The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) offers an online Master of Arts (MA) in Professional and Technical Writing program with Nonfiction and Technical writing concentrations. All of the program’s coursework is offered via online instruction and students are not required to attend any campus visits. The program’s completion time depends on both the number of courses students take per term and whether students choose to pursue the program’s 36-credit master’s thesis track or a 42-credit non-thesis track in which students create an online portfolio. Full-time students are typically able to graduate from the program in roughly two years; part-time enrollment extends the time to complete by one to two years.
UALR’s online MA in Professional and Technical Writing program is designed to provide theoretical and applied training in professional communication, rhetoric, nonfiction writing and publishing, and other skills that have applications in writing intensive fields. The program’s core requirements include courses in rhetorical, composition, and language theory, as well as graduate research methods and theories of technical communication. When paired with several program electives – Teaching Writing in Secondary Schools, Theories of Rhetoric and Writing, and Working with Writers, for example – the program’s training can prepare graduates to teach writing at the elementary, secondary, and high school levels, as well as in community college and undergraduate university settings.
The program’s thesis track requires students to complete five core courses, including Introduction to Research Methods, a Thesis Proposal Seminar, and a Thesis Hours self-study course for a combined total of 15 credits. Students in the thesis track then choose two Cognate courses for six credits. These courses can include writing courses outside of a student’s chosen concentration, independent study or internship courses, and graduate courses offered online by other departments at UALR. Finally, students on the thesis track must complete 15 credits (five courses) in one of the program’s two concentrations in order to reach the 36 credits required to graduate.
Students who opt for the non-thesis online portfolio track complete just three of the program’s core requirements, including Introduction to Research Methods and Rhetorical Theory, for nine credits. They then must take six credits of Cognate courses, which can include independent study and internship courses, 12 credits (four courses) of Portfolio Electives that are selected with the approval of a portfolio advisor, and 15 credits (five courses) in one of the program’s two concentrations for a total of 42 credits.
The program’s Nonfiction concentration includes the following course options: Document Design; The Personal Essay; Memoir; Editing for Publication; Online Writing Instruction; and Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Argument. Examples of Technical concentration electives include: Writing for Business and Government; Writing on the Web; Writing Software Documentation; Grant Writing; and Usability Testing and Design.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing
Department: Department of Rhetoric and Writing
Websites: Department and Program
Structure: Online program with no required campus visits
Instruction Methods: Program uses both synchronous and asynchronous instruction depending on the course and instructor
Campus Visits Required: No
Program Length: Program can be completed in 2 years (FT) to 3.5 years (PT) depending on how many courses a student takes per term
Start Dates: Fall, Spring and Summer admission
Curriculum and Graduation Requirements
Thesis Required: No
Capstone Options: Thesis or senior portfolio options
Credits Required: 36 credit hours (Thesis Option) or 42 credit hours (Portfolio Option)
Example Courses: Introduction to Research Methods; Rhetorical Theory; Theory of Technical Communication; Language Theory; Document Design; Editing for Publication; Technical Style & Editing; Grant Writing; Usability Testing and Design
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0 (Conditional admission possible with a GPA greater of 2.7 to 2.99)
Testing Requirements: GRE not required
Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree; statement of purpose; resume; writing samples; three letters of recommendation
Estimated Tuition*: ~$13,788 to $16,086 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $383 per credit hour
State Authorizations: Program accepts students from all 50 states