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:

 

  • Develop into accomplished writers and editors.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of communication based upon the principles of rhetoric.
  • Develop proficiency in critical thinking, technological and analytical skills.
  • Create for themselves an area of expertise applicable to work as professional communicators.

 

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

 

Internships
The WRTC internship is a requirement for all B.A. and B.S. students. It allows students to utilize 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 website.

 

Lexia
In support of campus-wide writing, the program sponsors Lexia, an electronic publication of student essays written in the first year composition classes. Since 2000, students on the Lexia editorial board have worked to give the engaging, provocative, fundamentally useful essays written by GWRTC students the wider audience they deserve. Lexia is produced by students. Students enrolled in the Lexia practicum (WRTC 328) 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/lexia/.

 

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. Visit the RSA Student Chapter website at http://sites.jmu.edu/rsa to learn more.

 

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. For more information about the STC Student Chapter visit http://orgs.jmu.edu/stc/.

 

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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 prepare students for educated and enlightened global citizenship through the outlets of writing and rhetoric. The MWA annual awards ceremony features a showcase of winning pieces as well as the presentation of cash prizes. More information about the Madison Writing Awards can be found at http://www.jmu.edu/mwa/.

 

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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:

 

  • literacy studies
  • rhetorical traditions
  • writing pedagogy
  • editing
  • Web theory and design
  • publications management
  • knowledge and information management
  • writing for professional communities such as government, medical, scientific and academic

 

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 unite three disciplines into a flexible yet historically and theoretically grounded degree program. The WRTC degree teaches students to think in ways that cross disciplinary lines and to demonstrate accomplishment in multiple genres of writing, rhetoric and technical communication.

 

Students work with their WRTC advisers to design a program that fits their unique educational needs and career aspirations.

 

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. 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 25-39
Major requirements 37

  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
University electives 35-36
Major requirements 37

  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, both B.A. and B.S., must complete 16 hours of core requirements and then select electives and a depth requirement based on their chosen concentration.

 

Major Requirements Credit Hours
Core Requirements 16
Concentration Requirements 12
Students must choose a concentration in either technical  
and scientific communication or writing and rhetoric.  
Additional Electives 9

  37

 

Core Requirements

Credit Hours
WRTC 200. Introduction to Studies in Writing, Rhetoric 3
and Technical Communication  
WRTC 201. Theory and Methods in Writing, Rhetoric 3
and Technical Communication  
WRTC 300. Professional Editing 3
WRTC 301. Language, Law and Ethics 3
WRTC 495. Internship in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3
WRTC 496. Capstone in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 1

  16

 

Prerequisites
Prerequisites for most WRTC 200 and above level courses require completion of WRTC 200 and WRTC 201. 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
All students must choose a concentration in either technical and scientific communication or writing and rhetoric. In addition to the 16 credit hours of core requirements, students must take 21 credit hours of electives based on their chosen concentration.

 

Technical and Scientific Communication
All technical and scientific communication (TSC) concentrators must take WRTC 350 and choose three additional WRTC courses from the following list of TSC electives. In addition, TSC concentrators must take one WR elective, one crossover elective and one community-based learning elective.

 

TSC Concentration Courses Credit Hours
WRTC 350. Foundations of Technical Communication 3
TSC Electives (Choose three of the following): 9
WRTC 352. Online Design I  
WRTC 354. Document Design  
WRTC 356. Web Theory and Design  
WRTC 358. Writing About Science and Technology  
WRTC 450. Digital Rhetoric  
WRTC 452. Online Design II  
WRTC 454. Publication Management  
WRTC 456. Usability Testing  
WRTC 458. Scientific and Medical Communication  
WR Electives (Choose one of the following): 3
WRTC 330. Rhetorical Analysis and Criticism  
WRTC 332. Computers and Writing  
WRTC 334. Introduction to Popular Writing  
WRTC 336. Tutoring Writing  
WRTC 338. Genre Theory  
WRTC 340. Writing as Leading  
WRTC 342. Writing Place  
WRTC 430/SCOM 343. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Practice  
WRTC 432. Rhetoric of the Personal Narrative  
WRTC 434. Advanced Popular Writing  
WRTC 436. Teaching Writing  
Crossover Electives (Choose one of the following): 3
WRTC 310. Semiotics  
WRTC 312. Studies in Literacy  
WRTC 314. Writing in the Public Sphere  
WRTC 316. Research Methodologies in WRTC  
WRTC 318. Intercultural Professional Communication  
WRTC 328. Practicum in WRTC (Variable Credit 1-3)  
WRTC 410. Sociolinguistics  
WRTC 412. Language and Information Management  
WRTC 414. Major Theorists in WRTC  
WRTC 416/SCOM 465. Rhetoric of Environmental Science and Technology  
WRTC/SCOM/WMST 420. Feminist Rhetorics  
WRTC 426. Special Topics in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication  
Community-Based Learning Electives (Choose one of the following): 3
WRTC 478. Writing in the Legal Professions  
WRTC 480. Writing for Business and Industry  
WRTC 482. Writing for Government  
WRTC 484. Writing for Nonprofits  
WRTC 486. Writing in the Community  
WRTC 488. Writing in the Health Sciences  

  21

 

Writing and Rhetoric Concentration
All writing and rhetoric (WR) concentrators must take WRTC 330 and choose three additional WRTC courses from the following list of WR electives. In addition, WR concentrators must take one TSC elective, one crossover elective and one community-based learning elective.

 

WR Concentration Courses Credit Hours
WRTC 330. Rhetorical Analysis and Criticism 3
WR Electives (Choose three of the following): 9
WRTC 332. Computers and Writing  
WRTC 334. Introduction to Popular Writing  
WRTC 336. Tutoring Writing  
WRTC 338. Genre Theory  
WRTC 340. Writing as Leading  
WRTC 342. Writing Place  
WRTC 430/SCOM 343. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory and Practice  
WRTC 432. Rhetoric of the Personal Narrative  
WRTC 434. Advanced Popular Writing  
WRTC 436. Teaching Writing  
TSC Electives (Choose one of the following): 3
WRTC 350. Foundations of Technical Communication  
WRTC 352. Online Design I  
WRTC 354. Document Design  
WRTC 356. Web Theory and Design  
WRTC 358. Writing About Science and Technology  
WRTC 450. Digital Rhetoric  
WRTC 452. Online Design II  
WRTC 454. Publication Management  
WRTC 456. Usability Testing  
WRTC 458. Scientific and Medical Communication  
Crossover Electives (Choose one of the following): 3
WRTC 310. Semiotics  
WRTC 312. Studies in Literacy  
WRTC 314. Writing in the Public Sphere  
WRTC 316. Research Methodologies in WRTC  
WRTC 318. Intercultural Professional Communication  
WRTC 328. Practicum in WRTC (Variable Credit 1-3)  
WRTC 410. Sociolinguistics  
WRTC 412. Language and Information Management  
WRTC 414. Major Theorists in WRTC  
WRTC 416/SCOM 465. Rhetoric of Environmental Science and Technology  
WRTC/SCOM/WMST 420. Feminist Rhetorics  
WRTC 426. Special Topics in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication  
Community-Based Learning Electives (Choose one of the following): 3
WRTC 478. Writing in the Legal Professions  
WRTC 480. Writing for Business and Industry  
WRTC 482. Writing for Government  
WRTC 484. Writing for Nonprofits  
WRTC 486. Writing in the Community  
WRTC 488. Writing in the Health Sciences  

  21

 

 

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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 WRTC 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 201. Theory and Methods in WRTC 3
B.A. Degree philosophy course 3
General Education Cluster Three course 4
General Education courses 0-9

  16

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
Foreign Language course 0-3
WRTC 300. Professional Editing 3
WRTC 301. Language, Law and Ethics 3
WRTC concentration requirement: 3
WRTC 330. Rhetorical Analysis and Criticism (for WR)  
WRTC 350. Foundations of Technical Communication (for TSC)  
General Education course 3
University electives 3

  15-18

 

Third Year

 

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC concentration-specific electives 6
General Education courses 6
University elective 3

  15

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC concentration-specific elective 3
WRTC elective 3
General Education courses 3-6
University electives 6

  15-18

 

Fourth Year

 

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC electives 3-6
University electives 6-9

  15-18

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 0-3
WRTC 495. Internship in WRTC 3
WRTC 496. Capstone in WRTC 1
University electives 9

  15-16

 

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 courses 9
General Education Cluster Three courses 3-6
General Education courses 3

  15-18

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC 200. Introduction to Studies in WRTC 3
WRTC 201. Theory and Methods in Writing, Rhetoric 3
and Technical Communication  
General Education Cluster Three courses 3-4
General Education courses 6

  15-16

 

Second Year

 

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC 300. Professional Editing 3
General Education Cluster Three course 0-4
General Education courses 9-12

  15-16

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC 301. Language, Law and Ethics 3
WRTC concentration requirement: 3
WRTC 330. Rhetorical Analysis and Criticism (for WR)  
WRTC 350. Foundations of Technical Communication (for TSC)  
B.S. Quantitative requirement 3
General Education courses 9

  15-18

 

Third Year

 

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

  15

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC concentration-specific elective 3
WRTC elective 3
University electives 9

  15

 

Fourth Year

 

First Semester Credit Hours
WRTC elective 3-6
University electives 9

  15

 

Second Semester Credit Hours
WRTC electives 3
WRTC 495. Internship in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 3
WRTC 496. Capstone in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication 1
University electives 9

  13-16

 

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.

 

Minor Requirements

 

Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication Minor
The minimum requirement for a minor in WRTC is 18 credit hours.

 

Minor Requirements Credit Hours
WRTC 200. Introduction to Studies in Writing, Rhetoric 3
and Technical Communication  
WRTC 201. Theory and Methods in Writing, Rhetoric 3
and Technical Communication  
WRTC 300. Professional Editing 3
WRTC 301. Language, Law and Ethics 3
Choose any two WRTC electives 6

  18

 

In the four required courses (WRTC 200, WRTC 201, WRTC 300 and WRTC 301) 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.

 

 

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