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 management, organizational and managerial communication, and writing for professional communities such as government, medical and scientific. 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 study of writing, rhetoric and technical communication includes two concentrations in the undergraduate major: Technical and Scientific Communication and Writing and Rhetoric.
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 institute, such as communication studies, computer information systems, computer science, integrated science and technology, and media arts and design.
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 concerns, not-for-profit or political organizations, and technical translation groups of multinational corporations.
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
- A completed WRTC Undergraduate Application form
- A copy of the student's Degree Progress Report
- A background and goals statement of no more than 500 words that explains how the B.A. or B.S. program would prepare the student for his or her anticipated career