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

News for Fall 2015: We are currently working on major revisions to the MA English, Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing. Please visit this site again in the Spring semester to get updates on our revised program, curriculum, and program of study. 

This program is designed for students from a variety of professional backgrounds whose interests intersect with language, identity, intercultural communications, and communication in organizational settings. 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 use, literacy, and learning in contemporary society
  • wish to teach writing or who teach in K-12, college, or specialized educational settings
  • intend to focus on written communications in a wide variety of workplace settings 

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

You can customize your coursework and apply your skills to your career aspirations:

  • This degree will prepare you to teach composition courses at the community college, teach professional writing courses, better correspond with the district office in your school district, work on brochure and website design for the local museum,  and write grants for a non-profit organization. 
  • With this degree, you will learn about the implicit social contexts and processes in which written and digital texts function 
  • This degree will help you achieve career advancement in your current job 
  • With this degree, you can build an e-portfolio or web site to showcase skills to potential employers and clients
  • With this degree, you can apply to a PhD program in writing studies, composition, rhetoric, communication studies, cultural studies, and literacy studies? 
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.
RTW mission
The Rhetoric and Teaching of Writing (RTW) Degree Program emphasizes the importance of studying and using written, spoken, and digital language to educate knowledgeable citizens who understand and appreciate their civic, professional, and personal responsibilities in an increasingly global community. We specialize in preparing students for intercultural and interdisciplinary communication practices in digital and traditional work settings to further global engagement, diversity, and social justice. Students gain advanced skills in rhetorical theory and persuasive argumentation, social media literacy and multimedia writing, professional and public discourse conventions, and teaching literacy and writing through theory-based application projects, acquiring the necessary tools to participate in today’s global communities. 
RTW learning outcomes


  • Graduates will be able to assess major theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in the field of Rhetoric and Writing, and they will be able to articulate how the field has developed in relation to other fields of inquiry or practice.
  • Graduates will be able to critically analyze and successfully argue, through well-researched and well-supported papers or projects, a core issue or major challenge in the field of Rhetoric and Writing that questions current norms and dominant cultural assumptions.
  • Graduates will be able to carry out course-related and client-related projects directed at conceptualizing, understanding, reformulating, and applying current theories in the field of Rhetoric and Writing to specific practical situations in the workplace or in the community.
  • Graduates will use Rhetoric and Writing research to assess and develop well-researched positions on a significant issue related to global learning, diversity in education, and sustainable educational practices.



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.