Image of a person typing on a laptop computer.

**The MAECC is now accepting applications**

Our Mission

The MA in English: Composition & Communication program centers on theory and practice related to producing and teaching various forms of nonfiction writing. Our flexible program accommodates current and future teachers (secondary and post-secondary) and professional writers and editors as well as those who want to pursue doctoral studies in rhetoric & composition and/or other writing-related fields.

Admission Requirements

To become a candidate for the Master of Arts in Composition and Communication (MAECC), a student must have an undergraduate degree in any major with a cumulative and major GPA of at least 3.0 on a four-point scale.

Even though we do not require an undergraduate degree in English for admission to the MAECC, we strongly recommend a minor in English or writing, a certificate in writing, or more than one undergraduate writing course at the 300-level or higher.

All candidates for admission to this program must also submit a sample of representative writing and a cover letter (see below).

For applicants whose native language is not English, we require a TOEFL score of 550 and a TWE of at least 5, or a MELAB of 85.

The MAECC Writing Sample and Cover Letter

Applicants to the MAECC must submit a writing sample and cover letter.

The writing sample should be nonfiction writing of at least 1,500 words and may take any of a variety of forms, e.g., a paper written for a college course, a personal essay or work of creative nonfiction, a report or other document written for your employer, an exposé written for publication, and so forth. Do not submit more than one sample, and do not submit poetry, fiction, journal or diary entries.

Please make sure that the sample contains no editing marks, grade, or comments. If you are submitting a paper written for a college course, please remove the instructor's name.

The reviewers will pay as much attention to your cover letter as to the writing sample itself. Your cover letter should be one to two pages, formatted as a business letter, and should address the following:

  • What was the context for which the sample was written? When was it written and why? Who was its intended audience?
  • Why did you decide to submit this sample and not something else you have written for school, work, or other venue? Be specific.
  • What does the sample show about your current knowledge and skill as well as your potential for growth as a nonfiction writer? Be specific.

Submit all materials including writing sample through the College of Graduate Studies submission system. (Follow the link under Apply Now)

Degree Requirements

Students must complete at least 15 of their 30 total semester hours at or above the 600 level.

Required Courses (12 hours)
Select from the following:

  • ENG 519 - Teaching Composition 3(3-0)
  • ENG 601 - Non-fiction writing for Graduate Students 3(3-0)
  • ENG 614 - Practicum in Teaching College Composition 3(3-0)
  • ENG 618 - Empirical Research Methods in English 3(3-0)
  • ENG 637 - Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition 3-6 (Spec)

Note: ENG 614 is open only to graduate teaching assistants teaching ENG 101.

Restricted Electives I (6 hours)
Advanced courses from among any of the following chosen in consultation with an advisor:

  • ENG 510WI - Writing Center Practicum 1-3 (Spec)
  • ENG 514 - Language & Media Discourse 3(3-0)
  • ENG 517 - Reading and the English Classroom 3(3-0)
  • ENG 539 - Seminar in Major Nonfiction Writers 3-9 (Spec)
  • ENG 615 - Problems in Teaching English 3(3-0)

Restricted Electives II (6 hours)
Advanced courses from among any of the following chosen in consultation with an advisor:

  • ENG 503 - Document Design 3(3-0)
  • ENG 504 - Technical Editing 3(3-0)
  • ENG 510WI - Writing Center Practicum 1-3 (Spec)
  • ENG 603 - Seminar in Technical & Professional Communication 3-6 (Spec)
  • ENG 672 - Applied Linguistics for Written Communication 3(3-0)
  • ENG 691 - Seminar: Writing Fiction 3-6(3-0)
  • ENG 693 - Seminar in Writing Creative Non-Fiction 3-6 (Spec)

Unrestricted Electives (0-6):
Select advanced courses in consultation with an advisor.

Capstone (up to 6 hours)
Select from the following:

Plan B: 30 course hours and an Exit Portfolio.

Thesis (1-6 hours): ENG 799 - Thesis 1-6 (Spec). Thesis plus an oral examination over thesis.

Total: 30 semester hours

Accelerated Admission

(Currently enrolled CMU undergraduate students only)

Admission Standards

Students in any major may apply.

1. Maintain an overall cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.25 and a grade of 3.25 or higher in at least two of the following courses: ENG 301WI, ENG 303WI, ENG 319, ENG 402WI, and ENG 493WI.

2. Submit a writing sample and cover letter (for more details, contact the Department of English Lanaguge & Literature at 989-774-3171).

3. Obtain written approval from the Chair of the Department of English Language & Literature.

4. Obtain College of Graduate Studies approval of courses selected to double-count on both the BA/BS and MA.

Retention Standards

Maintain a 3.25 GPA in English courses. Students who fail to maintain a 3.25 GPA in English courses in two successive semesters will be removed from the accelerated program.

Note: Students considering an accelerated MA program should be aware that their financial aid may be affected for courses double-counting on the BA/BS and MA. Contact the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid for information at 989-774-3674 or cmuosfa@cmich.edu.

Apply Now

​Click here to start your application​ to the MA program in English Composition & Communication today!

For More Information

For more information about the MAECC, contact

Dr. Melinda Kreth, Professor of English
Chair, Department of English Language & Literature
Anspach 215
Mt. Pleasant MI 48859
(989) 774-3172
kreth1ml@cmich.edu

or

Dr. Darrin Doyle, Professor of English
Department of English Language & Literature Graduate Coordinator
Anspach 301E
Mt. Pleasant MI 48859
(989) 774-3171
doyle1d@cmich.edu


For specific information on graduate school admissions requirements, visit the CMU College of Graduate Studies' website.

Faculty

Steven Bailey
Professor of English, Director of Composition
Ph.D. (2010) Michigan Tech.
Rhetoric & Composition, Creative Nonfiction
email | website

Carlin Borsheim-Black
Associate Professor of English
Ph.D. (2012) Michigan State University
email | website

Elizabeth Brockman
Professor of English
Ph.D. (1995) The Ohio State University
Rhetoric & Composition, English Education
Associate Editor, Pedagogy, published by Duke University Press
email | website

Amy Ford
Assistant Professor
email

Melinda Kreth
Professor of English, Department Chair, Director of Technical & Professional Writing Certificate Program
Ph.D. (1998) University of Louisville.
Technical & Professional Writing
Empirical Research Methods, Rhetoric & Composition
email | website

Susan Schiller
Professor of English
Ph.D. (1990) Wayne State University
Rhetoric & Composition, American Literature
email | website

Success Stories

Here are updates on a few of our recent graduates. We'll add more information as we receive input from our alumni:

Middleton, Rick (M.A., 2014) wrote a creative nonfiction thesis titled The Last Boy on Earth: Tales from Ohio, about his life growing up in Elyria, OH. He is a Research Officer in CMU's Office of Research & Graduate Studies.

Bridgewater, Matt (M.A., 2010) went on to complete a doctorate in Rhetoric & Writing at Bowling Green State University and is now an Assistant Professor of Writing at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA.

Brooks, Marilee (M.A., 2008) undertook a rhetorical analysis of the pre-trial testimony of expert witnesses representing evolution and intelligent design in Tammy Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. Marilee is now working on her doctorate at MSU and is now an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at Indiana University--Purdue University--Indianapolis, IN.

Janet Gaff (M.A., 2007) conducted a an empirical teacher-research study for her thesis project, which she began developing in ENG 618, titled "The Relationship Between Students' Perceptions of Themselves as Writers and their Revision Decisions." Janet recently accepted a tenure-track position as a Composition instructor at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove IL, just outside Chicago.

Curtis Burdette (M.A. 2007) edited a collection of his great-great-grandfather's letters written while he was a prospector during the Alaskan gold rush. Curtis' thesis project, which began as a class project in ENG 638, was titled, "The Adventures of Nathaniel Traub Wile: Letters from the Klondike Gold Rush." Curtis taught composition at Gogebic Community College, and is now the General Manager of National Hospitality Services Ramada Plaza Hotel in Gillette, WY.

Laura Grow (M.A. 2006)wrote a thesis titled "Reading, Writing, and Real Life: Integrating Contemporary Social Issues into the English Classroom" and has recently accepted a tenure track position as a composition instructor in Wyoming.

Stephanie Kurin (M.A. 2006) examined the teaching and learning of writing in a home-school context in her semi-autobiographical thesis, "A Survey of Homeschool English Curricula from the Perspective of a Homeschool Graduate and Composition Instructor, Stephanie now teaches composition as an adjunct instructor at Ball State University.

Monica Brady (M.A., 2005) wrote a thesis that was a historical editing project begun in ENG 638 entitled, "Who Wouldn't be a Soldier?: The 1861-62 Civil War Letters of Captain Charles Henry Curtiss.” She is currently expanding the thesis into a book-length edition and looking for a publisher. Monica has worked as a freelance scopist (an editor and researcher who works with legal deposition transcripts), and she also worked for CMU's Alumni Center. She accepted a tenure-track position as a composition Instructor of English at Elizabethtown Community & Technical College in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Emily Pioszak (M.A., 2005), whose pedagogical thesis was titled “Ecocomposition: Principles into Practice,” has remained at Central Michigan University to teach Freshman Composition and Intermediate composition using the approach presented in her thesis. She is a Lecturer III.

Mary (Rosalez) Wendt (M.A., 2005) wrote a creative nonfiction thesis entitled “Fat Chance: Living in an Unacceptable Body.” She taught teaching rhetoric and literature at Alma College and completed a doctorate at Michigan State University. She returned to CMU as a post-doc in 2011 and is now a Lecturer II.

Sarah Buckley (M.A., 2005) is the Communications Coordinator and Web Developer for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences here at CMU. For her thesis project, she developed The Newsletter Handbook for future editors, a handbook that contains information on all aspects of publishing the college newsletter.

Jon Edwards (M.A., 2003) focused on rhetorical theory, media applications, and popular culture. His thesis, "Crosses at the Mouth of Hell: Christian Language and Symbols in Buffy the Vampire Slayer," examined the presentation of religious groups and ideas in popular television and the culturally transformative power of myth creation in the popular consciousness. Jon is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student, concentrating in rhetoric and media/cultural studies, at Northwestern University.

Ed Comber (M.A., 2002) is a former newspaper editor who decided to alter his career path by joining the MAECC program. He received his M.A. degree after completing his thesis "Writer Heal Thyself : The Presence of Healing Discourse Markers in Student-authored Freshman Composition Texts." Ed is currently pursuing doctoral studies in the Composition/Rhetoric Ph.D. program at Ball State University.

Patrice Heinzman (M.A., 2002) who emphasized professional writing during her time in the program, received her MAECC degree after completing her thesis "Regional Education Service Agencies: Emerging from The Shadows." Patrice is a Public Information Specialist for the Ingham Intermediate School District here in Michigan.

Chrissine Cairns (M.A., 2001) wrote a creative nonfiction thesis, “Churning in the Wake,” and has taught for the past few years at the University of Miami.

Amy Solinski (M.A., 2001) whose thesis was a pedagogical study, “Creative Nonfiction in the Composition Classroom: Research Meets the Personal Essay,” has entered the doctoral program at Michigan State University.

Jason Kane (M.A., 2000) focused on composition theory and pedagogy during his MAECC coursework. His thesis, an ethnographic study of writing in the Honors Program at CMU entitled “Composing the HONgang:” Community, Competition and the Construction of ‘Scholar’,” was nominated for the Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Award. After teaching writing for CMU for a year, Jason attended the doctoral program in Rhetoric at Syracuse for a semester, but he soon realized that he really wanted to focus on teaching. He currently holds a tenure-track position in English at Elgin Community College, in Elgin, IL.

Kate Miller (M.A., 2000)who edited the historical manuscript “Three Years in the Army: The Civil War Diary of John D. Follmer” for her thesis, teaches composition here at CMU.

Bill Milligan (M.A., 2000) wrote a collection of essays, “The Art of Becoming,” for his thesis and now teaches at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba, Michigan, and recently received tenure.

Don Socha (M.A., 2000) wrote a critical theory thesis, “Affirmations of Indeterminacy: Teaching Writing as Productive Knowledge.”

Sarah Dickerson (M. A., 1999), whose thesis was the essay collection, “The Clock Would Drop,” is enrolled in an MFA in Nonfiction Program at the University of Iowa.

Liz Monske (M.A., 1999), whose pedagogical thesis was titled “Life In and Out of the Writing Classroom : The Writing Processes of Students,” received her doctorate in 2004 from Bowling Green State University and is now an Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech. University.

Geoffrey Carter (M.A.,1998) wrote "Minotaur: A Memoir" for his thesis and went on to a doctoral program in Composition & Rhetoric at Purdue University.

Beth Bowen (M.A., 1998) wrote a Graduate Assistant Training Handbook for her thesis and was hired as a documentation engineer. For the past 20 years, she has enjoyed a career in technical writing, editing, and training, working in manufacturing, financial services, and education industries. She is a consultant in Lansing, MI and is running for the Michigan Legislature, District 71.

Sandra Smith (M.A., 1996), whose creative nonfiction thesis was titled “An Absence of Ease,” went on to the doctoral program at New Mexico State University.