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The Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR)

At Stanford, you will develop your ability to write purposefully and confidently as an integral component of your academic journey. PWR courses focus on themes designed to inspire you as a writer and researcher -- from ethics and artificial intelligence to hip-hop culture, language and power, and Silicon Valley and the future of work, for example. As a central element of your PWR course, you will have the opportunity to pursue a research project on the topic of your choice, aligned with your class theme.

Learn more about PWR

Faculty Director Adam Banks

Honoring "Students’ Right to Their Own Language" in a New Era: PWR and the Power of Cultural Rhetorics 

The most enduring policy document of our leading intellectual and professional organization, the Conference on College Composition and Communication was ratified nearly 50 years ago, in April 1974. That document, “Students’ Right to Their Own Language,” identifies students’ “patterns and varieties of language” as a fundamental right that writing instructors must honor—and must have the “experiences and training” that will enable them to do so.

Read PWR Director Adam Banks' full message

The Writing and Rhetoric Requirement at Stanford

PWR 1 and PWR 2 courses are carefully designed to offer richly diverse intellectual experiences based on shared assignments, goals, and learning outcomes. The basic structure of required PWR courses—in particular, the assignment sequence—does not vary from section to section, but each instructor builds on this shared core, designing class materials and activities and choosing readings to develop a unique course.

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PWR 1 Courses

PWR 1 is a 4 unit course taken by students in their first year that fulfills Stanford's WR 1 requirement. It engages students in the serious practice of academic analysis, college level research, and argument.

Lecturer working with students

PWR 2 Courses

PWR 2 is a 4-unit course, taken by students in their second year, that continues PWR 1’s emphasis on analysis and research-based argument, while adding a focus on oral and multimedia communication. The course satisfies second-level WR 2 General Education Writing and Rhetoric requirement.

Additional Elective Courses in Writing and Rhetoric

The Program in Writing and Rhetoric offers several elective courses every quarter that invite students to build on the skills they developed in PWR 1 and PWR 2, further developing their strategies of writing, rhetoric, and oral communication in a range of genres and modes. These courses do not fulfill the WR-1 or WR-2 university requirements.

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Featured Spring Elective

PWR 91LF: The Art of Access - Disability, Creativity, Communication

Featured Spring Elective

PWR 194DS9: Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Alternative Futurisms and Radical Worldbuilding

Featured Spring Elective

PWR 91HK: Farmer, Scientist, Activist, Chef: Communicating for Food Security and Food Justice

instructor standing on the left hands books to student standing on right

Publications, Prizes, and Awards

Learn more about the Boothe Prize, the Lunsford Award for Oral Presentation of Research, and the Hoefer Prize for Writing in the Major.

Notation in Science Communication students - square

The Program in Writing and Rhetoric offers notations in cultural rhetorics and science communication.

A Notation is a designation that appears on your transcript indicating your advanced work in rhetoric and communication. It is like a minor but allows more latitude in completing the required work and focuses on an interdisciplinary ePortfolio rather than a high number of additional courses.

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