Learn the art and science of good writing

The Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University teaches students to write and design texts clearly and effectively, whether these texts represent practical workplace, journalistic, creative or literary genres.

Students learn to write for various audiences and to use the appropriate medium, print or electronic. Students master language and design principles so they can engage an audience, whether the goal is to educate, persuade or entertain.

Rhetoric, broadly speaking, studies human communication.

Students will learn about the ways in which people use language to:
  • Give form or meaning to their experience
  • Express and communicate what it is that people want to say to one another
  • Foster interpersonal cooperation

Students will also study the role of various media in communication and how visual modes (moving and still images, color, font, elements of page design) interact with writing to communicate in particular contexts.

This major prepares students for careers in which writing, editing and other communication skills are especially valuable.


Creative Writing

Students will select courses in areas of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, and stage and screen writing. They will also choose a literature course, as well as two electives from English, English Writing and Journalism. Examples include Drama Studies, Opinion Writing, Fiction Workshop I and Magazine Writing.

Professional Writing

Students select coursework in a variety of areas: grant proposal writing, legal writing, writing for advertising and public relations, magazine writing, advanced editing, online writing. Students can also choose electives in journalism, such as Writing for Sports or Entertainment Journalism.


Students in this specialization take courses in interactive media and design, online journalism, copy editing and media standards. They elect additional courses in various areas of journalism, including magazine writing, opinion writing, broadcast journalism, documentary, entertainment writing and writing for sports.


Students will take the Principles of Style course and choose courses in online, print and/or magazine writing. Students will also choose elective coursework in English Writing and Journalism.

In addition, students will select two courses from the following electives:
  • Opinion Writing
  • Entertainment Journalism
  • Journalism II
  • Special Topics in Print Journalism
  • Opinion Writing
  • Entertainment Journalism
  • Journalism II
  • Special Topics in Print Journalism
  • Special Topics in Broadcast Journalism
  • Documentary
  • Magazine Writing​

Learning Goals

Students completing this major are expected to have the skills necessary to enter graduate/professional schools or pursue careers with a heavy writing and/or editing component.

Successful graduates will:
  • Concentrate in at least one form of writing (journalism, creative writing, business writing, academic writing)
  • Analyze and write for a variety of audiences, situations and purposes
  • Analyze and compose texts in a variety of media
  • Cultivate aptitude in critical thinking, value analysis and decision making
  • Evaluate and respond to the writing of others
  • Comprehend and utilize current composition practices in many media
  • Acquire editing and revising skills
  • Acquire basic design skills
  • Develop vocabulary, fluency, style and voice
  • Develop skills in computer applications, research, collaboration and public speaking

“The undergraduate writing major at St. Edward’s allows me to teach a variety of truly interesting classes, and every class seems to end before we have exhausted what we want to study about language.”
— Mary Rist, professor


Students with the ENGW degree develop the confidence, critical thinking skills, fluency, style and voice to thrive as a writer in a professional setting. They graduate with a portfolio of polished, cogent work demonstrating their skills and value to prospective employers. 


Graduates enter many careers, such as:
  • Creative writer - for magazines, film, plays, television, or marketing/advertising, or writing novels, poetry, short stories, or non-fiction
  • Speech writer - for individuals in the government sector or business sector 
  • Teacher - at the elementary or secondary level 
  • Technical writer - translating complex content into easy-to-understand, accessible information
  • Editor - reviewing copy for readability, grammar, spelling, and factual accuracy 

Graduate Studies

ENGW graduates may pursue graduate studies in creative writing, literature, rhetoric and composition, or cultural studies. Students also attend law school or take part in a post-BA publishing institute, such as the one offered by New York University. Faculty can help you make the decision to attend graduate school or a professional program. 


Journalism is a competitive industry and a job in the newsroom right after graduation may not be possible for even the best student. Journalism school can provide more training to further strengthen a student's position in the job market. 

Outside the Classroom


All students majoring in English Writing and Rhetoric are required to participate in a one-semester internship, which can be either a teaching or a professional writing internship. Students are encouraged to do more than one internship and are allowed to count two internships for credit in the major. Participation in an internship not only gives students an inside look at potential careers, but also provides important networking opportunities.

Teaching Internships

Typically, students choose to do a teaching internship if they are seriously considering graduate school or if they intend to teach K-12 after graduation. Most students pursuing a graduate degree in English or writing studies of some kind will work as teaching assistants while pursuing a graduate degree. A teaching internship is good preparation for this work and is attractive to potential graduate programs.

Professional Writing Internships

Professional writing internships usually involve working for a nonprofit or for-profit organization in a position that requires substantial writing. These positions can be in communication, marketing, PR, journalism, editing, event planning, social media, web design, grant writing and many other areas.

Sorin Oak

The Sorin Oak Review is an annual literature and arts journal produced by St. Edward's University students. Anyone within the St. Edward's community may submit short fiction, poems, creative nonfiction essays, photography and artwork.


Arete is an award-winning, student-run academic journal. It's published annually with student submissions of research papers and essays that present substantive, fresh and well-researched arguments for an informed audience.

Hilltop Views

Hilltop Views is a weekly student newspaper published with news, life and arts, and sports stories relevant to St. Edward's University students. 

Visiting Writers Series

The Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writers Series brings working writers to campus to read from their work, talk about their writing and interact with students. You'll have the opportunity to meet award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights. 

Meet the Faculty

The English Writing and Rhetoric faculty are experienced, passionate and invested in each individual student's success. All are published writers. Their work has appeared in professional journals, short story collections, books, newspapers and more. Collectively, their interests cover a multitude of areas, providing students with a diversity of expertise and inspiration to draw from.

Some of their interests include:
  • American publishing in the early 20th century
  • The rhetoric of advertising
  • Editing for trade, literary and scholarly audiences
  • Creative writing
  • Digital technology in the newsroom
  • Newsroom innovation
  • Narrative storytelling
  • New online forms for long form journalism
  • Citizen journalism
  • Rhetorical theory and criticism
  • Composition theory and pedagogy
  • Argumentation
  • Legal writing​

“When we enhance a student’s literacy skills, we score a victory for truth.”
— Amy Clements

“Journalism matters to me because it is both the practice and study of the stories we tell to understand ourselves and others.”
— Jena Heath

“Increasing the world's supply of mindful, adept, ethical, employable writers and thinkers is one good way to help design the future.”
— Drew Loewe

“Even if my students never enroll in a PhD program, I want them to embrace their roles as writers, readers and researchers throughout their undergraduate education.”
— Moriah McCracken

About the Minor

Students who wish to earn an English Writing and Rhetoric minor must take the following coursework, totaling 24 hours.

Required Courses:
  • American Grammar
  • Text and Discourse Analysis
  • Revising and Editing
  • Document Design
  • Technical and Business Communication
  • Electives​

Students may select three upper-division courses from the approved list of coursework in English Writing and Rhetoric, and Journalism.

For more information about applicable coursework, please consult the undergraduate bulletin.