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Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Department of English

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Rhetoric and Composition Concentration
(Graduate Catalog)

East Carolina University offers a Master of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Rhetoric & Composition. The program synthesizes philosophical, historical, and cultural dimensions of written communication through a wide variety of courses in rhetorical theory, composition pedagogy, discourse analysis, and literacy studies. Many of our graduates secure teaching positions at the community college level, while others find positions as directors of learning or writing centers. Some decide to continue graduate study at the doctoral level. Our program has enjoyed considerable success in placing its graduates in nationally recognized PhD programs.

What do rhetoric and composition specialists do? 

Scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition study a wide range of topics related to how writers use language to create effects among diverse audiences and within varying contexts. The kinds of research conducted by specialists in this discipline include:  

· Theoretical and scholarly investigations into the nature of written discourse (electronic/digital and print-based texts).  

· Ethnographic narratives which attempt to understand how texts are produced in a variety of academic and nonacademic settings.  

· Historical studies of the forms and technologies of writing.  

· Pedagogical studies that critically assess methods of teaching writing.  

· Case studies into the composing processes of experienced and inexperienced writers.  

· Rhetorical criticism of literary and other texts.

A research methods course, selected from

ENGL 7601: Research Design in Rhetoric and Composition
ENGL 6009: Research Methods in Language Study
ENGL 6805: Research: The Writer's Perspective
ENGL 7005: Bibliography & Methods
ENGL 7701: Research Methods in Technical and Professional Writing

Required Courses (9 hr)

6625: Teaching Composition: Theory and Practice
7615: Rhetorical Theory
7630: Cultural Rhetoric and Writing

Select 6 hr from the following courses

6000: Critical Writing in English Studies
7665: Rhetoric and Composition
7950: Issues in Teaching Composition
7960: Methods of Teaching English in the Two-Year College
7975: Developmental English in the Two-Year College

Select 3 hr from linguistics, TESOL, or technical and professional communication concentrations.

Electives 6 hr

Thesis or Comprehensive Assessment Project (CAP) 6 hr

Comprehensive Assessment Project (CAP)

If this option is chosen, you will take 6 additional hours of electives and complete a project as described below.

A comprehensive assessment project includes 1) a reading list determined in consultation with a faculty advisor in rhetoric and composition, 2) A portfolio of selected written work from the student’s MA coursework, and 3) an introductory/review essay. The student will present this portfolio, framed with the introductory/review essay, to his or her MA committee for formal review and defense.