Learning Objectives

The curriculum of our MA program is designed to promote graduate students’ development as writers and professionals in eight specific areas. Our MA students are professional writers who demonstrate mastery of their craft through

  • Understanding the history and major theories of their profession
  • Analyzing a variety of rhetorical situations and creating documents that will work in each particular situation
  • Conducting primary and/or secondary research that will add to knowledge in their field
  • Composing discourse- and audience-specific arguments using appropriate evidence and appeals
  • Exploring and experimenting with technologies and the distinctive social and rhetorical exigencies they create
  • Attending to editorial detail and citation
  • Acting as professionals in and outside the classroom
  • Participating in an active and ethical way in the profession beyond the classroom

Each course in our curriculum—as well as the professional development opportunities offered outside of class—provides reading, writing, and social activities related to one or more of the objectives listed above.

At the end of the program, all of our students are required to produce either an assessment portfolio or a defense portfolio that demonstrates their progress on achieving these objectives. These portfolios are published online, and many students send their portfolio links to prospective employers when applying for writing, editing, and teaching positions.

Our learning objectives handout provides more detail about what our faculty looks for in the portfolios to determine whether students have met the program objectives. Students are encouraged to download this PDF at the beginning of the program and use it as a brainstorming tool to help them select appropriate classes and collect writing samples that they might use in their final portfolios.