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Rhetoric, Composition and Teaching of English (MA)  
Program Description

Graduate students in RCTE are often distinguished for their public engagement and action-oriented research, published scholarship, and innovative teaching. They have been selected as Carson Scholars, Crossroads Collaborative Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Scholars for the Dream. Our graduate students are often recognized for their teaching and have received a range of teaching and research awards including the 1885 Dissertation Fellowship Award, the Centennial Achievement Award, the Marshall Foundation Fellowship, and the Patrick Dissertation Award. RCTE dissertation projects are broadly engaged and interested in social change and justice.

RCTE MA and PhD students teach in our award-winning Writing Program, which provides varied opportunities to teach a range of first-year and upper-division courses, and gain additional professional experience within the program in areas such as human subjects-based research, textbook and curriculum development, assessment, transfer and placement, and writing center support. Graduate students receive small-group mentoring and support from experienced and committed teachers throughout their first year, with continued support throughout their time teaching in the program. We facilitate opportunities for research assistantships across the university as well.

RCTE retains a remarkable job placement rate with around 97% of our students who do national searches placed in tenure-track positions. Our graduates have been hired at universities around the country such as the University of Utah, Arizona State University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Hawaii, California State University, and the University of California, Irvine. Some of our graduates have accepted leadership positions in community colleges such as Oakland Community College and Bay Mills Tribal Community College, while others select employment in the not-for profit, private, or government sectors, including national research labs and think tanks.

RCTE is connected to over twenty schools, departments, research and outreach centers on our campus, and we are broadly involved in collaborations with diverse community and education groups. RCTE has established a multitude of opportunities for graduate students to work with other outstanding graduate programs on our campus, including American Indian Studies, Mexican American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, and the School of Information. Our students also have access to our department’s programs in English Applied Linguistics, Literature, and Creative Writing, as well as to exciting opportunities in the Institute of the Environment and the Institute for LGBT Studies.

The University of Arizona is a premiere public research university that is fully engaged with the cultures and peoples of the Southwest even as it is always at work on issues of global and transnational import. RCTE in particular is proud to serve our land-grant mission to engage in action-oriented scholarship that recognizes the strengths and addresses the needs and potentials of the diverse communities that surround the University. In RCTE, we view rhetoric and composition as arts at work in the world that must be studied and practiced in the context of broader cultural and public interests.

Established in 1988, the program became known for its commitment to Western understandings of rhetorical history and theory, composition pedagogy, writing program administration, and community literacy. Recently, we have shifted our program strengths and commitments to social justice pedagogy and leadership, comparative technologies of writing, labor practices and administration for diverse environments, strategies for sustaining languages and literacies among diverse populations, community partnerships, and learning from the historical legacies of those silenced under Western global expansion.

For more information, contact Marcia Simon.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

English -

Department of English Graduate Studies

The English Department maintains four degree-granting graduate programs:

  • Literature (MA and PhD) 
  • Creative Writing (MFA) 
  • Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English, known as RCTE (MA and PhD) 
  • English Applied Linguistics, known as EAL (MA in TESL, with ties to the PhD in SLAT)

Each of these programs is separately administered and has a separate application procedure. In general (some programs may make exceptions or have a different deadline) applications are due in early January (for matriculation the following August). Admissions are highly selective. The department therefore urges prospective applicants to confer, by early autumn at the latest, with the Director of the individual program in which they are interested.

To access the landing page for an individual program, click on its name below. On these pages you will find contact information for each program, as well as information about graduate study in the department.

General MA

The Department also offers a General MA, a flexible program that includes curricula from Literature, RCTE, and EAL.

Additional Resources

English Graduate Union (EGU), represents all English graduate students 

Financial Opportunities: please email program assistant for information regarding financial support available to graduate students in the Department of English.

Lynda Zwinger
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English 

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Marcia L Simon
Graduate Program Coordinator
Marcia L Simon
Director of Graduate Studies
Cristina D Ramirez
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Guadalupe Estrella
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements
The application will include the following elements:
  1. Curriculum Vita;
  2. Statement of Purpose;
  3. Official copy of transcripts for all colleges attended, to be uploaded into online application. Hard copies are required upon admittance;
  4. Three academic letters of recommendation (your recommenders will be able to submit their letters through the online application system);
  5. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Subject test is not required. Ask that your scores be sent to Institution Code #4832;
  6. A writing sample, preferably a paper in rhetoric and/or composition.
Standardized Tests
Are the GREs required for admission?

Do I need to take the GRE Subject Test?


My GRE scores are more than five years old. May I still use them?
ETS only releases official scores for exams taken in the last five years. Because of this, we cannot accept scores older than five years. If the applicant has taken the test more than once, we take the highest score in each category.
Are all three GRE categories considered equally important to my acceptance?
The verbal and analytic scores are the most important parts of the GRE. Most applicants who are accepted are in the ninetieth percentile in the verbal or analytic categories. The quantitative score is noted, but largely ignored.

Where do I send my GRE scores?
Please request that your official GRE scores be sent to School Code 4832 (University of Arizona).

Financial Aid

Please contact program assistant, Marcia Simon, at ;for information.

Admissions Deadlines

December 31, 2019

International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Please contact program assistant for information.

Minor Requirements
The Academic Unit has not provided this information. 
Student Handbook  
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Last revised 01 Oct 2019