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Master of Arts in English (Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies)

Mark Hannah, Program Director

Samantha Franze, Graduate Academic Advisor 

The Department of English offers instruction leading to the Master of Arts in English with a track in writing, rhetorics, and literacies. This program emphasizes rhetorical strategies of oral, written, material, and digital texts through classical and contemporary theories, methods, and contexts. Our degree candidates come into the program with diverse academic backgrounds and interests, and many of our graduates go on to continue scholarly work in rhetoric, English studies, law, communication, and other related fields, and professional careers in teaching, public service, and industry. Students work closely with the director to pursue individual interests in rhetoric and composition – to make connections with other fields such as anthropology, communication, education, linguistics, literature, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and sociology. Students also may write theses that employ a range of scholarly approaches, such as historical, theoretical, or empirical. A non-thesis option is also available.

The deadlines are January 1st and April 15th for the following fall.

Note: The committee reviews applications shortly after the deadline. The application must be complete with all supporting documents before review. This is the applicant's responsibility. Please plan accordingly when submitting an application.

Applicants for admission to the Master of Arts (M.A.) in English (writing, rhetorics, and literacies track) must apply online and submit the following:

  1. Three letters of recommendation from faculty members familiar with their work.
  2. One to two page, single spaced statement of purpose.
  3. Resume or vita.
  4. Graduate Admissions application.
  5. Academic writing sample.
  6. Official transcripts.

*The GRE is not required for admission

International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. Please refer to the English Proficiency Score requirements.

See the Department of English Application Process for more information.

To earn the M.A. in English with an emphasis in writing, rhetorics, and literacies, a candidate must complete at least 30 hours of graduate courses. Included in that number must be the following courses:

1.     ENG 501 Approaches to Research

2.     One course in rhetoric theory:

·         ENG 551 Rhetorical Traditions

·         ENG 554 Rhetorics of Race, Class, and Gender

·         ENG 556 Theories of Literacy

3.     One course in composition theory:

·         ENG 552 Composition Studies

·         ENG 553 Technologies of Writing

4.     Electives: at least two of the following courses at the 600 level:

·         ENG 651 Advanced Studies in the History and Theories of Rhetoric

·         ENG 652 Advanced Composition Studies

·         ENG 654 Advanced Studies in Rhetoric, Writing, Technology, and Culture

·         ENG 655 Disciplinary Discourses  

·         ENG 656 Studies in Cross-Cultural Discourse

5.     Thesis (6 credits) or Applied Project (3 credits) for non thesis option.

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the thesis committee. This may be fulfilled in any of the following ways:

  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language.
  • Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Demonstrating native-speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent.
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
  • For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.

For more information see Foreign Language Examination.

Thesis:  (ENG 599 6 hours) The thesis is a research project leading to the production of a scholarly paper appropriate for the degree. The thesis project begins with a prospectus colloquium and culminates in an oral examination.

Non-thesis Option: 27 coursework and 3 hours of Applied Project (ENG 593). Student works with an Applied Project director and one additional committee member. There will be an oral presentation of the project.

For more information, contact: or 480-965-3194.

Important Notice to Current International Students: In order for international students to maintain good standing for their VISAs, they must take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester (i.e., 3 classes), 6 of which should be face-to-face classes.

Patricia Boyd - computers and composition; study of feminism; cultural studies.

Maureen Goggin - material culture; women making things; gender studies; history of rhetoric; rhetorical theory; history of rhetoric and composition; research methods; visual rhetoric; material rhetoric.

Peter Goggin - theories of literacy; literacy and technology; environmental rhetoric; narratrives of sustainability.

Mark Hannah - cross-disciplinary collaboration; technical communication; business communication; rhetoric of science; rhetoric and composition; legal rhetoric.

Kathleen Lamp - history of rhetoric; visual rhetoric; classical rhetoric; rhetorical influence on civic participation; the rhetoric of Augustan Rome.

Elenore Long - community literacy; the rhetorics of local publics; sociocognitive rhetorical theories and methods; composition and the public turn; knowledge activism.

Paul Kei Matsuda - Second language writing, written discourse analysis, electronic discourse, cross-cultural rhetoric, research methods, rhetoric and composition, applied linguistics, English for academic purposes.

Keith Miller - Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement; rhetoric about British and American slavery; basic writing; persuasive rhetoric; persuasive writing on public issues.

Ersula Ore - contemporary rhetorical theory; visual rhetorics of violence; rhetorics of race and culture; critical race theory; rhetoric and public memory.

Shirley Rose - writing program administration; writing teacher preparation; citation studies; archival research, theory, and practice; the rhetoric of archival practices.

Bryan Smith - second language acquisition; second language computer-meditated communication; digital technologies in second language learning, second language writing, and second language communication; negotiated interaction; applied linguistics.

Doris Warriner - literacy practices of second language users, immigration, transnationalism, qualitative methods, narrative analysis, educational anthropology, linguistic anthropology.