School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Mission Statement
The School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication is a community committed to preparing its students – both writers and technical and scientific communicators – for lives of enlightened, global citizenship.

Goals
The goals of WRTC are to help students:

Career Opportunities
In the WRTC major students learn the kinds of research, analytical and reasoning skills that will allow them to become successful professionals in a wide range of fields. WRTC graduates can expect career opportunities in writing, editing or production positions with a variety of business, educational or industry employers, including the computer hardware and software industry, law firms, journalism, health care providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, education, engineering companies, publishing houses, environmental organizations, not-for-profit or political organizations, and technical translation groups of multinational corporations.

Professional Activities and Organizations

e-Vision
In support of campus-wide writing, the program sponsors e-Vision, an electronic publication of student essays written in the first year composition classes. For eleven years, students on the e-Vision editorial board have worked to give the engaging, provocative, fundamentally useful essays written by GWRTC students the wider audience they deserve. e-Vision is produced by students. Students enrolled in the e-Vision internship (WRTC 495) develop the criteria used to evaluate essays, read and discuss each submission, and work individually with winning essayists to polish their work for publication at http://www.jmu.edu/evision/.

Internships
The WRTC internship is a required professional preparation for B.A. and B.S. students. It expects students to exercise the preparation that they received from their WRTC course work to design, write, edit and produce professional documents for internship providers in academia, business, industry and government. Information about internships may be obtained through the WRTC office.

RSA Student Chapter
The Rhetoric Society of America is the umbrella organization for scholars in every discipline who are interested in rhetoric, the art of effective communication. The RSA student chapter was established in the fall of 2010 in order to provide the undergraduate and graduate student community at JMU with a forum for gathering as rhetoricians. Its goals include advancing discussion and scholarship among the students as well as supporting their professional development.

STC Student Chapter
The Society for Technical Communication offers a unique opportunity for members to seek recognition for their work and obtain professional contacts. STC is comprised of over 23,000 individual members throughout the world, making it the largest organization of its kind. The James Madison University STC Student Chapter was established in the fall of 1999, offering students a venue for exploring networking and applied skills.

Service to the University

English as a Second Language
WRTC 100 is available for English as a second language (ESL) students and others who wish to enhance their writing preparation prior to taking GWRTC 103 (formerly GWRIT 103).

Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
WRTC faculty are active participants in creating and sustaining the Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (IDLS) major for teacher education students, K-8.

Honors Program
WRTC faculty regularly offer honors sections of GWRTC 103 (formerly GWRIT 103).

Madison Writing Awards
The Madison Writing Awards (MWA) is a university-wide competition that celebrates writing across the curriculum in all academic programs. These awards reflect the commitment of James Madison University, the College of Arts and Letters, and the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication to preparing students for educated and enlightened global citizenship through the outlet of rhetoric. The MWA end-of-year awards ceremony features a showcase of winning pieces as well as the presentation of cash prizes.

Admission Requirements
Any student coming into JMU as a first year student without previous college experience may declare WRTC as a major. However, any student who has completed one semester at JMU or another university must apply to WRTC. To be admitted into the WRTC B.A. or B.S. program, students must first satisfy all university general admission requirements. In addition, applicants to the program must submit to the WRTC director an application dossier that contains the following material:

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Degree and Major Requirements
The study of writing, rhetoric and technical communication includes two concentrations in the undergraduate major: technical and scientific communication and writing and rhetoric. The WRTC major emphasizes scholarly, humanistic and social scientific perspectives on the function and application of communication technologies, with instruction in areas such as:

In addition to offering students the rhetorical tools with which to excel as professional communicators, the B.A. and B.S. programs also prepare graduates for academic studies in writing, rhetoric and technical communication at the master's level.

The B.A. and B.S. programs in WRTC are interdisciplinary and encourage students to take courses in a variety of fields. Many program electives are offered in academic units outside the school, such as communication studies, computer information systems, computer science, integrated science and technology, and media arts and design. Students should check prerequisites for upper-level electives offered in other academic units.

Students should also work with school advisers to design a program that fits their unique educational needs and career aspirations. Requirements of the WRTC degree might mean that some students will take courses beyond the 120 hour university requirement for B.A. and B.S. degrees.

Course requirements differ between the B.A. and B.S. programs, and students are advised to maintain regular contact with their WRTC adviser to ensure timely graduation. Students are advised to begin the core requirements before selecting a concentration. Requirements and eligible courses for the B.A. and B.S. in each of the two concentrations are outlined below.

Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Degree Requirements

Required Courses Credit Hours
General Education 1 41
Foreign Language classes (intermediate level required) 2 0-14
Philosophy course (in addition to General Education courses) 3
University electives 23-37
Major requirements 39

  120

1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level (typically 232) of the student's chosen language or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language, Literature and Cultures' placement test.

Bachelor of Science in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Degree Requirements

Required Courses Credit Hours
General Education 1 41
Quantitative requirement 2 3
Scientific Literacy requirement 2 3-4
Major requirements 39
University electives 33-34

  120

1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 In addition to course work taken to fulfill General Education requirement.

Major Requirements
All students must complete 12 hours of core requirements and then select electives and a depth requirement that complement their interests.

Major Requirements Credit Hours
Core Requirements 12
Concentration Requirements 18
Students must choose a concentration in either technical and scientific communication or writing and rhetoric.  
Depth Requirement 9
Courses from a specified area depending on the chose concentration.  

  39

 

Core Requirements Credit Hours
WRTC 200. Introduction to Studies in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3
Choose one: 3
WRTC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication 1  
WRTC 211. Written Argumentation 1  
WRTC 240. Professional and Technical Editing 3
WRTC 495. Internship in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3

  12

1 This course meets the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement.

Prerequisites
Prerequisites for most WRTC 200 and above level courses require completion of one of the following: WRTC 200, WRTC 210, WRTC 211 or WRTC 220. Students may enroll in some courses for which they have not taken the prerequisite courses with permission of the instructor.

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Concentrations

Technical and Scientific Communication
In addition to the core requirements for the WRTC major, technical and scientific communication concentrators will take 18 credits from the following list. No more than six hours may be at the 200 level and three hours must be at the 400 level. WRTC majors should consult their advisers to discuss course selection.

WRTC 230. Research in Technical and Scientific Communication
WRTC 250. Ethical and Legal Issues in Technical and Scientific Communication
WRTC 311. Rhetorical Analysis
WRTC 320. Writing in the Public Sphere
WRTC 330. Intercultural Technical and Scientific Communication
WRTC 331. Technology, Literacy and Culture
WRTC 350. Science, Technology and Literature
WRTC/SCOM 351. Visual Rhetoric
WRTC 355. Digital Rhetoric
WRTC/WRTC 395. Practicum
WRTC 410. Government Writing
WRTC 411. Legal Writing
WRTC 412. Medical Writing
WRTC 413. Proposal Writing
WRTC 430. Style and Stylistics
WRTC 450. User Documentation
WRTC 455. Managerial and Entrepreneurial Communication
WRTC 460. Beginning Topics in Online Publication
WRTC 461. Intermediate Topics in Online Publication
WRTC 462. Advanced Topics in Online Publication
WRTC 480. Special Topics in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication
WRTC 481. Beginning Web Theory and Design
WRTC 482. Advanced Web Theory and Design
WRTC 490. Advanced Independent Study in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication
WRTC 499. Honors

Writing and Rhetoric Concentration
In addition to the core requirements for the WRTC major, writing and rhetoric concentrators must take WRTC 220, Rhetorical Traditions.

Writing and rhetoric concentrators will take 15 credits from the following list. No more than six hours may be at the 200-level and three hours must be at the 400-level. WRTC majors should consult their advisers to discuss course selection.

WRTC 230. Research in Technical and Scientific Communication
WRTC 250. Ethical and Legal Issues in Technical and Scientific Communication
WRTC/ENG 290. Intermediate Composition
WRTC 310. Studies in Literacy
WRTC 311. Rhetorical Analysis
WRTC 320. Writing in the Public Sphere
WRTC 322. Making a Difference: Service Learning Writing
WRTC 330. Intercultural Technical and Scientific Communication
WRTC 331. Technology, Literacy and Culture
WRTC 340. Teaching Writing
WRTC 341. Composing Processes
WRTC 343. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Practice
WRTC 345. Tutoring Writing
WRTC 350. Science, Technology and Literature
WRTC/SCOM 351. Visual Rhetoric
WRTC 355. Digital Rhetoric
WRTC 395. Practicum
WRTC/ENG 396. Advanced Composition
WRTC 400. Special Topics Seminar in Rhetoric and Writing
WRTC 410. Government Writing
WRTC 411. Legal Writing
WRTC 412. Medical Writing
WRTC 413. Proposal Writing
WRTC/SCOM/WMST 420. Feminist Rhetorics
WRTC 421. Studies in Cultural Rhetorics
WRTC 490. Advanced Independent Study in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Depth Requirement
WRTC students must complete a depth requirement in an area related to the WRTC concentration. A depth requirement is a set of courses outside the major that is designed to complement other components of the student's course of study and to support selected professional goals.

Students concentrating in TSC must satisfy a nine-hour minimum depth requirement. Six hours must be at the 300 and 400 level. Students should consult their major adviser for a list of eligible areas and courses. These nine credits may not be double-counted toward General Education requirements.

Courses not appearing on the list may be eligible for substitution if the adviser is consulted ahead of time. Students who are double majoring or minoring in areas outside WRTC will automatically satisfy the depth requirement if the major or minor area is approved for that concentration.

Students concentrating in writing and rhetoric must declare a minor to satisfy their depth requirement.

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Recommended Schedule

Recommended Schedule for B.A. Majors
Students are encouraged to begin their WRTC course work as soon as possible in their degree plans. The following sample program of study illustrates how a WRTC major might earn a B.A. degree.

First Year

First Semester Credit Hours
Foreign Language course 1 3-4
General Education Cluster One 9
General Education Cluster Three 3

  15-16

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
Foreign Language course 3-4
WRTC 200. Introduction to Studies in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3
General Education Cluster Three course 3
General Education courses 6

  15-16

Second Year

First Semester Credit Hours
Foreign Language course 0-3
WRTC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication  
or WRTC 211. Written Argumentation 3
WRTC elective 3
B.A. Degree philosophy course 3
General Education Cluster Three course 4
General Education courses 0-6

  16

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
Foreign Language course 0-3
WRTC elective 3
General Education course 3
University electives 9

  15-18

Third Year

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 3
B.A. cognate elective 3
General Education courses 6
University elective 3

  15

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective course 3
B.A. cognate elective 3
General Education courses 3-6
University electives 6

  15-18

Fourth Year

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC electives 6
B.A. cognate elective 3
University electives 6-9

  15-18

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 3
WRTC 495. Internship in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3
University electives 9

  15

1 Completion of an intermediate level foreign language is required for the B.A. degree (usually six hours if begun at the intermediate level) unless the language requirement is satisfied by an exemption test. In that case, university electives may be substituted for additional hours indicated as foreign language courses.

Recommended Schedule for B.S. Majors
Students are encouraged to begin their WRTC course work as soon as possible in their degree plans. The following sample program of study illustrates how a WRTC major might earn a B.S. degree.

First Year

First Semester Credit Hours
General Education Cluster One 9
General Education Cluster Three 3-6
General Education courses 3

  15-18

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC 200. Introduction to Studies in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3
General Education Cluster Three 3-4
Genera Education courses 9

  15-16

Second Year

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication 3
or WRTC 211. Written Argumentation  
WRTC elective 3
General Education Cluster Three 0-4
General Education courses 6-9

  15-16

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 3
B.S. Quantitative requirement 3
General Education courses 9

  15

Third Year

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC electives 6
B.S. cognate elective 3
B.S. Scientific Literacy requirement 1 3
University elective 3

  15

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 3
B.S. cognate elective 3
University electives 9

  15

Fourth Year

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 3
B.S. cognate elective 3
University electives 9

  15

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC electives 3
B.S. cognate elective 0-3
University electives 7-9

  13-15

1 Completion of the B.S. degree requires a student to complete either a natural science or a social science course in addition to those required for the General Education program. A student may double-count this course as one of the courses needed for the cognate with approval by the WRTC director.

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Minor Requirements

Technical and Scientific Communication
The minimum requirement for a TSC minor is 18 credit hours.

TSC Minor Requirements Credit Hours
WRTC 210. Introduction to Technical and Scientific Communication 3
WRTC 230. Research in Technical and Scientific Communication 3
WRTC 240. Professional and Technical Editing 3
Electives (choose nine credit hours from any upper-level WRTC electives.) 9

  18

In the three required courses (WRTC 210, WRTC 230 and WRTC 240) the student must make a "C" or better. If the student does not, he/she may not register for future WRTC courses until a grade of "C" or better is earned in those courses.

Students majoring in disciplines within the School of Media Arts and Design or the
School of Communication Studies can count no more than three hours of SMAD or SCOM course work toward the TSC minor.

Writing and Rhetoric
The minor in writing and rhetoric is designed for students who wish to extend, enrich and formalize their education as writers. The minimum requirement for the minor is 18 credit hours.

WR Minor Requirements Credit Hours
WRTC 211. Written Argumentation 3
WRTC 220. Rhetorical Traditions 3
Electives from among the following: 12
(At least one elective must be at the 400 level)  
WRTC/ENG 290. Intermediate Composition  
WRTC 310. Studies in Literacy  
WRTC 320. Writing in the Public Sphere  
WRTC 322. Making a Difference: Service Learning Writing  
WRTC 331. Technology, Literacy and Culture  
WRTC 340. Teaching Writing  
WRTC 345. Tutoring Writing  
WRTC/SCOM 351. Visual Rhetoric  
WRTC/ENG 396. Advanced Composition  
WRTC 400. Special Topics Seminar in Rhetoric and Writing  
WRTC 421. Studies in Cultural Rhetorics  
WRTC/SCOM/WMST 420. Feminist Rhetorics  
WRTC 430. Style and Stylistics  
WRTC 495. Internship in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication  

  18

Experimental WRTC courses may be counted as electives, as well as writing courses offered by other academic units with the approval of the writing minor adviser or the program director.

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