MA in RCPC: Coursework & Program of Study

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Students in the MA in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication (RCPC) program do not declare a specialization but may choose electives from a particular area of concentration to strengthen their understanding of that area (e.g., teaching multimodal composition, teaching professional communication, teaching speech communication, developing professional documents, understanding and using communication technology, analyzing visual design).

30 credit hours of graduate coursework

Area of CourseworkCoursesCredits
Engl 501
Engl 503
Engl 506
Engl/Sp Cm 547
Engl 602C
Choose from any of the courses in the categories listed.
TAs may count 3 credits of either Engl 500 or Sp Cm 513.
Multimodal composition and speech communication
Engl 504, Engl/Sp Cm 592B
Professional communication
Engl 505, 508, 529, 542, 549, 586, 587, Engl/Sp Cm 592C
Engl/Sp Cm 548, Engl 586, Engl/Sp Cm 592A
After designated prerequisites and 6 graduate credits completed, students may take
Engl 602A, 602B, 603, 611, 631
Elective credits may come from English Department course offerings or from other university departments or programs (such as WGS 501, Sp Cm 504, Engl 522, or Engl 527).
Engl 699: Thesis Research
Engl 599: Creative Component
TOTAL 30 minimum

NOTE:  The MA RCPC program does not include a foreign language requirement.

Thesis and Creative Component Options

In your last semester as an RCPC student, you will complete a substantial research project—either a traditional thesis or a creative component. We encourage students who are planning to enter the workforce after graduation to consider one of the two creative component options available. The creative component options allow you to apply and display what you’ve learned in your coursework

RPC Course Selections

  • Engl 500 Teaching Multimodal Composition
  • Engl 501 Introduction to Research in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication
  • Engl 503 Composition Theory
  • Engl 504 Teaching Advanced Communication
  • Engl 505 User Experience Architecture and Testing for Advanced Communication
  • Engl 506 Professional Communication Theory
  • Engl 508 Writing for Academic Publication (summer)
  • Sp Cm 513 Teaching Fundamentals of Public Speaking
  • Engl 529 Content Management
  • Engl 542 Document Design and Editing
  • Engl/Sp Cm 547: The History of Rhetorical Theory I: From Plato to Bacon
  • Engl/Sp Cm 548: Cultural and Critical Theories of Communication and Rhetoric
  • Engl 549 Multimedia and Interaction Design
  • Engl 586 Visual Rhetoric in Professional Communication
  • Engl 587 Internship in Business, Technical, and Professional Communication
  • Engl 590 Special Topics (Independent Study)
  • Engl/Sp Cm 592A Core Studies: Rhetoric
  • Engl/Sp Cm 592B Core Studies: Composition
  • Engl/Sp Cm 592C Core Studies: Professional Communication
  • Engl 602A Research Methods: Qualitative
  • Engl 602B Research Methods: Quantitative
  • Engl 602C Research Methods: Rhetorical Analysis
  • Engl 603 Seminar in Composition Theory
  • Engl 631 Administration and Organization of Multimodal Writing Programs

Brief course descriptions of the above courses can be found in the ISU Catalog under the English Department section.

MA Program Goals

The M.A. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication meets the needs of its students, the university, and the community in four main ways:

  • providing students with skills in communication and technology that will serve them well in a world that is becoming ever more technologically sophisticated
  • helping students become effective citizens through communication and analytical skills that are valued in workplace and academic communities alike
  • preparing students for successful and rewarding lives in a rapidly changing world–with emphasis on developing critical thinking and team learning abilities
  • expanding the outreach of the university to include all those professionals who depend upon communication skills for the effective practice of their professions

RCPC Learning Outcomes

The RCPC program combines the pedagogy focus of a degree in rhetoric and composition with the technical skill and practicality of a degree in professional communication. Upon graduation, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand the interplay of rhetoric, composition, and professional communication in local and global contexts.
  • Analyze a rhetorical situation and develop communication that responds to it effectively and ethically.
  • Develop communication that helps build a socially just society.
  • Use communication to contribute to an affirming and inclusive classroom/workplace environment.
  • Apply the historical and theoretical understanding necessary to assess the use of specific communication technologies within complex organizations.
  • Combine verbal and visual communication skills to produce effective communication in contemporary organizations.

Measures for evaluating a student’s success in meeting these objectives include these:

  • Achievement on coursework
  • Familiarity with useful and common software programs and technologies
  • Successful completion of a thesis or a creative-component project.