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Ball State’s master of arts in English with a focus on rhetoric and composition provides students with a broad understanding of rhetorical and writing studies. Students will use technological literacy and digital rhetoric in the classroom as well as in the creation of discourse. They will be able to explore various aspects of rhetoric and composition including the Writing Program, the Writing Center, and the Indiana Writing Project.

As a student in our program, you will:

  • Investigate the influences of digital and multimedia writing alongside rhetorical history, research, methodologies, and composition pedagogies.
  • Explore the production, interpretation, and analysis of discourse across genres, media, and historical eras.

What You Will Learn

As a student in our program, you will understand:

  • the history of rhetoric and composition
  • rhetorical strategies and analysis
  • pedagogy
  • digital literacies
  • multimodality
  • critical thinking

Our Alumni

Learn more about what our graduate-program alumni do.

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What Can You Do with an English Major?

We’re asked this question all the time. Our answer: A lot. You will learn skills that transfer across hundreds of possible careers and industries—some of which may not even exist yet. Our graduates go on to work in marketing, publishing, non-profit fundraising, speechwriting, as well as in countless other fulfilling occupations.

Explore Careers

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Program Benefits

As a student, you’ll not only study contemporary theories of composition but also implement them within first-year and upper-level writing courses. In particular, you’ll theorize and develop pedagogies that emphasize the rhetorical, recursive, social, technological, and multimodal nature of writing.

You’ll look at university writing instruction through an administrative lens, considering how writing programs are developed, how they’ve evolved, what they value, how they’re staffed, and how they operate within the larger context of the university.

You’ll receive insight into the best practices of Writing Centers. To that end, you’ll study the history and theory of Writing Centers in order to consider concerns at the level of both administrator and tutor. You will also have the opportunity to work and tutor within the Writing Center.

You’ll build upon the rhetorical foundation provided by the Classical Era by critically analyzing and employing rhetorics created by diverse (and frequently marginalized) individuals and expressed through diverse media.

You’ll grapple with the idea that writing is a technology and writing is performed with and through technologies. As a result, you will practice composing with different writing technologies and explore how technologies inform the act and the teaching of writing.

Program Requirements

Our MA in English (rhetoric and composition) includes a core requirement of rhetoric and composition courses combined with electives and a research paper requirement.

Total Credits



A few of the classes you will take include:

  • Contemporary Theories Composition
  • Teaching in English Studies
  • Teaching and Technology
  • Writing Center Research and Administration

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

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Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Scholarships and Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Review our admission requirements, dates and deadlines, and instructions. Then complete our online application.

Applications for the fall semester will be accepted until July 10; applications for the spring semester will be accepted until November 1. To ensure full consideration for academic-year graduate assistantships, applications must be complete by January 31.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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