Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication Minor

Writing Studies Department
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Writing Studies, 214 Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Dr SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-3445; fax: 612-624-3617)
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2021
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 6
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
The Graduate Minor in Rhetoric and Scientific & Technical Communication (RSTC) is available for masterís and PhD-level students enrolled in other University graduate programs. Courses train students to understand how people use written communication (textual, digital, and visual) to shape the world around them, with a particular emphasis on communication in scientific and technical areas. The minor also offers students opportunities to pursue special interests in areas such as digital, textual, or visual literacies; theories of rhetoric; writing; composition; and writing pedagogies. Tailored to students in research degree programs, the minor prepares students to integrate writing pedagogy into discipline-specific teaching practices, develop skills in rhetorical analysis, apply scientific and technical communication principles to the communication of scholarly work, and more. Students in graduate-level professional programs who are interested in applying basic theory and research-driven approaches to workplace contexts are encouraged to pursue the Scientific and Technical Communication Minor.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Special Application Requirements:
Students interested in the minor are strongly encouraged to confer with their major field advisor and director of graduate studies, and the Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication director of graduate studies regarding feasibility and requirements.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
Courses offered on both the A-F and S/N grading basis must be taken A-F, with a minimum grade of B earned for each course. The minimum cumulative GPA for minor field coursework is 3.00.
Methods, Pedagogies, and Core Areas (6 to 12 credits)
Masterís students select 6 credits, and doctoral students select 6 or more credits from the following in consultation with the Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication director of graduate studies.
WRIT 5531 - Introduction to Writing Theory and Pedagogies (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5775 - The Rhetorical Tradition: Classical Period (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5776 - The Rhetorical Tradition: Modern Era (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8011 - Research Methods in Writing Studies and Technical Communication (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8510 - Seminar in Rhetoric (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8520 - Seminar in Scientific and Technical Communication (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8540 - Seminar in Technical Communication and Composition Pedagogies (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8550 - Seminar in Technology, Culture, and Communication (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8560 - Seminar in Writing Studies (3.0 cr)
Electives (0-6 credits)
Select coursework in consultation with the Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication director of graduate studies.
WRIT 5112 - Information Design: Theory and Practice (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5270 - Special Topics (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5532 - Practicum in Writing Pedagogies (1.0 cr)
WRIT 5662 - Writing With Digital Technologies (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5664 - Science, Medical, and Health Writing (3.0 cr)
WRIT 5671 - Visual Rhetoric (3.0 cr)
WRIT 8792 - Independent Study, Reading, and Research (1.0-4.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Masters
Doctoral
 
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WRIT 5531 - Introduction to Writing Theory and Pedagogies
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course explores the nexus of theory and practice in terms of writing instruction and of technical writing and communication to help students identify their pedagogical positions and concrete practices. Designed as a collaborative, exploratory space for a community of teacher-scholars, it approaches the teaching of writing as a process that is both practiced and studied, is aided by reflection with others, and requires ongoing revision. Course texts address the scholarship of Composition, Rhetoric, and Technical Writing. Students put these texts in dialog, including with the ?texts? of their classrooms, to examine and reflect on their teaching practices. The course centers acts of engagement and reflection and emphasizes pedagogical inquiry. Students learn to: place a range of theories on writing instruction in conversation with their teaching; reflect on classroom practices and pedagogical theories; articulate individual philosophies of teaching; explore pedagogical issues of personal interest; foster pedagogical ?habits of mind? that serve students in classrooms at the UMN and beyond; and contribute to an active, supportive, and collaborative teaching community. prereq: Grad student
WRIT 5775 - The Rhetorical Tradition: Classical Period
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Rhetoric in the Classical world and recurring themes that constitute "the rhetorical tradition." Epistemological/ethical status and sociopolitical importance of ancient rhetorical training and discourse. Works by Isocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and others. Prepares students for preliminary examinations/seminars in rhetoric.
WRIT 5776 - The Rhetorical Tradition: Modern Era
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Comm 5611/Writ 5776
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Core works in modern/contemporary rhetorical theory. Twentieth-century revivals of and challenges to the Aristotelian rhetorical tradition. Units devoted to Enlightenment rhetorics; the New Rhetorics of I. A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, and Chaim Perelman; feminist rhetorical theory, historiography, and critique; deconstruction/post-structuralism. Prepares students for preliminary examinations/seminars in rhetoric.
WRIT 8011 - Research Methods in Writing Studies and Technical Communication
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Survey of quantitative/qualitative research methods. Theoretical perspectives that demonstrate/test analytical approaches to scientific/technological rhetoric. prereq: STC/RSTC grad student or instr consent
WRIT 8510 - Seminar in Rhetoric
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics may include theories, history, criticism, major figures, movements, visual or material rhetoric. Topics vary. See the Class Schedule.
WRIT 8520 - Seminar in Scientific and Technical Communication
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics may include theories, landmark studies, history, gender, ethics. Topics vary. See the Class Schedule.
WRIT 8540 - Seminar in Technical Communication and Composition Pedagogies
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics may include theories of pedagogy or research studies that inform the classroom or workplace, social and ethical concerns, landmark studies, current controversies. Topics vary. See the Class Schedule.
WRIT 8550 - Seminar in Technology, Culture, and Communication
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics may include computer-mediated communication, democracy/technology, controversies over digital communication, privacy/ethical issues, feminist theory and interactions of gender with science and technology, communication in legal or medical settings. Topics vary. See the Class Schedule.
WRIT 8560 - Seminar in Writing Studies
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics may include literacy, genre, history of writing, narrative theory and practice, writing as textual practice. Topics vary. See the Class Schedule.
WRIT 5112 - Information Design: Theory and Practice
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course examines how verbal, visual, and multimedia content can be designed and combined to create meaning, improve comprehension, and make information more usable. Emphasis is placed on the rhetorical roles of visual elements in print and digital communications, and how technical communicators can use visual means to reach audiences, convey information, and achieve rhetorical goals. Students read and discuss theory, practice information design skills, and apply both to real communications projects suitable for inclusion in a professional portfolio. Projects focus on print and web content design and development; the information design process (plan, design, develop, layout, testing); project planning toward deliverables (web sites, signage, wayfinding); and universal design (color, symbols, etc.)
WRIT 5270 - Special Topics
Credits: 3.0 [max 9.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Topics specified in Class Schedule.
WRIT 5532 - Practicum in Writing Pedagogies
Credits: 1.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
WRIT 5532 is designed as a collaborative, developmental, and exploratory space for graduate instructors in the First Year Writing (FYW) program. The course approaches the teaching of writing as an iterative and situated process that is both practiced and studied, is aided by reflection with others, and requires ongoing revision. Course texts include scholarship in Teaching and Learning, in Writing Studies, and in First-Year Composition. These texts will be brought into dialog with the WRIT 1301 classes all students are teaching. The course addresses such questions as: How do people learn, how do they learn writing, and how can instructors teach writing based on those understandings? How can instructors design environments, materials, and practices that equitably help students learn about writing and develop as writers? Class discussions and assignments also invite students to identify and address challenges, tensions, and pedagogical issues of personal interest; to develop habits of mind that will serve them in other classrooms in their teaching careers; and to articulate the classroom practices and pedagogies informing their teaching philosophies. Students in the RSTC MA and PhD programs take WRIT 5532 in spring of their first year after taking WRIT 5531 in fall term. Graduate instructors from other departments who teach WRIT 1301 must register for one credit of WRIT 5532 in the fall and one credit of WRIT 5532 in the spring during their first year teaching in the FYW program. Spring sections of WRIT 5532 are organized as biweekly reflective practice groups (RPGs). RPGs will build on fall term course content in discussions of readings, in teaching journal reflections, and to build teaching portfolios.
WRIT 5662 - Writing With Digital Technologies
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: Writ 4662W/Writ 5662
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course explores current and emerging digital writing technologies and teaches students to assess writing situations and make appropriate decisions about digital form, production, and scholarship. Students learn the basic building blocks of writing in Internet environments (text, sound, images, video, interactivity); the vocabularies, functionalities, and organizing structures of Web 2.0 environments and how each impacts understanding and use of information; and how to produce Web 2.0 environments (i.e., multimedia internet documents) that facilitate interactivity and use. This course includes design projects and practice with apps, markup language (html and xml), and content management systems.
WRIT 5664 - Science, Medical, and Health Writing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course explores the theories and practices of writing about science, medicine, and health (SMH). Students learn about genres of SMH communication including regulatory documents from the FDA, podcasts created by scientists for the public, patient blogs, and published research articles. The course also engages topics including accessibility, writing in regulated environments, writing for complex audiences, and engaging biomedical and scientific research in writing. Students are challenged to consider how language, science, biomedicine, and health intersect and how different stakeholders such as patients, healthcare providers, scientists, government officials, and insurance companies engage in SMH communication.
WRIT 5671 - Visual Rhetoric
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course investigates current understandings of how visuals participate in and extend the rhetorical strategies long associated with speech and writing. Students explore developments in the discipline of visual rhetoric by engaging with an emerging canon of texts that survey the work of rhetoricians, graphic designers, graphic novelists, commercial artists, fine artists, and technical communicators. Emphasis is placed on the use of visuals in science and technology; identifying shared principles of persuasion through visual information; developing the vocabulary to comment on, critique, and create visuals; and assessing whether visuals meet the needs of intended audiences.
WRIT 8792 - Independent Study, Reading, and Research
Credits: 1.0 -4.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Supervised study, reading, or research on projects not covered in regularly scheduled offerings. prereq: instr consent