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M.A. English: Rhetoric and Technical Communication

The Rhetoric and Technical Communication program (RTC) provides students with theoretical and applied knowledge in academic, professional, and technical discourses. Students explore interrelationships between rhetoric and technical communication within social, technological, and cultural contexts to prepare for careers in public and private sectors, as well as further study in doctoral programs. RTC is an excellent option for students looking to transition into a professional career, continue developing their rhetoric and writing skills, or develop their teaching skills in writing and technical communication. 

Technical communication is one of the top occupations in terms of growth and projected demand. The US Department of Labor estimates that opportunities in technical communication will continue to grow faster than average. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016) indicates that "Employment of technical writers is expected to grow 11 percent, or faster than the average for all occupations, from 2016 to 2026. Demand over this decade is expected to increase because of the continuing expansion of scientific and technical information and the growing presence of customer service and Web-based product support networks." The top employers in the state of Washington are software publishers, computer and data processing services, and the computer systems design industry.

What will I study?

In Rhetoric and Technical Communication, students will study theories of rhetoric and technical communication which serve as guiding principles for technical communication practice and pedagogy. Further, students will take courses in applied technical communication topics that focus on writing for specific purposes and specific audiences. Faculty and students work together to create a student-centered learning environment and an engaging curriculum. The program exposes students to a variety of research methods to provide the best preparation possible for future careers.

For current information about program requirements, please see the EWU Catalog

Current course offerings in RTC include: contemporary rhetoric, classical rhetoric, theory and pedagogy of technical communication, pedagogy of writing, information design, proposal writing, instructions and procedures, technical editing, usability, and content management.

In addition to course work, students will complete an internship (ENGL 695D) and a thesis or professional project. These requirements build experience both in the workplace and in the field by combining the practical application of technical and professional communication with the theory and research that informs that practice. The

Department of English also offers a Certificate in the Teaching of Writing for students interested in pursuing teaching or corporate/industry instruction or training careers. This is an excellent certificate to add to your MA in English with emphasis in Rhetoric and Technical Communication. 

How Do I Apply?

To apply to the Rhetoric and Technical Communication program, you must fill out the Graduate School application and pay the application fee, submit required materials to the RTC Director (see below), and, if applicable, complete and send the Graduate Student Assistantship application and a letter of interest to the Department of English. 

Complete the EWU Gradaute School Application online. You will also submit your official transcripts to the graduate school. Please note: the RTC program no longer requires GRE exam scores to apply to the program.

Submit materials required by the Department of English. Please send the following materials to Dr. Kate Crane, RTC Director, at or by fax at 509.359.6206:

  • Personal application statement: 800-1,000 words
  • Professional writing sample: 10-15 pages
  • Two letters of reference

Optional: Application for Graduate Student Assistantship Graduate Service Appointments (GSAs) are awarded on a competitive basis to students of outstanding promise by the Department of English. Teaching assistantships are awarded in March for the following year. Early application is encouraged.

  • Completed Application for Graduate Service Appointment form (you can complete and submit this form online, or you can download the form and submit it directly to the Department of English).
  • Additional letter describing the applicant's interest in and prior experience with teaching (submit to the Department of English).

Application Due Dates

The Rhetoric and Technical Communication program accepts quarterly admission. However, to be considered for a Graduate Student Assistantship, you must submit all application materials (including GSA application and letter of interest) by March 1st.

If you plan on applying for financial aid, we recommend submitting all application materials by February 15. 

Please see Financial Aid and Scholarships for more information.Complete applications for quarterly admission are due in the Graduate Studies Office no fewer than three weeks before the start of classes for the intended enrollment term.

Who Can I Contact?

We know that choosing a graudate program to advance your education can be a difficult decision. Let us help you! If you would like more information about the program, or if you would like to visit our faculty and campus, please contact:

Dr. Kate Crane, Director of Rhetoric and Technical Communication

211H Patterson Hall, Cheney, WA 99004 • 509.359.6542

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