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Program Overview

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in English with a major in Rhetoric and Composition is a 33-hour degree program. The 33 hours are comprised of the following:

  • 9 hours of core courses in rhetoric and composition 
  • 12-15 hours of prescribed electives in rhetoric and composition
  • 6 additional hours in rhetoric and composition or a related cognate area (technical communication, for example)

To complete the program, students write a thesis (6 hours over two semesters) or produce a portfolio and take a written comprehensive exam (3 hours during one semester).

More on Degree Requirements

Current Courses

Past Courses

Upcoming Courses



Applicants seeking admission to the MA major in Rhetoric and Composition (MARC) must meet standard Graduate College requirements and have earned a GPA of at least 3.0 in 12 hours or more of undergraduate English courses.

The MA program in Rhetoric and Composition admits an average of 7 students per year. Most students apply for and are admitted for the fall semester, although some students join the program in the spring or summer semesters. Our application deadlines are flexible and we review applications throughout the year; however, we do encourage students to submit materials by the application deadlines specified by the Graduate College: June 15th for the fall semester and November 1st for the spring semester (*Note if you plan to apply for an IA/TA Assistantship you must submit your application by February 1st).

Admissions Requirements


Texas State University offers several types of financial assistance for graduate students, including assistantships, scholarships, and other university employment opportunities.


The Department of English awards two types of assistantships to full-time students: current graduate students or applicants with fewer than 18 graduate hours are eligible for Instructional Assistantships, while current graduate students or applicants who have completed 18 graduate hours are eligible for Teaching Assistantships. MARC students awarded Instructional Assistantships typically work as coordinators in the Writing Center or as assistants to faculty teaching basic writing. All students awarded Teaching Assistantships teach their own sections of first-year writing.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Both the Department of English and the Graduate College offer scholarships to new and current students. There are multiple scholarships available for MARC students from the English Department.

Information about university scholarships, financial aid, and application deadlines can be found on financial aid section of the Graduate College website.


A thesis is a document that presents original substantive scholarship or research in your field. Some people compare the thesis to a “research paper,” although the thesis is longer than any research paper you would typically write for a graduate course. In the MARC program, the thesis will showcase your ability to make a meaningful contribution to the scholarly conversation in a particular area of rhetoric and composition. A conventional thesis is organized into chapters and is 60-75 pages in length, excluding the bibliography and any appendices.

Thesis Deadlines, Overview, FAQs, Checklist, and Resources

Sample Thesis Proposals

Portfolio and Comprehensive Exam

The portfolio, written comprehensive exam, and oral defense option for completing your degree provides you the opportunity to showcase your work in the program; craft an argument about what this work says about you as a writer, your writing process, and your journey through the  program; reflect carefully and critically on this work and journey; and use your knowledge in the program’s four core competencies (history of rhetoric, composition theory and pedagogy, and research methods) and your designated “area of specialization” to respond thoughtfully and thoroughly to complex issues or scenarios.

Portfolio & Comprehensive Exam Overview, FAQs, & Checklist