Our Programs

Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies M.A. and Certificate Program


Old Main, Northern Arizona University

The Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies (RWDMS) programs at Northern Arizona University focus on a curriculum that will prepare you to participate and advance current knowledge and practices in rhetoric, writing pedagogy, and composition theory and practice, and to use your understanding of research methodologies and writing skills in your academic writing, workplace writing, and information development. You will also be able to analyze how cultural artifacts (these could include written, digital, visual, and spoken texts) shape identities and ideologies in diverse local, national, historical, and global communities.

We offer two opportunities for our nationally recognized post-baccalaureate programs with courses available fully online and an affordable online tuition rate:

  • 36-credit M.A. Program: especially for those who want to change their careers, teach at the high school level, at community colleges, or universities, or continue with a PhD. Our program is recognized by Affordable Colleges Online as “Best Online Master’s in English.”
  • 18-credit Certificate Program: especially for those who need certification to continue teaching composition courses at the community college or university level

If you elect to join us on the Flagstaff campus, you can apply for the Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) position. Students who are residents of WICHE member states and who do not receive a GTA position receive resident tuition if they come to the Flagstaff campus.

The writing and projects that you will be completing for this degree will help you in your teaching and work situations by strengthening your ability to synthesize and evaluate appropriate research, scholarship, and methodologies in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies. This will include research on significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices. Northern Arizona University has long endorsed these values as key themes in our University mission and strategic planning documents. At NAU, global competence is achieved through intentional curricular and co-curricular experiences that foreground global learning. The RWDMS curriculum will provide you with opportunities in each course to learn how your identity is shaped by your community, society, and the world. We encourage you to participate in local, national, and global communities of academic and workplace writers by participating in professional development activities.

Our Mission

The Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies (RWDMS) program emphasizes the importance of critical reading, reflection, writing, digital media, and spoken language to cultivate knowledgeable citizens who understand and appreciate their civic, professional, and personal responsibilities in local and global communities. We specialize in preparing you for intercultural and interdisciplinary communication practices in digital and traditional work settings to further global engagement, diversity, and social participation. Our program provides a curriculum that prepares you to excel as writers, scholars, and teachers. You will gain advanced skills in rhetorical theory and persuasive argumentation, social media literacy, multimedia writing, and design, professional and public discourse conventions, and teaching literacy and writing through theory-based application projects. You will acquire the necessary tools to participate in local and global communities, and you will establish a foundation of diverse writing practices for academic and workplace settings.

What Students Say About the Program

This program influenced how I perceive my future classroom and the students within the class that I’m teaching. Being better able to relate to their understanding of language or their understanding of themselves, or the lack thereof, helps me conceptualize better how to teach them the information that they need. I think I want to teach a class based on identity to help them better understand and express themselves through their writing.

I find myself in awe at how many different practices and theories exist for helping intercultural students transition between their primary language into English.I honestly wished my high school teachers would have cared enough to learn these practices and apply them.

This program has been incredibly helpful. I have been able to apply so much of what I learned directly to my own teaching methodology and practices.

Please browse the site by clicking on the links at the top of the page. You will find information on applying to the program and coursework you need to complete for your degree. You can learn about our faculty by going to RWDMS faculty, you can learn about your alumni, and you can find out about past student projects from the research projects course as well as from other courses in the RWDMS program.