The department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse (WRD), one of the largest departments at DePaul, is dedicated to studying the history and theory of literate activity and helping students excel as writers in a wide range of academic, professional, and public settings. WRD is home to DePaul's First-Year Writing program; in addition, the department offers the Minor in Professional Writing and the major in WRD. At the graduate level, the Master of Arts in WRD addresses writing in professional and technical contexts, the preparation of postsecondary teacher-scholars in writing, and the study of language for writers. The Combined B.A./M.A. in WRD allows undergraduates to begin taking graduate courses in their senior year. The department’s Master of Arts in New Media Studies prepares graduates to function as productive and responsible individuals in social contexts created by new media through both critical interpretation and situated practical activity. The department also offers a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which prepares students to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adult learners in the United States or abroad. Undergraduates who choose the B.A./M.A. option may complete the TESOL Certificate within the M.A. portion of the program.
The act of writing in general and each student’s writing in particular are of central concern in all WRD courses. Theories of language, rhetoric (how to make effective choices as writers), and discourse (the way writing structures human activity) develop students’ understanding of how the individual act of writing is bound up in broader contexts of institution and culture.
WRD is made up of more than 70 faculty members, all of whom teach at the undergraduate level. The department’s Graduate Faculty comprises nationally recognized researchers in rhetorical theory and practice, composition theory, writing pedagogy, applied linguistics, second language writing, professional and technical writing, and writing program administration.