Utah Tech University

Technical Writing & Digital Rhetoric, M.A.

Nov 15, 2023 Spring Semester Deadline

Apr 15, 2024 Fall Semester Priority & Graduate Assistants

Jul 15, 2024 Fall Semester Deadline


This 30-credit graduate program offers courses in technical writing, digital rhetoric, and writing technologies and provides opportunities for hands-on experience, advanced scholarship, internships, and professional development. Students can complete program onsite or online.

Program Info

Tuition & Fees

$345 per credit plus student fees for Utah residents

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Why study technical writing and digital rhetoric?

In the TW&DR program, you will have opportunities to investigate the ways in which technical and rhetorical communication is created, used, and commodified. You will develop practical, theoretical, and ethical foundations for communicating across professional and sociocultural contexts.

What is digital rhetoric?

Kenneth Burke said, “Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric. And wherever there is ‘meaning,’ there is ‘persuasion.’” Digital rhetoric is simply a study of meaning-making in digital spaces. We apply classical and contemporary rhetorical theories to computer-mediated communication. Digital rhetoric is ubiquitous in today’s society, and it is certainly worthy of further understanding and advanced study.

What are the graduation requirements?

You must take 4 required courses and 6 elective courses (30 credits). To graduate, you must earn a C or better in each class, with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. You must also fulfill institutional requirements, such as applying for graduation. Your advisor will help ensure your graduation readiness.

What are the required courses?

Required (9 cr)
ENGL 6401          Research Methods
ENGL 6400         Advanced Editing
ENGL 6402         Critical Theories

Must choose one (3 cr)
ENGL 6972R       Master’s Thesis
ENGL 6971          Professional Portfolio (includes research-based reflection)
ENGL 6900         Professional Internship (includes research-based justification and reflection)

Electives (18 cr, repeatable)
ENGL 6480R      Special Topics in Technical Writing
ENGL 6460R      Special Topics in Digital Rhetoric
ENGL 6470R      Special Topics in Writing Technologies
ENGL 6920R      Directed Readings

Graduate Assistants only (3 cr, must take during first teaching semester; counts as elective)
ENGL 6820         Practicum in Teaching College Composition

How can I learn more about course content and course rotation?

Course descriptions are located in UT’s catalog. A two-year course rotation is posted on the TW&DR website. Some courses not listed in the rotation are scheduled between you and the program chair to accommodate your personalized graduation plan.

UT catalog

Will I be required to write a master's thesis?

You will work with the program chair to determine the best culminating course for you based on your short- and long-term career goals and your area of interest. You will select one final project:

ENGL 6972R Master’s Thesis
ENGL 6971 Professional Portfolio (includes research-based reflection)
ENGL 6900 Professional Internship (includes research-based justification and reflection)

When and how are classes delivered?

All classes except ENGL 6820 are held one night per week, usually Monday through Thursday 6:00-8:30 p.m. Onsite students will typically meet in a campus classroom, but they have the option to attend class remotely as well. Remote students will attend class online using video conferencing software.

Which courses are taught onsite and which online?

All courses are taught onsite and online except ENGL 6820, which is only taught onsite. You can graduate taking classes entirely onsite, entirely online, or some of each. Although you are required to attend each class during its scheduled time, you may select how you attend class, which affords you the flexibility you may need to attend from anywhere in the world.

Do I need any special equipment or subscriptions to attend classes online?

Standard webcams and computer audio are usually compatible with the online delivery. You do not need a Zoom subscription. Your professor will invite you to class each week, and you will log in simply by clicking the link posted in the email invitation. It’s quite simple, actually, and it’s free! We use a 360-degree, voice-sensitive camera that allows onsite and online students to interact seamlessly.

Graduate Assistants will take ENGL 6820 on campus during their first teaching semester. For now, the course is Fall-only, typically held on T/Th afternoons.

What is the role of Graduate Assistants?

As part-time faculty, Graduate Assistants will be the instructor of record in composition courses (ENGL 1010 or ENGL 2010). They will teach 3 classes per year, typically one in the Fall and two in the Spring. They will not assist full-time faculty with grading, teaching, or research.

G.A.s must be enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester and maintain good standing in the program. G.A.s will attend a week-long workshop before classes begin in the fall and will enroll in a practicum during their first semester (ENGL 6820) to receive intensive training in teaching first-year writing.

How are Graduate Assistants compensated?

G.A.s in the TW&DR program will earn the part-time faculty rate, which is currently $3000 for one composition course. G.A.s will earn $9000 per year teaching part time. Unfortunately, we are not in a position currently to offer tuition waivers, but we may be able to help students identify external scholarship, grant, or voucher opportunities.

G.A.s have intangible benefits, too. You get experience teaching and support from qualified staff. As nearly all university faculty will tell you, teaching on a college campus is an enormous privilege.

How much does the program cost?

Currently, tuition and fees for the TW&DR M.A. is $345 per credit, plus student fees, for Utah residents. You pay a flat rate per credit, no matter how many you take per semester. Utah students will pay about $11,350 and non-residents will pay about $31,000 to take the required course load. UT—and the TW&DR program specifically—has the least expensive graduate tuition in the Utah System of Higher Education and one of the least expensive in the West. Similar graduate degrees in Utah cost about $14,000.

Graduate Assistants who teach every semester will earn substantially more than the degree costs.

What are the acceptance criteria?

Applicants must submit

  • Application form and $50 fee
  • Writing samples that demonstrate quality writing and analytical thinking
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Letter of intent, for G.A. applicants only
  • Transcripts from accredited college indicating a B.A. or B.S. with 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Language proficiency in Standard American English, for international speakers

Do you require a GRE or similar graduate readiness exam?

No. You are not required to submit standardized exam scores.

What are the TW&DR program learning outcomes?

After the completion of this program, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Convert technical language into user-friendly language
  2. Create software user manuals, documentation, and training materials
  3. Create supporting documentation for products
  4. Standardize content across platforms and media
  5. Produce technical artifacts through common software tools such as Dreamweaver, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML editors, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel
  6. Integrate photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts to increase users’ understanding of technical documents
  7. Research topics to create technical publications
  8. Devise audience-aware documents that demonstrate a strong command of grammar, syntax, diction, and writing conventions
  9. Employ critical terms, theoretical concepts, and interpretive strategies associated with the study of digital rhetoric and technical writing


English Department

Email: english@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-652-7815

Office: Holland 465

Mike Peterson, Ph.D.

Department Chair

Email: Mike.Peterson@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-879-4373

Office: Holland 446

Joy McMurrin, Ph.D.

Technical Writing & Digital Rhetoric M.A. Program Coordinator

Email: Joy.McMurrin@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-879-4294

Office: Holland 448

Lillian Minar

Administrative Assistant

Email: lillian.minar@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-652-7815

Office: Holland 465