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Professional Writing & Rhetoric

What You’ll Study

Language matters. Storytelling changes the world. The professional writing and rhetoric (PWR) major teaches you how to think about different texts or stories — how to analyze them, build strong arguments, and strategically choose the right message for the right moment. PWR students master the art of effective and persuasive communication.

Student writing a paper on laptop

You will explore the role of language in shaping and reflecting culture and how writing works to make meaning. You will think about how language can create change in our communities and how you want to engage the world using language and storytelling. The heart of this program is helping students find the story they want to tell and teach them to tell it well for a specific audience. Your experience will also support your research, problem-solving, and presentation skills, preparing you for success in a dynamic workforce.

How Can You Use This Degree?

For years, surveys of employers have noted that a majority rank communication skills among the most important skills they seek in hiring. Since writing is a part of every career, a major in professional writing and rhetoric fosters your tools to succeed in a variety of employment areas, including: 

  • Publishing 
  • Education 
  • Corporate and non-profit settings (digital marketing, public relations, communication, etc.) 
  • Public sector 

Our graduates have attended graduate schools (UNC Charlotte, Syracuse, Oregon State University, and others). Other graduates have found their way directly into the world of work, using their writing, researching, and thinking skills in workplaces such as Bank of America, Three Ships (digital marketing), LEGO, Carroll Financial Associates, and as the founder of Consider It Written, a writing and editing business. 

Highlighted Courses

  • Practicum in Composition Theory (ENG 207) 
  • Visual Rhetoric (ENG 364) 
  • Rhetoric of Social Movements and Social Change (ENG 365) 
  • Promotional Writing (ENG 367) 

Student Highlights

Professional Writing and Rhetoric is like peeking behind the curtain of the entire world. Everywhere I look I’m seeing the ways information is shared and appeals are made; from using audience analysis to create training materials during my internship, to breaking down arguments while reading the news, even while writing awkward texts to family, I use rhetoric every day. I will take the connections I’ve made and the skills I’ve learned in this program with me for the rest of my life.

– Grem McIntosh ’24

Program Contact

Craig Renfroe, M.F.A.

English Department Chair
Associate Professor, Creative Writing

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