The power of the pen

Hone your thinking, writing and reading skills with a major or minor in Writing and Rhetoric. Through courses tailored to your interests, you’ll work to improve your writing voice, analytical and argumentative skills and determine best practices for specific audiences. You’ll leave well equipped with strong writing skills applicable to any profession or post-graduate study.

Student SpotlightIrini Konstantinou '23

Majors: Writing and Rhetoric; English
minor: Dance

"My experience as a Writing & Rhetoric major has fundamentally transformed me into who I am as a writer and thinker today. Particularly from my concentration, which looks at Language as Social Action, I have learned about the ways in which language can be both used and abused as a tool of empowerment and of conquest. When it comes to my role as a Student Trustee on campus, my studies of activist rhetorics have taught me how to use my language--my voice--to speak up, argue, and advocate for the needs and concerns of my peers. This major has done far more than sharpened my writing skills--it has turned me into a deeper thinker, more careful analyst, and better ally for my fellow students." 


Scholars & GuidesPart of the Process

In Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric and English Geoffrey Babbitt's course "Small Press Book Publishing," students get firsthand experience in the publishing process with professional authors. Students read through and analyze manuscripts and ultimately make a pitch for the winner of the biennial Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize. The 2022 winner is I|I by Katherine Indermaur. 


Babbitt with students

And Research

Writing and Rhetoric students complete Honors and research projects in their chosen topic with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Past examples of Honors projects include:

  • Sarah Evanna Berman ’21: The Gift of Gab: A Series of Satirical Syndicated Columns
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser
  • Camille Elizabeth McGriff ’21: Salut Moderniste: The Riviera Portfolio
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser
  • Samantha Susan Goodman ’21: A Closer Look at Identity and Power in NYSDOCCS: A Discourse Analysis of the Family Reunion Program Directive
    Hannah Dickinson, Adviser

Experiential EducationAct on Your Interest

Take a workshop with a published author through the Trias Residency for Writers or help your peers through the writing process by becoming a Writing Fellow through the Center for Teaching and Learning.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.



No Borders:Global Education

Study journalism in Australia or discourse analysis in England.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose. 



Discover your writing voice, explore new writing avenues and hone your craft.

WRRH 207 - introduction to sociolinguistics

Delve into the field of sociolinguistics: the various methods sociolinguists use to study language in use and the questions sociolinguists use to determine their theories of language use. 

wrrh 327 - literary journalism

Learn about literary journalism, which blends factual reporting with narrative and stylistic strategies common in literature.

WRrh 333 - Rhetorical Bytes: Digital rehtoric and writing with new technologies

Analyze the rhetorical and cultural impacts of established and emerging new media artifacts from YouTube videos and Instagram posts to viral memes. 

Alum ImpactExperiences that Inspire

mac benson '18
content associate at espn

As a first-year, Mac met Pierre McGuire ’83, then the senior vice president of player development for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, during an event on campus. That experience inspired Mac to follow his passion to a career in sports, landing multiple internships along the way.

Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • Baltimore County States Attorney’s Office
  • Bay State College
  • Conde Nast Fresh Air Fund
  • Hope for the Warriors
  • Pacific Coast Banking School
  • Pratt Institute
  • Split This Rock
  • CBS
  • Cortland Standard
  • United States Senate
  • PURE Insurance
  • Touro College

universities where our graduates are studying

  • California State University, Stanislaus
  • Emerson College
  • Florida State College
  • Oregon State University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of East Anglia