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
BA/MA programs, which link the WRD BA with either graduate program and
allows undergraduates to begin taking graduate courses in their senior
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.