Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures


The graduate programs in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) have a complicated history. Founded in 2002 as an independent graduate-level Rhetoric and Writing (RW) Program in the College of Arts & Letters (CAL), we mark our formal beginnings in Fall 2003, when our first five RW PhD students and seven Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing (DRPW) MA students began their studies at MSU. Since that time, our program—and our national reputation—has quickly grown.

In 2004, the English department’s Critical Studies in the Teaching of English (CSTE) program joined us and became the Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy (CSLP) MA program and PhD concentration. (More information can be found about each program in the Current Students area; information on applying is available in the Prospective Students section). In 2010, we joined the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, which is home to the Professional Writing undergraduate major and to the university’s first-year writing program.

Today, our graduate programs include two MA degree programs—CSLP and DRPW—and the PhD in Rhetoric and Writing. As a community of about 60 diverse graduate students and nearly 30 diverse and interdisciplinary graduate program faculty, we work together to create knowledge that will change our discipline and transform the world in which we live.

After more than 15 years in existence, our programs are thriving; collectives, research clusters, and writing groups are constantly being formed to promote collaborative scholarship among students and between faculty and students. These collaborations have resulted in dozens of conference presentations (and other speaking engagements), workshops, grant proposals, articles, book chapters, and books. Many members of our community have graduated and moved on to college, university, and industry employment and to other graduate programs.

As we look forward to our future as a program, we remain invested in building and maintaining a visionary, innovative space for knowledge-making—a process of reflection and revision that always includes graduate student input and collaborative practices of innovation.