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, Teaching Communication Studies Online, Topics in Teaching Writing, and a Seminar in 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 30 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 (7 credits), a research methods course (3 credits), documentation electives (4-8 credits), general electives (ranging between 7 and 18 credits, depending on students’ chosen culminating experience), an internship (3-6 credits), and a thesis, alternate plan paper, or capstone in technical communication course.

The technical communication curriculum begins with two required core courses, Editing Technical Publications and Rhetorical Theory Applied to Technical Documents, which provide students with a foundational understanding of technical document policies, technical communication theory, and editing practices. Students’ research methods course is Research & Theory in Technical Communications, which teaches students the major theoretical approaches to technical communication theory, as well as how to design and implement a scholarly research study.

For their documentation electives, students choose one or both of the following courses: Online Documentation, and Technical Documentation, Policies, & Procedures. 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.

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 include Visual Technical Communication, Instructional Design for Technical Communicators, Technical and Scientific Prose, Usability, Desktop Publishing, and Researching and Writing Technical Reports.

The program culminates in a thesis, alternate plan paper or capstone course. The thesis is a research-focused paper that explores a topic within technical communication, and which contributes new scholarly insight into the existing field of technical communication research. The alternate plan paper is a literature-based review and analysis of a technical communication area of research. The capstone course is an additional course that students take, during which they research and write a document of journal article length, which is of publication quality, and can serve as a foundation for a professional presentation.

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

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Capstone options: internship or alternate plan paper
Credits Required: 37 credits (~13 courses)
Example Courses: Communication Pedagogy; Teaching Communication Studies Online; Forensics Pedagogy; Topics in Rhetoric and Culture; Conflict Management; Advanced Interpersonal Communication; Topics in Rhetoric and Composition; Persuasive Writing on Public Issues

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
GPA Requirements: Minimun overall GPA 2.75 and 3.0 in last two years of undergraduate degree
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

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 Arts 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

Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis, alternate plan paper, or capstone course
Credits Required: 30-34 credits (10-11 courses)
Example Courses: Editing Technical Publications; Research and Theory for Technical Communicators; Rhetorical Theory Applied to Technical Documents; Usability; Document Design; Desktop Publishing; Researching and Writing Technical Reports

Application Requirements
Degree Required: Bachelor's degree
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
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission

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