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 SpotlightElizabeth Palumbo '25

Major: Writing and Rhetoric
minors: Bodies, Disability, and Justice; Child Advocacy  

"One of the things I have enjoyed the most about being a Writing and Rhetoric major is the interdisciplinary themes of the classes and how each class digs deeper into the historical and social contexts surrounding writing. My favorite class I have taken so far is 'Writing and the Culture of Reading' where we explored how writing can be a liberatory practice that gives those who have been silenced a voice. This class helped me decide that I wanted to have a concentration in 'Language as Social Action' and I plan to pursue a career where I can use my writing to promote positive change." 


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:

  • Caitlin Jean Carr '23: Normal Girl: A Memoir
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser 
  • Laura Elizabeth Hill '23: Field of Genes
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser 
  • Madison Lillian Sanders '23: Open House Magazine
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser 
  • Kaitlyn Ruth Brathwaite '22: A Gold Earring-ed Ear to Guyana: The Unheard Voices of Guyanese Women Producing Feminism
    Michelle Martin-Baron, Adviser 
  • Camille McGriff '22: Salut Moderniste: The Riviera Portfolio
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser 
  • Harris Torossian '22: Things Change
    Cheryl Forbes, Adviser 
  • Sarah Evanna Berman ’21: The Gift of Gab: A Series of Satirical Syndicated Columns
    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  rhetoric 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

abby leyson '22
Advancement Coordinator and Assistant to the Executive Director, Waterside School

"The Writing and Rhetoric curriculum has challenged me to constantly think outside the box whenever given difficult tasks."

Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • Baltimore County States Attorney’s Office
  • Bay State College
  • Catherine Cutler Institute
  • CBS
  • Conde Nast Fresh Air Fund
  • Cortland Standard
  • Hope for the Warriors
  • Pacific Coast Banking School
  • Pratt Institute
  • Prescott Holdings 
  • Pure Insurance 
  • PURE Insurance
  • Rhone Athletics 
  • Split This Rock
  • Teaching Assistant Program in France 
  • Touro College
  • United States Senate

universities where our graduates are studying

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