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Overview of the Master of Arts in Technical

Communication (MATC) Degree Program
Description
The degree of Master of Arts in Technical Communication (MATC) was established in 1993. Its primary goal
is to prepare students for careers as technical communicators. It also prepares students for further study in a
doctoral program. Texas Tech University is the only university in Texas to offer specializations in technical
communication at three levels of study: BA, MA, PhD. The Texas Tech University MATC program offers
• the chance to tailor your program to suit your interests. Electives and minors in other departments
allow students to specialize in such areas as management, telecommunications, instructional design,
information systems, or marketing as well as to continue graduate work in an undergraduate major such
as biology or computer science.
• the option to complete the requirements with a thesis or no thesis; for the thesis, the option to write
an “applied” or a “research” thesis
• a well-established program and faculty in technical communication. The Undergraduate specializa-
tion was established in 1976. Faculty have written textbooks and articles and hold positions in national
professional associations.
• the program featured as the representative M.A. program nationwide in the 1997 book from STC
on academic programs in technical communication
• a record of student achievement and job placement.
• a program “culture” that emphasizes personal attention
• an award-winning chapter of the Society for Technical Communication
• excellent computer facilities and sophisticated use of computers in classes. Our motto, “Still on the
frontier...,” reflects our forward-looking approach to technology and innovation (as well as our West
Texas location).

Faculty
Texas Tech faculty are active professionally and have accepted leadership roles in STC, ATTW, and CPTSC.
They have won awards on campus for teaching and research and for innovations in computer-based pedagogy.
All courses are taught by regular members of the graduate faculty as part of their course load, not as overtime.
Core technical communication faculty and their interests are the following:

Ken Baake rhetoric of science, complexity Rich Rice composition pedagogy, new media
science, language and metaphor and professional writing, portfolio
assessment
Miles Kimball history of technology, information
graphics, web portfolios Sam Dragga international communication;
ethics; editing; visual communica-
Craig Baehr hypertext theory, visual communica-
tion; evaluation of writing
tion
Rebecca Rickly gender and communication,
Amy Koerber discourse and social issues, medical
methods and methodology, theories
writing, gender
of rhetoric(s), and literacy issues
Thomas Barker computer documentation, distance
Angela Eaton quantitative and qualitative meth-
education, online communication
ods, pedagogy, research methods
Susan Lang computer-based instruction in
Sean Zdenek discourse analysis, artificial
composition and literature, intellec-
intelligence, rhetoric and technol-
tual property, hypertext, textual
ogy
theory
Fred Kemp computer-based instruction in
Locke Carter argumentation; hypermedia; online
English; history and theory of
discourse; software industry issues;
rhetoric
usability research
Degree Requirements: MATC Onsite (Non-Thesis Option)
The non-thesis option emphasizes breadth of coursework. Students will prepare broadly in the kinds of respon-
sibilities that careers in technical communication require. It is a good choice for students with undergraduate
majors other than technical communication or who wish to pursue a minor field of study along with technical
communication.
The non-thesis option requires 36 hours of courses. Up to 9 hours of these courses may be in a minor. In
addition, the non-thesis option requires you to pass a comprehensive examination.
Transfer courses: Texas Tech will normally accept 6 hours of approved graduate courses from another
accredited university to apply to a degree.
Course Requirements
Non-thesis option students will complete courses in the following four categories, for a total of 12 courses or
36 hours. Students will complete 11 courses from categories A, B, & C plus the special project in category D.

Degree Requirements: MATC Onsite (Thesis Option)
The thesis option emphasizes research whereas the non-thesis option emphasizes breadth of coursework.
Students who plan to pursue a PhD may choose the thesis option to prepare for dissertation research. Students
who expect some research responsibilities as technical communicators in industry may also choose this option.
The MATC program at Texas Tech requires 36 hours of graduate work (12 courses). The thesis option
requires the same number of hours for graduation as the non-thesis option. The thesis option allows you to
substitute a thesis for 6 of those hours (2 courses). You may write a research or applied thesis
Transfer courses: Texas Tech will normally accept 6 hours of approved graduate courses from another
accredited university to apply to a degree.
Course Requirements
Thesis option students will complete courses in the following five categories, for a total of 12 courses or 36
hours. Students will complete 10 courses from categories A, B, C, and D, plus six thesis hours.
Minor
Students electing the thesis option may choose to substitute a minor for two technical communication electives.
The minor consists of two courses (6 hours) in a field other than technical communication. The minor should
enhance your ability to understand and apply research related to communication or to complete job responsi-
bilities. The minor is optional—not required. Students who do not choose a minor take two additional commu-
nication-related courses.
The choice of minor must be approved by the thesis committee chair and the Director of Graduate Studies in
Technical Communication. The minor department must also approve the minor. The minor department estab-
lishes its own policies regarding what courses constitute a minor and examinations in the minor field.
Thesis
The master’s thesis represents independent work by the student done under the supervision of his or her thesis
committee. Students may write a research thesis or applied thesis.
Research thesis. A research thesis reports on the investigation of a problem in technical communication and
provides new information that leads to greater understanding of or solution to the problem.
Applied thesis. An applied thesis is a substantial document of a genre that a technical communicator would
write, such as a user manual, proposal, or a hypertext tutorial. This thesis must be accompanied by an analy-
sis of research related to the development of this type of document and its application to choices made for the
thesis document.
Examples:
Jamie West (MATC 1995) wrote the online help for Dell portable computers. Her analysis was a literature
review regarding the organization, screen layout, navigation strategies, style, and use of color for online help.
Courtney Johnson (MATC 1997) developed a healthcare consumer information website. Her research included
a literature review on consumer healthcare communication and website design as well as a usability test of the
site.
Submit the final draft of the thesis to the committee at least 14 days before the oral examination. In addition to
the three copies required by the Graduate School, submit a bound copy to the committee chair.
For information on preparing the thesis, consult the Instructions for Preparing and Submitting Reports,
Theses, and Dissertations, available in the University bookstore. The instructions are also available on the
Web.
Oral Examination
The oral examination for thesis students is administered by the thesis committee plus a third graduate faculty
member. At least one of the three members must be qualified to examine the student in the minor if the student
has a minor. The oral examination will focus on thesis research, but questions may address other issues in
technical communication as reflected in the content of the five required courses. The oral examination must be
completed at least 21 days before commencement, according to the Graduate School’s schedule.
Portfolio and Comprehensive Examination
All students will develop a portfolio representing their best work in technical communication graduate courses
in a range of genres. The portfolio will include explanatory statements relating theory, research, and applica-
tion to the works included in the portfolio.
A comprehensive examination, based on assigned reading in ENGL 5371, 5372, 5373, 5374, and 5375 in their
most recent online offerings, will be administered in the semester of graduation. The four-hour written exam is
based on the required readings for the following courses as offered in the two years semesters preceding the
exam: 5371, 5372, 5373, 5374, and 5375.
The examinations administered by the Department of English are scheduled in first month of the fall and
spring semesters and once in the summer. Students should take the examination in the semester in which they
plan to finish their coursework. Students wishing to take the examination must register to take the exam with
the Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication at least 12 weeks before the exam date.
The examination is written and graded by three graduate faculty members in technical communication. All
three examiners read all parts of the examination, but the committee issues only one pass/fail grade for the
entire examination. A grade of B- (80%) or above is passing. The Director of Graduate Studies announces the
results. A student may attempt the examination twice. If a student fails a written examination, he or she may
take one more examination.
A student who fails a written examination may not subsequently elect the thesis option.
A “take” on an exam will be defined as the student’s receipt of the exam at the assigned test site at the as-
signed time.
Master’s Degree in Technical Communication—Online
Description
The Department of English at Texas Tech University began offering graduate courses in technical communica-
tion online in the fall of 1997 and was approved to offer a Master’s degree in Technical Communication
(MATC) via the Internet in 1998. Courses are offered on the semester schedule to students at various remote
sites (homes, workplaces). Lecture notes and assignments are posted on the Web. Students link to Texas Tech
University from their own homes or workplaces for asynchronous and synchronous discussion and can also
submit their course projects through the Internet.
By enrolling in one course each semester, students can complete the degree in three or four years without
leaving their homes and current jobs. Students meet the same requirements for admission as students enrolled
in the onsite program. The master’s degree is a dedicated technical communication degree. Courses include
technical manuals, technical editing, and document design. Students will have experience with online docu-
ments as well as print and with visual as well as verbal communication.
Goals of the Online Degree Program
Students in the online degree program are often employed as technical communicators. However, they seek to
improve their knowledge of best practices and theory of the field in the interest of professional development or
to qualify for positions with greater responsibilities. Some students are seeking to change careers and to
become technical communicators.
Texas Tech University is the only university in Texas to offer specializations in technical communication at
three levels of study: BA, MA, PhD. However, working professionals and career changers in urban areas are
often not able to leave good jobs and families to relocate to West Texas. The online degree negates the geo-
graphic barriers.
Degree Requirements: MATC Online (Non-Thesis Option)
We offer only the nonthesis option for the MATC online, otherwise paralleling the onsite requirements. We will
offer two or three courses in each long semester (fall and spring) and one or two courses in the summer. The
summer courses may extend beyond the term for one six- or eight-week session.
Course Requirements
All students will complete courses in the following four categories, for a total of 12 courses or 36 hours.
Students will complete 11 courses from categories A, B, and C plus the special project in category D.
Note: Categorization of the courses is under discussion Spring 2003 and could change slightly.
Transfer courses: Texas Tech will normally accept 6 hours of approved graduate courses from another
accredited university to apply to a degree.
Minor
Two or three courses (6-9 hours) may constitute a minor in a field other than technical communication. The
minor should enhance your ability to understand and apply research related to communication or to complete
job responsibilities. The minor courses may be taken in one department or may consist of a cluster of courses
on related topics from different departments. The minor may be completed in the English Department in a field
such as linguistics, rhetoric, or literature. The choice of a minor must be approved by the faculty advisor and
the Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication as well as by the minor department. The minor
department establishes its own policies about what courses constitute a minor and about examinations in the
minor field.
Category A: Application • ENGL 5371 Foundations of Technical Communication
(Onsite): At least 4 of these • ENGL 5372 Technical Reports
7 courses • ENGL 5373 Technical Manuals
(Online): At least 5 of these • ENGL 5374 Technical Editing
7 courses • ENGL 5375 Document Design
• ENGL 5376 Online Publishing
• ENGL 5377 Theoretical Approaches to Technical Communication
(when the topic emphasizes application)
• ENGL 5387 Publications Management
Category B: Theory and • ENGL 5369 Discourse and Technology
Research • ENGL 5377 Theoretical Approaches to Technical Communication
(Onsite): At least 2 of these (when the topic is theoretical)
courses so that courses • ENGL 5384 The Rhetoric of Scientific Literature
from A and B total a • ENGL 5385 Ethics in Technical Communication
minimum of 6 • ENGL 5386 Written Discourse and Social Issues
(Online): At least 3 of these
• ENGL 5388 Usability Testing
courses so that courses
• ENGL 5389 Field Methods of Research
from A and B total a
minimum of 8
Category C: Tailoring your • ENGL 5378 Internship
Degree Program • ENGL 5384 The Rhetoric of Scientific Literature
(Onsite) Courses to total 9
• ENGL 5385 Ethics in Technical Communication
courses when added to
• ENGL 5386 Written Discourse and Social Issues
the selections from
categories A and B. • Additional courses from categories A and B or new technical commu-
nication courses that may be introduced and approved in the future
Options include:
(Online) Courses to total 11 • Other language and communication- related courses that the depart-
ment may offer in the future (for example, ENGL 5364, History of
courses when added to
Rhetoric, or ENGL 5365, Studies in Composition)
the selections from
categories A and B. • Communication courses that other departments may offer in the
future
Options include:
• Courses in fields closely related to technical communication such a
management, human factors, educational technology, or psychology.

Category D (Onsite and After completing at least 24 hours from the organized courses listed above,
Online): students will enroll in ENGL 5390. The paper from this course should be
Writing for Publication, suitable for publication in a journal such as Technical Communication.
ENGL 5390
Thesis Hours Students will take 6 hours of ENGL 6000, Master's Thesis. These hours may
(Onsite) be spread over two semesters or taken together in the student's final semester.
Graduate Courses in Technical Communication and Rhetoric
Courses marked with an asterisk are appropriate for advanced students
5360. History and Theories of College Composition Seminar in history and contemporary theories of
composition and rhetoric studies. Required for all new teaching assistants and graduate part-time instructors.
*5361. Theories of Invention in Writing Classical and modern theories of rhetorical invention.
*5362. Rhetorical Analysis of Text Classical and modern theories of rhetorical analysis.
5363. Composition Research Survey of research methods in composition studies with emphasis on current
research trends.
5364. History of Rhetoric Survey of history and theories of rhetoric with an emphasis on applications to
written communication.
5365. Studies in Composition Consideration of classical and modern theories and research in written compo-
sition.
*5366. Teaching Technical and Professional Writing The theory and teaching of technical and professional
writing with special attention to developing course objectives, syllabi, and teaching techniques.
*5368. Studies in Written Argumentation History and theories of written argumentation.
*5369. Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowl-
edge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.
5371. Foundations of Technical Communication Theory and practice of technical communication.
5372. Technical Reports Theory and practice of reports and proposals.
5373. Technical Manuals Theory and practice of manual development and design.
5374. Technical Editing Substantive editing and design of technical documents.
5375. Document Design Theory and practice of creating comprehensible, usable, and persuasive texts.
5376. Online Publishing Design and testing of online documents to support instruction and information
retrieval.
5377. Theoretical Approaches to Technical Communication Intensive analysis and application of one or
more theories of technical communication.
5378. Graduate Internship in Technical Communication Substantial writing and editing experience com-
bined with research.
5384. Rhetoric of Scientific Literature. Study of the role of rhetoric in the texts of scientific inquiry.
5385. Ethics in Technical Communication Definitions, philosophies, and applicability of ethics to technical
communication problems and solutions.
5386. Written Discourse and Social Issues Study of uses of written discourse in problem solving on social
issues involving science or technology.
5387. Publications Management Strategies of managing processes and knowledge that support publication.
*5388. Usability Testing Methods of planning, conducting, and analyzing usability tests.
*5389. Field Methods of Research Survey of methods such as ethnography, observation, and participatory
design with applications to research in rhetoric and technical communication.
*5390. Writing for Publication This course is designed to teach students in Ph.D. programs how to write
clear and effective articles for professional journals in their field.

Contact Info
Texas Tech University, Department of English
MS 3091 Lubbock, TX 79409-3091 806-742-2500 x247
Director of Graduate Studies in Technical Communication: Locke Carter Locke.Carter@ttu.edu