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Writing Studies

In a constantly changing world of digital communication, the study of writing is needed more than ever. Employers are looking for—and hiring—modern writers, those who can make the complex clear, produce and revise texts across screens, and move an audience in a new direction. Writing Studies prepares you for this career, offering you the chance to earn our national award-winning Professional Writing Certificate.

At the heart of every Writing Studies’ course is the study of rhetoric, the ancient art of finding and circulating arguments. You will take rhetorical theory and apply it to real situations. This hands-on, real world, problem-solving approach to writing is a unique experience that prepares you for academic, public, and professional writing and affords you the opportunity to assemble a professional portfolio that you can use on the job market and when transferring to four-year institutions.

In addition to our courses, the Writing Studies program hosts a professional writing lecture series, offers exclusive transfer agreements with several universities, and provides scholarships, awards, and publishing opportunities through our partnership with the Society for Technical Communication Chicago.

Whether you intend to write as a career or are looking to make a difference in your community with your writing, come join us in Writing Studies and write the world.

Determine Your Path

The rhetorical and problem-solving skills learned through Writing Studies are foundational to diverse career fields including law, medicine, politics, teaching, business, public relations, marketing and writing.

Find a Writing Studies Course

Whether you want to advance or change your career or transfer to a four-year institution, Writing Studies offers:

English/Writing Studies Transfer Pathway, Associate in Arts

The English Transfer Pathway, Associate in Arts enables students to choose their own path of study in English including Writing Studies and graduate with an Associate in Arts degree. This track helps provides a seamless transfer to a baccalaureate-granting institution.

Professional Writing, Certificate

The Professional Writing certificate offers students the opportunity to learn how to communicate effectively and apply their rhetoric and writing skills to professional audiences including business, industry, government, nonprofit, healthcare and technology.

Students typically complete the certificate in about a year, and most do so, fully online. The Writing Studies Courses webpage can help you determine your timeline of completion.

We believe that the study of rhetoric and writing can improve students' lives. Whether they pursue an academic, public, or professional path, Writing Studies prepares students to engage with writing and effect change in their communities. Our theoretical and practical approach provides students with the tools to read situations, identify problems, and locate solutions. In an ever-changing world mediated by digital technologies, Writing Studies offers students a way in, to participate in conflicts and conversations, with effective writing techniques.

Honors Composition II Students Get Their Hands Dirty

As part of their fall 2020 class, English Professor Steven Accardi’s students were tasked with arguing the importance of native plants. As a final class projects, students met for the first time outside of Zoom to plant native plants behind the College’s CMC to improve the campus ecosystem and to help the environment.

COD Art Students Paint Giant Golf Ball to Celebrate Women in Golf 2018 1


Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in Writing Studies is to apply for admission.

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

By studying Writing at College of DuPage, students will:

Formulate Written Arguments

  • Locate and analyze audiences.
  • Identify ways to persuade audiences.
  • Gather research and data.
  • Use rhetoric and research appropriately to achieve desired effects.

Locate and Use Information

  • Collect already published research, data, studies, and evidence.
  • Gather your own new data through interviews, surveys and observations.
  • Assemble ethical arguments using this data to move an audience.

Challenge Assumptions and Develop Responses 

  • Read about the history, context, and motives surrounding rhetorical events.
  • Analyze these motives for rhetorical purposes.
  • Locate evidence for these assumptions.
  • Invent viable responses.
  • Circulate logically structured arguments to appropriate audiences.

The Writing Studies program has partnered with several universities for you to transfer seamlessly to earn your bachelor’s degree. 

Exclusive transfer agreements save you time and money. DePaul University, Elmhurst University, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock (online) have agreed to accept Writing Studies courses to for their 100-, 200-, and in some cases, 300-level courses for their Bachelors of Arts programs. You can complete at least half of your Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing Studies at COD for the COD price.

Steven Accardi

  • PhD: Arizona State University
  • MA: DePaul University
  • BA: Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Steven Accardi is Program Chair of Writing Studies and the Professional Writing Certificate. He earned his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Arizona State University, specializing in rhetorical theory. He has published in WPA: Writing Program Administration, Composition Studies, Teaching Writing in the Two-Year College, and Journal of Second Language Writing. Dr. Accardi was awarded Outstanding Honors Faculty by the College of DuPage Honors Student Advisory Committee. He teaches several courses in the Writing Studies program, such as Advanced Composition, Argumentative Writing, Writing in the Professions, Writing for Nonprofits, Technical Writing, Workplace Writing, as well as Composition I and Composition II.

James Allen

  • PhD: University of South Carolina
  • MA: University of South Carolina
  • BA: University of South Carolina, Spartanburg

Dr. James Allen earned his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from University of South Carolina, specializing in classical rhetorical theory and early American literature. He has presented papers at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the National Learning Communities Conference. From 1998 to 2002, he served as COD's Writing Placement Professional Assistant, overseeing the evaluation of written essays for placement into writing courses. He currently serves as the Faculty Chair of the Learning Communities Program. Dr. Allen teaches Workplace Writing, Composition I, and Composition II and helped design Advanced Composition.

Mary Elizabeth Cicchetti

  • MBA: Loyola University Chicago
  • MA: Roosevelt University
  • BA: Drake University

Mary Elizabeth Cicchetti earned her MBA with a concentration in marketing from Loyola University Chicago and an MA in English and journalism from Roosevelt University. Enjoying a dual career as a college professor as well as a marketing communications specialist, she has created and implemented numerous marketing campaigns and materials for a variety of companies, primarily for the insurance and financial services industries. An award-winning writer, she has published articles in the Chicago Tribune, “O, The Oprah Magazine,” “Parents Magazine,” as well as national and international industry publications and websites. Professor Cicchetti teaches Workplace Writing, and Composition I and Composition II. 

Jillian Grauman

  • PhD: Iowa State University
  • MA: Washington State University
  • BA: Luther College

Dr. Jillian Grauman earned her PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from Iowa State University, specializing in writing program administration and composition studies. She has presented at the Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference, Conference on College Composition and Communication, and International Writing Centers Association conference. She has published in WPA: Writing Program Administration and WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship. Dr. Grauman teaches several courses in Writing Studies, including Editing in the Professions, Writing Center Theory and Practice, Workplace Writing, Technical Writing, Composition I, and Composition II.

Kimberly Groves

  • MA: Clemson University
  • BA: University of Kentucky

Kimberly Groves is pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing from Michigan State University, specializing in digital rhetorics, professional writing, and women and gender studies. Professor Groves earned her Master’s in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media from Clemson University and a certification in Effective Online Teaching through the College of Education. She has published in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy and The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Professor Groves revised and teaches Digital Writing, along with, Workplace Writing, Composition I, and Composition II.  

Augie Morado

  • MA: Northern Illinois University
  • BA: Judson University

Augie Morado is completing a PhD in English at Northern Illinois University, specializing in digital rhetoric. He has presented his research on greentext stories at the Conference on College Composition and Communication. His next project looks at new types of storytelling that novel technologies (like the Internet) make possible and the rhetoric behind them. Professor Morado teaches Workplace Writing, Composition I, and Composition II.

Muhammed Saadiq

  • MA: Bowling Green State University
  • MEd: University of Central Florida
  • BA: University of South Florida

Muhammed Saadiq earned a MA in Writing and Rhetoric from Bowling Green State University. He also holds a MEd in Teacher Leadership, specializing in English Education, and a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign & Second Language from the University of Central Florida. Professor Saadiq co-chairs the annual Illinois Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages-Bilingual Education conference and fall workshop. He teaches Workplace Writing, Composition I, Composition II, and all levels of Academic ESL.

Nick Sanders

  • MA: University of Maine
  • BA: College of Saint Rose
  • AA: Fulton-Montgomery Community College

Nick Sanders is completing his PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Michigan State University, focusing on writing program/center administration and antiracist pedagogies. Nick has presented his work on language justice at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the National Council of the Teachers of English. He has published on coalitional approaches to learning in Technical Communication Quarterly and antiracist staff development in The Peer Review. Professor Sanders teaches Workplace Writing.

Annie Schnarr

  • PhD: University of California, Riverside
  • MA: Western Illinois University
  • MAT: Boston University
  • BA: Oberlin College

Dr. Annie Schnarr earned a PhD in English, with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition, from the University of California, Riverside. She has been a contributing editor for The St. Martin's Guide to Writing and has presented her research at the Pacific and Modern Language Association Conference and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Her research interests include first-year student success and writing transfer. Dr. Schnarr teaches Workplace Writing and Composition I.

Career Information


Enrolling in the Professional Writing Certificate has allowed me to branch out into the world of business writing better than any specific course could have done. [...] Having the opportunity to interview and observe writing from an actual business allowed insight into a world that can only be described in classes but not understood.

Spencer PhillabaumProfessional Writing Certificate Graduate

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your frequently asked questions regarding the Writing Studies program.

Yes, the Writing Studies program has several specialized transfer agreements with nationally recognized writing studies programs. Depending upon which program you pick, you can complete more than half of your bachelor’s degree at COD.

  1. Enroll as a COD student.
  2. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, send your transcripts to the Office of Student Records. Most likely you have completed first-year writing courses and would be given credit for Composition I and/or Composition II.
  3. Finally, complete the Student Academic Program Change Form. Use program code ENGLI.CER.PROF.  Submit and you are officially enrolled in the program.

Yes. All professional writing courses are available to complete online. Typically, students complete the certificate in about a year. Scroll to the bottom of our Courses page to determine your timeline of completion.

If you wish to continue your studies online, our transfer partner, University of Arkansas at Little Rock  (UALR) offers a fully online bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing. Our entire Professional Writing Certificate and two additional Writing Studies courses count toward UALR’s bachelor’s degree.

Most Writing Studies students use the certificate to advance in their careers, change careers to something more writing-centric, gain an internship or entry-level position in professional writing, or transfer to a university with a nearly completed writing minor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in professional writing are growing 12 percent faster than average, and professional writing certificates “demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. A professional credential also may increase a technical writer’s opportunities for advancement.”

Yes, the Writing Studies program has partnered with the Society of Technical Communication Chicago, who offers $1000 and $500 scholarships to our students.

Also, since the Professional Writing Certificate is an 18.0 credit hour program, it is approved for financial aid. Please visit Student Financial Assistance for more information.

During the semester in which you plan on graduating, compete the Application for Degree or Certificate. Add program code ENGLI.CER.PROF. Submit and the credential will be on your official COD transcript.