RCTE MA Degree Requirements

Students Seeking the MA Degree

Thirty (30) units are required for completion of the MA degree. Coursework is concentrated within RCTE, although there are opportunities to explore courses in the other English programs, as well as outside the department.

Some courses outside of English may count under RCTE. Students interested in having an outside course count as a requirement should obtain a copy of the course syllabus and consult with the RCTE Program Director.

The RCTE Program offers an MA degree designed to prepare students for more advanced graduate work in both rhetoric and composition (e.g., PhD), advanced graduate work in disciplines such as Higher Education Administration, Communication, Mexican American Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, and LGBTQ Studies, and/or in professional fields related to rhetoric and writing studies.



Thirty (30) units of coursework are required to complete the RCTE MA. This coursework is concentrated in RCTE, but there are opportunities for students to explore other research areas through coursework elsewhere at the UA.

Specifically, here’s how students will complete the MA coursework:

  • Year 1: Common Curriculum--15 units (5 courses)

Fall Semester | Year 1

  • ENGL 597R: Research Methods in Rhetorical and Composition (3)
  • Preceptorship (3)
  • Colloquium (0)

Spring Semester | Year 1

  • Inquiry & Innovation Seminar (3)
  • Either ENGL 696T: Rhetorical Theories (3) or ENGL 510: Theory and Practice of Composition (3). Courses are offered in alternating years with one course taken in Year 1 and one course taken in Year 2. Whichever course is not taken must be taken in Year 2.
  • Preceptorship (0)


  • Year 2 --15 units (5 courses)

Fall Semester | Year 2

  • Specialized Methods: student’s choice of one additional methods course, offered either in RCTE or in another program (3)
  • Histories: student’s choice of one class focused on histories, offered by RCTE faculty (3)
  • Elective  (3)

Spring Semester | Year 2

  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)


Of the 30 units of coursework, at least 21 units must be taken in RCTE.


Transfer Credits

Per the Graduate College, up to 6 hours of graduate-level transfer credit may be applied to the MA degree, but none of the Year 1 courses may be substituted for transferred courses (i.e., all of the Year 1 courses must be taken).


MA Exam or Equivalent

In their final semester, MA students will complete their degree with a two-hour Oral Examination or an alternative capstone experience such as a creative project, a comprehensive exam, or some other culminating requirement, such as a final portfolio, a documented contribution to a group project or outcome, or a report of internship for fieldwork experiences. The Oral Exam option will be based on the following materials, submitted to the student’s MA Exam Committee 3 weeks before the oral exam:

  • one paper or project completed by the student in RCTE coursework that best represents the student’s ability to conduct research;
  • one paper or project completed by the student in (or immediately peripheral to) RCTE coursework that best represents the student’s ability to apply research to contexts in and beyond the classroom;
  • a reading list, assembled in collaboration with an MA Advisor selected by the student and drawing heavily on materials covered in the student’s coursework.


The student’s performance in the MA Oral Exam will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Has the student developed a research paper or project that indicates an ability to do advanced graduate level work?
  • Has the student demonstrated an advanced ability to apply research and theory to material contexts?
  • Has the student demonstrated an ability to step back from their work in order to recognize strengths and weaknesses as a scholar, teacher, and public intellectual?





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