Rhetoric and professional writing, an option in the English major, provides a broad critical and cultural understanding of literature and literary studies, and emphasizes the writing and analytical skills that are vital to success in the university, in professional and graduate school, and in the workplace.
The program of study is flexible and allows students to pursue electives, minors, and second majors in other departments, to focus on areas of special interest within the major, and to tailor their studies according to personal and professional interests.
Many English courses provide direct experience and training in computer tools and multimedia modes for research, writing, and publication.
- Courses you could take
English major: rhetoric and professional writing option
Introduction to English Studies
Writing and Rhetorical Conventions
Principles of Rhetoric
Rhetorics of Racism
Theory and Practice in Professional Writing
or The Scope of Rhetoric
The final core requirement is to choose one literary period survey course (pre-1600, 17th/18th, 19th, or 20th/21st century).
Choose six electives in rhetoric or creative writing. Some of the courses you could choose:
Introduction to Literary Criticism
Multimedia Authoring: Exploring New Rhetorics
Workshop Topics in Writing, Teaching, and Literature
Sociolinguistics and Psycholinguistics
Rhetoric, Literacy, Power, and Agency
Rhetoric and Composition for Teaching
History of Rhetoric
Technical and Professional Writing
Creative Writing (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry)
You're also encouraged to seek out courses in American and world cultures, history, and society to round out the liberal arts education that prepares you for graduate school and for careers in writing, editing, publishing, and related fields.
Note: See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
- Professional writing certificate
You can integrate a certificate in professional writing into your degree if you wish.
To earn the Professional Writing Certificate, complete the following five courses with a 3.0 gpa or better:
- Anth 350
- Engl 301, 355, 402, and 498
(Engl 498 may be taken only after the other four courses have been completed.)
The certificate can be earned through the Distance Degree Program and/or on-campus offerings.
- Facilities and Technology
The Department of English operates the state-of-the-art Avery Microcomputer Lab (AML). Equipped with PC's and Macintosh computers, the lab is open to English majors and to all students taking English courses. The AML supports the department’s emphasis on multimedia and Web authoring with the latest software and technology.
The English department also collaborates in the operation of the Writing Center, which provides writing help to all WSU students. English majors have the opportunity to put their talent and training to use as consultants at the Writing Center.
- Scholarships and financial aid
The Department of English offers undergraduate scholarships from four different endowed funds, most providing $1,000 tuition stipends annually. In addition, all English majors may apply for over $50,000 in scholarships awarded by the College of Liberal Arts.
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs. Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
Students should complete the Washington State University general scholarship application and the FAFSA to ensure their eligibility for the widest range of scholarships and need-based financial aid.
For information or to apply for financial aid and scholarships from WSU, see the Scholarships and Finances section of the WSU website.
- Student organizations and activities
The English department sponsors the campus literary magazine, LandEscapes, which is entirely student-run.
The English Club gathers interested students together from across the University and sponsors forums and discussions featuring respected scholars.
English majors and minors are encouraged to participate in the English Honor Society (Tau Delta Sigma) and in the internship and tutoring experiences available through the WSU Service Learning Center and Writing Center.
- Careers in English, rhetoric, and professional writing
An English degree provides excellent preparation for careers that demand strong skills in writing, analysis, and critical thinking. Rhetoric and professional writing is ideal preparation for students interested in business, public service, law, or other professions requiring strong writing and reading skills.
Adding a minor in a scientific or technical discipline to a program in rhetoric and professional writing can be ideal preparation for a career in technical or scientific writing.
An English degree with emphasis in rhetoric and professional writing also can be good preparation for graduate study, especially for students seeking careers in higher education specializing in rhetoric and composition.