Composition & Rhetoric Courses

Composition and Rhetoric as a field of study

A growing area of specialization at both the undergraduate and graduate levels nationally, Composition and Rhetoric offers students an opportunity to study language and textual practices within and beyond the academy. The undergraduate major is a good place to start thinking about and working with the theories and practices of reading and writing. If you have an interest in the writing process, the teaching of English, law, advertising, or technical and business writing, then specializing in Composition and Rhetoric may be a good option for you.

Rhetoric and composition share an interest in forms of communication in personal, academic, and social contexts. Rhetoric historically is defined as the art of persuasion. Currently, the study of rhetoric involves the production and analysis of argumentation in print and electronic media and verbal and visual forms. Sites of study may include civic, political, and legal discourse, advertisements, and hypertexts, among others. Composition studies the theories and practices associated with the writing process and with the teaching of writing. As an interdisciplinary field of inquiry, it draws upon research and methodologies from linguistics, education, women’s studies, cultural studies, and anthropology. Sites of study may include social and cultural dimensions of writing, writing in the academy, community writing projects, and literacy.

Undergraduate Courses

The descriptions below come from the general course catalog.  More detailed descriptions for each semester and for each section of these courses can be found here. We encourage students to explore the more detailed descriptions to see the kinds of readings, activities, and expectations for each section of the following courses:

ENG 300: Introduction to Rhetoric. A course that surveys major concepts and thinkers in the history of rhetoric from ancient Greece and Rome to the present. Prerequisite: one ENG DL course or consent.

ENG 302: History of the English Language. A course in the early and later development of the English language to about 1800, with particular emphasis on the analysis of literary texts. Prerequisite: one ENG DL course or consent.

ENG 303: Modern English Grammar. An excellent introduction to grammatical analysis and issues of teaching and style for English and Education majors. Prerequisite: one ENG DL course or consent.

ENG 306: Argument I. A prerequisite for several of the 400-level writing courses, and a good place to begin focusing your writing talents on challenging assignments and projects. Prerequisite: FW and either 200 or one ENG DL course, or consent.

ENG 307: Rhetoric, Composition and Computers. A course in various forms of on-line communication that also explores rhetorical strategies appropriate to these new media and their social implications. Prerequisite: one ENG DL course or consent.

ENG 308: Technical Writing. Combined lecture/lab course preparing students to write about technical subjects for specialists and laypersons. Introduces theory of technical communication and document design and teaches students to make use of relevant technology. Prerequisite: FW and either 200 or one ENG DL course; or consent.

ENG 311: Autobiographical Writing. This course gives serious writing students the opportunity to work within a major literary form, the autobiographical essay. Writing in and out of class is based on the student’s own experience, and readings are drawn from autobiographical texts that offer a variety of approaches to writing about one’s self. Prerequisite: one ENG DL course or consent.

ENG 404: English in Hawai‘i. This course studies the English-speaking culture of Hawai‘i from the viewpoint of the state’s multilingual history and culture. Prerequisite: two ENG DL courses or consent.

ENG 405: Teaching Composition. A course that combines the study of methods and issues in the teaching of writing with teaching or tutoring assignments outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: two ENG DL courses; or consent. Recommended: 306.

ENG 406: Argumentative Writing II. A course designed to concentrate on principles of argument and persuasion, and a good introduction to advanced work in rhetorical principles. Prerequisite: ENG 306 or consent.

ENG 407: Writing for Electronic Media. A lecture/lab course in computer mediated communication, including on-line technical writing, courseware developments, hypertext fiction, etc. Prerequisite: two ENG DL courses or consent.

ENG 408: Professional Editing. A course of practice in the professional editing of a variety of texts, and supplemented by readings and discussions on the science and art of editing. Prerequisite: ENG 306, 311, 313, 403, or 405; or consent.

ENG 409: Studies in Composition/Rhetoric/Language. The content of this course varies by semester. See the Department’s course descriptions for specific information. Prerequisite: 320 and one other 300-level ENG course; or consent.