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Graduate Program Profiles: English, Rhetoric and Composition

english, rhetoric and comp

Boise State University’s Master of Arts in English, Rhetoric and Composition (M.A.) is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in both rhetorical theory and composition pedagogy, while also preparing graduates for careers in teaching and as writing specialists. Home to one of the largest writing studies faculties in the Northwest, the M.A. in English, Rhetoric and Composition is well-equipped to provide students with advanced skills in research, analysis, and both presentation-written and spoken-of language and ideas.

Beginning in Fall 2016, the MA in English, Rhetoric and Composition program will offer graduate students new ways to study writing at Boise State. The new, updated curriculum will broaden the degree to not only prepare graduates to be writing instructors, but writing specialists as well. The new coursework will provide a richer framework for understanding what it means to be a professional in the field of rhetoric and composition, whether that means pursuing doctoral study or professional writing. Students will learn how to use their rhetorical knowledge in a range of professional settings, including nonprofits, businesses, advocacy organizations, and government.

The refreshed curriculum allows students to pursue coursework in professional writing, including web design, writing for social media, and grant writing. The flexibility of the new M.A. in English, Rhetoric and Composition addresses the fluidity of writing and composition as a field while simultaneously offering more opportunities to students. With ten specialized faculty members, students are able to work closely with professors to develop engaging projects and become active practitioners in a range of genres.

To learn more about the Master of Arts in English, Rhetoric and Composition, click here or contact Dr. Tom Hillard at

New Curriculum

Core Courses (12 cr.)

  • English 555 Writing in Rhetoric and Composition Studies
  • English 554 Methods for Research in Writing and Rhetoric
  • English 561 Composition Theory and Practice
  • English 562 Theories of Rhetoric

Writing and Rhetoric Electives (6 cr.)

  • English 545 Contemporary Issues and Institutional Contexts in Rhetoric/Composition
  • English 502 Teaching Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Fiction Writing
  • English 511 Rhetorical Theory for Workplace Writers
  • English 513 Technical Editing
  • English 515 Visual Rhetoric and Information Design
  • English 524 Creation Nonfiction Writing Workshop
  • English 534 Form and Theory of Creative Nonfiction
  • English 536 Proposal Development
  • English 537 Writing for Social Media and Online Communities

Writing Teaching and Learning Electives (6 cr.)

  • English 540 Issues in Writing Teaching and Learning
  • English 501 Teaching Writing
  • English 503 Writing Center Pedagogy and Administration
  • English 567 Grammar and the Teaching of Writing: Theory and Practice
  • English 582 Selected Topics in Teaching English Language Arts
  • English 592 Practicum/Internship
  • English 598 Seminar for Teaching Assistants

English Electives (6 cr.)

Culminating Activity: Thesis, Project, Portfolio

Research and Teaching Opportunities

The M.A. in English, Rhetoric and Composition offers an exciting range of research and teaching opportunities.  There are assistantships to teach in their nationally-recognized first year writing program and opportunities to work in a thriving writing center on campus. The program also promotes graduate students to share their work at annual meetings of national organizations such as the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the International Writing Centers Association. Recently, they hosted the National Council of Writing Programs Administrators Conference.

Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Many English, Rhetoric and Composition graduates have found full-time teaching positions at regional colleges including the College of Western Idaho and the College of Southern Idaho.  Others have gone on to receive Ph.D.’s in rhetoric and composition at major universities (the University of New Hampshire, Florida State University, Washington State University, the University of Massachusetts, Purdue University, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Louisville) and now hold tenure-track positions. Still others have pursued non-academic careers have found employment in developing web content, public relations, nonprofit work, higher education administration, and other jobs that demand strong communication and rhetorical skills.