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Rhetoric refers to the study and uses of written, spoken and visual language. It investigates how texts are used to organize and maintain social groups, construct meanings and identities, coordinate behavior, mediate power, persuade, produce change, and create knowledge. Students can pursue a minor, a certificate in Technical & Scientific Writing, and a Masters degree in Rhetoric & Writing Studies. Our areas of primary focus include literacy and the teaching of writing, rhetorical theory, and professional and public discourse.
The Rhetoric & Writing Studies department works cooperatively with departments and campus groups to run a comprehensive writing program which integrates writing and reading with critical thinking throughout the curriculum. The department prepares students to write independently and collaboratively in school, workplace and community settings; to produce texts using a variety of different technological tools, and tobecome sophisticated, critically reflective knowledge workers.
The Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, in conjunction with the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages, offers courses for International Students and English Language Learners for every required composition course. Specifically, the DRWS offers two writing courses (RWS 94 and RWS 281) designed to meet the needs of students whose first language is not English. These courses are equivalent to courses offered in the DRWS to native English speakers (RWS 92 and RWS 280).