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Envision. Create. Communicate.

1 to 1 mentorship
High promotion rate for graduates




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Description of Program

The specific goals of the masters degree are to help students:

  • Define what effective communication means in writing, rhetoric and technical communication environments.
  • Enhance their understanding of how and why communication works.
  • Learn how to identify and eliminate barriers to effective communication.
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communication management.
  • Develop research skills.

To achieve these goals, the programs combine work in theory, writing, text design, and analysis of communication systems and contexts to help students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to begin careers in writing, rhetoric and technical communication. The programs emphasize scholarly, humanistic and social scientific perspectives on the function and application of writing, rhetoric and technical communication.

Consequently, the programs provide students with not only the knowledge and skills required for careers in industry, business or government but also the research skills and communication theory that will prepare them for doctoral study in communication and rhetoric. The long-range goal of the degree, then, is to enable program graduates to grow as professionals and, ultimately, to contribute to the developing field of writing, rhetoric and technical communication.

Degree candidates must successfully complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate course work, which includes a minimum of two semesters of course work completed at JMU. Students work with school advisers to design a program that fits their unique educational needs and career aspirations. Depending on their backgrounds and options they might choose to pursue while in the degree program, students may decide to take course work beyond the required 33 hours to obtain additional knowledge or skills in specialized areas. For example, students may choose to take extra course work to enhance their skills in communication technologies or to deepen their academic training in the writing, rhetoric and technical communication content areas in which they intend to work as professional writers or editors.

Degrees Offered

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Master of Science (M.S.)

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