MA Requirements

Advisement Checklist

MA in Rhetoric and Composition form (PDF)

Coursework Requirements

Time Limit
All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within seven years.

Candidates for the M.A. with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition must satisfactorily complete 30 hours of graduate coursework (10 courses), plus 6 hours of thesis research credit, and a substantial (40–60 pages excluding notes and reference material) academic paper or a digital media project approved by a thesis committee consisting of a director and two other faculty members.

The following courses are required:

  • Twelve hours of required courses: ENGL 8125 Writing and Research Methodology (should be taken in the first semester, if possible, and at the latest, the semester before writing the thesis),ENGL 8170 Classical Rhetoric: Greek, ENGL 8120 Writing for Academic Publication (ProSeminar), and ENGL 8180 Composition Theory;
  • Twelve additional hours of rhetoric and composition courses and strongly related courses;
  • Six hours of electives (may be taken in any related fields of study);
  • Six hours of 8999 (Thesis Research).

Thesis research may involve digital and workplace projects as well as textual studies, and the thesis can be a substantial (40–60 pages) academic paper or a digital project with approval of the director. The proposal for thesis research must be submitted and approved by the student’s committee the semester prior to writing the thesis.

Foreign Language / Alternative Research Skill Requirement
Candidates for the M.A. with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition are expected to demonstrate fluency in one foreign language or to have received a grade of B or higher in one of the following sequences of courses:  

  • ENGL 8121, Rhetoric of Digital Media and ENGL 8123, Digital Media Production
  • ENGL 8900, Archival Research Methods and ENGL 8100, Independent Study, Archival Research Project
  • ENGL 8900, Visual Rhetorics and ENGL 8900, Computers and Composition
  • Other two-course sequences as approved by your advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies

Registration and Advisement

The Office of the Registrar will notify students by mail of the date and time of their registration. The Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English will act as adviser to all M.A. students until a faculty member is designated or until they have chosen a thesis director. Students are responsible for making appointments with the Director of Graduate Studies for advisement and for being familiar with the requirements for their degree as set forth in this booklet and in the Graduate Bulletin, College of Arts and Sciences.


See the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Services Website for details, requirements, and current deadlines.