Thesis Option

The thesis option for completing the master’s degree requires 36 graduate credit hours:

  • 9 hours of core courses
  • 15 hours of concentration courses
  • 6 hours of cognate courses
  • 6 hours of thesis courses

Core courses (9 hours) introduce students to research methods and theories that serve as the foundation for graduate-level writing studies.  All students must take RHET 7300 Research Methods and RHET 7311 Rhetorical Theory.

Students may choose one of the following courses to complete their core requirements:

  • RHET 7310 Composition Theory
  • RHET 7312 Language Theory
  • RHET 7313 Theory of Technical Communication
  • RHET 7314 Theory of Creative Nonfiction

Concentration courses (15 hours) make up a student’s main specialization in the MA program. We offer three formal concentrations: technical writing, nonfiction writing, and editing.  Students who want to focus on rhetoric, the teaching of writing, or other specialized areas may pick and choose combinations of courses for their concentration that make sense for their career goals, as long as these choices have been approved by the graduate coordinator.

Students who choose the thesis option should choose concentration courses that will prepare them for the type of thesis they want to write at the end of the program.  If you want to complete a thesis that focuses on writing video games or software documentation, for example, but have taken no courses in that area, your thesis proposal will not be accepted. Likewise, if you propose an editing project or extended piece of nonfiction as your thesis, but have not taken appropriate concentration coursework, your proposal will not be accepted.

Cognate Courses (6 hours) require students to enroll in two classes from a different area of writing — or a different discipline entirely — from the area they have chosen as their main specialty.  Students can satisfy this requirement three ways:

  • Choose two courses from a different concentration in the MA program.
  • Choose two courses from a different graduate degree program at UALR.  These courses must be taken at the 5000-level or above; be sure to check whether the course you want take has prerequisites and is open to students from other departments. Some popular choices for cognate hours include courses in English, mass communication, speech communication, management, psychology, education, learning systems technology, and graphic design.
  • Use internship or independent study credits to fulfill this requirement.

Thesis courses (6 hours) require students to develop and present proposals for final projects (RHET 7390) and to complete and defend those projects (RHET 7391).  These two courses are offered only during spring and fall semesters; you must enroll in each of them at least once in order to graduate.

  • RHET 7390: Thesis Proposal Seminar is a course that you will take with other students who have reached the thesis proposal stage in the program during the same semester. In this course, you will learn how to form a thesis committee and propose a thesis project. You are strongly encouraged to develop a thesis idea and complete some reading about your topic before you enroll in RHET 7390. You must successfully complete RHET 7390 and defend your thesis proposal before you will be allowed to enroll in RHET 7391, so the two thesis courses cannot be completed in the same semester.  Students in this class also complete a program assessment portfolio.
  • RHET 7391 Thesis Hours is a course that functions like an independent study. You negotiate a schedule for completing your thesis with your committee members, and you meet as needed with your thesis chair until the committee agrees your project is ready to be defended.  If the thesis is not finished and ready to defend by the end of the semester that you enroll in RHET 7391, you may need to enroll in (and pay for) the course again to complete your requirements.

Graduation Requirements

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved program of study as outlined above
  • Successful completion and oral defense of thesis; uploading of thesis to ProQuest