Rhetoric & Writing Graduate Handbook

Click here for a PDF version of the RW handbook.

Welcome to the Rhetoric & Writing Graduate Program!

Welcome to the Rhetoric & Writing program at Michigan State University. We’re very glad that you’re joining the intellectual community of our program!

The graduate program in Rhetoric & Writing is situated inside the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, & American Cultures (WRAC), a department in the College of Arts & Letters (CAL) at Michigan State University. Founded in 2002 as an independent program in the College, we mark our formal beginning in Fall 2003, when our first five PhD students and seven MA students began their studies at MSU. Since that time the program has quickly grown. In 2004 we merged with the graduate program in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy (CSLP), in 2010 we relinquished our status as an independent program and joined the department (WRAC). Today, the program includes two MA degrees program — CSLP and Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing (DRPW) and the PhD in Rhetoric & Writing.  As a community of more than 30 diverse graduate students and 25 equally diverse and outstanding R&W faculty, we work together to create knowledge that will change our discipline and transform the world in which we live.

Our program aims to provide a creative and energetic environment for research and teaching in rhetoric and writing. We offer a broad array of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities, and an enthusiastic faculty who enjoy working with students as they explore the intersections of these opportunities. In addition to the community of faculty and students within R&W/WRAC, we also have strong interdisciplinary ties to other programs at MSU, especially to:

  • American Indian Studies
  • African American and African Studies
  • Chicano/Latina Studies
  • Asian Pacific American Studies
  • Mass Media;
  • Teacher Education;
  • Digital Media Arts and Technology
  • Women, Gender & Social Justice;
  • and the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities (RCAH)

We are also involved in productive collaborative relationships with several professional centers on and off campus, — the Writing Center, the WIDE (Writing in Digital Environments) Research Center, MATRIX (The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online), CAITLAH (The Center for Applied Inclusive Teaching and Learning in the Arts & Humanities), the MSU Museum, the Nokomis Learning Center, the Julian Samora Research Institute in Latino Studies, and the Public Humanities Collaborative. Because of these relationships, we believe that our program offers students a unique academic space to explore the intersections of scholarly specialty areas both inside and outside the traditionally understood provenance of our discipline.

We also recognize that encouraging this kind of intellectual diversity requires an equally diverse community of scholars and teachers. Consequently, we strive to provide an intellectual community that seeks out and welcomes all individuals and that openly makes space for the broadest possible spectrum of diversity across categories of age, life experience, gender, abilities, race, ethnicity, class, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, and geographic identification. We attract promising MA and PhD applicants from all walks of life, and we are excited about the possibilities that come with each new cohort of students who enter our program, as each of you have something to contribute to our research and teaching community and to the future of our discipline.

As you can probably tell, after our first decade, our program is thriving. Collectives, research clusters and writing groups are constantly being formed to promote collaborative scholarship among students and between faculty and students. These collaborations have resulted in dozens of conference presentations (and other speaking engagements), workshops, grant proposals, articles, book chapters, and books. Many members of our community have graduated and moved on to public-, private- and university employment and to other graduate programs. As we look to another decade as a program, we remain invested in building and maintaining a visionary, innovative space for knowledge-making – a process of reflection and revision that always includes graduate student input and innovation.

So, welcome! We’re glad you’re here!