction writing, as well as in technology-based writing and writing instruction. It is designed for students who wish to pursue the study of theories and practices of writing and rhetoric. The Writing, Rhetoric & Literacy Concentration offers students the ability to:

  • Study writing in a department that takes a humanistic approach to learning
  • Study writing and rhetoric with a focus on genre, audience, invention, and style
  • Study writing and writing theory in social, cultural, and historical contexts

Required Courses

In addition to the common requirements for the English major, students pursuing the Writing, Rhetoric & Literacy Concentration should take the following courses:

  • CO302 Writing Online
  • E305 Principles of Writing and Rhetoric
  • CO401 Advanced Composition
  • E406 Topics in Literacy
  • Capstone Course (choose E460, E463, E406, E465, or E470)
  • Two writing electives: CO300, CO301, CO402, E311C, or E403
  • Open Electives: Two courses in Writing, Literature, or Language


Writing Advising Check Sheet [pdf]
AUCC Core Requirements Sheet [pdf]

Recent Undergraduate Topics Courses in Writing

E406 Technology and Literacy
This course examines the effect of writing technologies on the nature of literacy. Beginning historically with the influence of writing itself and then, the printing press, the course focuses on how new computer technologies–e-mail, synchronous conferencing, hypertext, interactive fiction, the “web,” and so on–affect and seek to change this definition of literacy emerging from print. The primary goal is to develop a definition of literacy that takes into account recent technological developments. To do so, we will not only read about the new technologies but read and write with/in them as well.

E465 Topics in Literature and Language
This course builds on English core and concentration courses that develop student ability to read and write critically about texts. The course connects theoretical perspectives typically presented in upper-division coursework (including internships) to provide opportunities for a synthesizing focus. Within the writing major, recent versions of E465 have focused on Workplace Literacies, Rhetorics of Sport, Rhetorics of Pop Culture, Prison Writing, Women’s Prison Writing, and Literacy, Resistance, and Change. All of these courses examine rhetorical approaches used in varying contexts by diverse writers/designers. Students demonstrate their versatility as writer-composers, developing and demonstrating 21st century literacies by using old and new media.