DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse > About

About Us

A unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse (WRD) is concerned with the nature of written communication.  The development and expression of ideas in writing constitutes the very foundation of the liberal arts, and more broadly, contemporary democratic culture.  In government, education, and all manner of professions, it is through writing that we determine our values, define norms of appropriate behavior, and pursue our goals. 

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 and email, 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.  The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, & Discourse engages various writing practices and genres to prepare students to excel in the range of contexts in which they will go on to write.

WRD is home to three undergraduate programs:  DePaul's First-Year Writing program; 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 department's MA 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.  WRD also offers two Combined BA/MA programs, which link the WRD BA with either graduate program and allows undergraduates to begin taking graduate courses in their senior year. 

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), a​​​nd 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.