Master of Arts in English - Specialization in Professional Writing and Rhetoric

This fully online MA in English with a specialization in Professional Writing and Rhetoric is designed to attract students who wish to pursue writing careers as free-lance professional/technical writers, those who want to work in business and industry, and those who plan to teach professional writing and rhetoric at two-year colleges.

This program is geared to meet the needs of non-resident populations and offers breadth of training for careers in a variety of professional and technical writing settings. Please see the English Department’s MA in English specialization in Professional Writing and Rhetoric page for more information.

Core courses address both theory and practice and presume that students are interested in professional/technical writing as a career. Elective offerings in English Teaching, Literature, and Rhetoric also allow students to develop competencies appropriate for employment in the public schools or community colleges.

  • Flexibility of electives provides opportunities for customization and interdisciplinary emphases in technology and education.
  • Portfolio capstone showcases student production of a variety of professional documents.

Core Courses (15 hours)

An interdisciplinary survey of critical perspectives on visual discourse and the rhetorical use of images in a variety of contemporary media and visual environments. Topics include an overview of research in visual perception; definitions of visual rhetoric; social semiotics and visual literacy; one-, two-, and three-dimensional visual rhetorics; the interplay of text, typography and visuals; the rhetorical use of images in print media, television, film, and the world wide web; and the politics of visual rhetoric.

Theories, approaches, methods, and techniques designed to guide prospective teacher of composition in selecting approach most appropriate to his/her goals; readings and projects related to goals; current publications on writing.

Practical application of technical writing in industry, business, and the sciences. Uses workshop approach.

Resources and current research in the field of technical writing. Development of skills, awareness of reference and research tools relevant to technical communication.

This course provides an overview of the application of rhetorical theory to technical documents and their production, including examination of how workplace cultures shape writing assumptions and approaches. Topics include the history of technical communication and the role of rhetorical theory in its development, the relationship between author, text and reader, collaboration and ownership, genres, workplace cultures, writing in electronic spaces, and technical communication pedagogy.

Elective Courses (15 hours)

Up to 12 hours of these elective courses, if available online, may be taken from outside the English Department and may count toward the degree; students are encouraged to meet or correspond with the English Graduate Coordinator to determine options. Electives may include but are not limited to the following courses:

On demand. Workshop on current topics and issues within discipline; topics vary and will satisfy demands of specific programs only with prior approval of the relevant program director. May be repeated if topic is different.

Introduction to some of the major modern theories of literary criticism: historicism, formalism, reader-response, structuralism, poststructuralist, etc. Application of theory to selected works.

Survey of the ways contemporary literary theory informs and can be applied to the teaching of literature. Relevant to the concerns of junior-high, secondary, and college teachers of literature.

Practical application of technical editing in industry, business, and the sciences. Uses workshop approach. Approved for distance education.

A survey of ethical issues in technical communication. Includes the study of Codes of Ethics for technical communicators and their influence on the profession of technical communication. Study of ethical situations which affect technical communicators providing information globally.

Emphasis on the historical development, genres, and theory of science writing. Also focuses on special rhetorical concerns for professional and popular audiences of scientific discourse. May be offered as a web-based course.

Systematics study of a topic from professional or technical communication studies, such as history of technical communication, visual information theory and practice in non-visual disciplines, usability studies, content management, assessment in technical and professaional communication, technical communication and organizational discourse. May be repeated if topics are different.  

Systematic study of literary genres or topics (poetry, fiction, drama, comparative literature), modes of literary or rhetorical inquiry, or intensive study of special literary, rhetorical, or creative writing topics. May be repeated if topics are different.

Portfolio Submission (1 hour)

Capstone project for the MA Plan II degree.

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All graduate level programs use the same Graduate College Application. Note: There is a non-refundable application fee.

Have an official transcript from every college or university you have attended and an official standardized test score* sent directly to:

Graduate College
120 McFall Center
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403
United States of America

* We accept the GRE General Exam, Praxis II (0041 or 0049), the Ohio Assessments of Educators (OAE) exam, or another state approved teacher licensure exam. Tests should have been taken within the last five years. TOEFL scores are required from applicants whose native language is not English. Visit the Educational Testing Service website for more information on the GRE, PRAXIS, and TOEFL tests.

Students must also submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a few samples of their writing to the Graduate English Office. See the program’s Application Page and/or contact the Program Advisor for more information.