MA Application Requirements

The Rhetoric & Writing Program uses MSU’s new Graduate Admissions Management System (GAMS), for all application materials. Please read the instructions provided under the Submission Instructions link on this website.

To be considered for admission to the master’s program in Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing, or Critical Studies in Literacy & Pedagogy, you must provide the following documents:

  1. A completed Application for Graduate Study, along with payment of the application fee. The application form is available at You must apply online. (There is a separate application form for international applicants.) The MSU application code for Critical Studies in Literacy & Pedagogy (CSLP) is 5751. The MSU application code for Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing (DRPW) is 5750 – please take care to enter the correct code on your application.

NOTE: At the “Academic and Personal Statement” prompt on the application form, please write “program-specific statement uploaded to GAMS,” and substitute the personal statement specified below; make sure this specific statement is included in the materials uploaded to GAMS.

  1. One copy of each transcript from each college or university that you have attended. Transcripts should be sent directly from the Office of the Registrar at each institution you have attended to MSU. See Submission Instructions for details about this process. (Transcripts of work taken at MSU need not be requested.)
  2. A curriculum vitae (CV), uploaded via the GAMS portal.
  3. A personal statement, uploaded via the GAMS portal, that addresses your goals in pursuing an MA degree at MSU in either Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing or in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy. The Graduate Committee wants to know: Why do you want to pursue this degree at MSU? What interests, qualifications, and, most importantly, professional goals of yours will be served by completion of this degree?
  4. At least two writing samples, uploaded via the GAMS portal. For both MA programs, at least one sample should be a single-authored academic paper showing your ability to do a sustained critical analysis, research, review, or evaluation (ideally, from an upper-division course). For the MA in DRPW, the other sample could demonstrate your abilities as a professional/technical writer, as an editor, as a page designer, or as a developer of digital information (e.g., multimedia products, web sites). If you wish to direct us to an online sample, please do so by uploading a document with the web URL embedded in it to the GAMS portal.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from professionals in a position to evaluate your potential for graduate study. Ideally, these letters should come from faculty members (or instructors) who can address your qualifications for academic course work at the graduate level and also your skills as a writer, teacher and scholar. (If you have taken rhetoric, composition or professional writing courses, it is most helpful to have letters from your instructors in those courses.)

NOTE:When you create your profile & application in the GAMS portal, you will provide contact information for each of your recommenders. The system will send an e-mail to each of them containing a link so they can upload your letters directly into your GAMS application file. All recommendation letters are due by the application deadline. Please fill out this portion of your GAMS application well in advance of that deadline so that the Committee has your letters of recommendation in hand when we review your file.  If you wait until the application deadline to specify your recommenders in GAMS, it will not be possible for your letters to arrive by the application deadline.

MA Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the program on regular status, an applicant must:

  • have a baccalaureate degree in humanities, writing, communications, English, or a related field;
  • have completed a minimum of 18 semester credits in humanities, writing, English, or communications-related fields beyond the 100 level with a minimum GPA of 3.25.

Admissions decisions are made by the Rhetoric & Writing Graduate Committee. Applicants who do not meet the criteria stated above may be admitted provisionally. Conditions for regular admission, including the completion of collateral coursework, must be satisfied during the first year of study.

The Rhetoric and Writing Program has two different admission application deadlines for MA applicants: December 15th for funding; April 1st, for those who do not want to be considered for funding.

Please direct all general questions regarding admissions, or inquiries about the PhD program, to Dr. Malea Powell, Director of Rhetoric & Writing, 235C Bessey Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1047, 517.355.2400,

For information and questions about the Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing MA Program, contact Dr. Stuart Blythe, Advisor for MA in DRPW, 235 Bessey Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1047, 517.355.3279,

For information and questions about the Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy MA program, contact Dr. Trixie Smith, Advisor for MA in CSLP, 300 Bessey Hall c/o The WritingCenter, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1047, 517.432.3610,

International applicants are advised to complete application as early as possible to allow time for processing of visas and other documents. See for additional information.