Choose a major in rhetoric and writing, and you’ll become immersed in the theory and practice of discourse, with an emphasis on written forms.
A major in rhetoric and writing is especially relevant if you plan to pursue further academic or professional studies. Even if a bachelor’s degree is your end goal, you’ll graduate as a critical thinker equipped for careers in publishing, business, marketing, nonprofits, teaching, law, and more.
What You Will Learn
As a student, you will:
- develop the ability to write for various audiences
- understand the historical and social significance of written communication
- interpret and situate texts and strategies
We’re asked this question all the time. Our answer: A lot. You will learn skills that transfer across hundreds of possible careers and industries—some of which may not even exist yet. Our graduates go on to work in marketing, publishing, non-profit fundraising, speechwriting, as well as in countless other fulfilling occupations.
What It’s Like to Study Rhetoric and Writing
As a student, you will take courses in which you study, practice, and reflect on rhetoric and writing in ways that foster critical thinking about not only your own use of language but also the way language informs and impacts our understanding of and participation in personal, professional, and civic arenas.
You’ll take courses staffed by instructors with scholarly experience and expertise in teaching and who are enthusiastic and passionate about rhetoric and writing.
Read profiles of our faculty:
You’ll take courses with caps ranging from 18-25 students, which allows you to receive more sustained attention, collaborate frequently with classmates, and form more effective relationships with your teachers and peers.
You’ll take courses that explore rhetoric and writing historically, starting with Ancient Greece and moving into the 21st Century, in order to see how and why the study, practice, and teaching of rhetoric and writing are important and have changed and evolved over time.
You’ll take courses that ask you both to analyze and to utilize new writing technologies. In doing so, you’ll not only create digital and multimodal texts for diverse audiences but also develop and hone 21st century literacies. You’ll also study and use older writing technologies in an effort to understand how writing technologies emerge, evolve, and intersect with one another as well as how writing technologies influence who can write, how, and to whom.
You’ll take courses that ask you to use writing technologies, both old and new, to create diverse texts for diverse audiences. To that end, you’ll practice writing in different genres and appealing to different audiences, which will allow you to adapt to and navigate successfully various communicative situations.
English faculty and students are express their dedication to social and educational justice in many different ways—and you can help. You can work on a young-adult literature magazine that addresses diversity—or the lack thereof. You can learn to teach English to speakers of other languages. You can mentor young writers.
Creative Writing in the Community
Through this immersive learning course, English 409 students serve their community by teaching creative writing techniques and to write a text collaboratively.
English Language Learning
Dr. Lynne Stallings brings her students into the Muncie community and the Muncie school system to teach English Language Learners.
Indiana Writers Center
English students have the opportunity for a paid internship every summer in downtown Indianapolis with the Indiana Writers Center (IWC) to educate and inspire youth ages 6-16.
Rethinking Children's and YA Lit
In this free, digital, interactive literary magazine, teacher education, English, and journalism students invite readers to engage with children’s and young adult literature as a way to raise social consciousness and awareness.
To earn a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and writing, you must complete the University Core Curriculum and 36 credits of focused rhetoric and writing coursework.
Four semesters (or the equivalent) of a modern or classical language at the college level are required.
A few of the classes you will take include:
- Intro to Rhetoric and Writing
- Intro to Digital Literacies
- Professional Writing
- History of Rhetoric
- Writing and Reading Public Discourse
For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, consult our Course Catalog.
Paying for Your Education
In addition to the dozens of scholarships the university offers its students, our department gives awards to acknowledge the excellence and achievements of our own majors and minors. Learn more.
Application Process and Requirements
Are you interested in pursuing this major? The first step is to review Ball State’s admissions criteria and apply as an undergraduate student.
Want to Learn More?
One of the best ways to understand why Ball State stands out is to come see it for yourself. You can schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Make sure to tell them you’re interested in our program. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.