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In the Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication Design,* students supplement the core graduate course in theory with projects or course work in the areas of rhetoric, discourse analysis, semiotics, multimedia design and critique, composition pedagogy, and professional writing. MA-RCD graduates are employed in private industry, government, educational organizations, non-governmental organizations, and in their own businesses; others go on to doctoral programs. However it is used, the education we offer in rhetoric and communication design gives grounding for work and further research concerning the ways and means that our society communicates.
The following is a brief summary of information about the program. Full program information and regulations are available in the Graduate Calendar.
Applications for all programs are due February 1, 2014. Applications to programs also serve as applications for scholarships and teaching assistantships. A complete application package should be submitted online and include official transcripts/degree certificates; three letters of reference, at least two of which must be from academic sources. If English is not your first language, proof of competency in English is required. A score of at least 600 is required on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) [250 on the computerized version] with a score of 5.0 on the Test of Written English (TWE). (See, Academic Regulations - English Language Proficiency Certification for other acceptable tests of English). Although it is not required for admission to the MA programs, all applicants are advised to include a Statement of Interest of 500 words or less indicating why they would like to go to graduate school, why the program is right for them, and anything particular about their background or aspirations that will contribute to the admission decision. Applications should be submitted online. The admissions committee meets in February, and decisions will be communicated to applicants in March or early April.
**Please Note: The Supplementary Information Form Questions can only be submitted once online. Please be sure to write and proof your answers in Word prior to copying them into the online form. Once you click submit the information you have inputed is permanently saved into the database and cannot be changed**
Admitted students will have the equivalent of an Honours BA in English, or an Honours BA that combines English with another discipline. While the minimum average is 78% in English courses and 75% overall, in practice, admitted students will have grade averages equivalent to 80% in both overall and English studies. Prospective applicants who do not have the equivalent of an honours BA in English or in English and another discipline should consult the undergraduate requirements for this department, and know that the equivalent of that education will be required for admission.
Work experience can be a valuable asset to show to the admissions committee. Applicants should remember, however, that our programs are academic programs, and at least two of the three references must be from academic referees.
Most students admitted to the program will receive some support. Externally-funded candidates will receive a teaching assistantship valued at over $5,000. Other top candidates will receive a university scholarship and a teaching assistantship, for a total of over $11,000. Others will receive one or two teaching assistantships. We can not guarantee funding for all students, but most will receive something. SSHRC and OGS award holders should note that the University presently offers top-up funding of a minimum of $10,000 on top of the SSHRC award, in the form of the President's Graduate Scholarship.
Students complete eight term-length courses, one of which is English 700, three of which are RCD courses, three of which are electives, and one of which is designated Literary Studies. One of the electives can be an extra-departmental course, and the other two are to be drawn from the department's courses, whether identified as literature or RCD options. Here are course listings for recent and future course offerings.
Students complete six term-length courses, one of which is English 700, three of which are RCD courses, one of which is an elective, and one of which is designated Literary Studies. The elective can be an extra-departmental or departmental course, either literature or RCD. In addition, students complete a major project. This project can build on a portfolio of professional and technical writing, or on previously completed graduate course work. The assessed component of the major project will be a presentation equal in value and effort to two course credits. The project may take the form of an essay of approximately 50 pages (12,500 words), a digital project of similar length and complexity, a usability study or another form of analysis and presentation acceptable to the major project committee and the graduate committee of the department. Proposals for major projects must be approved by the graduate committee in the second term of the student's tenure in the program. Students wishing to pursue this option should make contact with a supervisor as early as possible in the second term, and work with the supervisor to craft a proposal (to be submitted April 1) to the graduate committee.
Students complete four term-length courses, one of which is English 700, one of which is a Rhetoric & Communication Design course, one of which is an elective, and one of which is designated Literary Studies. In addition, the student completes a thesis of 80 to 100 pages (20,000 to 25,000 words) or the equivalent in other media. It will be an in-depth inquiry into a problem in an area of rhetoric and communication design. It may take the form of a long essay, broken into chapters, which poses a research question, situates the question in terms of the current state of knowledge, and proceeds to a possible solution. It may also, however, take an unconventional form: for instance, it may involve a 40 page paper on problems in interface design from the point of view of either literary or rhetorical theory, and a designed interface that address the problems and instantiates solutions. In either conventional or unconventional form, the thesis project will involve thorough research in secondary materials and proficiency in the technology of the medium chosen and in the methodologies appropriate to the research questions posed. It will be supervised by a member of the faculty, and have a second reader who is also a member of faculty, but may belong to a different academic unit than English. Students electing to do a thesis must arrange for its supervision, write a proposal (to be submitted February 1) and construct a working bibliography for approval by the department’s graduate committee by the end of the second term of their tenure. It is very difficult to complete the program in three terms with a thesis, but students who wish to do so must submit the thesis by August 1 of the year following their admission.
Students may include one extra-departmental graduate course in their degree
requirements, but this course must be approved by the graduate committee. For a course outside the University of Waterloo, the Ontario Visiting Graduate student (OVGS) form must be completed. For a course inside the University, the department’s graduate studies committee must approve. In either case, the department’s graduate office must be supplied with a syllabus in electronic form. The course must be approved before the beginning of the term in which it is scheduled to run.
Students may also take one directed reading course as part of their programs, in the event that no satisfactory regular course is available. Directed reading courses must be designed and submitted to the graduate committee by the instructor in consultation with the student, and the course outline (with rationale, reading list, assignments and schedule) must be approved by the graduate committee in the term prior to the one in which the course is to be run.
Each candidate must attain or demonstrate basic competence subject to feasibility of testing by UW in a language other than English, including all natural languages, ancient and modern, and excluding middle English but not Anglo-Saxon.
Proof of competence may take four forms:
The MA in either Literary Studies or Rhetoric and Communication Design may be earned in a co-operative work/study program which provides the academic background of a regular MA degree and work experience in such areas as editing, public relations, publishing, advertising, marketing, and administration. The MA (Co-op) requires a minimum of 5 terms of registration, which includes two work terms, usually taken in the spring of the first year and the fall of the second. While away from campus, students register as "Inactive." Students with high averages accepted into the MA (Co-op) program may be offered a teaching assistantship during part of their time on campus. In this way, a graduate of the program would have both academic and non-academic work experience.
Job placements are arranged by the Co-op Education and Career Services department. Students choosing the co-op stream will submit two work reports in addition to the requirements of their program option listed above. Full program information and regulations are available in the Graduate Calendar.
*These program requirements are effective September 2007. Students who began their studies prior to September 2007 will continue with the program requirements in effect when their studies commenced. See the Graduate Calendar archives for past program requirements.