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What is Rhetoric?

Rhetoric is the study and uses of written, spoken and visual language. It investigates how language is used to organize and maintain social groups, construct meanings and identities, coordinate behavior, mediate power, produce change, and create knowledge. Business, politics, advertising, everyday life – all use rhetoric or are influenced by it on a daily basis. Rhetorical study and written literacy are understood to be essential to civic, professional and academic life. Browse our website to see which of our programs might best prepare you for your future.


Congratulations to our graduates!


RWS Assistant Professor Paul Minifee awarded the College of Arts and Letters Teaching Excellence award

Arts and Letters Dean Wong has selected Paul Minifee as the recipient of the College of Arts and Letters Teaching Excellence award in the category of tenure-track faculty member for 2015. Paul was chosen for his high quality teaching, his ability to engage and motivate diverse student populations in learning and critical thinking, enrollment, and his effective pedagogical techniques

Learn more about this award by visiting the News and Events page »

Faculty Milestones

Paul Minifee has been granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, beginning Fall 2015.

Nick Schuur, who earned his M.A. in Rhetoric and Writing Studies at San Diego State and has served as both a teaching associate and a lecturer in RWS, has accepted a tenure-track position at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington.

Arafiena (Akbar) Bhuiyan, who earned her M.A. in English at San Diego State University and has served as both a teaching associate and a lecturer in RWS, has accepted a tenure-track position at Mt. San Jacinto College. 

Please join the Department in congratulating these colleagues.

New Rhetoric and Writing Studies Library

Library materials are now available to all RWS faculty, graduate students, TAs, Fellows, and Tutors.
The RWS collection – rhetoric texts, composition textbooks, technical writing materials, grammar guides, dictionaries, reference materials, DVDs of previous RWS Landmark Lectures, and an eclectic variety of other texts – is available for reference and check out.

Learn more by viewing our flyer »

Important Links

  • Writing Center
    The center helps students at all levels and in all disciplines strengthen their academic writing abilities.  It enhances the writing instruction that students receive in their classrooms through one-on-one attention from experienced readers.
  • Writing Placement Assessment (WPA)
    All undergraduates must demonstrate competency in writing skills at the upper division level as a requirement for graduation. At San Diego State University, the Writing Placement Assessment is used to assess that competency.
  • General Math Studies (GMS)
    GMS prepares students to satisfy the CSU Entry Level Mathematics requirement and to prepare students to succeed in their GE entry level Mathematics course.


  • Teaching Associate (TA) Program
    The Teaching Associate Program offers exciting opportunities for financial support and teaching experience to graduate students across the disciplines. TAs are hired to teach one or two lower division general education writing classes.
  • LORE Journal
    LORE is an electronic journal edited by the Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies Department at San Diego State University. The journal’s focus is on rhetoric, writing, teaching, and culture.
  • Give to RWS
    Gifts from alumni, parents, students, and other friends help the department make a lasting impact on our world. Every gift makes a difference. All donations are tax-deductible, private and secure.