DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse > Graduate > Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse (MA)

Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse (MA)

The Master of Arts in Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse (WRD) combines a strong theoretical foundation in rhetoric and discourse with practical training. The degree will help you to become a better writer, as well as teach you exciting new ways to think about the history, craft, and politics of writing.

With an MA in WRD, you may pursue such diverse professional roles as these:
  • Writing in a professional, technical, or nonprofit workplace
  • Creating and managing digital content in a professional, technical, or nonprofit workplace
  • Working in an instructional design role at a university or other educational setting
  • Teaching writing in a post-secondary institution, in the US or abroad
  • Continuing the academic study of writing in a related PhD program 

What’s Special About the MA in WRD at DePaul?

The MA in WRD is the only masters-level program in Chicago that offers coursework entirely in the fields of writing and rhetoric. While other area universities offer English degrees with limited coursework in writing and rhetoric, we are unique in our singular focus on writing, rhetoric, pedagogy, and language.

Our Alumni page
describes how students move through our program, as well as some of the professional pathways they follow after their degree.

Besides our unique focus, the MA in WRD is a program that will help you to grow in these ways:

Develop Core Knowledge, Yet Specialize According to Your Interests

The required Proseminar and three required courses in rhetoric and discourse will help you to understand the history of and key issues in writing and rhetoric. Optional concentrations in either Professional and Digital Writing or Teaching Writing and Language allow you to focus your coursework around particular professional goals.

Learn more about the MA in WRD curriculum and see sample syllabi from some of our courses.

Learn from Experienced and Engaged Faculty

Our faculty are teacher-scholars and active professionals. We publish in the fields of writing and rhetoric, attend the conferences of our national professional organizations, and stay engaged with local and professionals that have a stake in writing and teaching.

Learn more about the core WRD graduate faculty: Dr. Antonio Ceraso, Dr. Lisa Dush (Director, MA in WRD), Dr. Jason Schneider (TESOL Certificate Coordinator), Dr. Peter Vandenberg (Department Chair), Dr. Julie Bokser, Dr. Darsie Bowden, and Dr. Jason Kalin.

Get Real-World Writing Experience

Many of our graduate courses – for example, Grant and Report Writing, Urban Literacies, and Writing for the Web – connect students with Chicago-area organizations, and can offer you valuable experience creating real client deliverables, as well as expand your local professional network. Additionally, we have a robust internship program, which can connect you to professional writing or teaching internships in Chicago.

Get Real-World Teaching Experience

Students in the program who are interested in teaching writing at the college level can apply for the annual Teaching Apprenticeship Program (TAP). TAP participants are assigned their own section of DePaul’s first-year writing course, WRD 103. The ability to teach a college writing course during an MA degree is rare, and can prepare you for a successful transition into a job teaching college-level writing.

Add Professional Qualifications with Optional Certificates

The MA in WRD may also be expanded to include select graduate certificate programs. With careful planning, one of three relevant certificates can be completed in the course of the MA in WRD.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), the Graduate Certificate in Teaching English in Two-Year Colleges, and the Graduate Certificate in the Digital Humanities.

How Long is the Program, and When and Where are the Classes?

You must complete twelve courses to earn the MA in WRD. Full-time students take two courses per quarter and complete the program in six academic quarters (not including summer term). Many students take longer to complete the program by taking courses part time.

All courses in the program are taught once per week, with eleven class meetings per quarter. Courses meet in the evenings from 6:00 to 9:15 p.m. at the Lincoln Park campus.

How Can I Learn More About the Program?

If you’re ready to apply, please see the Admission Requirements. We admit students at any time during the year, however students who wish to be considered for one of the department’s financial awards must apply to the program and submit a completed application for a Graduate Assistantship/Partial Tuition Fellowship by the annual deadline of February 15.

We also encourage you to visit the WRD Blog, where you can find stories about our program’s students, faculty, and alumni, as well as profiles of courses and department-sponsored events. Our Facebook Page is also a good place to read program updates.

Finally, if you’re curious to learn more about the program, please contact the MA in WRD Director, Professor Lisa Dush. Professor Dush can answer program-related questions via email or phone, as well as arrange a visit to campus, during which you might tour the department, meet faculty and students, and sit in on a graduate class.