Iowa State University's MA program in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication offers exciting opportunities to students who want to prepare for engaging work in business and industry or in academe. Here are three reasons you should consider applying to our program:
- The digital information age is no longer a futuristic vision; it's the energy now driving education, commerce, and government. It's the latest in a long history of communication-rich eras, going all the way back to the golden age of Greece. In the MA program of study that you design, you'll get to explore rhetoric's historical origins; sample the latest theories; develop skills for teaching, web designing, document production, and visual communication; learn to write proposals and grant applications; produce manuals and in-house publications; and edit technical and scientific documents, whether print or online.
- The rhetoric faculty in Iowa State's English Department is one of the largest, most recognized, most widely published faculties anywhere in the world. Our faculty have won numerous awards in both teaching and research. Award-winning teachers such as LAS Outstanding Teacher David Roberts teach classes regularly and interact closely with graduate students in the classroom and on thesis committees. Faculty members such as David Russell have won national awards for outstanding research. RPC faculty even founded and continue to edit one of the major academic journals in the field: The Journal of Business and Technical Communication.
- You can shape your interest in communication into a career that's right for you. Want to be a technical writer for the computer industry? Want to teach business and technical communication at the community college level? Want to be an editor for a corporate newsletter? Want to manage the grants process for a nonprofit foundation? Want to go beyond the MA (half of our MA graduates have gone on to study for their doctorates)? Want to participate in a workplace internship to help you decide which direction to take as well as prepare your portfolio for a successful job search?
Come learn with us, share our appreciation for the value of communication, and lay the educational foundation for a rewarding future.
The RCPC Program
In the RCPC program you will take courses in history, theory, and pedagogy, as well as professional document analysis, design and production, and a variety of other special topics. You'll choose between a thesis and a creative component for your independent research, allowing you to showcase your research capabilities or to create a portfolio for future employers. Internships in professional communication are also available in many areas, both on and off campus.
The MA in RCPC is situated within a large English Department that also offers MA degrees in English and in Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics, as well as an MFA degree in Creative Writing and Environment. The Department also offers doctorates in both Rhetoric and Professional Communication as well as Applied Linguistics and Technology.
As a result, if RCPC students were to choose, they may take electives from those programs to supplement their coursework within the RCPC program.
Iowa State University attracts many undergraduate and graduate students due to its beautiful campus and friendly atmosphere. ISU places among the nation’s twenty-five most beautiful campuses in The Campus as a Work of Art. The university is located in Ames, Iowa, which the New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities ranks as the second most livable small city in the nation.
Iowa State's MA in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication features a wide range of courses on:
- the history, theory, and pedagogy of rhetoric and writing
- communication theory and professional document analysis, design, and production
- a variety of special topics.
An internship in professional communication is also available. Study in this major prepares students to teach business and technical writing, teach composition at the community college level, write proposals and grants, produce manuals and in-house publications, and edit various kinds of documents.
Programs of Study
The program of study (POS) for the proposed MA in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication consists of three types of requirements:
- required specified coursework in theory and research in professional communication, in teaching composition or writing and analyzing professional documents, and in the history of rhetorical theory
- electives that can be chosen from a particular area of concentration to strengthen students’ understanding of one area, including teaching business and technical writing; technology in business, technical, and professional communication; writing proposals and grants; editing principles and practices; visual communication; and special topics
- a thesis or creative component
Although space precludes exploring each area in detail, the three examples below illustrate the flexibility that students will have in selecting a career:
- Students concentrating in professional communication might hold positions such as technical writers in organizations and/or write for publications in which they have to adapt highly technical information for non-technical readers.
- Students concentrating in rhetoric and composition might hold positions in the community or the academy where writing and analysis are primary tasks or might enter law school or other advanced degree programs.
- Students concentrating in the open option might hold teaching positions in rhetoric, composition, and professional communication at the secondary, junior college, or university level.
Students earning a graduate minor in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication would take 9 credit hours of English courses, 6 of which must be at the 500- or 600-level.
For more information, contact Graduate Secretary Teresa Smiley.