Writing and Rhetoric



The writing and rhetoric program offers small, workshop-style classes and emphasizes the development and integration of thinking, reading, and writing skills. In every course, no matter what the topic, writing is approached as both art and craft. Students refine their talent for analysis and argument, learn to express their own ideas in highly creative ways, sharpen their sense of audience, and pay close attention to the details of grammar and style. Whether you plan to attend law school or become a computer scientist, a biochemist or a social worker, strong writing ability is important to your success. The writing and rhetoric program offers careful, individual attention to your growth as a writer.

The writing and rhetoric program offers a disciplinary major (B.A.) and a disciplinary minor.


If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in writing and rhetoric or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Major

disciplinary 12 courses

  • Introductory course, 1 required
  • Core Courses, 3 required
    Emphasis on the study and application of writing as grammatical, discursive, rhetorical, and social.
  • Courses in Concentration, 4 required
    Choose from three concentrations: Journalism and Professional Writing; Theories of Writing and Rhetoric; Language as Social Action
  • Electives, 3 required
    One course in each remaining concentration and one other elective.
  • Capstone Seminar, 1 required
    Emphasis on the production of a publishable-quality text and the integration of knowledge of writing as grammatical, discursive, rhetorical, and social.

Requirements for the Minor

disciplinary, 7 courses

  • Introductory course, 1 required
  • Core Courses, 3 required
    Emphasis on the study and application of writing as grammatical, discursive, rhetorical, and social.
  • Two electives
  • Capstone Seminar


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with strong critical thinking and analytical skills.

Below you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular writing and rhetoric courses, as well as suggestions for writing and rhetoric a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

WRRH 202 Going Places: Travel Writing


Read works from travel writers, write your own travel pieces, and explore how a piece of travel writing can come from somewhere just around the corner, down the street, up a flight of stairs, or any "there-and-back-again" that you might take. Next, learn more about communication between different cultures by taking ANTH 227 Intercultural Communication. .

WRRH 322 Adolescent Literature


Consider contemporary works that represent the main forms of literature for early and late adolescence, including science fiction, fantasy, realistic and "problems" novels, and historical novels. Write your own young adult fiction, while reading and discussing young adult novels. Then, take EDUC 208 Teaching, Learning and Popular Culture to explore the ways school, youth, and popular culture intersect.

WRRH 352 Writing in the Professional Workplace


Get prepared for the principles and practices of professional writing in non-academic settings. Explore the way rhetoric functions in professional cultures and, more broadly, within a high-tech "information society." Practice professional writing, including job application materials, letters and memos, reports and proposals, oral presentations, and electronic communications. Next, try your hand at writing a movie script in ENG 308 Screenwriting.



Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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