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The Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric focuses on the development and expression of ideas in writing—the very foundation of the liberal arts, and more broadly, contemporary democratic culture. Our lives are increasingly mediated by digital technologies that use writing to organize sound and image in interactive spaces like the World Wide Web. And through text messaging, email, and social networking, individual identity and interpersonal relationships are progressively bound up with writing. At the same time, we face growing demands for communicating across national, cultural, and linguistic borders, requiring us to rethink many assumptions we may have about written communication and expression.  

Writing and Rhetoric majors explore theories of language, rhetoric (how to make effective choices as writers), and discourse (the way writing structures human activity) as they develop understanding of the role of the individual writer within communities of writers. They write in a great variety of contexts and genres in preparation for a full range of dynamic and rewarding careers grounded in written communication.  

WRD faculty members are published specialists in the fields that make up writing studies—rhetoric, technical and professional writing, new media studies, and linguistics—allowing students to learn from leading scholars.

Program Requirements Quarter Hours
Liberal Studies Requirements 84
​Major Requirements 56
​Open Electives 52
Total hours required 192

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Describe concepts, theories, and historical periods related to writing, rhetoric, and literacies.
  • Produce clear, cohesive, and precise prose.
  • Compose audience-centered texts in a variety of public and professional genres.
  • Design persuasive multimodal texts.
  • Assess the ethical, cultural, or political dimensions of rhetoric, language, or writing technologies.

College Core Requirements

Study in the Major Field

The student’s course of study in the College consists of three parts: Liberal Studies, the major field, and electives. Together these three parts contribute to the liberal education of the student which is the common purpose of all study in the College. By “liberal education” the College understands not only a deep and thorough knowledge of a particular area of study but a knowledge of the diverse areas of study represented by criticism, history, the arts, the behavioral  and social sciences, philosophy, religious studies, the natural science, and mathematics. 

The major field program generally is built upon a set of core courses and a specialized “concentration.” The number of courses required for a major varies by department. Most students go beyond the minimum requirements, electing additional courses which both broaden and deepen their understanding of their chosen discipline. 

Because no academic major program is built in isolation, students are required to pursue a number of electives of the student’s choice. The inherent flexibility of this curriculum demands that the student consult an academic advisor at each stage in the total program and at least once prior to each registration.

Students will be prompted to visit the College Office for their official graduation check early in their senior year.

Declaration of Major, Minor and Concentration

All students in the College are required to declare a major field prior to beginning their junior year. The student will then be assigned a faculty advisor in the major field department or program and should make an appointment to see that advisor at his or her earliest convenience. 

Students must declare or change majors, minors, and concentrations, via Campus Connection. However, for the purpose of exploring the possibility of changing a major field, the student should consult an academic advisor in the Office for Academic Advising Support.

The Modern Language Requirement (MLR)  

All students will be required to demonstrate competence in a modern language (i.e., a language other than English) equivalent to the proficiency attained from one year of college-level language study. This Modern Language Requirement (MLR) may be demonstrated by:

  • placing into 104 or above on the DePaul language placement exam
  • completing the last course or earning AP/IB credit for the last course in the first-year college sequence of any language (e.g. 103 for DePaul language classes)
  • completing a college course or earning AP/IB credit for a college course beyond the first-year level in any language (e.g. 104 or above for DePaul language classes)
  • completing the final course of a four-year sequence of the same modern language in high school*
  • completing a proctored exam by BYU and passing the exam (see the Department of Modern Languages website for registration details)
  • completing a proctored Written Proficiency Test (WPT) by Language Testing International (LTI) and achieving a score of Beginner High or above (see the Department of Modern Languages website for registration details)

*Students are strongly encouraged to take the DePaul language placement exam even if they have met the MLR via study of a language in high school. This will ensure continuation of language study at the proper level.

Please note: Modern Languages courses with an E-designation are taught in English and may not be applied to the Modern Language Requirement.

Students who complete an Inter-College Transfer (ICT) to the College will abide by the MLR in place on the effective date of the ICT, regardless of when they first matriculated at DePaul.

Students who have met the MLR and wish to pursue further work in the language may elect the “Modern Language Option” (see below).

The Modern Language Option (MLO)

The Modern Language Option is available to all BA students who wish to study a modern language beyond the level required by their College, and to all other undergraduate students without a modern language requirement who wish to study a language at any level. 

Students selecting the MLO may substitute a sequence of three courses in the same language for three domain courses. 

The three MLO substitutions must be made in three different domains, and any substitutions must be consistent with the principle that students complete at least one course in each learning domain.

MLO substitutions may not be used to replace requirements in the Math & Computing, and Scientific Inquiry, domains. ​

Students majoring in one modern language may use the Modern Language Option for study of a second language at the Intermediate level or above.

Modern Languages courses with an E-designation are taught in English and may not be applied to the Modern Language Option.

NOTE: Please contact your college/school regarding additional information and restrictions about the Modern Language Option.

External Credit and Residency

A student who has been admitted to the College begins residency within the college as of the first day of classes of the term in which the student is registered. Students in residence, whether attending on a full-time or part-time basis, may not take courses away from DePaul University without the written permission of the college. Permission must be obtained in advance of registration to avoid loss of credit or residency in the college; see the LAS website for more information. 

Liberal Studies Requirements

Honors program requirements can be found in the individual Colleges & Schools section of the University Catalog. Select the appropriate college or school, followed by Undergraduate Academics and scroll down.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year ProgramHours
Chicago Quarter
LSP 110
DISCOVER CHICAGO
or EXPLORE CHICAGO
4
Focal Point
LSP 112 FOCAL POINT SEMINAR 4
Writing
WRD 103 COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC I 1 4
WRD 104 COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC II 1 4
Quantitative Reasoning
MAT 120 QUANTITATIVE REASONING 2 4
Sophomore Year
Race, Power, and Resistance
LSP 200 SEMINAR ON RACE, POWER, AND RESISTANCE
Junior Year
Experiential Learning
Required 4
Senior Year
Capstone
WRD 390 RHETORIC AND PUBLIC WRITING 1 4
1

Students must earn a C- or better in this course.

2

Readiness for MAT 120 is determined by the math placement test taken online after admission. Students may need to take developmental coursework prior to MAT 120. The MAT 120 requirement may be waived by credit already earned for advanced math coursework or by passing a dedicated proficiency exam. Students who complete MAT 120 and both a Computational Reasoning course and a Statistical Reasoning course in the Math and Computing Domain take one less Learning Domain course. Students may not apply the course reduction to any Domain where only one course is required, and cannot be applied to the SI Domain.

Learning Domains

Arts and Literature (AL)

  • 3 Courses Required

Historical Inquiry (HI)

  • 2 Courses Required

Math and Computing (MC)

  • 2 Courses Required
    [1 CR Course and 1 SR Course]​​

Philosophical Inquiry (PI)

  • 2 Courses Required

Religious Dimensions (RD)

  • 2 Courses Required

Scientific Inquiry (SI)

  • 2 Courses Required
    [1 Lab Course and 1 SWK Course]​​

Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Inquiry (SCBI)​

  • 1 Course Required

Notes

Courses offered in the student's primary major cannot be taken to fulfill LSP Domain requirements. If students double major, LSP Domain courses may double count for both LSP credit and the second major. Students who choose to take an experiential learning course offered by the major may count it either as a general elective or the experiential learning requirement.

In meeting learning domain requirements, no more than one course that is outside the student’s major and is cross-listed with a course within the student’s major, can be applied to count for LSP domain credit. This policy does not apply to those who are pursuing a double major or earning BFA or BM degrees.

Major Requirements

Course Requirements

Fifty-six quarter hours distributed as follows:

Core (4 courses)

Course Title Quarter Hours
WRD 201DIGITAL WRITING4
WRD 203STYLE FOR WRITERS4
WRD 210CULTURAL RHETORICS4
WRD 264LANGUAGE, SELF AND SOCIETY4

WRD Elective Categories

One course is required from each of the two following WRD elective categories:

Writing in Communities and Professions
Course Title Quarter Hours
Select one of the following:4
TECHNICAL WRITING
PROFESSIONAL WRITING
ARGUMENTATIVE WRITING
THE ESSAY FROM PRINT TO NEW MEDIA
WRITING IN THE SCIENCES
ETHICS OF PUBLIC AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING
ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING
SPORTS WRITING IN AMERICA: MYTHS, MEMORIES, HEROES AND VILLAINS
WRITING WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
COMPOSITION AND STYLE
TOPICS IN WRITING, RHETORIC AND DISCOURSE 1
TOPICS IN PROFESSIONAL WRITING 1
WRITING IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
WRITING AND METADATA
EDITING
WRITING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE
WRITING AND REVISING
GHOSTWRITING
MENTORING YOUTH IN COMMUNITY WRITING GROUPS (EL/LSP EL)
DIGITAL STORYTELLING
FIELDWORK IN ARTS WRITING (EL/LSP EL)
WRITING AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT (EL/LSP EL) 1
WRITING CENTER THEORY & PEDAGOGY (EL/LSP EL)
WRITING FELLOWS THEORY AND PRACTICE (EL)
1

May be repeated for credit when the topic is different.

Rhetorical History, Theory, and Analysis

Course Title Quarter Hours
Select one of the following:4
INTRODUCTION TO REASONED DISCOURSE
GOOGLING GOD: RELIGIOUS PRACTICES IN DIGITAL CULTURE
THE LANGUAGE OF DISABILITY
RHETORICAL ANALYSIS
DIGITAL CULTURE
THE RHETORIC OF EVERYDAY TEXTS
READING BETWEEN THE GROOVES: THE RHETORICAL POWER OF POPULAR MUSIC
SOCIAL MOVEMENT, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND AMERICAN IDENTITIES
LEVELING UP: THE SOCIAL RHETORIC OF VIDEO GAMES
WRITING CENSORSHIP
TRUTH IN DISGUISE: THE RHETORIC OF SATIRE
THE COMIC BOOK AS VISUAL ARGUMENT
RHETORIC AND POPULAR CULTURE
LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS
TOPICS IN RHETORIC 1
TOPICS IN ALTERNATIVE RHETORICS 1
SEMIOTICS
VISUAL RHETORIC
CHICAGO WOMEN RHETORS
GLOBAL ENGLISHES
TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN CHICAGO (EL/LSP EL)
RHETORIC AND PUBLIC WRITING
1

May be repeated for credit when the topic is different.

Major Field Electives

The equivalent of eight additional four-hour electives may be drawn from either of the elective categories above and from the following:

Course Title Quarter Hours
INTRODUCTION TO WRITING AND RHETORIC
WRITER'S TOOLS WORKSHOP (2 hr course, may be repeated for major-field elective credit as long as topic differs)
THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH POSTER
INTERNSHIP (EL/LSP EL)
INDEPENDENT STUDY

Experiential Learning (EL) Requirement

All Writing and Rhetoric majors are required to take one EL-designated course within the major. WRD courses designated both EL and LSP EL will fulfill the major’s EL requirement and the Liberal Studies Experiential Learning requirement simultaneously. A LSP EL course taken outside of WRD will not count toward the EL major requirement.

Open Electives

Open elective credit also is required to meet the minimum graduation requirement of 192 hours.