University of Minnesota
Department of Writing Studies

Department of Writing Studies

Graduate Studies

The Department of Writing Studies offers three graduate degrees and a post-baccalaureate certificate:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication (RSTC)
  • Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication (RSTC)
  • Master of Science in Scientific and Technical Communication (STC)
  • Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Technical Communication

Engaged Faculty

The Department of Writing Studies is home to a core of internationally recognized scholars who explore and expand our understanding of writing and the ways people use written texts to shape the world. Our research and teaching interests range widely, but with particular strengths in: rhetorical theory and history; scientific and technical communication; writing pedagogy; textual analysis; digital literacies; and — more generally — the relationships among writers, readers, and broader social and cultural contexts.

World-class Resources

Our students benefit from being at a leading research-based university that offers courses in related, supporting fields such as cultural studies, history, literature, and the social sciences. Past students have also pursued coursework in this University’s professional schools of education, law, engineering, and public health. This diversity of options also enables students to study with affiliated faculty with expertise in rhetoric of science, communication studies, journalism and mass communication, feminist studies, human-computer interaction, curriculum and instruction, and literacy and rhetorical studies, among others. The University also has a superb library system with extensive electronic resources and print holdings.

Individual Attention

The number of graduate students in our programs is small, so students receive close, individual attention as they work through the course requirements, examinations, capstone projects, and for Ph.D. students, the dissertation.

Learning Plus

The University of Minnesota is located in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. This location combines the entertainment and recreational opportunities of a major city with a compact footprint that makes it convenient to get from school to home and beyond.

Graduate News

  • Spring 2014 MS in S&TC Research Projects

    Congratulations to five M.S. in S&TC students who completed professional practice research projects during Spring 2014. They shared posters and presentations at a research showcase event held on April 29th. This excellent work is available at the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy.

    Short descriptions--

    How Should Technical Communication Students Best Prepare for Careers in Medical Device Companies?
    Heather Sigstad
    Through interviews with technical communicators from medical device companies, this study identifies skills that would help new communicators be successful in the medical device industry and maps them to the University of Minnesota's scientific and technical communication programs.

    Plain English for Korean Non-native English Speakers
    Changsoo Lee
    This study demonstrates that Korean speakers prefer Latinate verbs in general. Test results indicate that using plain English does not guarantee Korean speakers' better comprehension of English and that concise sentences could make Korean speakers less assured of their comprehension.

    Information Design and Uncertain Environments: Cognitive and Ecological Considerations in Technical Communication
    Christopher Cocchiarella
    This case study demonstrates the need for both cognitive and ecological considerations in technical communication through a four-part inquiry.

    Software Patent Application Drafting Guideline Development
    Wonjong Choi
    This guideline development focuses on patent application drafting techniques that request stronger patent rights in the claim, embodiment, and drawing sections of patent applications. This work provides software patent drafting techniques for patent staff-members, inventors, and technical communication students.

    Usability Themes in Open Source Software
    Jim Hall
    Some open source software programs are easy to learn, while others are hard to use. What makes for good usability in open source software? This examination of GNOME, an open source desktop environment, identifies usability themes that open source software developers can use to improve their programs.

    May 16th, 2014
  • MS in STC Research Showcase

    Research Showcase
    Featuring Spring 2014 M.S. in Scientific & Technical Communication Graduates

    Please join us for research insights, networking, and snacks.
    All faculty and students are welcome to attend.
    Tuesday, April 29, 2014
    235 Nolte, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
    Presentations, 4:10-4:40 p.m.

    Event Flyer

    April 17th, 2014

Graduate Program news archive