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Graduate Program FAQs

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What are the course requirements to earn the M.A. in Technical Communication (MATC) degree?

We are currently undergoing exciting new changes to our MATC curriculum. Therefore, there are two answers, depending on whether you are:

  1. A currently enrolled student who is using a course catalogs from 2015-2016 or before; or
  2. A student enrolled as of Fall 2016 or who is using the catalog from 2016-2017.

In either case, click here to view our course requirements, paying close attention to the specific requirements for the course catalog that you are using.

What funding opportunities are available to graduate students enrolled in the MATC program?

The MATC program offers funding through competitive teaching and Writing Center assistantships. Teaching assistantships allow graduate students to teach in our nationally-recognized first-year writing program, as well as potentially teach English 202: Introduction to Technical Communication in their second year. Writing Center assistantships provide opportunities for students to serve as writing consultants, mentor new consultants, and participate in Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) activities. Students who secure an assistantship are also eligible to apply for the Graduate Residential Scholars Program (GRSP).

Non-resident students are also encouraged to apply for our GEM Grad Scholarship.

Can I take classes outside of the MATC program?

Yes, many of our students use outside electives to gain knowledge and skills that align with their academic and career goals but are not offered by our technical communication courses. Students have taken courses in such fields as business, communication, curriculum and instruction, educational technology, computer science, public policy and administration as well as from our English literature and rhetoric and composition programs. If you plan to take one or two outside electives, please review the prerequisites for the courses you are considering. Some require one or more graduate-level courses from that discipline as prerequisites.

Students using catalogs before 2016-2017 may apply to the degree no more than three credits in subjects other than technical communication. Student using 2016-2017 or more recent catalogs may apply to the degree no more than six credits in subjects other than technical communication. If you wish to apply courses outside of technical communication as electives, please contact the Director of Technical Communication for approval before enrolling in the courses. In your message to the director, please explain how the course fits into your academic and/or career goals.

What types of special topics courses do you offer?

Often the MATC program offers special topics courses, which are seminars that are not (or not yet) among the regular offerings of the university. Recently, for instance, we offered a special topics course in the rhetoric of science. Special topics courses may be used as electives.

What software will I learn in the program?

Rather than focusing on specific programming languages and software programs, our courses instead focus on teaching students the skills to learn any tool, programming language, software program, or technology that may be required for their interests and/or careers. Although you’ll get some instruction on these software tools, they are embedded in our courses. We have a well-equipped lab that our students use in class and during open lab hours. However, while there are certainly opportunities for students to explore and use various coding languages, software programs, and technologies, often such efforts are self-directed as part of a larger project. Instructors help students find the tools and resources they need to learn whichever coding languages or technologies they’d like to learn, based on their own skill sets. Overall, our students learn–from a very human perspective–how to write, design, create, and use tools and technologies to best help and appeal to users.

If I enroll in an internship (ENGL 590), how many credit hours are required?

Enrolling in an internship is an elective option for our MATC and graduate certificate students. An internship allows you to gain valuable workplace experience and to investigate a specific career path. Typically, students complete three credit hours of internship. Students earn one credit for each 45 hours of internship work. Students may break up the three credit hours at different internships and during different semesters. For example, you might complete a two-credit internship at Company X in the summer and then complete a fall one-credit internship at Company Y. You can learn more about locating, evaluating, and succeeding in an internship by reading this article and by visiting our Career Center Frequently Asked Questions. For information about arranging internships and contacting our Internship Director, see the internships information page. Please consult with your advisor to determine if an internship would be right for you.

Can I transfer/apply undergraduate credits to my MATC degree?

In general, you may not apply undergraduate courses (which at Boise State is a 400-level course or lower) to the MATC degree. However, you may apply Boise State courses that carry a G designation, such as GOMS 460G. Such courses, which enroll both undergraduates and graduate students, call for graduate students to complete graduate-level assignments.

Students are often admitted to the MATC program with provisional status, calling for them to complete successfully one or more undergraduate courses to remedy deficiencies in their backgrounds. Any undergraduate courses completed for this purpose may not be applied to the MATC requirements.

Will you waive a required course for me if I already have the background and skills?

You may petition to waive up to two of the required courses if you have appropriate background and skills in those subjects. If you wish to be exempted from a course, you may submit to the Director of Technical Communication a proposal that explains your case and that includes any appropriate supporting materials. If your proposal is approved, you will substitute another course (or other courses).

You and your advisor will fill out a Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirements form, which you can get from the Registrar (room 102 in the Administration Building).

May I get the graduate certificate while completing the MATC?

Yes. Having a graduate certificate in hand might help you get hired for internships or a job while completing your MATC degree. Prior to (or very early) in the semester in which you are completing the requirements for the graduate certificate, you will need to apply to the graduate certificate program, get accepted, and then apply for graduation (for your graduate certificate). You will need to submit all the required materials and pay a new application fee. The courses you complete for your graduate certificate will apply towards your MATC degree. You will be able to continue your MATC studies and have earned a graduate certificate.

May I continue on with the MATC after I earn my graduate certificate?

Yes. Many of our graduate certificate students opt to do this. In the semester in which you are completing the requirements for your graduate certificate, you will want to apply for graduation (for your graduate certificate) and apply to our MATC program for the next semester. You will need to submit all the required materials and pay a new application fee. If you are accepted into the MATC program, the courses you completed for your graduate certificate will apply towards your MATC degree. You will be able to continue your studies without missing a semester.

Is there a deadline to submit my application materials?

Applications are reviewed when they are received and there is no application deadline. Students may enter the program either in the Fall or Spring semester. In general, we recommend that your application materials be complete no later than 4-6 weeks before the start of the semester. There is no GRE requirement. To receive admission to the MATC with regular status, you must have at least a 3.0 undergraduate grade-point average (GPA). If you have a lower GPA, you may be admitted with provisional status. If you have those questions about submitting your materials to the Graduate College, please contact our administrative assistant, Maya Duratovic, mayaduratovic@boisestate.edu.

What happens after I’m admitted into MATC?

Once you are accepted into the MATC program, you will be assigned an advisor in the technical communication program, with whom you will meet to discuss your program of study. Your advisor will discuss with you your options regarding transferring graduate credits earned at other universities, selecting appropriate courses, and choosing the right culminating activity. If you have a preference about which technical communication faculty member you wish to be your advisor, please express that preference to Dr. Roger Munger, the Director of Technical Communication, and he will try to accommodate you.

After meeting with your advisor and completing the Program Development Form, you begin your progress toward the degree by enrolling in required and elective courses.

You should be aware of four university policies at this point: