Department of Writing and Rhetoric
O'Dowd Hall, Room 378
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(248) 370-2746
fax: (248) 370-2748
major requirements
minor requirements
College of Arts and Sciences Advising

 Jim Nugent

Jim Nugent
Director of the Major
Department of Writing and Rhetoric
378 O'Dowd Hall
(248) 370-3792

B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric

Oakland University’s Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric program recently earned a Writing Program Certificate of Excellence from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), the national organization for collegiate writing programs. 

OU’s program was one of only two undergraduate writing majors to gain such recognition this year, according to program director Jim Nugent, who accepted the award this month at the CCCC annual convention in Houston. Established in 2004, the award honors a small number of writing programs annually, based on a wide range of criteria tied to program quality for faculty and students.

The writing and rhetoric major is designed to address the evolving nature of persuasion and written communication in the 21st century, with an emphasis on digital media technologies and civic engagement.

Through course work and internship opportunities, the Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric prepares students for work as professional writers, editors, digital media composers, social media coordinators, and educators in a variety of public, private and educational settings. The Writing and Rhetoric major also provides students with a study of rhetorical principles and effective written communication, preparing them for advanced study in graduate school, law school, and medical school.

The Writing and Rhetoric major also pairs well with other majors; thus undergraduates pursuing professional degrees in business, engineering, health sciences, and human resource development may benefit from a dual major in Writing and Rhetoric that is focused on Professional Writing. Writing and Rhetoric students have found that the Writing for Digital Media track of our major pairs well with more creative majors in studio art, graphic design, journalism, communication, and creative writing, and the inherently interdisciplinary study of writing and rhetoric complements both the Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies and the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies.

Major tracks in professional writing, writing for digital media and writing studies are available, and course options include creative non-fiction, business writing, scientific writing, rhetoric, legal writing, grant writing, writing for human resource development, website design, digital storytelling, and podcasting. 

Course Descriptions and descriptions of our 2016-2017 Featured Classes are available online.

For additional information about our Major and Minor, please contact our department's director of the major Jim Nugent.

If you wish to major in Writing and Rhetoric, fill out a change of major form and go over the plan of study with an adviser. Download the checklist for the WRT major.


WRT 491 is designed as the capstone experience for writing and rhetoric majors. Ideally, students will enroll in the course during their final semester at OU, but exceptions are made based on need and opportunity. Given the diverse nature of the field and the professional opportunities available to WRT graduates, the capstone experience can take many forms, each being tailored to the individual student's needs, interests, etc. 


Students must be of junior or senior standing and receive permission of the instructor to enroll in the class. The expectation is that students looking to enroll in the course will have completed at minimum the core requirements and the gateway requirement for their intended track.

Course Description

Internships provide students with the opportunity to make connections between their academic work and the professional world, while receiving course credit. WRT 491 is a four-credit course requiring at least 12 weeks and 150 hours of work over the course of a 15 week semester. For most organizations, this is the minimum commitment required of an intern. Some require a longer commitment, especially if it is a paid position. Internships are never retroactively approved, and should be a new experience for the student.

Theses provide students with the opportunity to expand their academic knowledge of the field and to develop their research capabilities through a guided scholarly/intellectual project. Each project is developed in coordination with a faculty mentor within the department of Writing and Rhetoric. The mentor and the internship coordinator (if they are different faculty members) will work closely with the student on the development and execution of the project.