M.A. Requirements


The RCTE Program offers an M.A. degree designed to prepare students for more advanced graduate work in both rhetoric and composition (e.g., Ph.D.), 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.


You must complete 30 units for the M.A. degree. Of the 30 units of coursework, at least 21 units must be taken in RCTE.

Coursework is concentrated within RCTE, although there are opportunities to explore courses in the other English programs, as well as outside the department. If you are interested in having an outside course count as a requirement, you should obtain a copy of the course syllabus and consult with the RCTE Program Director.

Common Curriculum: 15 units

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 (1)

Year 2: 15 units

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)

Transfer Credits

Per the Graduate College, up to 6 hours of graduate-level transfer credit may be applied to the M.A. 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).

M.A. Exam or Equivalent

In their final semester, you will complete your 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 your M.A. Exam Committee 3 weeks before the oral exam:

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

Your performance in the M.A. 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?