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M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition Degree Sheet




The Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition (MARC) program offers intensive study in composition theory and training in the teaching of writing and English studies at the college level. MARC is the only program in Texas specifically designed to emphasize training in multicultural composition instruction and rhetoric.

The MARC program is applicable to:

  • Future teachers of college English courses.
  • Current teachers of college English courses seeking to satisfy SACSCOC credentialing requirements.
  • Local teachers seeking credentials to teach dual-credit English courses in Houston-area high schools.
  • Students pursuing an academic career by seeking a foundation for a doctorate in rhetoric, compositions, or English studies.

About the Program

The Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition focuses on composition theory, writing assessment, rhetorical theory and history, and teaching writing to ESL students. Each of the courses are taught by nationally recognized faculty who have published research in well-known books and academic journals.

Graduates of the program will:

  • Use rhetorical theory in the analysis and production of written communication.
  • Identify and prepare strategies for teaching writing in a variety of environments for students with different cultural orientations, varying degrees of English language competence, and different levels of preparedness.
  • Analyze discrete elements of written communication.
  • Design and execute their own research projects in the fields of rhetoric and/or composition.

The MARC program requires a minimum of 33-hours, composed of:

  • 9 hours of required courses
  • 18 hours of elective courses
  • 6 hours of thesis or additional elective courses

MARC courses are offered in the evenings and during the summer.

UHD Graduate Teaching Assistantships are available to graduate students who are in good standing (3.5 GPA), with at least 18 semester credit hours completed in the program, and a grade of B or higher in English 5327 (MARC Practicum).

Affiliated Student Organizations

Institute for Plain English Research and Study (IPERS) serves as a space for people to meet and discuss plain language guidelines, new regulations laws, and their effects on workplace communication.

Sigma Tau Delta–Alpha Kappa Omega Chapter is the UHD chapter of an International English Honors Society, which brings together students who have an interest in literature, culture and intellectual camaraderie. For membership information, contact Dr. Katharine Jager at

Career Options

Graduates of the MARC program are qualified to teach writing and literature in colleges and universities, and dual-credit courses in Texas high schools. UHD offers an 18-hour composition studies certificate, which can provide credentials needed to teach dual courses in Texas high schools or lower-division writing courses at local universities and community colleges*.

*Institutes of secondary education may require additional certification to teach in dual-credit settings.


How to Apply

Applicants must complete and submit all of the following items in order to be considered for admission. Resumes, personal statements, and writing samples can be uploaded through the myUHD portal, emailed to, or mailed to:

Office of Admissions – Graduate Admissions
University of Houston-Downtown
One Main Street, Suite GSB 308
Houston, TX 77002-1001

  • Submit an application
  • Pay the $35 application fee
  • Request/submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended to the email or mailing address above (including community college work and prior graduate work).
  • Provide a personal statement of approximately 500 words that addresses some or all of the following questions in detail. Support your views with reasons and examples drawn from such areas as your reading, experience, observations, or academic studies. Be sure to develop your ideas fully and organize them coherently:
    • Why do you want to study rhetoric and composition?
    • What topics or issues in our field might you want to study further and why?
    • What qualifies you to embark upon this field of study?
    • What experience do you have in this field?
    • How do you plan to use your degree?
  • Provide a 10–15-page academic writing sample. (We ask that you compose a researched, argument-driven academic essay on a topic of general interest using a generally recognized academic style sheet for references (MLA, APA, or Chicago).
  • Provide the names and email contact information for two recommenders application.
    • Your recommenders/references should be individuals with knowledge of your work and who are able to address your academic potential such as former professors, work supervisors, or professional colleagues.
    • Your recommenders will be contacted and provide their recommendations directly into the application system. Please make sure you have accurate email addresses for both recommenders.
  • Provide TOEFL scores of 550 with section scores of 50 or higher (if a graduate of a university in which English is not the native language).

For full instructions on application and admission requirements, pleae visit the M.A. in Rhetroic and Composition website.

Median Salary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary: Postsecondary Teachers [Professors]: $75,430 Postsecondary Education Administrators: $90,760

Earn Your Degree

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University of Houston-Downtown