Department of English

Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition

The Rhetoric and Composition concentration is a track of the MA degree that offers in-depth study of key theoretical and methodological approaches to rhetoric and composition studies, with an emphasis on writing pedagogy and rhetorical analysis. Students who complete the composition and rhetoric concentration will develop teaching, writing, and research skills reflecting the developments in the field of the last few decades.

Our graduates are currently employed as teachers at all levels of education. Graduates with an MA in rhetoric and composition are also qualified for positions as writing instructors and tutors, government lobbyists, advocacy campaign planners, education policymakers, school administrators, curriculum designers, and researchers and analysts for think tanks. Many of our graduates have also pursued doctoral degrees.

To graduate, MA students with concentrations in Rhetoric and Composition will need to complete 30 hours of coursework, meet the foreign language requirement, and compile a portfolio. 

Course Requirements

Table of course requirements
Requirements Courses    
GTA req.
(2 hrs)
7940: GTA Practicum    
Distribution Courses
(9 hrs)
TPC or Linguistics Literature or Creative Writing Special: Technology and Culture, Globalism Sustainability, Diversity
Major Area Courses (9 hrs) 7040: English Comp: Issues & Approaches 7050: Studies in Composition 7300: Rhetoric Theory and Practice
Minor Area Courses (6 hrs) 2 graduate courses in English or another discipline relative to the student’s professional & academic goals; approved by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee    
Elective Courses (6 hrs) 2 graduate courses in English    
Capstone Portfolio and oral exam    

Concentration in Rhetoric and Composition Portfolio

Your portfolio should display your knowledge of the field and serve as a representation of your professional identity, experiences and goals. It should include the following artifacts, although you may choose to include additional artifacts with the approval of your committee and/or advisor:

  • An introductory memo of roughly 2000 words. This memo will reflect on and frame the work featured in your portfolio, explaining how it represents your identity as an emerging professional. You should address three questions: (a) Based on your coursework, what do you see as the major issues in rhetoric and composition studies as a discipline? (b) How does the work you have presented in this portfolio address those issues? (c) How does the work in this portfolio articulate a coherent, if burgeoning, professional identity? You will need to situate your response using pertinent sources from current disciplinary conversations.
  • An updated résumé or curriculum vita.
  • A teaching portfolio that contains:
    • A statement of teaching philosophy of no more than 500 words
    • A brief introductory statement and representative materials from each of the courses you’ve taught, such as a syllabus, sample assignments, and/or in-class activities.
  • One revised sample—print or digital—of a substantial writing project from one of the major area courses: ENGL7050: Studies in Composition, ENGL 7040: English Composition Issues & Approaches, or ENGL 7300: Rhetorical Theory and Practice. In consultation with your advisor, you will heavily revise this piece to showcase your best work as well as your contributions to the field. For this project, you will also include a short reflective analysis of no more than 300 words that explains your goals for the project and your revision process.
  • A minimum of one additional writing project—print or digital—relevant to a specialization in rhetoric and composition studies. You should also include a short reflective analysis of no more than 300 words that details the significance of this project. This project might be one of the following, or an equivalent project approved by your committee:
    1. a designed document
    2. a website
    3. a grant or project proposal
    4. a conference proposal or presentation
    5. materials relevant to future employment or graduate work

For more information

Derek Ross

Derek Ross

Director of Graduate Studies
8072 Haley Center
(334) 844-9073

Last Updated: August 09, 2018