Texas Tech University

Emphasis Areas

Our graduate program houses two degrees: the Master of Arts in Technical Communication, and the PhD in Technical Communication & Rhetoric. Students in our programs often specialize in one of three areas: Technical Communication and User-Centered Design; Rhetorical Theory and Practice; or Composition, Writing Studies, and Literacy. These emphasis areas are meant as heuristics to guide students in course selection and career preparation; students are encouraged to take courses in any emphasis area.

Technical Communication and User-Centered Design

Graduate students who specialize in technical communication and user-centered design gain experience in the theories, practices, histories, teaching, and management of workplace communication in institutional and non-institutional settings and in both global and local contexts. Students gain experience in a variety of technical genres; communicating with and about technologies; technical communication practices; design processes; and research methods around usability, user experience, design, and workplace communication—in preparation for positions in industry, consulting, nonprofit work, teaching, and/or research.

Rhetorical Theory and Practice

Graduate students who specialize in rhetorical theory and practice acquire knowledge in traditional study of ancient Greco-Roman rhetoric and build on that knowledge to consider myriad neglected and contemporary rhetorical practices. Students gain experience and knowledge that primes them to research and study public, embodied, visual and other sensory rhetorics; the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine; material and environmental rhetorics; and digital and social media rhetorics. Studying how rhetors, writers, designers, and creators use available means and mediums of persuasion to engage a wide variety of contemporary audiences unites the disparate areas.

Composition, Writing, and Literacy Studies

Graduate students who specialize in composition, writing, and literacy studies gain experience that prepares them to research and study writing, the teaching of writing, composing practices, literacy practices and ideologies, online literacy and writing instruction, digital cultures and new media rhetoric, writing program administration, and other issues related to writing and literacy.