2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 24, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Writing and Rhetoric, BA

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Collin Gifford Brooke, Chair of the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition
239 H.B. Crouse


Lois Agnew, Patrick W. Berry, Collin Gifford Brooke, Kevin Adonis Browne, Lenny Grant, Alicia Hatcher, Krista Kennedy, Brice Nordquist, Eileen E. Schell, Tony Scott, Joseph Wilson

The Syracuse University Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition has been a national leader in the field of rhetoric and composition for almost 30 years. Chartered in 1987, the department was at the forefront of a national trend of establishing independent academic units focused entirely on writing research and instruction. Since then, we have maintained our strong focus on introductory writing and professional communication, while expanding our scope to create an innovative curriculum that engages with writing studies at every level.

The department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition is also home to The Writing Center (H.B.Crouse 101; 315-443-5289), a resource for all writers at Syracuse University. See our web site at wrt.syr.edu for more information.

Major in Writing Description

As a Writing and Rhetoric Major, you will explore the power of language across a range of genres in ways that will help you to compose in a rapidly changing world. Our major offers classes that will give you the opportunity to practice digital, argumentative, research, civic, science, professional, and technical writing as well as creative nonfiction. You will also consider culture, ethics, identity and language as they relate to writing in and out of school.

Working in small, student-centered classes taught by attentive, award-winning faculty, you will gain the skills needed for a variety of today’s existing careers as well as the adaptability to succeed in jobs that are just emerging.

Graduates of the Writing and Rhetoric Major have gone on to be successful in a variety of careers including public relations, marketing, public advocacy, editing and publishing, teaching, and business. Some go on to pursue advanced degrees in law, medicine, and the humanities. The major is both rigorous and flexible, allowing students to pursue what they love while deepening their critical thinking, composing, and creative problem-solving skills. The major is open to any SU student, and many find it to be an excellent second major.

The Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition is home to a highly ranked doctoral program. Our faculty invite students to examine language as embedded in history and culture, from diverse rhetorical traditions to emerging technologies to ethics, investigating the relationships among writing, rhetoric, identity, literacy, and power.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major that are listed below.

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

If you would like to learn more about the Writing and Rhetoric Major, feel free to email us at writing@syr.edu or phone at (315) 443-1091. We can arrange an opportunity for you to meet our faculty or majors and see our dedicated study space.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Produce well-reasoned, well-evidenced arguments

2. Produce texts that exhibit an ethical stance toward topic and audience

3. Produce rhetorically astute work in multiple modalities

4. Produce texts that engage with issues of the interactions of power, identity, culture, and literacy in their rhetorical and social complexity

5. Produce texts that engage the historical and cultural contexts of genres and practices of writing

6. Engage in primary and secondary research and reflect on their research practices and processes


To qualify for a B.A. degree in Writing and Rhetoric, students complete a total of 30 credits of coursework. These credits include the required core courses WRT 255 , WRT 302 , WRT 307 , WRT 413 , three courses from Genres and Practices, and three courses from Histories and Theories.


*These courses are repeatable.

**At most, a total of two approved non-WRT courses (6 credits) from the above lists can be used toward the major.

Declaring a major

To declare a Writing and Rhetoric Major, students should complete the electronic Declaration of Major form in MySlice.

Distinction in Writing and Rhetoric

Students may earn the award of Distinction in Writing if overall cumulative GPA of 3.4 and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in WRT after taking at least four Writing and Rhetoric major courses to be eligible to enroll in WRT 495 - Senior Research Seminar I   in the fall (one credit) and WRT 496 - Senior Research Seminar II  in the spring of their Senior year (two credits) during which students must complete a thesis-length independent research or creative project. 

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