Master of Arts in English, Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing Emphasis

This program is designed for students from a variety of professional backgrounds whose interests intersect with language, identity, intercultural communications, and communicative needs. You are encouraged to design your MA emphasis by choosing from a cross-disciplinary set of courses in rhetoric, composition, literature, linguistics, and professional writing. You can collaborate on a wide range of projects that draw from your understanding of how theory informs practice.

This online or in-person degree plan is perfect for students who:

  • are interested in language, literacy, and learning in contemporary society
  • wish to teach writing or who teach in K-12, college, or specialized settings
  • intend to focus on community or workplace literacy programs

What the program offers

Meet your goals
  • Teach writing more effectively: You will discover cutting-edge approaches that will make you a better writer as well as a better teacher of writing.
  • Write like a professional: You will learn to analyze documents and produce relevant and practical projects geared towards your career goals.
  • Complete coursework online: You will be able to work from your home, your office, or a public library close to you to ensure flexibility in completing your degree.
Learn about issues relevant to your life
  •  Writing studies in context: Today’s writers need to be flexible writers in multiple contexts. You will learn about the history of writing studies, discover theories about writing, and study and practice autobiographical writing. Consider taking English 501 (Graduate Composition), English 511 (Writing Theory and Practice), English 610 (Autobiographical Literacies), and English 631 (Argumentation).
  • Diversity, Literacy Studies, and Global Professional Communication: More than ever we need training in diversity issues, multicultural contexts, and the effects of globalism. You will learn how to negotiate the cultural issues that are shaping our world. Consider taking English 503 (Written Communication in Organizations), English 520 (Literacy Studies), and English 521 (Language and Diversity)
  • Digital Studies, Visual Rhetorics, and Multimedia Design: Today we are surrounded by digital information. In the RTW program, you will learn about digital studies, visual literacy, and multimedia design. Consider taking English 519 (Technology and Visual Literacy), and English 570 (Introduction to Multimedia Design).
Customize your emphasis
  • Do you want to teach composition courses at the community college? Do you want to teach professional writing courses? Do you want to write grants for a non-profit organization? Do you want to learn about the implicit social contexts and processes in which written and digital texts function? Do you need to better correspond with the district office in your school district? Do you want to work on brochure and website design for the local museum? Are you looking for career advancement in your current job? Do you want to build an e-portfolio or Web site to showcase skills to potential employers and clients? Are you interested in applying to a PhD program? You can customize your coursework to apply it to your career aspirations.
Learn from experienced faculty
  •  The acclaimed faculty in the RTW program has an outstanding reputation in the fields of rhetoric, composition, writing across disciplines, literacy studies, and visual literacy. They publish widely on multicultural literacy, rhetorical theories, gendered writing, digital media, writing across the curriculum, writing program administration, and professional communication strategies. They are also outstanding teachers who apply their knowledge of current learner-centered teaching approaches to the online and face-to-face classrooms.

What you will have learned at the end of the program

Overall program goals

The RTW program provides professional development for people interested in teaching and in a wide variety of career fields. The specific goals of the program are to:

  • Provide students with knowledge in the histories and theories of rhetoric, composition, and professional writing.
  • Provide students with skills in written and digital communication that will help them lead rewarding lives in an increasingly diverse world.
  • Prepare students for successful careers as educators, writers, and communication specialists.
Specific learning outcomes for students

The university’s RTW program focuses on three learning outcomes for students. When you graduate from the program, you will be able to:

  • synthesize relevant research in rhetoric, composition, and professional writing, including work on digital and visual literacy
  • apply skills in rhetorical analysis to designing, and composing clear, correct, and stylistically effective documents, in written or digital environments
  • demonstrate sensitivity to the ethical, professional, and cultural issues that face educators and professional writers

Please see the academic catalog for the most recent information regarding courses and academic plans.

RTW Courses 

How to apply

Graduate assistantships

Learn more about the available graduate assistantships.