Degree candidates must successfully complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework, which includes a minimum of two semesters of course work completed at JMU. Students work with department 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 36 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 technical or scientific content areas in which they intend to work as professional writers or editors.
Students in the Master of Arts program must successfully complete four core courses (12 credit hours), including an internship, a practicum or thesis course (six credit hours), and six courses of WRTC electives (18 credit hours).
Students in the Master of Science program must successfully complete four core courses (12 credit hours), including an internship, a practicum or thesis course (six credit hours), three courses in an approved cognate discipline (nine credit hours), and three courses of WRTC electives (nine credit hours).
Graduate Core Courses
|WRTC 510. Seminar in Technical and Scientific Communication|
|WRTC 511. Seminar in Writing and Rhetoric Studies|
|WRTC 530. Research Methods in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication||
|WRTC 540. Professional Editing||
|WRTC 695. Internship||3|
At least half of the student's elective credit hours must come from course work at the 600 level. Up to six of those hours may be WRTC 700, Thesis or WRTC 701, Practicum. Students may take courses at the 700 level to satisfy the remainder of their electives requirement. Students who have obtained substantial work-world experience in designing, writing or producing documentation in technical or scientific fields may request credit for and waiver of course work, the internship or thesis.
The Master of Arts and Master of Science programs require that the candidate demonstrate graduate-level proficiency in foreign language, statistics or computer programming in one of following ways
- Completing the second year of a college course in a modern foreign language with a grade of "C" or above, or completion of the foreign language placement exam administered by the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures with a placement into the junior level of the language
- Completing an approved graduate statistics or computer programming course (or equivalent) with a grade of "B" or better
- Receiving a waiver from the department of its foreign language examination or the required statistics or computing course work based on the student's extensive language background in one of those areas
A student should state in his or her plan of study the means by which he or she has already satisfied or plans to satisfy the language requirement. A degree candidate must complete the language requirement before taking the comprehensive exams.
Degree candidates have two options for satisfying the thesis requirement for the Master of Arts or Master of Science degree
- Complete a traditional research-based master's thesis on a technical communication topic
- Complete a practicum that results in a work-world document (e.g., an online or bound computer tutorial, a user manual or a procedures manual)
It is important that the student understand that he/she is solely responsible for the success of the thesis/practicum. The student needs to be in charge of completing all paperwork for the school, The Graduate School, registrar, etc., and for meeting all deadlines to matriculate successfully. The student will need to contact these offices well ahead of the semester in which he/she plans to graduate to ensure that all deadlines can and will be met.