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What will I learn?


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.

The specific goals of the master's degree are to help students:

  • Define what effective communication means in writing, rhetoric and technical communication environments.
  • Enhance their understanding of how and why communication works.
  • Learn how to identify and eliminate barriers to effective communication.
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communication management.
  • Develop research skills.

To achieve these goals, the program combines work in theory, writing, text design, and analysis of communication systems and contexts to help students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to begin careers in writing, rhetoric and technical communication. The program emphasizes scholarly, humanistic and social scientific perspectives on the function and application of writing, rhetoric and technical communication.

Consequently, the program provides students with not only the knowledge and skills required for careers in industry, business or government but also the research skills and communication theory that will prepare them for doctoral study in communication and rhetoric. The long-range goal of the degree, then, is to enable program graduates to grow as professionals and, ultimately, to contribute to the developing field of writing, rhetoric and technical communication.

Degree candidates must successfully complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of graduate course work, which includes a minimum of two semesters of course work completed at JMU. Students work with school 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 33 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 writing, rhetoric and technical communication content areas in which they intend to work as professional writers or editors.

Degree Requirements

Students in the program must successfully complete three required courses (nine credit hours), two courses of thesis or internship hours (six credit hours), and six courses of WRTC electives (18 credit hours). Students wanting to focus their studies on emerging educational technologies, the school offers an M.S. degree. Students complete the degree by taking a nine credit-hour cognate in educational technology in place of nine credit hours of WRTC electives.

Which department am I in?

College of Arts and Letters

Study options

Full Time (33 credit hours)

Tuition fees
USD $40,623 for the entire course
Start date

Expected August 2023


College of Arts and Letters

Harrison Hall, 54 Bluestone Drive,



22807, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Other English Language Requirements accepted: PBT (Paper Based TOEFL): 570.

For international students

Anyone who has or will obtain a Bachelor's degree from an officially recognized college or university outside or inside the U.S. may apply for graduate admission.

English language proficiency test scores:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT total score of 80 or above

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall band score of 6.5 or above

Applications for admission will be reviewed beginning on February 1. However, we will continue to consider applications for fall admission on a rolling basis until April 1 or until all available seats in the program are filled.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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