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. For a good, general overview to the application process, please read Dr. Angela Eaton's article, which appeared in an 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.

TCR Graduate Program important deadlines and notes:

  • The TCR Graduate Program Reviews application once a year for Fall admission.
  • Materials must be submitted by January 5th of the application year.
  • The GRE exam is NOT required for any program. 
  • Plan ahead to avoid delay in application. 

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Submit the following materials to the Texas Tech Graduate School Application Portal by January 5:

  1. Unofficial transcripts of all previous college work
  2. Completed application form for a Graduate Degree Program in Liaison
  3. Current resume/vita
  4. Statement of Interest/Letter of Intent in graduate study and career goals
  5. Writing Sample
  6. Three Letters of Reference  (Recommenders must send their letters directly through the Liaison portal or you can upload a copy yourself. The department cannot accept letters.)
  7. Distance Learning Agreement (if you're applying to an online program)

We require three Letters of Recommendation. You can obtain copies of these letters and upload them into the application portal yourself or your recommenders can upload them directly via a prompt generated by the system. Do not send your letters to the department because we can no longer upload them into the system and your application will not be complete. 

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

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. 

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. 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 only)

On campus 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 most tuition and fees. The stipend in 2019-2020 for graduate students falls between $14,000 (MA students) and $16,000 (PhD students). 

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. The usual teaching load is 20 hours per week in each long term.

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. Instructorships are not available for online students at this time. 

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 applications that contain synergistic arguments for the applicant's good fit with the program and its objectives.

Graduate Fellowships for 2019-20