​Course Requirements

Fifty-six quarter hours distributed as follows: 

Core (5 courses)

WRD Elective Categories

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

Writing

Rhetoric and Discourse

 *May be repeated for credit when the topic is different.

Major Field Electives

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

Experiential Learning (EL) Requirement

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

Open Electives

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

WRD 203

STYLE FOR WRITERS

This course provides students with opportunities to explore stylistic choices in written prose. Students will examine both published work and their own writing to explore how to manipulate language in specific contexts to achieve specific ends. Writing workshops will help students provide and receive constructive comments aimed at revision of drafts.

WRD 205

HISTORY OF LITERACIES AND WRITING

Literacy is traditionally defined as the ability to read and write. This course will expand that definition to also explore the technological, cultural, and political aspects of literacy from the earliest archeological record of writing to modern information technology and digital literacy. Students will examine practices and narratives surrounding literacy, learn how both physical media and social power constrain what information gets recorded and how, and question the implications of these constraints on the ways we define and engage literacy and writing.

WRD 209

GENRE AND DISCOURSE

In this class, students examine how discourse and genres are used to frame issues and instantiate values and beliefs. Students will explore theories of genre and discourse, learn to analyze how genre and discourse operate, understand the relationship of formal features to beliefs and practices, and produce texts in a variety of genres.

WRD 301

WRITING IN WORKPLACE CONTEXTS

Students examine the roles of writing (transactional, informative, and persuasive) in professional contexts and learn common features of workplace writing situations (internal vs. external documents, collaboration, distribution of expertise and authority, content management, globalization) and strategies for responding to them. They will also learn about stylistic conventions common to workplace genres (building an effective professional persona through writing - tone, document design) and their typical formats. Theory and analysis will ground discussions of production and production-based projects.

WRD 306

RHETORICAL TRADITIONS

In this historical survey course, students examine a variety of traditions in rhetorical thought. Students will become familiar with key concepts in the Western rhetorical traditional, while also interrogating the centrality of that tradition by examining marginalized or resistant currents in rhetorical thought.

WRD 204

TECHNICAL WRITING

In this course, students learn to communicate and interpret specialized information for readers' practical use. The course highlights the action-orientated goals of technical writing and the importance of accurately communicating information to users. The course provides an overview of key issues related to technical writing such as usability, audience analysis, designing pages and screens, effective collaboration with peers, interpreting and presenting data, and writing clearly and persuasively. Students learn to write, revise and present common technical writing genres such as instructions, tutorials, manuals, reports, product/process descriptions, proposals, and oral presentations.

WRD 206

INTRODUCTION TO PROFESSIONAL WRITING

In this introductory course, students learn fundamentals of professional writing, with a special focus on distinguishing academic writing from workplace writing. The course provides a solid foundation that students can build on as they develop specializations in their professional fields. Through a series of short assignments, students explore the structure and format of typical professional writing documents, examine a variety of workplace writing situations, and begin developing a clear and concise style appropriate for professional settings. Students analyze and write a number of workplace genres, such as memos, emails, letters, resumes, short reports, web documents, and professional presentations.

WRD 240

ARGUMENTATIVE WRITING

Students in this course will learn techniques for constructing argumentative writing, working with rhetorical methods of inventing and arranging written arguments. Students will examine different genres of argument, but the focus in the course will be on student production and revision. This course builds on and extends skills in argumentative writing that students gain in the first-year writing program.

WRD 281

WRITING CENSORSHIP

An introduction to censorship as both a mechanism of social control and a fundamental element of all rhetorical situations. Explores the history of censorship in the West and engages theoretical questions about the power of language and its suppression as a force for violence. Affords students opportunities to experiment with effective strategies of resistance by writing under varied conditions of censorship.

WRD 300

COMPOSITION AND STYLE

Advanced instruction in invention, arrangement, and style, toward developing clear and effective prose styles.

WRD 309

TOPICS IN WRITING, RHETORIC AND DISCOURSE

See schedule for current offerings.

WRD 320

TOPICS IN PROFESSIONAL WRITING

May be repeated for credit as topics vary. This course provides students opportunities to explore concepts in depth and apply specialized practices related to a rotating selection of dedicated topics in technical and professional writing.

WRD 323

EDITING

Students will explore a range of practices associated with the revision of prose for publication. Students will learn to edit for style and consistency at the document, paragraph, and sentence levels. They will also compare and learn to apply differing style guides, learn technologies central to modern editorial practice, and examine related topics such as the Plain Language Movement and preparing documents for translation.

WRD 340

WRITING AND REVISING

This course operates on the assumption that the secret to strong writing is revision. Students will learn about theories of revision, studying how successful writers revise, and will then put those techniques into practice. The goal of the course is to develop strategies and understanding of the rhetorical situations of writing in different contexts. Students will work on developing voice, taking ownership of work, and creating strong, well supported arguments.

WRD 377

WRITING AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

Using writing within community service. See schedule for current offerings.

WRD 395

WRITING CENTER THEORY & PEDAGOGY

Introduction to current theories and practices in writing instruction; prepares students to develop and administer writing centers and to work as writing consultants. (Writing Center practicum required).

WRD 396

WRITING FELLOWS THEORY AND PRACTICE

A seminar on tutoring writing across the curriculum. Students will read articles and do writing assignments designed to familiarize Fellows with theories of writing and tutoring and to stimulate thinking about the issues these theories raise. This course will also help develop tutoring skills, including practice writing comments on sample papers, participating in mock conferences, and sharing specifics from students' experiences as Fellows.

WRD 208

INTRODUCTION TO REASONED DISCOURSE

Study of the problems of reasoned discourse, emphasizing invention and construction of arguments for varied audiences.

WRD 260

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS

This course will introduce students to methods for analyzing symbolic acts and artifacts in order to understand the perspectives and motivations which shaped them. Students will analyze a variety of rhetorical artifacts from several perspectives including classical rhetoric, argumentation, metaphor, feminism, dramatism, and ethics. Through analysis, students will learn how messages are constructed in order to produce certain effects as well as how to question and respond critically to communication.

WRD 261

DIGITAL CULTURE

Digital information technologies proliferate in our culture, significantly impacting the rhetorical contexts in which we work and play. This course will explore a variety of topics related to the expansion of digital culture and rhetoric such as the development of the Internet; gaming; the construction of personal and group identity; media convergence; the distribution of work; community, group, and subculture formation online; political and policy issues; cyberterrorism; privacy, and the representation of technology in popular media.

WRD 330

LANGUAGE AND LINGUISTICS

This course introduces students to major concepts in and approaches to studying language, covering topics such as language structure, language acquisition, dialect variation, language and identity, language policy, and literacy. The course presumes no prior knowledge of linguistics and will be relevant to students studying in a wide variety of majors.

WRD 360

TOPICS IN RHETORIC

May be repeated for credit as topics vary. This course provides students opportunities to explore concepts in depth and apply specialized practices related to a rotating selection of dedicated topics in the theory and history of rhetoric.

WRD 361

TOPICS IN ALTERNATIVE RHETORICS

Women, ethnic minorities, gay/lesbian/and transgender writers, and individuals with disabilities are forced to navigate the dominant culture through strategies that draw upon and transform dominant cultural practices. Courses in this topics category will consider questions raised by alternative rhetorics and examine the way rhetorical acts construct such categories and shape the ways in which people are included or excluded from social groups and movements through language use. Students will examine and assess these mediation strategies while also developing theoretical frameworks to analyze and understand them. May be repeated for credit as topics vary.

WRD 362

SEMIOTICS

Nonverbal codes and their implications for understanding rhetoric and culture.

WRD 363

VISUAL RHETORIC

As both consumers and producers, we engage daily with a variety of textual and graphical elements. Participation in this course encourages critical consideration of such encounters. Students will examine the assumptions and practices that inform the authorship and interpretation of both print-based and electronic texts. The course will explore cultural and rhetorical frameworks for understanding, evaluating, and composing visual elements in various media.

WRD 368

GLOBAL ENGLISHES

At the start of the 21st century, English is a global language used in commerce, technology, research, education, and even popular culture around the world. This course explores the role and nature of the English language in a global context. Course readings and discussions will examine the historical context and cultural legacy of the spread of English, global varieties of English, uses and contexts of English, issues of ownership and identity, and the future of English.

WRD 378

TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN CHICAGO

Students explore the theory and practice of learning and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) through readings and classroom discussion while teaching or tutoring adult ESL learners at a Chicago-area community center. Classroom and service experiences together help students develop an understanding of second language learning, teaching strategies and approaches, and issues of immigration and language policy in both U.S. and global contexts. (Can count for both JYEL credit and minor credit.)

WRD 390

RHETORIC AND PUBLIC WRITING

This course encourages a reflective stance on the development of the individual writer through the educational process, particularly as that relates to the interplay of the Liberal Studies experience and the WRD major. Students will be asked to look back for the purpose of looking forward, to consider how this broad preparation to excel at rhetorical action across communities of discourse prepares one for public life as a writer. Students will develop a reflective portfolio of prior work and prepare new writing for contexts beyond undergraduate life.

WRD 398

INTERNSHIP

An approved internship obtained in consultation with the department's Internship Coordinator. In addition to internship duties, students will produce weekly journal entries that reflect on internship activities and related coursework; and compile a portfolio of written work product developed during the internship.

WRD 399

INDEPENDENT STUDY

Independent study guided by a faculty member. Written permission of supervising faculty member and of department chair required before registration.

WRD 376

FIELDWORK IN ARTS WRITING

The study and production of writing about art as social engagement, this course explores various genres of arts writing and their functions from the perspective of critic and artist. Combines fieldwork in the Chicago arts scene "collaborating and conversing with artists and professional writers" with classroom-based discussion. Students produce a portfolio of writing about art in a variety of genres including the critical, informative, and reflective.

WRD 290

WRITER'S TOOLS WORKSHOP

Introduction to and practical engagement with specific digital technologies and/or multimodal environments. Two Credit Hours. Tools/topics vary. Can be repeated for credit as topics vary.