Welcome to the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures


The WRAC main office (235 Bessey Hall) is CLOSED for fall semester 2020. For contact and main office access information, please see our CONTACT page.

Our commitment and preparation for Fall 2020: The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) employs award-winning, world-class faculty with a proven history and ongoing commitment to excellence. That commitment certainly extends to our teaching of writing, with our focus on student engagement, high-impact teaching practices, and effective mentoring across programs. Our first-year writing program engages students in acts of inquiry, discovery, and communication and supports students for the writing they will do at MSU and beyond. Our undergraduate majors (P2W and XA) help students develop skills to create, design, and write to enhance communities, develop technologies, and innovate in industry. Our graduate program prepares the teachers, scholars, and researchers who will lead our disciplines and our institutions. Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the context of our work with each other, and with students. Regardless of changes in the delivery of teaching, we remain anchored to our goal of providing MSU students with an exceptional experience in their WRAC classes. 
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The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) stands against state-sanctioned anti-Black violence and racism, and in solidarity with protesters around the world who seek justice. We also call for action against systemic and structural racism in the U.S. broadly and in our local communities. As teachers, researchers, and writers, we are committed to educating ourselves and others about anti-racist pedagogy and self-work, and to providing resources for students, faculty, staff, and the larger community to engage in a movement for change. Such change seeks to recognize and celebrate the personhood of each and every member of our local and global communities. 

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The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) offers:

  • the first-year writing experience for most MSU students, which prepares students to leverage their experiences as writers and learners as assets for informing their ongoing development as writers
  • an undergraduate major in Professional and Public Writing, which provides students experience in the writing and communication strategies crucial for academic, professional, and personal success in today’s digital world
  • an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in Experience Architecture, which provides students experience in developing strategies for UX research, design, development of digital applications, project management, coding, writing, and digital rhetoric for success in digital and professional spaces
  • a graduate program in Rhetoric and Writing, offering MA programs and a PhD, helping graduate students develop the intellectual, pedagogical, and professional skills to be activists and leaders in academic and beyond-academic careers

we offer

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First year writing experience

Our First-Year Writing courses are the core composition experience for most MSU students, which prepares students to leverage their experiences as writers and learners as assets for their ongoing development as writers.

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Undergrad major in professional and public writing

The BA in Professional and Public Writing (P2W) provides students experience in the writing and communication strategies crucial for academic, professional, and personal success in today’s digital world.

This image shows two students working at a computer.

undergrad major in Experience Architecture

The BA in Experience Architecture (XA) provides students experience in developing strategies for UX research, design, development of digital applications, project management, coding, and writing for success in digital and professional spaces.

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graduate program in Rhetoric and Writing

Our MA programs and our PhD program support graduate students develop the intellectual, pedagogical, and professional skills to be activists and leaders in academic and beyond-academic careers.

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2019 Professional Writing Student of the Year

Emily Jenkins

2018 Professional and Public Writing

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2018 Experience Architecture Student of the Year

Ashton Keys

2019 Experience Architecture

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“I think you just have to do it. You really just have to throw yourself into it—and see what happens, and eventually you adjust and it kind of fits into a groove, and you grow used to the program and you kind of find your own way.”

John Castro

Professional and Public Writing Major

The Student Experience: Professional AND Public Writing Major

A quick look at the Bachelor of Arts in Professional and Pubic Writing (P2W) degree at Michigan State University, featuring P2W students, faculty, and alumni.

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Spartan Strong: The Strength to Overcome Cancer

Justin Alexander (Experience Architecture ’20) was the picture of health. A baseball player and quarterback of his high school football team, there was no reason to be overly concerned when he developed a persistent cough. So it came as a shock when he first heard he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, life as he knew it was placed on hold.

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featured stories

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A P2W Major’s Bittersweet Goodbye to the College That Gave Her So Much

When I came to MSU, I was a Business-preference student with high ambition but little direction. I was in Writing as Inquiry (WRA 101) during my first semester here, when my professor, Margaret Morris, showed us the Professional and Public Writing (P2W) video — you know the one — and I changed my major. Oh, the power of digital storytelling.

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PW and Citizen Scholar Graduate Reflects on Her Time at MSU

During her time at Michigan State University, Kai Benson, who is graduating this May with a B.A. in Professional Writing, worked with a number of organizations to gain copyediting and publishing skills. Some of these experiences include working as a Reader for the Red Cedar Review, an Editor for the Offbeat Literary Journal, a Copy Editor. . .

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Meet Casey McArdle

Dr. Casey McArdle is an Assistant Professor and Academic Specialist in the WRAC department. In addition, he serves an administrative role as program liaison for the new Experience Architecture (XA) major. In all of these roles, Dr. McArdle draws on both his experience in industry and his academic training.

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