College of Arts & Sciences

Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies


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Major hours


Different minors in A&S

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Rhetoric is the study of written, oral, and digital communication. Rhetoric teaches you how to argue, persuade, inform, and express for a variety of professional and personal reasons. Rhetoric teaches you how to invent, organize, arrange, and produce knowledge. Rhetoric teaches you how to create and share meaning. Rhetoric is the basis of all writing we do.  Web pages are rhetorical. Technical documents are rhetorical. Movies are rhetorical. Video games are rhetorical. Ads are rhetorical. Medical documents are rhetorical. Legal briefs are rhetorical. Rhetoric is everywhere we engage with ideas and content! WRD is  dedicated to the study and teaching of writing practices, public rhetoric, and digital media. With 18 faculty and 1 staff member, we serve over 5,000 undergraduates each year. The WRD BA/BS major offers students three tracks: 

  • Professional Writing and Editing (for those who want careers in editing and publishing or writing for/within a nonprofit or business)
  • Rhetorical Theory and Practice (for those who want to get involved in public advocacy, government, or law)
  • Digital Studies (for those who want to write and produce content for electronic spaces and understand how those spaces are designed).
WRD also offers a minor in Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies as well as a minor in Profession and Technical Writing


Grow Your Future

Majoring or minoring in WRD allows you the oppertunity to pursue a number of career options

Career opportunities in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies

  • Specific Industries as a content creator or writer
  • Media relations
  • Media relations
  • Documentation design
  • Government (technical documentation, lobbying, politics
  • Research specialists (think tanks, legal bodies, industry)
  • Creative content (video game development, entertainment)
  • Education (writing for education companies or agencies)
  • Social media
  • Website design
  • App creation
  • Technical writing
  • Health industry (documentation, medical information, app development)
  • Public advocacy (NGO work, non-profit)
  • Public policy (organizations that require analytical and research skills)
  • Grant writing
  • Speech writing
  • Science writing
  • Teaching

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

The major in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies (WRD) prepares you for a career in writing. Every industry includes writing. Every industry supports the writing of internal and external documents (memos, reports, technical documents, research studies, social media usage, website development). Every industry sponsors trade writing (magazines, journals, newsletters, other publications). As a WRD, you will learn rhetorical skills, argumentative/persuasive skills, organizational skills, media skills, web skills, research skills, storytelling skills, informational skills.


Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30

Major Requirements 

Core Courses

  • WRD 300 - Introduction to Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies [3 hours]
  • WRD 430 - Advanced Workshop [3 hours]

Other Coursework Required by the Major

  • WRD courses at 200 level or above [3 hours]
  • WRD courses at 300 level (excluding WRD 300) [12 hours]
  • WRD courses at the 400-500 level (excluding WRD 430) [12 hours]

Approved Coursework From Outside the Department 

  • Choose from approved courses outside of WRD [6 hours]

Total Major Hours – 39

Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies | Bachelor of Arts

B.A. Major Sheet B.A. Four Year Plan

Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies | Bachelor of Science

B.S. Major Sheet B.S. Four Year Plan

Not Sure What You Want to Study?

Are you new to Undergraduate Studies and not sure where to begin? If so, we recommend starting with the Advising Syllabus. Need assistance "bouncing back" from academic probation? Visit our Rebound Page. Want to speak with an advisor about course registration, to find out about available resources for classes and major exploration, or just to check in? Schedule an Advising Appointment. How to Determine Academic Status

Imagine Your Future

Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Some web developers work in the computer systems design and related services industry. Others are self-employed. Still others work in industries including publishing, management consulting, and advertising.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Similar Occupations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Computer Programmers
  • Computer Support Specialists
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Database Administrators
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Graphic Designers
  • Multimedia Artists and Animators
  • Software Developers

Imagine Your Future

Writers and Authors

Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2023

Number of Jobs


in 2023

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Writers and authors may work anywhere they have access to a computer. Many writers and authors are self-employed.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at 

Enhancing Your Time at UK

While there are endless ways to create an unforgettable journey as a Wildcat, we can only think of one that gives you the chance to step outside the classroom and into exploring new parts of the world around you: participating in an Education Abroad opportunity! Whether it’s in a study, research, service, or internship program, taking your UK experience international with EA is the most hands-on way for you to expand your global perspective while making yourself a more well-rounded, marketable candidate to future employers no matter your field. As you take these first steps towards investing in your future, EA encourages you to take advantage of all the opportunities UK has to offer. Take a look at some of the many suggested opportunities UK Education Abroad & Exchanges has to complement your major! #ukyabroad


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