What you will study
Certificate Program: 18 credits of coursework
M.A. program: 36 credits of coursework
Your certificate program and your M.A. program coursework in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies at Northern Arizona University include courses in theory, analysis and application. We recommend that you start with the introductory courses and then apply your knowledge from these courses to the analysis courses and to your research projects course.
Here is an overview of the main areas of study we expect you to complete. We also included more detailed information on the RWDMS courses in the “Graduate Coursework” menu. These courses do not include the elective courses and the course in literary theory.
Main areas of study
Focus on theoretical context (certificate and M.A. students)
- As a certificate and M.A. student, you are expected to take courses that provide you with an introduction to the field of rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies, that introduce you to rhetoric and composition theory, and that introduce you to literary theory and criticism
Focus on analysis (certificate and M.A. students)
- We established coursework that provides you with opportunities for in-depth study on topics in historical and contemporary rhetoric, narrative studies and creative rhetorics, public and disciplinary writing, and digital/social media studies. Each of the topics courses can be repeated up to 9 credits with different course content for elective credit.
Focus on application (especially for Master’s students)
- We provide all students in the Master’s program with an introduction to research methods in rhetoric and composition before the capstone research projects course. This allows you to work on your research projects ideas for at least 1 year, exploring possibilities in the introduction course and completing a capstone project in your final semester. Certificate students are not required to take the research methodologies course or the M.A. research capstone course.
- Your choice of electives depends on your emphasis and will be finalized with the help of your advisor.
Our Learning Outcomes
The Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies program has established explicit learning outcomes that drive the courses we teach. We expect that you will have master’s level skills in the areas of theory and knowledge, analysis and critical thinking, and research and application when you complete the program.
Theory and Knowledge (certificate and M.A. students)
- You will examine and evaluate the major theories in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies by participating in and advancing current knowledge and practices in the field.
- Evaluate and reflect critically on rhetorical terms and concepts used by rhetoricians from classical to modern times.
- Evaluate similarities and differences in the uses of language, the connections between organization and structure used in specific time periods, the connections between style and delivery, and the connections between persuasion and argumentation used in specific time periods.
- Understand how language practices during specific time periods were and are used to communicate about the diversity of human experience.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the contributions of rhetoric to workplace studies, literacy studies, narrative studies, digital studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and race studies.
- Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times for academic, professional and public discourse.
- You will demonstrate an advanced understanding of research methodologies and writing skills applicable to rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies, including academic writing, workplace writing, and information development.
- Evaluate and reflect critically on methodological practices and concepts used in research designs in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies.
- Understand research as a recursive process.
- Use research data to formulate or evaluate new research questions, using reason and persuasion in a logical argument.
- Summarize and evaluate a body of research, including primary and secondary sources.
- Demonstrate competent, ethical, and responsible use of information in academic and workplace writing.
Analysis and Critical Thinking (certificate and M.A. students)
- You will demonstrate an advanced understanding in the field of rhetoric and writing studies by critically analyzing how cultural artifacts (written, digital, visual, and spoken texts) are used to shape identity in diverse local, national, historical, and global communities.
- Research, evaluate, and apply knowledge of significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices.
- Write critical analyses exploring key texts and key concepts about historical and current rhetorical terms and concepts.
- Research, evaluate, and apply historical knowledge of rhetorical terms and concepts to show how contemporary language use is influenced by cultural knowledge.
- Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles from classical to modern times to ethnically and linguistically diverse populations.
- Tailor your academic and professional work to a specific audience and focus your writing on a specific purpose.
- You will demonstrate an advanced understanding in the field of rhetoric and writing studies by synthesizing and evaluating research, scholarship, and methodologies and creating advanced-level projects that question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions.
- Design text and digital projects that show the ethical use of language in diverse academic, public, and professional communities.
- Understand how cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and economic factors influence communication practices in text and digital environments.
- Research, evaluate, and apply rhetorical principles to question current norms and dominant cultural assumptions expressed in text and digital media.
- Design and present text and media that addresses experiential learning.
- Design and present projects that show a clear understanding of purpose, audience, and cultural, social, historical, and political contexts.
Application (especially for Master’s students)
- You will demonstrate an advanced understanding of research methodologies related to rhetorical, pedagogical, narrative, new media, and workplace theories and practices by carrying out course-related and client-related projects directed at conceptualizing, understanding,and reformulating current theories in the larger field of rhetoric and writing studies.
- Articulate a theoretical framework for the project (including a literature review to assess the theoretical and methodological contributions previously made to this area).
- Identify and define appropriate methods of data collection and apply appropriate research methods.
- Use a research design appropriate to the audience and purpose of your project, showing understanding of rhetorical approaches to multimedia design.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the project and its implications to the field of rhetoric, writing, and digital media through peer and self-evaluation.
- Analyze, interpret and explain your findings and your project in an extensive project write-up.
- Present your original research to professional and non-professional audiences, articulating sustained, coherent explanations of your work.
- Apply appropriate writing and design standards and literacy skills to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.
- You will actively participate in local, national, and global communities by researching, evaluating, and applying knowledge of significant issues related to global learning, diversity, and sustainable educational and environmental practices through appropriate professional activities (conferences, publications, social action, grants, internships, practicum experiences, extended research projects, fieldwork, and other activities).
- Identify your career and learning goals and develop a personal career development plan based on your strengths and goals.
- Effectively represent your experience, skills and competencies through written (resume, cover letter, social media, application materials) and verbal (interview skills, presentation skills, etc.) communication.
- Develop your project management skills.
- Increase your experience and marketability, as well as your level of knowledge about career opportunities, through internships or projects.
- Apply appropriate communication and presentation standards to succeed in academic, civic, and personal life.
- Establish an online professional presence by designing, adding on a regular basis, and updating a digital portfolio.