Minnesota State University, Mankato offers two online degree options through its English Department, a Master of Science in Communication & Composition and a Master of Arts in Technical Communication. Both programs can be completed entirely through online coursework without any required in-person visits to campus. The Master of Science in Communication & Composition is offered jointly with the Communication Studies Department.

Master of Science in Communication & Composition

The Master of Science in Communication & Composition is a 37-credit graduate program that typically takes two years of study to complete. It is a multidisciplinary program for students interested in teaching communication (e.g., public speaking, small group communication) and composition at community colleges.

Curriculum for the communication & composition master’s is divided between core classes (12 credits), research methods (6 credits), composition electives (9 credits), communication electives (9 credits), and a capstone course (1 credit). The core class requirements include Communication Pedagogy, Directing Online Communication, Topics in Teaching Writing, and a Seminar: Composition Theory. Through these courses, students gain an introduction to the fundamental theories, concepts, and methods of communication pedagogy. The research methods courses that students take in this program are Communication for Professionals and Teacher Research in the Writing Classroom, which give students skills in academic conference presentation and inquiry-based research to inform teaching practices.

Following their core and research methods courses, students select nine credits of composition electives from the English Department, and nine credits of communication electives from the Department of Communication Studies. Composition electives include courses such as Teaching Reading and Writing to English Learners, Writing Center Theory and Pedagogy, Persuasive Writing on Public Issues, Teaching Writing with Literature, Instructional Design for Technical Communicators, Topics in Creative Writing, and a Seminar in Argumentation Theory. Communication electives include courses such as Communication Pedagogy, Modern Rhetorical Criticism, Communication Training and Development, Gender and Communication, and Advanced Intercultural Communication.

The final requirement for this program is the Capstone Course, for which students have two options: an alternate plan paper or an internship. Regardless of their selected track, students must complete a capstone prospectus. For the internship, students apply what they have learned during the program to an internship at a setting that is relevant to communication strategy and/or pedagogy. Students’ internships must be conducted under the direction and evaluation of an on-site supervisor. The alternate plan paper is an advanced work of scholarship that consists of a literature review, analysis, and interpretation of a body of research in communication and composition.

Master of Science in Technical Communication

The Master of Arts in Technical Communication requires 32 course credits, which students can complete over the course of two years of full-time study. The technical communication master’s degree is designed for individuals seeking an applied, skills-oriented curriculum (e.g., manual writing, technical editing), along with theoretical study (e.g., visual rhetoric, technical literature). The curriculum for this program is divided between core classes (14 credits), a research methods course (3 credits), electives (6-9 credits), a capstone in technical communication (3 credits), and an internship (3-6 credits).

The technical communication curriculum begins with four required core courses, Visual Technical Communication, Editing Technical Publications, Foundations of Technical Communication, and Content Strategy. These courses provide students with a foundational understanding of technical document standards, technical writing and editing procedures, technical communication theory, and data analysis for content development and multimedia design. For students’ research methods course, they can choose between two courses: Research Methods for the Technical Communicator, and User Experience. While the former teaches students how to apply research methodologies to identifying, assessing, and addressing technical communication challenges in diverse work contexts, the latter course focuses on how humans interact with technologies, systems, and technical documents in order to help students understand how best to craft their content to match users’ preferences.

General electives for this program are spread across applied technical communication practice, offering students the opportunity to refine their skills in specific professional areas, such as document design, scientific report writing, or user experience. Example topics covered in this program’s elective offerings include Project Management in Technical Communication, Instructional Design for Technical Communicators, Usability, Rhetorical Theory Applied to Technical Documents, Proposals, and Writing About Health and Medicine.

Students’ internship can be comprised of between 3 and 6 credits, depending on the duration of the internship, the number of total hours worked, and the established and achieved learning outcomes that students have attained. In most cases, a 3-credit internship equals approximately 135 hours of work. Individuals with previous industry experience may be eligible to substitute an additional 600-level elective class in technical communication for the internship. Students work with their program advisor and their internship supervisor to ensure they meet their established learning goals during the internship.

The program culminates in a Capstone Course wherein students review their work over the course of the program, and develop a professional portfolio of advanced technical communication artifacts that will serve as an asset in the job market upon their graduation. With faculty guidance and support, students reflect upon their technical communication skills and strengths, and learn how to develop a compelling professional narrative using the artifacts in their portfolio.

Minnesota State University, Mankato is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Online Master of Science in Communication & Composition

Overview
Department: English Department, Communication Studies Department
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Most courses use synchronous instruction with weekly live online meetings
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years, students have up to 6 years to finish the program
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 37 credits (~13 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone options: internship or alternate plan paper
Example Courses: Communication Pedagogy; Topics in Writing and Literature; Persuasive Writing on Public Issues; Directing Online Communication; Topics in Teaching Writing; Communication for Professionals; Writing Center Theory and Pedagogy

Application Requirements
GPA Requirements: Minimun overall GPA 2.75 and 3.0 in last two years of undergraduate degree
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Work Experience: Applicants must have a minimum of 30 undergraduate semester hours in related courses (e.g., communication studies, language, literature), with at least 20 of those credit hours from upper division courses
Admissions Requirements: Bachelor's degree; three letters of recommendation; statement of goals; writing sample

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$15,221.80 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $411.40 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states



Online Master of Science in Technical Communication

Overview
Department: English Department
Websites: Department and Program

Program Format
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Most courses use synchronous instruction with weekly live online meetings
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years, students have up to 6 years to finish the program
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Credits Required: 32 credits (10-11 courses)
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone course
Example Courses: Editing Technical Publications; Research Methods for the Technical Communicator; User Experience; Foundations of Technical Communication; Content Strategy; Usability; Project Management in Technical Communication; Desktop Publishing

Application Requirements
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 2.75
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Work Experience: Undergraduate coursework in at least one of the following areas: mass communications, literature, linguistics or speech
Admissions Requirements: Bachelor's degree

Tuition Costs
Estimated Tuition*: ~$12,342 to ~$13,987.60 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $411.40 per credit hour

State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states

*Estimated tuition is calculated by multiplying the cost per credit hour by the number of credits required to graduate. It does not include fees or other expenses.