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Frequently Asked Questions

 What degrees are eligible for acceptance in the WRTC MA program?

We accept all majors. We have folx in our program from humanities majors like Writing Studies and English, from hard sciences like Biology and Psychology and all majors in between. We also have several students who come directly from the work world after taking an extended break from the academy.

 What does the admissions committee look for in applicants?

The WRTC Admissions Committee, made up of at least four graduate faculty members, is most interested in applicants that demonstrate clear goals for their education and career and an awareness of exactly how the WRTC program (and specific courses and faculty members) might help applicants reach those goals.

 What sorts of writing samples should I submit?

The 20-30 pages (or equivalent) of writing samples required for application to WRTC may be comprised of one or more documents and may include print, electronic, digital, multi-modal and other texts. The samples you choose should demonstrate your ability to write and critically engage texts and might also showcase your abilities to write with visuals, video, audio and other professional modalities.

 How many students are accepted each year?

We generally accept 8-10 new students each year. This ensures small graduate classes and opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members and to form relationships with peers.

 How will I pay for grad school?

WRTC has a great record of finding assistantships for all accepted students who seeking funding. An assistantship generally covers your tuition and provides a stipend for living expenses. Students might work directly with WRTC faculty on research and writing projects and we also have several partnerships with other organizations on campus (like the University Counseling Center, Health Center and Writing Center) that regularly hire our graduate students. In their second year, students are also eligible to apply for a teaching assistantship to gain experience teaching freshman composition.

 How long does it take to complete the program?

Our program is 33 hours and takes two years for most full-time students to complete the course of study. Nine hours are core classes, there are 18 hours of electives, and six hours are for capstone work.

 What is involved with completing the capstone for the MA program?

Students will work one-on-one with a faculty capstone advisor to complete either an intensive internship project in their field of study or a more traditional written thesis. The thesis may be approached in variety of ways including one long research study or topic, journal articles, public presentations and other composing projects. Students will work with their advisor to draft a variety of deliverables (academic writing, social media artifacts, web design, grants, etc.) for their capstone portfolio that will be read and responded to by a capstone committee of faculty and, in some cases, industry spokespeople.

 What kind of jobs do WRTC MA grads get?

Graduates from our program go on to positions in education (teaching at universities and working in writing centers) and in nonprofit and business settings as technical writers, digital media specialists, program coordinators, copywriters and marketing professionals. Some also go on to doctoral studies in rhetoric, writing studies, and related fields. For more examples and to hear directly from graduates, visit our Careers in WRTC webpage at https://www.jmu.edu/wrtc/graduate/careers.shtml.

 What technology skills will I gain from WRTC?

Our program has adopted a “learning to learn” model for technologies and digital practices. Rather than training students on specific applications and digital technologies, we offer students strategies for critically engaging and learning new technologies in our program and in their professional careers.

 What's the difference between the concentrations in Public and Professional Writing and Health and Science Writing?

Students in our program may choose either a more general focus on Public and Professional Writing or a specialized track in Health and Science Writing. Public and Professional Writing prepares students to write in a variety of modes for a variety of audiences and purposes. Students in this track might go on to careers in education, nonprofits, or business and industry. In our more specialized Health and Science Writing track, students choose from a variety of electives (including Discourses of Health and Medicine, Rhetoric of Science and Technology, and Special Topics in Disability Studies, for example) that prepare them for scientific and technical writing and for positions producing texts for hospitals, health centers and a variety of medical settings.

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