Texas Tech University

Graduate Admissions - Technical Communication & Rhetoric

How to Apply - MATC and PhD

Admission to one of our graduate programs is based on a holistic assessment of the promise for completing the requirements for the degree and match of the student's interests with the program's strengths. Materials reviewed include your writing sample, statement of interest, and letters of recommendation as well as GPA and GRE scores. GRE scores neither ensure admission nor automatically disqualify an applicant. For a good, general overview to the application process, please read Dr. Angela Eaton's article, which appeared in a recent issue of the journal Technical Communication.

The program offers four graduate degrees: Master of Arts in Technical Communication (on-campus and online) and Doctor of Philosophy in Technical Communication and Rhetoric (on-campus and online). Application procedures are virtually identical across these four degrees. Where there are differences, they will be noted below.

The graduate program reviews applications ONLY once a year for Fall admission. The deadline for submitting all materials is January 1 of the same calendar year of admission. 


Step One: Submit the following materials to the Texas Tech Graduate School by January 1:

  1. Graduate Application for Admission
  2. Official transcripts of all previous college work
  3. Official and current scores on the verbal and quantitative reasoning portions of the GRE Test. Texas Tech's GRE code is 6827 and the Department Code is 2599 (English).

The GRE is required for PhD applicants only. Scores must not be older than five years otherwise applicants are required to take the GRE again and submit new scores prior to the deadline. We do not make exceptions for any reason. 

If you have any questions concerning the materials and documents you submit to the Graduate School or if the ApplyTexas portal is not working, please email graduate.admissions@ttu.edu for assistance. The TCR program does not process these documents. 

Step Two: Submit the following materials to english.tc@ttu.edu electronically by January 1:

  1. Completed application form for a Graduate Degree Program
  2. Current resume/vita
  3. Statement of Interest in graduate study and career goals
  4. Writing Sample
  5. Three Letters of Reference
  6. Distance Learning Agreement (if you're applying to an online program)
  7. GRE score report (PhD applicants only)
  8. Unofficial copies of transcripts

Please submit all of your documents, with the exception of the three letters of recommendation, in ONE email. It is easier to process and keep track of your documents when we receive all of your documents at once. The Graduate School and the English department must receive all of your materials in both Step One and Step Two above for your application to be considered. 

Note: The Graduate School and ApplyTexas portal get very backed up with processing applications. Submit your ApplyTexas application at least TWO months prior to the January 1 deadline so your application and its materials are processed in time. If the Graduate School processes your application after the deadline, you will not be considered for admission and will have to reapply for the following year. 

Graduate School Details

To apply for admission to the Graduate School, please submit all required materials via the Apply Texas website. To mail application materials to the Graduate School, please refer to the domestic applicant checklist or the international applicant checklist for current mailing address information.

A nonrefundable graduate application fee of $60 is required for all applicants. This fee must be submitted with the Graduate Application for Admission to Texas Tech and is required before the application can be processed. You may also want to review the TTU Graduate School Catalog.

Note: Any graduate student who has been admitted to the Graduate School but who for any reason has dropped out for 3 consecutive semesters (one or both summer terms count as a single semester) will be required to pay the regular admission fee for readmission. This change will apply to a student who, for example, has been admitted for fall 2016 but decides to delay their attendance to fall 2017. This student will need to reapply and pay the appropriate fee for the readmission application for fall 2017.

Program Details

When the technical communication faculty looks over your application materials, your writing sample, statement of intent, and letters of reference have a huge impact on the way we perceive you. Materials bound for the program should be sent via email to english.tc@ttu.edu:

Deadlines for Application

We look at applications only once a year. January 1 is the deadline for ALL materials

Statement of Intent

This statement, which identifies your goals for graduate study, should be approximately 500-1000 words long and should indicate the reasons for your interest in graduate study and explain your career objectives.

For doctoral students, if you can define your research interests for the dissertation, please do so.

Workplace experience (MATC)

Experience in the field is a good predictor of success in the program. Although we have not established a minimum amount of workplace experience, we prefer for applicants to have at least two years' experience in some form of professional communication, which should be indicated either on your program application or in an enclosed resume.

Taking a break from studies (Online PhD)

We have not established a minimum amount of time between your master's coursework and your application to this program, but we prefer for applicants to have at least two years' distance from their most recent formal graduate work. Please note that this hiatus is not a requirement, but a preference, and the program will hold no bias for or against applicants based on their most recent graduate work.

Writing Sample

The writing sample gives us a chance to see the way you think, organize information, and produce essays and documents. It also indicates your fluency with the English language and gives us a clue as to your experience with writing, editing, and revision. We prefer to have an analytical or critical writing sample, as these genres reveal a lot about the writer and help us make our admissions decision. Maximum length in all cases is 10-20 pages (or 2000-4000 words).

For master's students only, if you do not have such a document, a more functional writing sample will suffice (report, proposal, manual, or tutorial, to name a few examples).

For doctoral students, this sample should be a graduate course paper or the equivalent that demonstrates your ability to develop a thesis using research and analysis.

Letters of Reference

You are responsible for requesting the letters of reference. List the persons who will write the letters on the application form, and ask these persons to send the letters to the Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, in electronic format to english.tc@ttu.edu. The letters should address your likelihood of success in graduate school and beyond.

For doctoral students, "success" will usually have to do with your initiative, your capability to produce scholarship, and your ability to think analytically.

For those of you applying to online degree programs, these letters should provide evidence of your ability to work independently.

For those of you applying for teaching positions, your letters should discuss your experience and/or potential for teaching

Teaching Appointments (on-campus applicants)

Doctoral students are usually awarded graduate part-time instructorships (GPTI positions) to begin with their first semester. MATC students are usually offered MA apprentice positions to begin with their first semester. Both the instructorship and the apprenticeship includes a waiver of tuition and most fees. The stipend in 2016-17 for graduate students falls between ~$13,250 (new MA students) and ~$15,250 (PhD students). Students may accept scholarships and fellowships on top of this stipend. To apply, you simply check the “yes” box on the application form, p. 1, question 6: “Do you want to apply for a part-time instructorship?”

Apprentices will participate in the first-year composition program. Most GPTIs teach first-year composition, but some who have completed the course in teaching technical communication teach our sophomore-level ENGL 2311, Introduction to Technical Communication. Some advanced doctoral students in English teach sophomore literature or creative writing, depending on qualifications, though students in TCR would probably not have these assignments. Writing Center positions are also possible (1/4 time, combined with a 1/4-time teaching assignment). The usual teaching load is 20 hours per week in each long term, but we have been able to offer a 20-hour / 10-hour load to first-year students in the past several years and hope to extend that in the future.

Distance Learning Agreement (all online applicants)

All online program applicants need to sign and return our Distance Learning Agreement, which indicates that you understand our requirements for technology, time, and honor.

Employer Commitment Letter (online PhD only)

This letter of commitment from your employer explicitly acknowledging that class and May workshop attendance is obligatory. This letter must be signed and on company letterhead. Your employer should indicate in this letter that they a) support your efforts to complete the program, b) acknowledge the program will require you to attend online classes one or two weekday evenings during normal semesters, and also to attend mandatory two-week seminars in May of each year, an c) agree to give you the time and space needed to attend classes, seminars, or any other required TCR activities. The idea, of course, is that you and your employer need to be on the same page regarding this lengthy endeavor.

General Note About Application Review

All applicant packages are evaluated holistically, which is to say that every piece of the application package contributes to the applicant's overall desirability. Specifically, we are looking for no specific GRE scores, GPA's, or resume experiences, but are instead looking for applications that contain synergistic arguments for the applicant's good fit with the program and its objectives.

Graduate Fellowships for 2017-18
  • Deadline: Apply by January 1.
  • See our Graduate Fellowships page for complete details.
  • For more information on the Graduate program and your research interests contact Dr. Greg Wilson, Director of Graduate Studies for Technical Communication and Rhetoric (TCR). For all other application or procedural questions please contact Dr. Christiana Christofides, Associate Director of TCR.
TCR Grad Application Deadlines

The graduate program reviews applications ONLY once a year for Fall admission. The deadline for submitting all materials is January 1.