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Degree Requirements

​​​​​​​​​​​​​MSTC Degree Director

Michael Dimmick, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Technical​ Communication
Office: S1045B

Graduate Studies Contact

Andy Osborn, Ed.M.​
Associate Director of Graduate Studies
713-221-5738 ​​

Graduate Degree and Graduate Certificate Application Deadlines

Spring 2024 - January 1, 2024

Summer 2024 - May 15, 2024

Fall 2024 - August 1, 2024​

The Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition degree requires a minimum of 33 semester credit hours (SCHs) that includes 4 required courses (12 SCHs), 5 elective courses (15 SCHs), a final experience (6 SCHs), and a graduate portfolio (0 SCH). Please see the degree plan below for detailed information.

Minimum Grade Point Average

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Grades of C or lower do not count toward graduation, and two course grades of C or lower are cause for dismissal from the program. Any single grade of D or lower is cause for dismissal from the program.

MARC Degree Plan

Select on a course number/title below to see the full course description.

4 Required Courses (12 SCHs)

A study of major rhetorical theories and criticism.

A study of contemporary composition theory in first-year college writing.

Studies of a range of scholars across the spectrum of multiculturalism from the theoretical to the practical.

This course is an introduction to the research methods commonly used in the academic field of technical communication, rhetoric, and composition studies. By the end of the course, you should be able to design a thesis-driven qualitative or quantitative research project that is potentially publishable. This course is ideal preparation for graduate students planning on writing a thesis or capstone.

5 Elective Courses (15 SCHs)

At least to 3 courses (9 SCHs) in Rhetoric and Composition:

A study of major schools of critical theory.

An advanced study of rhetoric with an investigation of its development as a discipline.

A survey of major perspectives on the teaching of college composition with an examination of models of best practices for curricular development for use in multicultural writing courses. This course is a prerequisite to serving the English department as a Teaching Assistant.

A semester long study in a particular topic related to the pedagogy or practice of writing and rhetoric.

A study of composition theory, technology, and assessment as guides for teaching practices.

A study of diverse rhetorics from around the world with a focus on how they expand upon and differ from traditional European assumptions about communication and rhetoric.

An examination of theories of second language acquisition and an application of pedagogical methods.

An examination of language development and its relevance to skills required in an educational environment. The course will focus on sound patterns, word formation patterns, sentence structures, and writing systems and standards.

A survey of pedagogical methods in multi-lingual writing classrooms.

An examination of current scholarship in the teaching of secondary and college developmental writing and reading in preparation for effective teaching of underprepared students in multicultural classrooms.

This course will examine historical, current, and emerging trends in the field of literacy studies, with the understanding that literacy is defined by the contexts and cultures in which it appears. Students will read and write within traditional text-based literacies as well as multimodal and digital literacies.

An advanced survey of collaborative writing and learning theories, with strategies and applications.

A study of the theory and practice of writing assessment, including the assessment of student writing.

Up to 2 courses (6 SCHs) in Technical Communication:

Examines issues surrounding communication for and with multiple audiences with diverse linguistic and cultural patterns. Will consider implications of controlled language systems.

Trains students in the examination and assessment of the rhetorical effects of style and editing choices and in the application of appropriate choices to a variety of documents, audiences, and settings. Covers information processing theory and practice. Students will be responsible for articulating clearly and concisely the reasons for their style and editing choices, including graphics.

Acquaints students with various computer software programs and their applications. Students will expand their knowledge of rhetorical principles and techniques for reporting statistical analyses and conveying them to specialized audiences.

Up to 2 courses (6 SCHs) in Literature:

This course compares the theory and practice of two or three strategies for interpreting literature.

An in-depth study of Shakespeare, with attention to the literary and intellectual contexts, performance/film history, and contemporary critical approaches.

An examination of historical and rhetorical contexts, representative authors, literary texts, and/or major literary movements in British literature, including texts from Ireland, and/or Commonwealth nations. Course will introduce current approaches and critical debates in British literary studies to help prepare students for scholarly and multicultural pedagogical engagement.

A study of representative authors, literary texts, and major movements in American literature within their historical and rhetorical contexts. This course focuses on current critical debates and emphases in American literary studies to help prepare students for scholarly and multicultural pedagogical engagement.

Examines, within their historical and rhetorical contexts, representative authors, literary texts, and/or major literary movements in world literature. Examines current critical debates/emphases in studies of world literature to help prepare students for scholarly and multicultural pedagogical engagement.

Final Experience: Thesis or Additional Coursework (6 SCHs)

Thesis 6 (SCHs):

As the first half of the thesis sequence, this course will be taken as the student begins work on a long-form piece of scholarship relevant to composition and/or rhetoric. For more details on the thesis sequence, see the director of the degree. In the event that a student does not wish to write a thesis, a non-thesis option consists of two additional electives.

As the second half of the thesis sequence, the course spans the period during which the student is actually composing, revising, and eventually defending the thesis with input from supervising faculty.


Additional Coursework (6 SCHs):

  • Elective 1 (from elective list) (3 SCH)
  • Elective 2 (from elective list) (3 SCH)

Students who do not wish to write a thesis must take 2 additional elective courses. Upon making the decision to pursue the non-thesis option, the student must enroll in ENG 6097 – a zero-credit course that indicates this decision on the transcript.

Portfolio (0 SCHs)

In the semester during which students will complete the M.A. degree, they must each enroll in ENG 6098. Their only responsibility in this zero-credit course is to submit a portfolio to the director of the program by the end of the semester. This portfolio should include three major projects (typically essays written during MARC courses) that represent the student’s best work in each of three areas: composition, rhetoric, and pedagogy. (See the director of the program for more details).

33 Total Semester Credit Hours

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