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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
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Home > Graduate Programs > Prospective Students > MA Application Instructions


MA Application Instructions 

All applications to either of our MA programs must start at MSU Admissions and be completed through MSU’s Graduate Admissions Management System (GAMS). 

To be considered for admission, fellowships, and graduate assistantship funding, you must provide all of the materials described below by December 15

Please read all instructions carefully before beginning your application process.

International applicants are advised to complete the application as early as possible to allow time for processing of visas and other documents. See  http://grad.msu.edu/apply/ for additional information.

To be considered for admission to the master’s program in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy (CSLP) or in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing (DRPW), you will need to provide the following documents:

FIRST, A completed Application for Graduate Study, along with payment of the application fee. The application form is available at  http://grad.msu.edu/apply/. You must apply online. (There is a separate form for international applicants.)

The MSU application code for Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy (CSLP) is 5751. The MSU application code for Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing (DRPW) is 5750--please take care to enter the correct code on your application.

NOTE: At the “Academic and Personal Statement” prompt of the online application form, please write “program-specific statement uploaded to GAMS.” Your Statement of Purpose is part of the PDF specified in #4 below. Do not cut and paste the required Statement to the online application.

THEN, once you have completed and submitted your online application, you will receive an e-mail prompting you to create an account on the Graduate Admissions Management System (GAMS) portal and providing further instructions for using that System.

You will be required to submit:

  • 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. (Transcripts of work taken at MSU need not be requested.) 

    If the institution(s) from which you send transcripts use an electronic transcript service, simply direct that institution to send transcripts to the Graduate School at MSU — your transcript will be attached to your electronic application when it arrives. If you are sending transcripts from institutions that use paper copies, please have those transcripts sent to:  WRAC RW Graduate Program; Michigan State University; 434 Farm Lane; 235 Bessey Hall; East Lansing, MI 48824; Attn: Melissa Arthurton.

  • 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 in GAMS portal, you will provide contact information for each of your recommenders so that GAMS can send a link for them to upload their letters directly into your GAMS profile. All recommendation letters are due by the same date as your materials. 

    Please create your GAMS profile well in advance of that deadline so the WRAC Graduate Advisory 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.

  • A single PDF compiling the following items in the order listed below. Save this PDF with your last name and upload it to GAMS in any materials category.
    1. A resume or curriculum vitae (CV).

    2. A Statement of Purpose that addresses your goals in pursuing an MA degree at MSU in either Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy or Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing.

      The admissions 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?

    3. Two writing samples demonstrating your ability to engage in graduate-level work.

      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 Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing, the other sample could demonstrate your abilities as a professional/technical writer, as an editor, as a document 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 embed the URL in the PDF compilation.

Again, please note that the Rhetoric and Writing Program has two different admission application deadlines for MA applicants: December 15 for applicants seeking funding support; April 1 for applicants who do not need funding.



QUESTIONS? For information and questions about the Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy MA program, contact Professor Trixie Smith, Advisor for MA in CSLP (smit1254@msu.edu).

For information and questions about the Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing MA Program, contact Professor Ben Lauren, Advisor for MA in DRPW (blauren@msu.edu).  

Please direct all general questions to Professor Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Associate Chair and Director of the Graduate Programs in WRAC (devossda@msu.edu).  

If you have a question regarding receipt and/or status of your application materials, or if you have a problem with GAMS, please contact our Graduate Secretary, Melissa Arthurton (517-355-2400 or rwapplic@msu.edu).