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Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing

Course Descriptions

*Graduate standing is required for all courses*

5202 Teaching Writing in Secondary Schools
This is a methods course that is team taught by the English and Rhetoric and Writing departments. The topics include making classroom presentations, managing small group work, responding to student writing, evaluating, using secondary school literature and composition textbooks, studying approaches to teaching literature, and writing as a way to reading. It should be taken in conjunction with English 5202.

5301 Theories of Rhetoric and Writing
An introduction to the formal study of classical and contemporary theories of rhetoric and writing. Emphasis on the practical understanding and application of techniques of rhetorical analysis and criticism.

5304 Technical Style and Editing
Institutional and industrial style manuals; editing technical, business, government, and scientific reports.

5305 Document Design
Study and practice of the use of visual elements in technical communication. Emphasis on typography, page layout, data displays, pictorial communication, and usability testing for both print and online documents.

5306 Writing for Business and Government
Theory of and practice in writing for business and government organizations; includes writing strategies, appropriate diction, and report formats.

5307 Writing Software Documentation
Study and practice of writing documentation for computer software, including printed manuals, tutorials, reference guides, and online help systems. Emphasis on analyzing prospective users and their tasks, interviewing subject matter experts, developing help for different levels of users, writing user-friendly text, editing documentation for style and clarity, and working on a documentation team. Intensive practice with RoboHELP HTML software for composing online help.

5315 Advanced Persuasive Writing
Intensive study of classical and new rhetorics. Emphasis on solving rhetorical problems and producing a variety of persuasive texts.

5317 Advanced Nonfiction Writing
Writing to explore, investigate, explain; includes writing a variety of professional, scholarly, and popular essays.

5318 Writing Auto/Biography
Study and practice of the rhetorical strategies employed by writers of autobiography, memoir, and biography. Special attention given to the ethical issues of writing creative nonfiction.

5321 Editing for Publication
A hands-on experience in preproduction editing for publication. Includes study of the editing process, manuscript acquisition, the peer review process, manuscript editing, editorial correspondence, and preproduction manuscript preparation.

5322 Advanced Editing
Prerequisite: RHET 5304 or RHET 5321, or comparable skills as determined by instructor.  Topics include editing graphics, illustrations, and document design; editing for comprehension and organization; editing text electronically, applying styles to text, and creating templates; studying legal and ethical issues in editing; acquiring project management and effective teamwork skills.  Students work with actual clients and their document needs.

5325 Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Argument
Designed for all majors, particularly for pre-law students and writers interested in the discourse of the law. Students will read a variety of judicial decisions on current issues such as Freedom of Speech and complete several relatively short assignments focusing on legal reasoning and argument. Students will also learn how to find information on legal decisions and issues. Graduate students are recommended to have completed an introductory course in persuasive writing and/or rhetoric.

5331 History of Rhetoric I: Beginnings to 1800
Major theorists and practitioners of rhetoric from classical times through the eighteenth century.

5332 History of Rhetoric II: 1800 to Present
Major nineteenth- and twentieth-century theorists.

5345 Topics in Persuasive Writing
Theory and practice of persuasion with topics varying each semester. May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

5346 Topics in Technical Communication
Theory and practice of technical communication with topics varying each semester. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Recent topics offered include:

  • Computer-Mediated Discourse
  • Proposal Writing
  • Research Proposals and Reports
  • Teaching Workplace/Technical Writing

5347 Topics in Nonfiction Writing
Theory and practice of technical communication with topics varying each semester. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Recent topics offered include:

  • Gender and Language
  • Healing Narratives
  • History of the Personal Essay
  • Little Rock Writing Project
  • Memoir Writing
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Writing about Travel
  • Writing and Healing
  • Writing for Children and Families
  • Writing in the Inner City

5371 Writing on the Web
An introduction to the rhetorical aspects of web design and construction that emphasizes audience(s), purpose(s), and accessibility issues such as website navigation, readability, visual design, and ADA compliance.

5375 Grant Writing
Survey, theory, and practice of grant writing (solicited and non-solicited) and the philanthropic sector. Topics include, but are not limited to, finding and researching a foundation, finding and using resources for each stage of the grant writing process, developing a problem statement, creative objectives and goals, creating a budget, as well as working with foundations.

7300 Introduction to Research Methods
An introductory course in research methods used to study writing in the classroom and workplace; quantitative and qualitative design; ethics of human subject research.

7150, 7250, 7350 Independent Study
Requires consent of instructor.
Intensive research and writing under faculty supervision on an approved topic in an area not covered in regularly scheduled course offerings; written proposal and final product required. No more than three hours may count toward concentration requirements. Additional hours may fulfill cognate requirements. May be repeated once for degree credit. Click here for proposal memo requirements.

7310 Composition Theory
Contemporary research and theory on composing processes; includes the text itself, writing behavior, relationship between cognition and writing, writing contexts and communities, development of the individual writer; requires extensive research. Core requirement.

7311 Rhetorical Theory
Nature, extent, practice of rhetoric; emphasis on necessity of integrating a solid understanding of rhetorical theory with extensive writing in a variety of modes for a variety of audiences and reasons. Core requirement.

7312 Language Theory
Research and theory concerning acquisition and nature of functional language competence, including oral and written language and the movement from oral to written discourse. Core requirement.

7313 Theory of Technical Communication
Research and theory concerning writing in professional settings; includes study of processes and products of writing in the workplace, theories informing technical communication, influence of new technologies, implications for pedagogy and practice. Requires extensive research and writing. Core requirement.

7320 Working with Writers
Study of a variety of writing processes, strategies, skills for writers. Emphasis on practical applications for writers and writing teachers in academic, work, and other settings.

7330 Topics in Nonfiction Writing
Advanced study of theoretical, practical, or pedagogical topics related to nonfiction writing. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Recent topics offered include:

  • Gender and Language
  • Healing Narratives
  • History of the Personal Essay
  • Little Rock Writing Project
  • Memoir Writing
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Writing about Travel
  • Writing and Healing
  • Writing for Children and Families
  • Writing in the Inner City

7331 Topics in the Essay
Advanced study of theoretical, practical, or pedagogical topics related to the essay. May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

7332 Topics in Extended Nonfiction
Advanced study of theoretical, practical, or pedagogical topics related to extended nonfiction writing. May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

7335 Topics in Rhetoric
Advanced study of theoretical, practical, or pedagogical topics related to rhetoric. May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

7340 Topics in Technical, Business, and Government Writing
Advanced study of theoretical, practical, or pedagogical topics related to technical communication. May be repeated for credit when topic varies. Recent topics offered include:

  • Computer-Mediated Discourse
  • Proposal Writing
  • Research Proposals and Reports
  • Teaching Workplace/Technical Writing
  • Editing for Global Audiences

7360 Internship/Practicum
Requires recommendation of the departmental internship/practicum coordinator.
Hands-on writing experience in a professional workplace. Work hours, activities, and responsibilities must be specified in a written agreement between the employer and student in consultation with the internship/practicum coordinator. May be used to fulfill cognate requirements only. May be repeated for credit.

There are 3 types of PTW Internships/Practica:

  • Teaching Practicum
  • Writing Center Practicum
  • Workplace Internship

7380 Writing and Service Learning
Requires permission of the instructor.
Community service projects involving writing. Initiatives will vary according to community needs and abilities of students. Final reflection paper required. Three hours may be applied to either concentration. May be repeated for cognate credit.

7395 Cooperative Education
Requires recommendation of the departmental cooperative education coordinator.
Hands-on writing experience in a professional workplace. Work hours, activities, and responsibilities must be specified in a written agreement between the employer and student in consultation with the internship/practicum coordinator and in coordination with the Office of Cooperative Education. May be used to fulfill cognate requirements only. May be repeated for credit.

8300 Final Project
Prerequisite: completion of PTW graduate course work, consent of graduate coordinator.
Attend class, develop and present final project proposal (including project description, survey of literature, timetable, names of committee members) to graduate faculty for approval; complete portfolio.

8301 Final Project
Prerequisite: 8300.
Completion and defense of final project, approval of supervisory committee, and acceptance of project by Graduate School.

Updated 8.29.2012