English, Literature, Composition & Rhetoric (MA)

What is A English, Literature, Composition & Rhetoric (MA) Degree?

Most people who study for the BA degree in English learn about linguistics: words, sentences, meanings, phonetics, phonology, and the patterns of sounds in the language.  Plus, they also study literature of both English and American writers.  They learn how to write logically and also to write creatively. They learn how to do the critical thinking that is required to write most anything. Plus, they’ll cover how to analyze and interpret all kinds of literature from different periods in history.

To apply to most MA degree programs in English Literature, Composition & Rhetoric you need a Bachelor’s degree in English.  You also need to be interested in learning how to use words to influence an audience—that is to be informative while also being persuasive.  You’ll study lots of non-fiction literature and analyze it according to who the writer is, who the audience is, and how the message is written.  Your goal will be to learn not so much about what writers are writing but how they’ve written it—what strategies did they use and what were their goals. Good speech writers often don’t create the message itself, but craft it to be delivered effectively. Coursework for the MA degree may include a core of courses like Comparative Rhetoric, History of Rhetoric, and Discourse Analysis along with lots of electives to concentrate on a particular use of persuasive literature like politics, law, or community activism.

The video below discusses a “typical” program, so it should help regardless of which school you are considering.

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